Houses of Parliament, London, UK

MScPolitical Research

Why this course?

The MSc in Political Research provides you with focused training in research methods. It helps you to develop your professional skills in empirical political science.

The course explores different methodological approaches and their application to real-life political problems. It equips you with key transferable skills in:

  • research design
  • a range of research methods and their application
  • the management of different types of data

You’ll study

Along with giving you research skills, this course will enhance your ability to choose appropriate research methods and confront the issues of research design.

It's organised into core and optional classes. You’ll also complete a dissertation.

Study abroad

You can do a research placement through the Erasmus programme.

Options range from Finland to Italy, and from Portugal to Slovakia.


Established in 2010, the School of Government and Public Policy integrates the Department of Government with three research centres:

Course content

Compulsory classes

Semester 1

Principles of Research Design

This class enables you to evaluate alternative research designs and formulate appropriate research proposals.

Quantitative Methods I

This class covers methodology and measurement in social science research.

Semester 2

Qualitative Methods

This class introduces qualitative research design and the range of qualitative techniques available for research. Both computer-based and other approaches are employed.

Quantitative Methods II

This class will look at statistical tools that enable you to interpret social scientific data sensitively and sensibly.

Elective classes

Choose two classes.

Elective Classes

These may include:

  • Policy Analysis
  • Comparative Public Policy
  • International Institutions and Regimes
  • Contesting Global Governance
  • European Governance
  • European Political Economy

Learning & teaching

The MSc in Political Research is designed not only to give you research skills, but also to enhance your ability to choose appropriate research methods and confront the issues of research design. The course is organised into core and optional classes. You'll also complete a dissertation.

You receive training with a strong empirical focus, and supervision in small-group seminars and in individual sessions You’ll receive considerable time and attention from our staff.

Classes average 20 contact hours, with additional computer laboratory sessions for some methods classes. 

Part-time students attend classes across two academic years. They then work on their dissertation over the course of 10 months.

Indicative readings
  • Berg, B.L. (2004).Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Pearson
  • Box-Steffensmeier, J.M., Brady, H.F. and Collier, D. (2008). The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology. Oxford University Press
  • Gerring, J. (2012). Social Science Methodology: A Unified Framework. Cambridge University Press
  • King, G., Keohane, R. and Verba, S. (1994). Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton University Press


You’ll be assessed in a variety of ways like essays, options papers and group projects.

These account for two thirds of the total assessment while your dissertation accounts for one third of the total assessment.

Entry requirements

First or upper second-class Honours degree, or equivalent, in social science.

English language requirements

You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.

For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (no individual test score below 5.5) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.

Pre-sessional courses in English are available.

If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visa and Immigrations (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.

If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Vis and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

To find out more about the courses and opportunities on offer visit or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future. You can also complete the online application form. To ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are per academic year unless stated otherwise.


  • 2016/17 - £4,600 full-time
  • 2016/17 - £2,300 part-time

Rest of UK

  • 2016/17 - £4,600 full-time
  • 2016/17 - £2,300 part-time


  • 2016/17 - £13,000 full-time

How can I fund my course?

To recognise academic achievement, the Dean's International Excellence Award offers students a merit-based scholarship of up to £3,000 for entry onto a full-time Masters programme in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.

Check our Scholarship Search for more help with fees and funding.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


Where are they now?

Examples of organisations our graduates work for:

  • Audit Scotland
  • Centre for African Family Studies
  • Centre for Scottish Public Policy
  • Confederation of Passenger Transport
  • German Red Cross
  • Hall Aitken Associates
  • Health and Social Care Alliance
  • HMRC
  • Invicta Public Affairs
  • Ministry of Finance Iceland
  • Morgan Stanley
  • National Centre for Social Research
  • NHS
  • Ofgem
  • Santander Bank UK
  • Scottish Council for Development and Industry
  • Scottish Refugee Council
  • Serco Group
  • The Improvement Service
  • The Scottish Parliament
  • United Nations Development Programme
  • West and Central Voluntary Network


Political Research

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

Political Research

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2016, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

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