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Teaching & course structure

Studying for an Masters provides you with the opportunity to engage with a particular area of sociology in more depth than you typically can as an undergraduate. It will also provide you with research skills in preparation for employment or further postgraduate study. Whichever Masters programme you choose, you can study from a wide range of modules. Beyond any core modules your course has, you will be able to tailor your course to your interests and aspirations.

All of our Masters programmes can be studied on a full-time basis, over 12 months, or a part-time basis, over a period of 24 months, starting in October each year.

How you'll study | Available learning spaces | Your dissertation

How you’ll study

Each of our Masters courses has specified core modules which will be studied alongside a range of optional modules.

All our Masters courses follow a consistent structure meaning that you will follow a programme of taught modules making up 120 CATS (academic credits), followed by a 15,000 word dissertation worth 60 CATS. Our modules are generally 20 CATS, so you will cover 6 modules - although your exact pathway will depend on the programme you choose and your selection of optional modules. So, alongside your courses core modules (and your dissertation), you will be required to select a number of optional choices. Each course has different requirements for this. Some allow you free choice across the department, and some will require you to select a number of modules from relevant lists.

For MA Gender and International Development you’ll be required to take three optional modules, and two of these options will have to be selected from particular lists. For MA Sociology you’ll be required to study four optional modules. You’ll need to choose one from two lists, and two other modules from those offered by our department. For MA Social Research you’ll be required to select three optional modules of your choosing. For MA Social and Political Theory you’ll be required to choose four optional modules from our departmental list. For MSc Quantitative Social Research, you’ll need to take at least two optional modules from within Sociology (40 CATS).

We offer a wide range of optional modules reflecting the great breadth of research areas we have in our department. So, beyond any core modules your course may have, you will be able to tailor your course to your interests and aspirations.

You will have a personal tutor who will be able to advise you on your academic progress as well as discuss aspects such as which modules are best for you.

If you’re a full-time student you’ll undertake taught modules, and submit assessed essays for these, during the academic terms: autumn, spring and summer terms. You will also begin planning your dissertation and generally you will undertake your supervision sessions for this with your agreed supervisor during the summer term. As long as you pass your taught components, you will then focus on completion of your Masters dissertation in the summer months of July and August.

If you study part-time then you will study your taught modules over two years: with teaching taking place during the academic terms. The order in which you study your modules will be agreed following discussion with your course convenor. You will also begin planning your dissertation in year one.

Available learning spaces

The Sociology Common Room offers you a centrally located space where you can grab a tea or coffee and meet other students and staff in the Department.

The PG Hub is a space dedicated to Warwick postgraduate taught and research students. Not only does it offer a workspace and study support, but it is a place to meet other postgraduate students, and access resources including the many social and academic activities on offer. These include writing mentors, sessions such as EndNote training, Literature searching and other support workshops and also Yoga sessions and a Summer Fete.

The University Library has a range of study spaces including informal spaces, collaborative spaces for group work, dedicated silent and quiet study floors, and a large number of computers, as well as other specialist technology. You’ll also find study spaces with computer clusters, multimedia resources and bookable rooms in the Learning Grid University House, Learning Grid Rootes and Learning Grid Leamington.

Your dissertation

After completing the taught part of the course, Masters students will go on to write a dissertation of 15,000 words. Your topic and title will be agreed by you in discussion with your supervisor. This is a chance to undertake original independent research, allowing you to focus in depth on an area of your choice, developing a coherent and sustained argument and discussion as part of an extended project.

You will receive support in your dissertation through one-to-one sessions with your supervisor. You will also be prepared through research skills sessions and specific sessions on essay writing and dissertation planning and writing throughout your course.

From the start of your course you will begin considering possible dissertation topics and you will have a supervisor for your dissertation confirmed by the end of spring term. Part-time students will have a supervisor for their dissertation confirmed by the end of the autumn term in their second year. You will be assigned a dissertation supervisor who has the appropriate expertise in your chosen area.