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Our updated course listings for the 2022/23 postgraduate admissions cycle will be published at the beginning of October. Applications for 2022 entry will be available shortly after this. Check our how to apply pages for updates.

MSc Research Methods with Planning and Environmental Management / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course description

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 your study.

It will also be possible for 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 by your supervisor. All dissertations undertaken will be required to contribute to meeting the ESRC's research training criteria.

Aims

You will:

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

Special features

  • Benefit from small-group teaching, close staff-student relationships, and guided one-to-one supervision.
  • Develop practical skills in project studios with drawing facilities, model-making workshops, and specialist design and spatial analysis software.
  • Enjoy fieldwork opportunities in the UK and abroad, exploring real-life issues on one-day trips, site visits, and overseas residential visits to locations including Manchester, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Brussels, Toronto, Amsterdam, Belfast and Dublin.
  • Have the flexibility to mix discipline units or specialise, and choose from a wide range of optional course units.
  • Study in Manchester, a city where planning has been taught for more than 50 years, and urban development and environmental impacts are on your doorstep.

Teaching and learning

The School of Environment, Education and Development aim to run advertised fieldwork in the 21/22 Academic Year and we very much hope that students will be able to enjoy the fieldwork experience in the usual way.

The ability of fieldwork to proceed, and whether any changes to proposed fieldwork might be necessary, will remain subject to the current global situation and factors such as the:

  • rules and guidance on travel and activities implemented and published by the UK and overseas governments;
  • outcome of any risk assessments conducted by the University;
  • educational value and student experience of the fieldwork, if significant changes to the proposed fieldwork would be necessary;
  • availability of appropriate insurance cover; and
  • availability of appropriate travel and accommodation and any significant changes to their financial costs.

We will therefore assess on a regular basis the viability of any travel and fieldwork and communicate any decisions to our students at the earliest possible opportunity. Any fieldwork that does go ahead will be subject to a rigorous risk assessment process and the implementation of any protective measures identified by the risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of all of our students and staff. If the fieldwork does not go ahead as planned then the School's focus will be on seeking to offer a suitable alternative and ensure that the Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) of the programme are met.

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 planning and environmental management postgraduate portfolio.

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 Bachelor's degree and are progressing to a postgraduate taught master's course.

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

Facilities

You can develop your practical skills in our project studio, model-making workshop, and computer suites with specialist design and spatial analysis software.

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