Sociology MA

Postgraduate ( full-time, part-time)


January, September

Intermediate awards: PG Cert, PG Dip

Course duration: 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time (September starts); 15 months full-time (January starts).
Teaching times: Mondays and Thursdays from 3-5pm (full-time); Mondays or Thursdays from 3-5pm (part-time).


Gain an in-depth understanding of the latest issues and debates in sociology. Hone your research skills, and develop expertise that will prepare you for a career in social policy, social work, local government, public service and more.

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Full description


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This course will prepare you for work in many fields, including human resources, social policy, social work, educational development, community development, counselling, local government, the civil service, public services and charities.

Or you might decide to continue on to a research degree, like our PhD Sociology.

Modules & assessment

Core modules

  • Contemporary Social Theory
    Your focus in this module is on two key debates in social theory. You begin with a philosophical question: in what form does society exist? Traditionally, social theorists have fallen into one of two camps in answering this question. Either social action exists merely as (the often complex) activities of individuals or it exists sui generis, as a product of social structure and an object in its own right. Neither of these answers has proved satisfactory, and, since the 1970s social theorists have attempted to resolve the differences between individualism and structuralism in what has come to be known as the structure-agency debate. After setting the groundwork for studying this topic your aim will be to consider the merits and criticisms of four different attempts to reconcile the debate: Anthony Giddens's structuration theory; Pierre Bourdieu's genetic structuralism; the critical realisms of Roy Bhaskar and Margaret Archer; and the neopragmatisms of Richard Rorty and Patrick Baert. Your second focus of attention is the debate over the role of modernity and progress and reason. Your starting point is with the Frankfurt School. You will look at the validity and debate surrounding the attack upon Habermas's theory of communicative reason by post-modern authors who claim it is ethnocentric and its power is derived from the false ideology of modernity. You will re-analyse the concept of modernity and ask whether its ideals of progress and reason remain intact. However, critics of post-modern social theory argue that it has been too quick to announce the dawn of a new age and that modernity late twentieth century. You will consider these claims and ask if modernity, in its 'late' form, is well captured in the concepts of Ulrich Beck's risk society thesis; Anthony Giddens's 'reflexive individual'; or Zygmunt Bauman's 'liquid modernity.' Your assessment for this module will be the submission of two 3500 words essays. You will be provided with two sets of essay questions and must answer one question from each. The first essay is due in week eight the second in week 13.
  • Postgraduate Research Methods
    This module will provide you with the research skills and techniques needed both to critically evaluate the literature you will be using in your Masters course, and to put into practice in your own Dissertation. It will explore the methodologies and methods applied in contemporary social science research to enable you to select an appropriate range for your own needs.
  • Major Project
    This module will support you in the preparation and submission of a Masters dissertation, allowing you to explore in-depth a particular topic that reflects your academic interest.

Optional modules

  • Nationalism, Diasporas and Identities
    You will explore notions of identity related to belonging, rootedness and mobility. You will examine key concepts of nationalism, transnationalism, diaspora and migration and traces changing debates about their meanings over time. Particular attention will be paid to intersections with gender, class and ethnicity. You will investigate the notion of 'home' at different spatial scales, interlocking identities at the national scale with those of everyday life in families and neighbourhoods. Attention will be paid to concepts of hybridity, especially the growing importance of multi-generational diasporic communities. Your key focus of interest will be Second-generation identities. You will draw on detailed case studies in order to ground these concepts and identify their specificities. The Irish diaspora is one example for which Anglia Ruskin University has rich sources of expertise and data. You will be encouraged to develop case studies informed by your own backgrounds and localities. Your analyses of comparative diasporic and transnational experiences will be developed and the use of interdisciplinary encouraged. Your assessment will have two elements based on an individually-selected case study. The first (20%) will be a 20 minute class presentation in which the issue is outlined and sources discussed. The second (80%) is a 5,500 word report which includes a review of available resources, critical analysis of a key article and discussion of contemporary relevance of the chosen issue.
  • Nature, Technology and Society
    You will explore the relationship between social, technical and natural worlds and, in the process, open up discussion both of the sociology of the future and of the future of sociology. You will address interlocking sets of questions; - How can we understand technological and scientific development as social processes? How is the social, economic, political and cultural role of science changing? What challenges does this present to social science? - How do ideas about 'nature' feature in contemporary social, cultural and political life? How can sociological approaches take account of the ways in which people are at once social and biological beings? How does the natural environment constrain and enable personal and social development? - How do the public and policy-makers engage with new forms of scientific and technical practice and their accompanying risks? These questions are considered in relation to case studies such as: - How are information and communication technologies part of socio-technical systems? How might they lead to a reappraisal of 'the social'? - What can sociology learn from the study of animals? -Biopower, biocapital and biocitizenship: what is the significance of recent developments in the life sciences? How are these developments challenging existing views and experiences of self, life, kinship and citizenship? - Global warming: what are the likely social causes and consequences of world-wide environmental catastrophe? You are expected to be an active participant in the module. You will contribute a seminar presentation on a topic agreed with the module leader (20% of overall grade). You will also write weekly abstracts of core reading which form part of their final assessment portfolio. Your portfolio will also include a project essay based around a case study agreed with the module leader.
  • Independent Learning Module
    This module will support you in the preparation and submission of an independent learning project. It will allow you to study topics not provided within existing modules but within clearly defined parameters, and where appropriate supervision is available.


Depending on the module, you’ll show your progress through a combination of essays, presentations, case studies and portfolio work, as well as a Major Project at the end of the course.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences is an academic community of nearly 800 students and teaching staff. Our students are supported by leading practitioners, so you'll always have access to the latest theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as invaluable career advice. Subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences lead to work in many roles you might not have considered, maybe as a politician, chief executive – or even an inventor.

We organise many activities to help our students prepare for their future, like work placements, study abroad opportunities, talks by acclaimed guest speakers, and research conferences.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2015/16 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2015/16 (per year part-time)


International students, 2015/16 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year part time)


International students, 2016/17 (per year)


Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you're studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period. All fees are for guidance purposes only.

How do I pay my fees?

Paying upfront

You won't need to pay fees until you've accepted an offer to attend, but you must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter/financial guarantee. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

There's no statutory funding for postgraduate study. However, we offer a number of scholarships and we've put together guidance on where to start researching funding options.

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements


Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email for further information.

Entry requirements are for January 2016 and September 2016 entry. Entry requirements for other intakes may differ.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

Get more information

UK & EU applicants

01245 68 68 68

Enquire online

International applicants

+44 1245 68 68 68

Enquire online