Postgraduate Taught

PgCert Public Sociology

The course information below relates to entry in 2020. This page will be updated with course information for 2021 entry by the 1st of November 2020, when applications for 2021 will open. 

Social analysis for community action and social movement

Why QMU?

  • You’ll be part of an international cohort of students working closely and collaboratively with staff, gaining the optimum balance of theoretical and practical learning.

Course overview

A short course in how to make use of social analysis in the practice of working for social justice.

It is particularly aimed at people working in the voluntary or public sector, or activists who are interested in resourcing their work with some social analysis

Exit awards

Not applicable


The course runs for 10 weeks through a mixture of attendance at QMU, online learning and exercises to be conducted in work, community or organisational settings. It will be offered from January 2021.

Teaching, learning and assessment

The course draws on sociology and the social sciences to critique the practices of public service, community action, popular education and social movement activism. Thus, students will engage with online lectures and core readings, which will be analysed and discussed in seminars and debates on campus. Assessments comprise a literature review; an essay for an edited collection; a reflective journal and critical reflections on a seminar presentation. Our teaching, learning and assessment approach therefore blends reflection on experience with learning from the theories offered by engaged social scientists.

Teaching hours and attendance

Students are expected to attend QMU campus one day per week over a period of six weeks plus an additional attendance in week 10 for assessment purposes. In addition, students are expected to study off campus through engaging with pre-recorded lectures, webinars, readings, written work and optional online workshops.

Class sizes

Class sizes on campus are not expected to exceed 15 students

Links with industry / professional bodies

Academic staff have long established working relationships with an extensive network of third and voluntary sector organisations, both nationally and internationally, as do a number of former students.

Teaching staff

Teaching staff on this programme are drawn from sociology and other disciplines and include programme leader Dr Eurig Scandrett (public sociology); Dr Marion Ellison (sociology and social policy); John Docherty-Hughes (sociology); Dr Paul Gilfillan (sociology); Karl Johnson (public sociology); Dr Elaine Ballantyne (Occupational Therapy); Emma Wood (communications); Dr Maria Giatsi Clausen (Occupational Therapy); Jennifer Mackay (public sociology); Dr Stan Nwankpa (public sociology). Further information on the experience and interests of these staff can be obtained from the staff profile pages.


The course comprises three modules of 20 credits at level 11 (postgraduate)

Principles of Public Sociology (an introduction to social analysis);

Public Sociology Practice (how social analysis contributes to a range of professional, community action and social movement practices);

Reflection on Action (an opportunity to reflect systematically on the relationship between practice and theory)

Single modules for CPD

Principles of Public Sociology and Public Sociology Practice can be taken as stand-alone modules for CPD


There are no placements in this course. Students are expected to have current or past experience, or are encouraged to engage with communities, groups or movements.


Graduates of equivalent programmes have moved into careers in the voluntary sector or public service.

Entry requirements

Applicants are expected to have a degree and / or experience of engagement with an area of social practice, community work or activism.

2020/21 Entry - Terms and Conditions (Postgraduate).

Start Your Application

Course Overview

Inperson on campus and online
10 Weeks
Start Date
June 2021
Queen Margaret University Edinburgh
Study Abroad
Psychology, Sociology and Education
Subject Area
Fees & Funding