Gaining quantitative skills

A big Q-Step forward

Gaining quantitative skills is good for your career, and with these skills in demand by employers, we'll help you to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs after Essex.

Training social scientists of the future

As a Faculty, we are committed to providing highly quantitative social science research and education to you. We are one of three institutions in the UK to be awarded Q-Step Affiliate Status for the Department of Government, Department of Sociology and Essex Business School, to develop your quantitative skills.

With a shortage of highly-skilled quantitative social scientists in the UK, we are investing to fill this gap by providing students with the skills required to go on to have successful careers in government, business, data analysis, evaluation, impact assessment and research.

How do I get involved?

Through our Q-Step Affiliate Status, we have been awarded funding to provide bursaries for work placements to develop quantitative skills needed to evaluate evidence, analyse data, and design and commission research. We can also give you a specific degree path to follow which allows you to add the qualifier 'Applied Quantitative Methods' (AQM) at the end of your degree title, which demonstrates that you have graduated with enhaced quantitative skills on yur degree transcript.

All of this helps you to gain the top quantitative jobs and have a successful career in a number of different fields when you leave Essex.

Follow a specialised degree pathway

If you're studying qualifying degrees in the Department of Government, Department of Sociology, 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.

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 and also met any grade requirements in these modules. If you do not wish for this qualifier to be applied to your degree you can opt out by contacting your Q-Step contact, which is detailed in the section below, or by speaking to your department/school administrative support team.

Developing your skills

Employers are looking for knowledgeable and highly-skilled graduates who can adapt rapidly to the changing environment. Having the qualifier, '(Applied Quantitative Methods)' will help you to:

  • develop advanced analytical skills, in high demand by employers in the public and private sector
  • gather, present and interpret data
  • use statistical software and tools to analyse data
  • enhance your skills for future advanced postgraduate research and studies
  • Essex Business School students will construct and run models using econometrics packages to inform business decisions
  • Government students will apply quantitative skills to assess the effectiveness of policies and develop different scenarios on their potential outcomes
  • Sociology students will develop the methods and principles required to design and critically evaluate empirical sociological research

Find out more

Department of Sociology: Applied Quantitative Methods .pdf

Department of Government: Applied Quantitative Methods .pdf

Essex Business School (Colchester Campus): Applied Quantitative Methods .pdf

Essex Business School (Southend Campus): Applied Quantitative Methods .pdf

Q-Step paid work placements

As part of your degree, we offer you the opportunity to take up a paid work placement for up to 8 weeks in an external organisation.This placement must utilise quantitative skills and methods.

You apply to organisations to secure a summer work placement between your second and third year. We help you with this process, preparing you for your placement and supporting you whilst you’re there.

The benefits

  • Gain valuable work experience to develop quantitative and professional skills sought by graduate employers.
  • Learn about a particular sector, company or job role, helping you to choose your career after Essex.
  • Apply your academic knowledge in a practical working environment.


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

Previous placements

  • Colchester Borough Council: an analysis of customer query data to inform the development of an online customer portal on the council website.
  • Sage Publications: reviewing quantitative research paperwork submitted by academics for inclusion in the SAGE Research Methods case study database.
  • World Land Trust: an analysis of donor demographic information to inform future engagement with donors.
  • YouGov: a variety of tasks relating to quantitative market research.
  • Profusion: discover patterns and meaning in data from businesses and organisations to help inform business development in marketing, logistics, customer service or employee wellbeing.
  • Essex Community Rehabilitation Company: Data Analyst - an opportunity to use Ministry of Justice approved IT systems to assist with ongoing performance data analysis. Finance Researcher/Analyst - an opportunity to work at the Head Office, covering areas such as staff payroll and expenses, service user fares, procurement, and contract management.

For more information on placements, email ss-placements@essex.ac.uk

Join our community

When you follow the 'Applied Quantitative Methods' pathway for your course, you join a community of like-minded students across the Department of Government, Department of Sociology and Essex Business School.

As part of this community, you are invited to quantitative events and workshops at Essex. You can also find out about other quantitative activities at Q-Step Centres and Affiliates outside of the University.

Our Q-Step graduates

Since our first cohort of Q-Step students graduated in 2015, we have seen an annual rise in the number of students graduating with the Applied Quantitative Methods qualifier from the Department of Government, the Department of Sociology and Essex Business School. This totals 80 students since the qualifier was introduced.

What is Q-Step?

Q-Step is a £19.5 million programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative undergraduate social science in the UK over a six year period from 2013.

The programme was developed as a strategic response to the UK’s shortage of social science graduates with the quantitative skills to evaluate evidence, analyse data, and design and commission research – skills which are essential to employers across all sectors.

Q-Step is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

The programme, described as one of the largest partnerships in recent times between a research council, a funding council and a private foundation, launched in the autumn of 2013 when 15 universities across the UK were invited to form a network of Q-Step Centres. The new Q-Step Affiliates have been awarded funding for student bursaries for relevant short courses and work placements.

Got a question?

If you'd like to know more about Q-Step, contact:

Department of Sociology: Professor Nick Allum at nallum@essex.ac.uk
Department of Government: Dr Martin Steinwand at martin.steinwand@essex.ac.uk
Essex Business School: Dr Cheng Yan at cheng.yan@essex.ac.uk