FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

Essex Q-Step Centre

Image of a female student holding a laptop

Gain quantitative skills and enhance your degree with Q-Step

Are you an undergraduate student of the Department of Government, the School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies, the Department of Sociology and Criminology, Department of Language and Linguistics or Essex Business School? If so, you could be graduating with enhanced quantitative skills simply by enrolling on specific Q-Step modules.

If you follow the Q-Step pathway you will gain:

  • A qualifier award at the end of your degree - proof to future employers of your capability in quantitative research.
  • The chance to apply for a paid internship - make money whilst you gain experience and get an award!
  • A practical understanding of the latest datasets and software – enhance your C.V. and open doors to postgraduate study in a range of disciplines.
A seminar room full of people sitting on chairs, facing a stage which is blurred out of focus  with lots of presenters on.
Join the Q-Step Introduction event on April 24th

Want to discover how Q-Step can supercharge your degree? Book your place  for an informal introductory session on April 24th on Colchester campus.

Book your place

What is Q-Step?

Q-Step is an award you can gain during your undergraduate degree by following a specific module pathway. It was developed to help social science graduates gain the quantitative skills to evaluate evidence, analyse data, and design and commission research – all of which are essential skills to employers across all sectors.

Q-Step originally started as a £19.5 million programme funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Office for Students (OfS) The programme is now funded internally by the University of Essex.

Why take part in Q-Step?

Quantitative skills are highly desired by employers across all sectors. The skills you'll learn during your Q-Step modules will equip you for a range of well-paid careers. Q-Step will help you learn all the skills a 21st century social scientist requires to help tackle the big questions facing society.

What will I gain?
  • Advanced analytical skills, in high demand by employers in the public and private sector, all in readiness for a rewarding career.
  • Proven skills to help you gather, present and interpret data using the very latest statistical software and tools.
  • An enhanced C.V. to prepare you for advanced postgraduate research and studies.

Who can become a Q-Step student?

If you're studying qualifying degrees in the Department of Government, School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies, Department of Sociology and Criminology, Department of Language and Linguistics or Essex Business School, you have the opportunity to follow a specialised pathway that embeds a substantial amount of quantitative methods in your degree.

How to get the Q-Step award

To become eligible for the Q-Step award you must opt-in to the pathway via eNROL and follow a specific module pathway within your Department. The award will be given to you at the end of your degree at the Final Board of Examiners, as long as you have taken and passed the correct modules

The successful completion of the specified modules will entitle you to receive the qualifier ‘(Applied Quantitative Methods)’ at the end of your degree title, for example BA Sociology (Applied Quantitative Methods). This will appear on your transcript and degree certificate and will signal to employers that you are highly skilled in quantitative methods.

Q-Step module pathways

For students of Essex Business School, Colchester campus

Essex Business School students will construct and run models using econometrics packages to inform business decisions.

To achieve the Q-Step award, you must opt-in to the pathway via eNROL. Once enrolled you must follow and pass the module pathways outlined below.

If you have specific questions about Q-Step modules and your Department, please email the Essex Business School Colchester campus Q-Step Lead: Dr Chiara Banti

Compulsory modules for the pathway: 

Year Two:

BE311-5-SP-CO (15 credits) Corporate Finance

BE313-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Portfolio Analysis

BE314-5-SP-CO (15 credits) Financial Modelling

Final Year:

BE332-6-AU-CO (15 credits) Options and Futures

BE333-6-AU-CO (15 credits) Empirical Finance (take as option in Accounting & Finance, Banking & Finance and Financial Management)

BE631-6-SP-CO (15 credits) Risk Management and Financial Institutions or BE331-6-SP-CO (15 credits) The Pricing of Securities in Financial Markets

Note: Students must also have completed one of the following modules (must utilise data gathering / retrieval, econometric estimation and analysis).

BE936-6-FY-CO (15 credits) Accounting Project

BE937-6-FY-CO (15 credits) Finance Research Project

For students of Essex Business School, Southend campus

Essex Business School students will construct and run models using econometrics packages to inform business decisions.

To achieve the Q-Step award, you must opt-in to the pathway via eNROL. Once enrolled you must follow and pass the module pathways outlined below.

If you have specific questions about Q-Step modules and your Department, please email the Essex Business School Colchester campus Q-Step Lead: Dr Charan Bhattarai

Compulsory modules for the pathway:

Year Two:

At least three of the following:

BE216-5-SP-SO (15 credits) International Business Management

BE218-5-SP-SO (15 credits) Business Research Methods

BE220-5-SP-SO (15 credits) Strategic Entrepreneurship

BE223-5-SP-SO (15 credits) Introduction to Business Analytics

BE311-5-SP-SO (15 credits) Corporate Finance

BE313-5-AU-SO (15 credits) Portfolio Analysis

BE424–5-AU-SO (15 credits) Principles of Operations and Supply Chain Management

 

Final Year:

BE441-6-FY-SO (30 credits) Business Strategy

And at least one of the following:

BE141-6-SP-SO (15 credits) Strategic Management Accounting

BE224-6-AU-SO (15 credits) Strategic Operations and Supply Chain

BE225-6-SP-SO (15 credits) Applied Business Analytics and Decision Making

BE332-6-AU-SO (15 credits) Options and Futures

BE631-6-SP-SO (15 Credits) Risk Management and Financial Institutions

Students must also complete and pass one of the following modules (quantitative research methodology and data analysis must be utilised):  
 
BE932-6-FY-SO (15 credits) Research Project - Business Administration

BE933-6-FY-SO (15 credits) Research Project - Marketing

BE934-6-FY-SO (15 credits) Research Project - International Business and Entrepreneurship

BE935-6-SP-SO (15 credits) Research Project - Tourism Management

BE941-6-FY-SO (15 credits) Research Project - International Business and Finance

BE943-6-FY-SO (15 credits) Research Project - Business Administration and Supply Chain Management

For students of the Department of Government

Government students will apply quantitative skills to assess the effectiveness of policies and develop different scenarios on their potential outcomes.

To achieve the Q-Step award, you must opt-in to the pathway via eNROL. Once enrolled you must follow and pass the module pathways outlined below.

If you have specific questions about Q-Step modules and your Department, please email the Department of Government Q-Step Lead: Dr Seonghui Lee

Compulsory modules for the pathway: 

Year Two:

GV207-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Quantitative Political Analysis 

And at least one of the following:  

GV205-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Measuring Public Opinion

GV217-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Conflict Analysis

SC208-5-SP-CO (15 credits) Crime and Inequality Across the Life Course

Final year:

GV300-6-FY-CO (30 credits) Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis

GV840-6-FY-CO (30 credits) Portfolio: Politics 
 

Note: GV840-6-FY-CO can be substituted with one other final year project modules: GV836-6-FY-COEC831-6-FY-COGV831-6-FY-COGV830-6-FY-CO

Final year projects must include sufficient quantitative methods as agreed by your Academic Supervisor, and multivariate regression analysis must be undertaken.

For students of the School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies

Historians work with historical data to determine how the past influences today. They use data from many sources to reach an evidence-based conclusion about past events. These insights can help us aid decision-making in the present and plan for the future.

 

To be eligible for Q-Step, history students must be taking the combined Modern History and Politics degree. To achieve the Q-Step award, you must opt-in to the pathway via eNROL. Once enrolled, you must follow and pass the module pathway outlined below.

The Department of Government run the Q-Step modules for the Department of School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies. If you have specific questions about Q-Step modules, please contact Q-Step Lead: Dr Seonghui Lee

Compulsory modules for the pathway:

Year Two:

GV207-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Quantitative Political Analysis 

And at least one of the following:  

GV205-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Measuring Public Opinion

GV217-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Conflict Analysis

SC208-5-SP-CO (15 credits) Crime and Inequality Across the Life Course

Final year:

GV300-6-FY-CO (30 credits) Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis

GV840-6-FY-CO (30 credits) Portfolio: Politics 
 
Note: GV840-6-FY-CO can be substituted with one other final year project modules: GV836-6-FY-COEC831-6-FY-COGV831-6-FY-COGV830-6-FY-CO

Final year projects must include sufficient quantitative methods as agreed by your Academic Supervisor, and multivariate regression analysis must be undertaken.

For students of the Department of Language and Linguistics

Language students will use data and quantitative skills to observe and analyse linguistic patterns in space, time, and cultural context. 

To achieve the Q-Step award, you must opt-in to the pathway via eNROL. Once enrolled, you must follow and pass the module pathway outlined below.

If you have specific questions about Q-Step modules and your department, please email the Department of Language and Linguistics Q-Step Lead: Dr Claire Delle Luche

Compulsory modules for the pathway:

Year Two:

LG215-5-SP-CO (15 credits) English Language Processing

And at least one of the following:

SC208-5-SP-CO (15 credits) Crime and Inequality Across the Life Course

GV207-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Quantitative Political Analysis

Final Year

LG831-6-FY-CO (30 credits) Project: Linguistics (must include sufficient quantitative methods as agreed by your Academic Supervisor)

And at least one of the following:

SC385-6-FY-CO (30 credits) Modelling Crime and Society

GV300-6-FY-CO (30 credits) Advanced Quantitative Political Analysis

For students of the Department of Sociology and Criminology

Sociology and criminology students will use quantitative research methods to study data in many formats, for example, questionnaires, structured observational experiments, and population data.

To achieve the Q-Step award, you must opt-in to the pathway via eNROL. Once enrolled, you must follow and pass the module pathway outlined below.

If you have specific questions about Q-Step modules and your department, please email the Department of Sociology and Criminology Q-Step Lead: Professor Nick Allum

Compulsory modules for the pathway:

Year One:

SC101-4-FY-CO (30 credits) Researching Social Life I

Year Two: 

SC202-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Analysing Social Life

SC208-5-SP-CO (15 credits) Crime and Inequality Across the Life Course

Final Year:

SC385-6-FY-CO (30 credits) Modelling Crime and Society

SC830-6-FY-CO (30 credits) Quantitative Research Project

Recommended modules for the pathway:

The following modules are recommended options but are not considered essential in passing the pathway:

Year Two:

GV205-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Measuring Public Opinion (requires GV207-5-AU-CO)

GV207-5-AU-CO (15 credits) Quantitative Political Analysis

SC213-5-FY-CO (30 credits) Social Psychology: Self and Interaction

SC207-5-FY-CO (30 credits) Social Data Science: Code, Text and Networks 

Final Year: 

Please note that the following two modules do not run every year.

SC308-6-SP (15 credits) Race, Ethnicity and Migration

SC338-6-SP (15 credits) Religion in Modern and Post Modern Societies

Q-Step guidelines for final year Capstone Projects

For all final year Q-Step students

To be awarded the AQM qualifier, students need undertake an empirical, quantitative Capstone Research project. It is essential that the methods used demonstrate the student’s ability to analyse quantitative data and interpret the results in a competent way.

There are many ways to achieve this which will vary with the discipline, however in general there are three components that should be present:

  • Descriptive statistics
  • Inference
  • Multivariate models

Most students should be encouraged to use existing datasets. An exception is where a randomised experiment is proposed and a credible plan for recruiting participants can be demonstrated.

Benchmarks, guidelines and examples:

  • Secondary analysis of existing numerical datasets – including but not limited to survey data, administrative records such as social security payment records, educational attainment records, health records, court records, parliamentary records, macroeconomic or socio-political indicators or other population level datasets
  • Collection and primary analysis of data from surveys or randomised experiments, for instance survey-based experiments using MTurk, Prolific or other online platforms
  • Data from lab experiments
  • Statistical principles and techniques

Capstone projects should demonstrate the appropriate use of:

  • Basic descriptive statistics (for example means and percentages)
  • Inferential methods, either frequentist or Bayesian (for example p-values, confidence or credible intervals, hypothesis testing, standard errors, posterior density)
  • Some form of multivariate modelling (for example multiple OLS regression, logit or probit analysis)
  • Survival analysis, econometrics, fixed and random effects models, time series analysis, factor analysis and structural equation models
  • Machine learning methods

Note: Where randomised experiments form the empirical data for a project, multivariate analyses may not be so necessary, although covariate adjustment and other exploratory analyses could be employed to demonstrate ability to carry out and interpret multivariate techniques.

Photograph of a Q-Step graduate in mortar board and gown
"Q-Step really helped me prepare for the workplace. After completing my Q-Step placement at Colchester Council I was actually offered a job with Essex County Council. I would recommend the Q-Step pathway to any student looking to improve their career prospects after uni."
Sorin Bobeica Q-Step Graduate DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNMENT

Paid work internships for Q-Step students

As part of your degree, we offer you the opportunity to apply for a limited number of paid internships. Internships can last up to 8 weeks in an external organisation. They will enable you to utilise quantitative skills and methods in a real-world working environment.

Previously successful Essex Q-Step graduates have undertaken internships at:

  • Colchester Borough Council
  • Sage Publications
  • World Land Trust
  • YouGov
  • Profusion
  • Essex Community Rehabilitation Company

For more information on internships, please email internships@essex.ac.uk

Nervous about applying for internships? The Careers Services team will help you with the application process. Visit the Career Services team and discover how they can help with your internship applications. You can also email them at careersinfo@essex.ac.uk.

Why do an internship?
  • Gain valuable paid work experience whilst developing your quantitative and professional skill,s sought by graduate employers in a competitive job market.
  • Get exposure to a particular sector, company or job role, helping you to define your career pathway.
  • Learn how to apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment and improve your C.V. in the process.
Student on laptop and phone in lecture theatre
Help with Q-Step

Ready to join the Q-Step pathway? Or perhaps you're already on your way but need a little support? Don't worry, our dedicated Q-Step officer is here to guide you through the pathway and will ensure your Q-Step journey is a smooth one.

Student working on computer in library
Contact us
Claire Hudson, Q-Step Officer University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ