The University of Southampton
Social Sciences: Social Statistics & DemographyPart of Social SciencesPostgraduate study

MSc Social Statistics (Statistics pathway)

The MSc Social Statistics (Statistics pathway) serves to meet the research training needs of postgraduate researchers in social statistics methodology. It also provides vocational training for professional social statisticians. It is expected that you will have the equivalent of at least a second-class honours degree with a substantial statistical theory component, for example in statistics, mathematics or econometrics.

Introducing your course

Do you enjoy using numbers and data to provide answers to current problems? Apply for the Masters in Social Statistics (Statistics Pathway) degree and enhance your knowledge of statistics. The masters course at the University of Southampton will teach you how to analyse and understanding statistical methodology. The Masters in Social Statistics (Statistics Pathway) can open to the door to a career as an experienced statistician in a wide range of sectors such as government, medicine, social research and data analytics in the private sector.


This programme provides postgraduate instruction in the theory and methods of social statistics for students whose interests lie in the collection and analysis of quantitative social science data.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

You should apply using the University's online application form. More details can be found on our Apply page.

Applications can be submitted at any time, although we would encourage you to apply before the end of May. If you are seeking financial support for your postgraduate studies, we recommend that you apply before the end of February, so you have time to gather the necessary documentation for your funding body/sponsor.

MSc modules
If applying for one of our MSc programmes, please specify the optional modules you intend to take, if known.

For all applications, two academic references are required. Unfortunately we cannot consider applications until we have received both references.

Programme Structure

The programme is run by the Division of Social Statistics & Demography with input from Mathematics and the Division of Sociology & Social Policy. Several modules are provided jointly for this programme and for the Diploma/MSc Statistics with Applications in Medicine (run by Mathematics).

For those planning to work with large surveys, there are courses in survey methods and survey design, which are supplemented with a number of modelling courses, for example in generalised linear models and modelling multilevel data.

For those planning to analyse complex datasets, modelling courses such as Modelling Multilevel Data, Modelling Longitudinal Data and Survival Analysis are all relevant.

Other options include courses relevant to medical and social statistics.

The programme is normally full-time, and lasts for 12 months, with nine months of taught modules between October and June of the academic year, followed by three months of research and preparation of a masters dissertation. It is possible to undertake this programme over two years of part-time study, providing suitable arrangements can be made.

Key Facts

  • Since the Division of Social Statistics was founded in 1975, we have been at the forefront of international research into methodology for the design and analysis of sample surveys. Today, we are a leading international centre for research in social statistics.
  • Our broad range of research areas includes survey methods, sampling and estimation, analysing and modelling data, and non-response adjustments. These issues are central to the analysis of both physical and social science data.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

We welcome applications from students who have, or expect to have, a second-class honours degree involving a substantial statistical theory component as outlined below.

Your application will be considered on its merits, with motivation and postgraduate experience in a statistical environment potentially important factors.

Non-graduate qualifications, in particular the Graduate Diploma of the Royal Statistical Society, may be accepted in place of an undergraduate degree. Full details of previous statistical training in the form of syllabuses, reading lists and, in particular, examination papers will be helpful in assessing your suitability for the programme.

Academic background
This pathway is suitable for statisticians, mathematicians, econometricians, engineers and other science graduates whose training equips them to study applied statistics at graduate level. It is also suitable for social scientists with a good training in statistics.

Past students have held first degrees in subjects such as mathematics, economics, statistics, and statistics and psychology.

The main prerequisite for the programme is a good grounding in the basic theory and methods of statistics, to the level of texts such as:

  • AM Mood, FA Graybill and DC Boes (3rd ed, 1974), Introduction to the Theory of Statistics, McGraw-Hill
  • MH DeGroot (2nd ed, 1986), Probability and Statistics, Addison-Wesley
  • HJ Larson (3rd ed, 1982), Introduction to Probability Theory and Statistical Inference, Wiley

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The year is divided into two semesters, each of 12 teaching weeks. In the week before the first semester begins, you will attend a four-day induction course which will introduce you to the computing and library facilities available at Southampton.

The programme of study consists of a combination of compulsory and option modules and a dissertation to be completed over the summer months. Each module is worth 7.5, 10 or 20 CATS points, and a total of 120 points are required to complete the taught component of the programme.

Year 1

Supervised research for MSc Social Statistics
If you pass the Diploma examinations, you will be permitted to undertake supervised research starting in June and to submit a dissertation for the MSc in September. Providing satisfactory supervision arrangements can be made, you can work on a topic of your own choice.

Dissertations are about 15,000 words in length. They should demonstrate your mastery of the topic area, but they are not expected to contain a substantial original contribution. They generally take the form of a computer-based analysis of social science data or a computer-based examination of a statistical technique.

Examples of recent dissertation titles are:

  • statistical methods for social networks
  • multilevel models of class context on voters at the 1983 General Election
  • log-linear models for complex survey data
  • variance estimation for the Gini coefficient
  • applications of graphical chain modelling
  • exact inference for two-way contingency tables
  • estimation of pay distributions from new earnings survey data
  • comparing asset with money metric-based measures of poverty in Malawi

In addition to the core and compulsory modules listed below, option modules to the value of at least 20 CATS but no more than 25 CATS (i.e. two, three or four option modules) must be selected. Modules on other MSc programmes (e.g. MSc Economics) may be taken as options after discussion with your academic tutor and the MSc programme coordinator.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculator: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570 This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentIT: Software licenses - All specific pieces of software required as part of your programme are available on the University’s public workstations. Statistical software can be downloaded via iSolutions for free:
EquipmentIT: Hardware - Public workstations loaded with all specific pieces of software that are required as part of your course are available in Building 58. Public workstations loaded with more generic software are available across the campus. You may, however, benefit from having your own PC or laptop and a USB stick.
Printing and copyingMuch of your coursework, such as essays and projects, is likely to be submitted online. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit online and students will be asked to provide a printed copy, including the MSc dissertation. Information about generic University printing, including printing costs, can be found here: Information about dissertation printing can be found here:

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Hartley Library

Highfield campus

Social Sciences is based on the main campus of the University in the M...Find out more

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