MSc Research Methods with Human Geography / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

MSc Research Methods is a research intensive master's designed for those who wish to continue on to PhD and/or are considering embarking on a career in research. It has a strong focus on developing research skills combined with further study in human geography.

The MSc is designed to comply with the research training requirements for two ESRC scholarships as administered by the North West Social Science Doctoral Training Partnership (NWSSDTP): the three-year PhD scholarship (commonly termed +3) and the four-year scholarship that covers an eligible one year master's and a three-year PhD (commonly termed 1+3). 

The course is ideal if you want to apply for an ESRC scholarship through the NWSSDTP or a School of Environment, Education and Development scholarship. NWSSDTP approved master's must meet the minimum research training requirement expected by the ESRC.

Manchester is the ideal place to study Geography. The world's first industrial city, now a vibrant twenty-first century metropolis set between three National Parks, Manchester and its environment are an important resource for field teaching throughout your course.

Geography has been taught at The University of Manchester for more than 125 years.

We have a vibrant community of students and academic staff, with a wide range of teaching and research interests and an impressive international research reputation.

Aims

You will:

  • develop as a well-rounded researcher who is able to access the full range of research in relation to human geography;
  • actively and practically engage with research methods used in the context of human geography;
  • attend introductory PhD research training lectures, seminars and tutorials and get a taste of life as a PhD student.

Special features

  • Geography has been studied at Manchester for more than 125 years, and we're one of Europe's best-equipped universities for the subject.
  • We're home to world-class academics and the new Manchester Urban Institute (MUI).
  • Benefit from worldwide fieldwork opportunities and strong industry links.
  • 90% of our Geography research is rated as `world-leading' or `internationally excellent' in terms of impact (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
  • Join the Manchester University Geographical Society (MUGS) , a society run by Geography students for Geography Students.

Coursework and assessment

You will conduct a small-scale piece of empirical research of relevance and use this as the basis for your dissertation. The emphasis of the dissertation will be on the use of methodology in the context of:

  • tracing the application of certain methods to the investigation of particular issues;
  • discussing how that methodology functioned in practice;
  • research reflexivity.

You will be expected to report on the findings of the study, although the scale of the work will necessitate modest aims and outcomes, given that you will require space to provide in-depth methodological critique and potentially also methods development as an outcome of their study.

It will also be possible you to choose to undertake a literature-based dissertation, in which case there will be an expectation that a formal review methodology will be used to conduct the review.

The form the dissertation ultimately takes will reflect the particular study conducted, and its structure will be negotiated and agreed your supervisor. All dissertations undertaken will be required to contribute to meeting the ESRC's research training criteria.

Course unit details

Core course units typically include:

  • Research Literacy and Design
  • Qualitative Research Approaches
  • Quantitative Research Approaches
  • Dissertation

You will select one from the following options:

  • Doing Environmental Research
  • Development Fieldwork
  • Independent Research Methods

You will also select four units from our Geography postgraduate portfolio.

Course unit list

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Doing Environmental Research GEOG70472 15 Optional
Issues in Environmental Policy GEOG70912 15 Optional
Key Debates in Environmental Governance GEOG70921 15 Optional
Development Fieldwork MGDI60502 15 Optional

Scholarships and bursaries

MSc Research Methods complies with the research training requirements for ESRC scholarships for a PhD scholarship (commonly termed +3). It is also suitable as the master's year as part of an ESRC scholarship award that covers both the master's and PhD (commonly termed a 1+3 award). 

It is ideal if you want to apply for an ESRC scholarship or School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED) scholarship, as 70% of the ESRC Core Training can be demonstrated prior to commencing a PhD.

It will also be of interest to people who are considering a career in research in one of the pathway fields.

We also offer a number of postgraduate taught scholarships and merit awards to outstanding applicants and international students.

In addition, the Manchester Alumni Scholarship Scheme offers a £3,000 reduction in tuition fees to University of Manchester alumni who achieved a first-class Bachelors degree and are progressing to a postgraduate taught masters course.

For more information, see Fees and funding or search the University's postgraduate funding database .

Facilities

We are one of Europe's best-equipped universities for geography, with numerous laboratories. These include the main teaching laboratory, microscopy laboratory, and sediments and project laboratories.

You can also learn professional skills such as coding and programming specialist, industry-standard software such as image processing, GIS, GPS and cartographic representation.

The University's Main Library is the largest university library system in the UK apart from the copyright libraries and has a number of different working spaces. It is home to the University Map Collection, which comprises about 100,000 map sheets of every part of the world.

We also have our very own Kantorowich Library, which contains many of the teaching and learning materials that you will need, from books and journals to DVDs and past dissertations.

For more information, see Facilities

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service.

For more information, email dass@manchester.ac.uk