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Social Research Methods

We run several interdisciplinary MA programmes in social research methods. Each programme draws on a wide range of methods and approaches, offering you the possibility of learning across departments as part of our interdisciplinary and diverse research environment. A Post Graduate Certification is also available. 

Our programmes are under-pinned by globally recognised social sciences research and are delivered by world-leading researchers and educators.

“The future of research is interdisciplinary methods. Working with top researchers in the field, our MA in Research Methods programmes help our students develop the critical skills they need to lead on cutting-edge methods research, be it in the public or private sector or academia.”

Professor Brian Castellani
Director of the Durham Research Methods Centre

Postgraduate Research Methods Taught Courses

We currently offer the following specialisms:  

MA Social Research Methods (L3KB07)

This programme offers a core training in quantitative and qualitiative methods combined with a range of options which explore core theories.
Students writing on board

MA Research Methods: Anthropology (L6K307)

This course provides training in research methods with a focus on methods used by researchers in anthropology.
A student examining apparatus

MA Research Methods (Politics, International Relations, Security) (L2KA07)

Designed to provide a strong all-round training in research methods with further specialisation in the fields of politics, international relations and security.
Students working at computers in a study room.

MA Research Methods (Developmental Psychology) (C8K107)

This is aimed at students who are interested in studying typical and atypical development across the lifespan.
A child with researcher, taking part in a memory based experiment

MA Research Methods (Behavioural Sciences) (C8K507)

For students intending to pursue a career as a research psychologist or behavioural scientist.
Group of people chatting at a team meeting

MA Research Methods (Education) (X1K107)

This is designed for students interested in theoretical and empirical understanding of research in social science through Education.
A student working on a computer during a tutorial

MA Social and Economic History (Research Methods) (V1K107)

You will build an awareness of the contemporary boundaries of social & economic history & master advanced understanding of concepts and methods.
Students sat round a table with laptops

MA Geography (Research Methods) (L8K507)

Provides training in both social science research methods and the approaches and techniques used in contemporary human geography.
Geography research trip

MSc Arab World Studies (T6K109)

The MSc is intended to provide rigorous, research-driven, interdisciplinary, education and training.
Geography Library

Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods (L3KE14)

An accessible route to gain knowledge and skills in quantitative or qualitative research methods.
Students sitting in Kingsgate Bar

What are Research Methods?  


“Research methods are the tools we use to analyse and understand the social world.”

MA Research Methods Graduate

Research Methods are the techniques used to collect and analyse data for a specific purpose. Knowing which research methods to use and how to apply them forms a critical part of any research project. 

Programmes Tailored for You  

“Our MA Research Methods programmes are flexible and are tailored to meet the needs of our students. This enable students with varying knowledge and skills in research methods to succeed on our programmes.”

Professor Brian Castellani
Director of the Durham Research Methods Centre

We offer nine flexible, accessible and inclusive taught postgraduate Research Methods programmes across different disciplines, tailored to suit your experience and ambition. Masters and PGCert routes are available that can be studied full-time over one year, or part-time over two years. 

Our courses are designed with a wide range of students in mind. An accessible route is available for those with limited knowledge and skills in quantitative or qualitative research methods. We also provide a framework for those with existing research methods knowledge and skills, enabling them to study alternative advanced modules.   

Our graduates are highly sought-after, and we’re ranked 54th in the world for employer reputation (QS World University Rankings 2022). Our Research Methods graduates go on to careers in varied industries including higher education, government and private sector including law and international business and commerce. 

Reaching Beyond Boundaries

"I’d say that it gives you lots of practical and research skills that are really useful if you want to stay in academia and really transferable if you want to move into other employment.”

MA Research Methods Graduate

At the heart of our Research Methods programmes is a desire to foster a positive cross-disciplinary culture and for our students to understand the importance of reaching beyond discipline boundaries to tackle today’s challenges. 

Our Research Methods programmes all share a core framework of advanced quantitative and qualitative research methods modules. These modules are coordinated by the Durham Research Methods Centre and delivered across Departments.  

Our students are exposed to different learning environments across the University and you will engage with peers from outside of your Department to understand the benefits of working across disciplines to solve problems.

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Accredited 

Many of our programmes are recognised by the ESRC and can be taken as a standalone postgraduate programme. You can also undertake a Research Methods programme as part of an ESRC Northern Ireland and North East Doctoral Training Partnership (NINE DTP) integrated postgraduate taught and research route (usually 1+3 or 3.5 years). 

Find out more about NINE DTP.