Big data and quantitative methods are transforming political processes and decisions in everyday life. Local, national and international administrations are making ‘open data’ available to wide audiences; giant, world-level web organisations are putting more and more services in synergy; and some private companies or governments are developing strongly ideological projects in relation with big data. All these issues involve data in text, image, numeric and video formats in unprecedented scales. This means there is a growing need for trained specialists who will have the capacity to compete and/or collaborate with strictly business or technique-oriented actors on the basis of sound knowledge from political andinternational studies.
In contrast to degrees such as Data Science or Data Analytics, where the focus ends up being almost exclusively on data practices and computational tools, our MA in Big Data provides you with a knowledge and understanding of the implications of different approaches to issues concerning big data and public policy. Warwick has considerable expertise in quantitative methods, located in our department, along with the department of Sociology, the Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies (CIM) and the Q-Step Centre.
Given that a noteworthy part of big data is social data, this MA programme seeks to attract students from a variety of social science related disciplines; you do not need a background in statistics to be eligible for the course. Graduates of this degree will be able both to engage technically with data released at a new scale and to keep a critical expertise on their relevance and quality, skills which are increasingly required in the competitive global job market.
The three core modules for Politics, Big Data and Quantitative Methods are:
- Data Analysis and Interpretation
- Big Data Research: Hype or Revolution?
- Advanced Quantitative Research
This programme has optional modules to choose from to allow you to achieve the required credits to successfully complete the award; in addition to your core module, you’ll have the freedom to select 2-3 modules (60 CATS) that appeal to you from our extensive range of optional modules. At a research led institution, optional module lists are subject to change each year to keep the student learning experience current and up to date. For the optional modules available in this department please visit the department website.
* The modules mentioned above may be subject to change. Please read our terms and conditions for more detailed information.
Debate and discussion are at the heart of the teaching style in PAIS, and most modules are taught via one 2-hour seminar per week. Seminars give you the opportunity to interact with leading scholars as well as with your peers to explore a set topic each week. Every seminar will be based on extensive guided reading you will do each week, but there is no strict pattern to how sessions are run; you will experience a variety of teaching methods tailored to each specific topic and teacher. This may include mini-lectures followed by discussion, Q&A sessions, organised debates, peer presentations, policy briefs, small group work, and other projects.
In addition to your seminars, you will have access to your module tutors during advice and feedback hours. You will have the opportunity to sit down with your tutors on a one-to-one basis during these weekly office hours to follow up on seminar discussions, seek guidance on your essays, and ask questions about feedback on your marks.
PAIS modules are assessed entirely by research essays throughout the year, culminating in a 10,000 word dissertation at the end.
Full-time: 1 year
Part-time: 2 years
2:i undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in a related subject
English Language requirements
Department of study
Location of study
University of Warwick
Home/EU: £11,950 per year
Overseas: £19,560 per year
Home/EU: £5,975 per year
Overseas: £9,780 per year
Find out more about fees and funding.