Postgraduate Taught

MSc Public Sociology*

Essentially, public sociology is about understanding society and how to bring about change.  Sociological knowledge theory, analysis and social practice is directly connected to the experiences of particular ‘publics’, normally understood as community groups, interest groups, campaigns or other civil society organisations. The essence of public sociology is that it is a discipline that speaks to, and for, audiences and communities beyond the parameters of the academic discipline and makes meaningful contributions to ongoing debates around public issues and concerns.

This new course is aimed at sociology graduates who are looking to specialise in public sociology as well as people engaged in community work, social welfare, public engagement or campaigns, who wish to learn how sociological theory and research can meaningfully contribute to their work.

*Subject to validation

You will find case studies on students and graduates of related courses at the foot of this page.


Course Overview

This new MSc Public Sociology has been developed to address the current lack of post-graduate public sociology programmes in the UK and to deliver expert training in the theories, research methods and practices of this developing field. It provides the opportunity to engage with diverse public groups and to reflect critically on how sociology can contribute to their work for social justice and change.

This challenging course is aimed at sociology graduates who are looking to specialise in public sociology as well as people engaged in community work, social welfare, public engagement or campaigns, who wish to learn how sociological theory and research can meaningfully contribute to their work. You will study what is distinctive about public sociology and the methods of engagement and research of the discipline.

Exit Awards

MSc (180 credits)/ PgDip (120 credits)/ PgCert (60 credits)

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

You will attend lectures and seminars, work in groups as well as carry out independent learning. You will be expected to participate in discussions, collaboratively develop ideas and engage with experiential learning. It is particularly expected that you will be engaged with a ‘public’, either through personal experience, employment or voluntary commitment, in order to reflect on the sociological contribution to that work. We offer a range of stimulating assessment methods, including blogs, reflections on practice, live debates, group work with presentations as well as essays and field reports. A project or dissertation in collaboration with a community group will be a significant component of the work for this MSc. A central part of the course experience is the regular engagement with publics and sharing the insights of others on the course, as well as the experiences of public sociologists with diverse community and campaigning experience. Public sociology is a contextual discipline responding to a globalisation, thus the programme draws on the experiences of public sociologists throughout the world and involves teaching by academics from a range of disciplines in which public sociology is relevant.

Teaching Hours and Attendance

Each module will require you to attend classes and carry out independent work. Most modules consist of two to three hours of class time each week of the semester and will involve input, critical reading, debate and reflection on experience. Where possible, all teaching takes place over two days per week. Your specific timetable will depend on whether you study full or part-time.


  • Principles of public sociology (20 credits)
  • Public sociology practice (20 credits)
  • Research methods and methodologies for public sociology (20 credits)
  • Reflection on action (20 credits)
  • Project proposal (20 credits)
  • Project / dissertation (60 credits)

In addition you will be required to complete at least 20 credits as an elective from a range of options or by self-study.

Single modules for CPD

Register as an associate student to study single modules in areas of interest. Contact Eurig Scandrett for more information.


Graduates in public sociology will be suitably qualified for a range of careers involving public engagement in the public or third sector or non-governmental organisations.

Quick facts

This new postgraduate programme is the only master's degree in public sociology in Scotland and builds on QMU’s successful BSc/ BSc (Hons) Public Sociology.

Entry Requirements

An ordinary degree or equivalent in a relevant subject. Experience of engagement with communities or public groups is desirable. Exceptionally we will also consider applications from people without a degree but with significant experience of community work or similar and who can show that they are able to study at postgraduate level.

International: Where your degree or equivalent has not been studied in English, you will be required to take an IELTS test receiving an overall score of 6.5 and no individual component score below 6.0.

Applications Deadline

First week in July.

We may be able to consider late applications on a case by case basis, please check with admissions first.


More Information and Contacts

Admissions or Eurig Scandrett on tel: +44 (0)131 474 0000

Please Note:

The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2018/19 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Start Your Application

Apply for this Course

Course Overview

Full-time: 1 year, part-time: 2-7 years
Start Date
September 2018
Study Abroad
Fees & Funding