About the MA Sociology
The MA Sociology at NTU offers you an exciting opportunity to develop a specialist and distinctive focus within sociology - Public Sociology. Public Sociology awakens and empowers your sociological imagination by connecting what you study with the social issues and challenges faced by contemporary civil society. It not only gives you the opportunity to develop advanced and specialist knowledge of sociological theory and research: it supports and challenges you to use this knowledge in ways that directly benefits others. The course is designed and delivered by academic professionals with expertise in carrying out research for and with many different clients, groups and communities.
Public Sociology 'engages with diverse publics, reaches beyond the university, to enter into an ongoing dialogue with these publics' (Zussman & Misra 2007). It 'strikes up a [dialogue] between sociologist and public in which the agenda of each is brought to the table, in which each adjusts to the other' (Burawoy 2005: 9).
From day one of the course, you will link theory, research and practice, developing in-depth knowledge and insights as well as gaining the practical experience needed to build your skills as a Public Sociologist. You will take what you learn in the classroom to the various 'publics' of Nottingham and beyond, gaining valuable experience through modules that emphasise working with communities, engaging with local and national policy makers and contributing to debates that ignite public interest.
The course embodies not only the pursuit of understanding, critique and argument essential to advanced sociology, but also a call to action. Through a course design that emphasises the continuous interplay between theory and practice, you will develop both your in-depth knowledge and your practical skills in being a Public Sociologist.
Why choose the MA Sociology?
- Explore the key issues and debates with a focus on social inequalities and social issues and develop an understanding of a range of global issues.
- Gain hands-on practical experience through research projects, work-based learning, fieldwork, and other public and policy engagement activities.
- Learn from research active staff with specialisms in the study of disaster, race, gender and social class.
- Delivered in partnership with a range of local, national and international organisations, giving you unrivalled opportunities for developing your skills.
- Lecturer Dr Mike Keenan has collaborated in a major national study exploring religion, youth and sexuality.
- Choose to study full-time or part-time.
Fellowship of the RSA
As a result of an exciting partnership with the national policy organisation, the RSA, students will also be automatically enrolled as Honorary Fellows. The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today's social challenges. Honorary Fellowship will open up a number of opportunities for students to engage with this important national organisation.
The School of Social Sciences also offer a number of competitive scholarships for our full-time and part-time Master's students on this course which are available to home, EU and international students.
You can find more information and details on how to apply on our fees and funding page.
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4460
School of Social Sciences website
Please see the Applying
Starting: 22 September 2014or 28 September 2015
Course length: One year full-time / two years part-time
Study location: City site
Fees and funding:
Please see the fees, funding and scholarships section.
In the MA Sociology, we aim to:
- Build richness, depth and criticality in our understanding of the world we live in, the communities we are part of, and the institutions that impact upon all our lives.
- Use theory and research to underpin questions about what could be changed and how that change might come about
- Make an active contribution to change by demonstrating public sociology.
This course has been designed to provide a challenging contemporary curriculum, which reflects the specific features of public sociology as an area of specialised advanced study.
The MA Sociology consists of 180 credit points, consisting of four taught modules (30 credit points each) and a dissertation (60 credit points). All modules are compulsory.
- Theorising Public Sociology
- Researching in and with Society
- Service Learning
- Contemporary Approaches to Public Sociology
The first two of these four modules are designed to provide you with a firm grounding in a theoretically informed analysis of a publicly engaged sociology, and a solid preparation for carrying out both academic and participatory forms of sociological research. Together they provide you with a firm foundation to become a critical, creative, and engaged sociologist. You will also be familiar with the enduring concerns of professional sociology and the problems and challenges of the social world it seeks to study.
The other two taught modules, Service Learning and Contemporary Approaches to Public Sociology, provide a carefully structured exploration of the huge variety of ways in which public sociology can be, and are, practiced. The Service Learning module seeks to integrate the worlds of sociological scholarship and its application to the lived experience of community groups and citizens, to strengthen and transform them both. Through dedicated service learning placements you will apply your sociological imagination in work with practitioners, academics and community members to propose and test solutions to some of the challenges those groups face. The Contemporary Approaches to Public Sociology module consists of four 'mini modules' in which practicing sociologists from the course team introduce you to their research and various aspects of public engagement associated with it.
The dissertation is intended to be a crystallisation of all your learning and development of the theoretical, methodological and substantive knowledge, understanding and skills covered in the course. It gives you a structured, supported opportunity to display your knowledge, creativity and imagination in the design and execution of a research project. As such, you will be able to display specialist skills of design and project management, critical, analytic and synthesising skills that would be transferable to further postgraduate studies or to working in other professional settings. Academic staff across the Division of Sociology will be available to supervise dissertations in their area of specialism, and where possible we could allow a dissertation to be supervised by another colleague from the wider School of Social Sciences.
Assessment will be carried out through a combination of individual and group presentations, written assessments, workshops and a dissertation.
Study and support
The teaching and learning for the programme will involve a mixture of lectures, workshops, enquiry based learning, blended learning, and individual dissertation / project support to ensure that all students' develop a critical and in-depth understanding of key themes, issues and topics in a supportive environment.
View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change
Graduates will be well placed to go into a wide variety of professions such as:
- public administration
- the social and health services
- other areas of the media
- human resources
Graduates may consider continuing on to a MPhil / PhD program to continue the intellectual curiosity/imagination the MA will have fostered.
97% of School of Social Sciences postgraduate students are employed or engaged in further study six months after leaving (Latest DLHE Survey Postgraduate results 2011/12).
Through dedicated service learning placements you will apply your sociological imagination in work with practitioners, academics and community members to propose and test solutions to some of the challenges those groups face.
- You will need an undergraduate degree equivalent to a UK undergraduate honours degree (normally a 2.2 or above).
- Applicants without formal qualifications will be considered but will be required to outline their motivation for study in their personal statement as well as demonstrate an ability to study at postgraduate level.
- No references are required when applying for this course.
Equivalent international qualifications
If you are unsure about the equivalency of your international qualifications, you can check it on our International Students entry requirements page.
English language entry requirements
See the English language entry requirements for courses at the School of Social Sciences and a full list of all English language qualifications accepted by the University.
The School of Social Sciences' Scholarship scheme provides a number of awards to students on taught Masters programmes. For further information visit our fees, funding and scholarships section.
The School of Social Sciences holds open events throughout the year. Come along and learn more about our courses, speak to programme leaders and find out about studying with the School. To find out more about these events visit the School of Social Sciences website.
How to apply
Click the 'Apply online' button at the top of the page to complete your application.
Please note the following information for applicants