Research in the Social Sciences (Management) MSc 2021

This postgraduate taught programme brings together broad-based training in social science and business research methods and advanced discipline specific knowledge within the business and management field of your choice.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type


Course format

No placements


1 year

UCAS code(s)


Start date

Course outline and modules

This course will equip you with the critical knowledge and skills required for effective social science research, while providing you with the opportunity to engage, through advanced research, with business and management practice. 

Core learning will be delivered through six taught (15 credit) modules covering advanced training in research methods and skills. These include, research philosophy, research design, quantitative methods, qualitative methods, Econometrics, and Management Consultancy and is delivered by our cross-disciplinary experts from Aston Business School and the School of Languages and Social Sciences. 

Two taught (15 credit) – option modules will also be chosen by students and these will focus on any business/management specialism that students are interested in. Our research expertise is embedded in our academic departments and research centres, the details of which can be found by following the various links below. Indeed, we strongly advise all those thinking of applying to the MSc Research in the Social Sciences to explore these departmental and research centre web pages so that you can better position your own research interests to fit with the current interests of the school and our academics. 

Aston Business School Academic Departments/Schools:

•    Accounting
•    Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship 
•    Aston Law School
•    Marketing and Strategy               
•    Operations and Information Management 
•    Work and Organisation

Aston Business School Research Centres:

•    Advanced Services Group
•    Aston Centre for Growth
•    Centre for Research in Ethnic Minority Entrepreneurship (CREME)
•    Enterprise Research Centre
•    Lloyds Banking Group Centre for Business Prosperity.
Finally, students will be required to complete a 15000 word Dissertation within the discipline of their choice – ie. the discipline identified in their two 15 credit option modules. Students will be allocated a dedicated supervisor to guide them through this research process until submission of the final thesis. 

How will my skills develop?

The taught modules within this programme will provide students with a critical understanding of the core methodological debates and decisions facing business and management researchers. Modules will demand that students engage in these debates and reflect upon their own assumptions, preferences, biases and choices when it comes to designing and delivering a substantial research project. 

The dissertation element of this programme provides students with the opportunity to put into practice this new knowledge and skills. As such, students will further develop applied research skills in:

•    Critically evaluating existing knowledge
•    Identifying gaps/contradictions within existing literature
•    Clearly articulating research project aims, objectives and beneficiaries
•    Designing a valid and reliable research project and reflecting on its limitations 
•    Implementing a range of data collection and analysis techniques, relevant to their discipline of study
•    Engaging effectively with all stakeholders throughout the research process and beyond.

How will this course help my career?

The knowledge and skills garnered from studying the MSc Research in the Social Sciences will equip you to pursue a range of careers, including managerial, analytical and research roles within private, public and non-governmental organizations. 

You’ll explore different approaches to research and consulting projects, including what good and bad practise looks like, thus preparing you to carry out projects within organisations either as an external consultant or manager. 

This course also provides an excellent route into further academic study, with students going on to complete doctoral research before pursuing an academic career. As such, it is an ideal ‘stepping stone’ onto the Aston Business School PhD Programme, with graduates likely exempted from the formal/taught PhD Programme training requirements in year 1.


Core modules

Core modules (90 credits)

•    Philosophy of Research in the Social Sciences
•    Research Strategy, Design & Practice
•    Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences
•    Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences
•    Econometrics 2

This module builds on the introductory level quantitative methods and introduces students to concepts and techniques essential to the analysis of social science data. It focuses on different methods that are used in the applied research including difference in difference panel data instrumental variables and limited dependent variables.

Optional modules

Any TWO 15 Credit Discipline Specific Modules from the ABS Taught Masters Programmes (subject to timetabling and availability)


All participants will be required to carry out a piece of academic research in their discipline of choice. This research will be supported by a supervisor and will culminate in a 15,000 words thesis.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

One of the following:

A good UK honours degree (minimum lower second class) Equivalent overseas degree recognised by Aston University.


As well as:

Two professional references – at least one must be from an academic referee An official academic transcript of your university grades to date A completed application form.


International students
  • An official academic transcript, with an official English translation, of your university grades to date.
  • Students whose native language is not English will also need to satisfy our English language requirements. Pre-sessional English language programmes are available for good applicants whose English qualification falls just short of these requirements.
  • Postgraduate masters students enrolling to Aston Business School with a 5.5 in one of the four IELTS sections will be required to engage with English language tuition as part of our professional development programme, The Aston Global Advantage. There will be no extra cost to the student.
  • Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston. Find out more.
  • For more information about qualifications, view our Aston in your country webpage.
Extensive work experience

We recognise the value of extensive professional experience. If you do not have the academic qualifications, but have extensive and relevant professional experience and a proven ability to succeed, we would welcome your application.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Our experienced teaching team deliver modules in innovative and adaptable ways, thus meeting the needs of all learners and learning styles. This means we use a range of teaching methods, from lectures and tutorials to practical workshops and group work. All sessions are delivered in an open and supportive atmosphere, helping you to get the most out of your studies. 

Importantly, staff contributing to this programme are experienced researchers, allowing them to enrich modules with their own research knowledge, skills and perspectives gained ‘in the field’. Staff use a variety of assessment methods as part of this course, and there is a mix of exams, coursework, presentations and group work.

Our online learning platform will also support you with your studies. It has all the digital resources you need when studying and revising, including lecture slides, access to e-books and online journals, as well as video recordings of teaching sessions.

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our postgraduate programmes. Students from over 120 different countries chose to study with us every year and Aston is not only a great place to study, based in the centre of Birmingham it’s also a great place to live.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020.
More information on post-work visas.

Fees and scholarships


UK students (2021/22): £10,750

UK/EU students (2020/21): £10,750

International students (2020/21): £18,800

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees


At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

20 per cent postgraduate alumni scholarship


Cost shouldn't limit your career aspirations, which is why we are delighted to offer all Aston graduates (including exchange students) a 20% loyalty scholarship in standard taught MA, MSc and Full-time MBA course fees.

This means that as an Aston graduate applying to our MSc Research in Social Sciences (Management) course, you could save...


UK students
(Total saving equivalent to 20% of the annual tuition fee)


International/EU students
(Total saving equivalent to 20% of the annual tuition fee)

As an Aston graduate, you will automatically qualify. For more information visit our webpage.


The knowledge and skills garnered from studying the MSc Research in the Social Sciences will equip you to pursue a range of careers, including managerial, analytical and research roles within private, public and non-governmental organizations. This course also provides an excellent route into further academic study, with students going on to complete doctoral research before pursuing an academic career.  Students have pursued a variety of careers including: 

  • Further postgraduate research at PhD level
  • International marketing or business.

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