MSc Social Network Analysis / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

The programme aims to offer a unique comprehensive training in social network analysis (SNA) covering theoretical foundations, research design, data collection techniques, methods for the analysis and visualization of network data, and statistical modelling of networks. At the end of the programme the students will be able to:

  • Design research projects using SNA in a variety of applicative areas.
  • Critically engage with the theoretical foundations of SNA and use them to formulate robust and coherent SNA empirical questions.
  • Collect social network data in online and offline contexts, selecting the right data collection tools and assessing the validity and reliability of the data collection.
  • Apply a wide range of analytical techniques to social network data.
  • Statistically model the mechanisms for social network formation and evolution.
  • Develop network studies and intervention that can be used in private and public sectors.
  • Write social network analysis academic reports


  • Meet the increasing national and international demand of social network analysis (SNA) in academic social research as well as commercial environment including market research, crime analysis and public health.
  • Contribute to the national and international need for theoretically informed and methodologically skilled researchers in SNA.
  • Train in the necessary skills to understand and contribute to future developments in social network research.
  • Provide advanced, systematic and critical knowledge of theoretical and methodological aspects of SNA in a vibrant and internationally leading research environment.
  • Offer a unique set of skills in data visualization and modelling techniques that are highly valuable in commercial and public sectors, with understanding of the implications for markets and policy.
  • Prepare students for PhD level research careers in academic life or as professionals in government, public and private sectors.

Teaching and learning

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Workshops
  • Computer-assisted tutorials
  • Student-led presentations and debate
  • Independent study
  • Seminars

Coursework and assessment

A student's year is divided into two study periods: October - December and February - April.

During each of these periods, students sit 60 credits.  

Assessments are due after the teaching period, and the Dissertation component is due in September of the following year. 

Assessment is normally by a 3,000-word assessed essay or a computer-based coursework for each unit, and a dissertation of between 12,000 and 15,000 words.

Course unit details

You will take five compulsory units: 

  • SOCY60361 Social network analysis: concepts and measures 
  • SOCY60631 Theories of social relations, networks, and social structure 
  • SOCY60292 Doing research with social network data and visualizations 
  • SOST71032 Network modelling. 
  • CRIM70821 Data Analysis with R & RStudio. 

You will also take 3 optional modules. Optional modules will give students the possibility of continuing the specialization in SNA (Mitchell centre seminar series, independent study), or extending the interdisciplinary training to other social sciences substantive areas. You will be able to choose from the wider list of modules offered in the MA sociology, Msc social research, and Msc social research methods and statistics. Choices from other SoSS master modules will be available upon discussion with the Programme director.

Examples of optional modules are: 

  • SOCY60360 Mitchell Centre seminar series 
  • SOST70151 Statistical Foundations 
  • SOCY60142 Protest and Progress: Understanding Movements for Social and Political Change 
  • QRM, Qualitative research methods venue

You may also negotiate an independent studies course unit, linked to your particular research interests, subject to a suitable academic supervisor being available. If you have registered for the MA (or upgraded from the PG Diploma), you will need to complete a 12,000-word dissertation, on a social network research topic of your choice, in addition to the eight taught course units.

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
Data Analysis with R & RStudio CRIM70821 15 Mandatory
Dissertation SOCY60000 60 Mandatory
Doing research with social network data and visualizations SOCY60292 15 Mandatory
Social network analysis: concepts and measures SOCY60361 15 Mandatory
Theories of social relations, networks, and social structure SOCY60631 15 Mandatory
Statistical Models for Social Networks SOST71032 15 Mandatory
Qualitative Research Methods SOCS60230 15 Optional
Protest and Progress: Understanding Movements for Social and Political Change SOCY60142 15 Optional
Mitchell Centre seminar series SOCY60360 15 Optional
Philosophical and Methodological Foundations of Social Research SOCY60431 15 Optional
Independent Studies I SOCY60531 15 Optional
Sociology of Consumption SOCY60552 15 Optional
Independent Studies II SOCY60592 15 Optional
Theories of Gender and Sexuality SOCY60992 15 Optional
Urban Sociology SOCY70061 15 Optional
Postcolonial Theory and Politics SOCY70111 15 Optional
Social Capital and Social Change SOCY71011 15 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units

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