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Course length

1 year full-time, 2 years part-time


Durham City

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Course details

The MA in Research Methods (Education) provides broad learning in research design methodologies. The course is designed for students interested in theoretical and empirical understanding of research in social science and as well as those who plan to pursue doctoral level studies in the field of Education. The course is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as providing suitable training for this purpose, and the course is one of the named routes on the MA in Research Methods. It is a Social Sciences faculty degree that involves other departments within the University.

This course delivers high-quality research methods for learning in education. The focus is on understanding research designs for conducting and evaluating rigorous research. The course includes training in the use of research tools for analysing and interpreting research data with detailed discussion on formulating research questions, innovative research designs, and developing theoretical understanding of concepts in social science research.

The course is conducted at a cross-faculty level and modules are taught within the School of Education, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Psychology, the School of Government and International Affairs (SGIA), and the Department of Anthropology. This provides you with the opportunity to come into contact not only with researchers from different disciplines but also with other students studying research methods in different disciplines across the Social Sciences.

Discipline-specific modules:

Research Design and Process (15 credits)

To provide training in research design and an understanding of the research process in preparation for the MA dissertation/Phd research and careers in social research.

Perspectives on Social Research (15 credits)

This module introduces you to social scientific research, and focuses on establishing cause and interpreting meaning in social sciences. The module also covers the essentials of quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences.

Intermediate Statistics for Social Science Research (15 credit)

Experiments in Education (15 credits)

This module contributes to the debate about the role of experimentation in education research. The module introduces a wide range of range of experimental designs. There are lots of examples discussed for understanding the relevant concepts enabling students to judge quality of experiments and research in general. The module also provides learning on how to analyse, synthesise and interpret data from experimental research.

Systematic Reviews (15 credits)

The Systematic Reviews module will introduce knowledge, understanding and skills that will enable students to overview the existing research knowledge in their own topic areas of interest. This module will be a stage advanced from conducting ordinary literature review.

Designs And Methods in Education Research (30 credits)

This is a comprehensive module on research. The content of this module covers learning about a wide range of research designs and methods. The learning aims to understand theoretical perspectives in research, development of research questions and selection of appropriate research design for conducting a high quality research.

Dissertation (60 credits)

This is an opportunity of practical implementation of research that you design and conduct under supervision. You will meet with your supervisor on an individual basis and will discuss the topic, direction and content of your dissertation. The dissertation is a substantial, independent piece of academic research (approximately 12,000 words). It is recommended that you discuss your individual programmes of work with your supervisors and/or with the Director of Postgraduate Taught Programmes.

Examples of optional modules:

  • Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (SOCI59215- credits 15)
  • Qualitative Methods in Social Science (SOCI58815- credits 15)
  • Fieldwork and Interpretation (ANTH43415- credits 15)
  • Quantitative Methods in Social Science (SOCI57815- credits15)
  • Applied Statistics (PSYC40130- credits 30)
  • Systematic Reviews (EDUC46715 – credits 15)

The MA can be taken part-time, over two years: please contact us if you are interested in exploring this option further.


Teaching is offered through lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will take part in a range of learning activities, including reading, discussion, presentations, evaluating existing research, analysing and interpreting data, designing experiments, search literature and synthesising the results of multiple studies.

Each module is assessed with an assignment (3,000) words for a 15-credit module and a dissertation of 12,000 words

Entry requirements

An honours degree at 2:1 (or equivalent). Significant relevant experience will also be considered.

English language requirements

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,900 per year
EU students £23,800 per year
Island students £9,900 per year
International students £23,800 per year

Part Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £5,500 per year
EU students £13,100 per year
Island students £5,500 per year
International students £13,100 per year

The tuition fees shown are for one complete academic year of study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities

School of Education

There are a wide range of roles that are available to qualified teachers ranging from classroom teaching, specialist subject lead, phase lead, middle and senior management groups.

For further information on career options please view our department pages.

Department information

School of Education

We are a large department, with around 50 academic staff and around 650 postgraduate students (including our PGCE students, both primary and secondary). We are also supported by numerous partners from schools and colleges. We have strong international links, welcoming students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scholars from all over the world.

For more information see our department pages.


  • Top 100 in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2022
  • 2nd in The Complete University Guide 2023
  • 7th in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2023
  • Top 10 in The Guardian University Guide 2023


For a current list of staff, please see the School of Education pages

Research Excellence Framework

  • Ranked joint 1st nationally for Research Impact and 1st nationally for outputs
    (REF 2021)


Our School of Education is set in beautifully landscaped gardens above the River Wear and overlooks both the Castle and Cathedral. As well as an attractive work environment, it offers excellent study facilities, including a department library with a wide range of books and periodicals.


Find out more:

Apply for a postgraduate course (including PGCE International) via our online portal.  

Visit Us

The best way to find out what Durham is really like is to come and see for yourself!

Join a Postgraduate Open Day
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 17:00
Find out more
Self-Guided Tours
  • Date: 01/09/2023 - 31/08/2024
  • Time: 09:00 - 16:00
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