FACULTY OF SOCIAL SCIENCES

Essex Q-Step Centre

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Gain quantitative skills and enhance your degree with Q-Step

Are you an undergraduate student of the Department of Government, the Department of History, the Department of Sociology, 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 receive a qualifier award at the end of your degree which will signal to employers your capability in quantitative research. Whilst taking part in Q-Step you will also get the chance to apply for a paid internship of up to £300 per week.

An exclusive opportunity for students of Essex

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) It was developed specifically 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.

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.

The Q-Step pathway emphasises the practical rather than theoretical – you’ll use the latest datasets and software – so when you graduate you’ll be ready to enter the workplace straight away. Achieving a Q-Step award will also open doors to postgraduate study in a range of disciplines.

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, Department of History, Department of Sociology, 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.

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) and this will appear on your transcript and degree certificate. This will signal to employers that you are highly skilled in quantitative methods.

You will automatically be enrolled for the Applied Quantitative Methods qualifier if you are taking the appropriate modules to make you eligible. This will be awarded to you at the end of your degree at the Final Board of Examiners, as long as you have taken the correct modules.

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 and will take place over the summer between your second and third year. They will enable you to utilise quantitative skills and methods in a real-world working environment.

 

Whilst on your Q-Step internship, you will receive a bursary equivalent of £300 per week (full-time). Payments will be made in two instalments with the first payment being made prior to, or at the start of your internship.

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.
 
Previously successful Essex Q-Step graduates have undertaken internships at Colchester Borough Council, Sage Publications, World Land Trust, YouGov, Profusion and Essex Community Rehabilitation Company. For more information on internships, please email 
internships@essex.ac.uk.

Why do an internship?
  • Gain valuable paid work experience to develop the quantitative and professional skills which are specifically sought by graduate employers in a competitive job market.
  • Get the chance to learn about a particular sector, company or job role, helping you to define your career pathway after your time at Essex.
  • Learn how to apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment and receive a bursary of up to £300 a week.

How do I follow the Q-Step pathway?

For students of Essex Business School, Colchester campus

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

In order to be eligible for the Q-Step award, you must successfully complete the module pathway 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

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

BE936-6-FY (15 credits) Accounting Project

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

For students of Essex Business School, Southend campus

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.

In order to be eligible for the Q-Step award, you must successfully complete the module pathway outlined below.

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

Compulsory modules for the pathway: 

Year Two:

GV207-5-AU (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

GV261-5-AU (15 credits) American Elections, Polarization, (In)Equality, and Presidents

SC208-5-SP (15 credits) Quantitative Research on Social Stratification: Inequalities from Cradle to Grave

Final year:

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

GV831-6-FY (30 credits) Project: Politics 
 
Note: GV831-6-FY can be substituted with one other final year project modules: GV836-6-FYEC831-6-FY-COGV834-6-FY-CO or GV840-6-FY-CO

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

And at least one of the following: 

GV508-6-SP (15 credits) The Analysis of Conflict and Peace

GV307-6-FY (30 credits) Political Economy or GV307-6-AP (30 credits) Political Economy

GV384-6-AU (15 credits) Democracy, Dictatorship and Regime Change

For students of the Department of History

History students must be taking the combined Modern History and Politics degree.

In order to be eligible for the Q-Step award, you must successfully complete the modules as listed below. 

The Department of Government run the Q-Step modules for the Department of History students. If you have specific questions about Q-Step modules, please contact Q-Step Lead: Dr Howard Liu

Compulsory modules for the pathway: 

Year Two:

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

And at least one of the following:  

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

GV217-5-AU (15 credits) Conflict Analysis

GV261-5-AU (15 credits) American Elections, Polarization, (In)Equality, and Presidents

SC208-5-SP (15 credits) Quantitative Research on Social Stratification: Inequalities from Cradle to Grave

Final year:

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

GV831-6-FY (30 credits) Project: Politics 
 
Note: GV831-6-FY can be substituted with one other final year project modules: GV836-6-FYEC831-6-FY-COGV834-6-FY-CO or GV840-6-FY-CO

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

And at least one of the following: 

GV508-6-SP (15 credits) The Analysis of Conflict and Peace

GV307-6-FY (30 credits) Political Economy or GV307-6-AP (30 credits) Political Economy

GV384-6-AU (15 credits) Democracy, Dictatorship and Regime Change

For students of the Department of Language and Linguistics

In order to be eligible for the AQM qualifier, you must successfully complete the following modules:

Year Two:

LG215-5-SP (15 credits) Psycholinguistics

And one of the following:

SC208-5-SP (15 credits) Quantitative Research on Social Stratification: Inequalities from Cradle to Grave

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

Final Year

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

And one of the following:

SC385-6-FY (30 credits) Models and Measurement in Quantitative Sociology

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

How to achieve the AQM Pathway: Some indicative guidelines for Capstone Projects

For all 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.

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Want to find out more about 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.

Still have questions about Q-Step and your academic Department?

Please contact your Q-Step Department lead listed below:

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Get in touch
Claire Hudson, Q-Step Officer University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex, CO4 3SQ