2020 applicants
Postgraduate Course

MSc Social Data Science

MSc Social Data Science

Overview

The details
Social Data Science
October 2020
Full-time
1 year
Colchester Campus
Government

Based in the Department of Government, The MSc Social Data Science supports the development of the knowledge, skills and understanding required to be an effective social data scientist. With modules taught in both the Department of Government and School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, it equips future social scientists with a range of skills in advanced data science and artificial intelligence that will enable them to undertake social sciences research, making use of increasingly large and complex data sets.

The close partnership with Essex County Council, Essex Police and other public sector organisations ensures the development of necessary skills to apply data science for public good within a strong academic framework.

This degree provides an introduction and solid foundation in data science for students with a social science undergraduate degree. The emphasis in the course is on big data, new forms of data, and computational methods to work with such data – all within a strong framework of social science applications and research design principles.

Why we're great.
  • Choose from a wide range of modules to suit your interests
  • Consolidate an in-depth understanding of political studies and apply your knowledge to contemporary real-world contexts
  • Learn from and contribute to world-leading research in our top ranking politics department
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Our expert staff

Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics. Our staff are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on political events in national and international media.

Our academic staff work on topics ranging from international conflict and violence to British elections, and from the obligations of the younger generation to why authoritarian leaders welcome natural disasters.

Specialist facilities

  • Laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political analysis
  • ESSEXLab provides opportunities for experimental lab research
  • Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN
  • We organise the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis
  • A programme of seminars and events run by the department

Your future

All Essex politics graduates have the distinction of a qualification from one of the world’s leading politics departments.

Our MA Social Data Science can lead you to a career in a number of areas such as market research, the media, central and local government and private sector. You will develop key employability skills including analytical reasoning, research design and essay-writing.

Recent Government graduates have gone on to work for the following high-profile organisations:

  • The Civil Service
  • Local government
  • The World Bank
  • The United Nations
  • NATO
  • YouGov and YouGov America

Our academic reputation is illustrated by the fact that many of our Government graduates now teach or research at universities, colleges of higher education and schools. For example, recent graduates are now research fellows and academic staff at: Mannheim, Germany; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; Duke University, USA; NATO/SHAPE, Belgium; and University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.

CSEE is one of the largest and best resourced computer science and electronic engineering schools in the UK. Our work is supported by extensive networked computer facilities and software tools, together with a wide range of test and instrumentation equipment.

We also work with the university’s Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

You will need a degree with a 2.2 in Political Science, International Relations, American Studies, United States Politics, Business - ( finance related), Economics or Statistics.

Applications from students with a degree below a 2:2 or equivalent will be considered dependent on any relevant professional or voluntary experience, previous modules studied and/or personal statement.

We will accept applicants with a degree in an unrelated field but you must have studied at least two relevant modules with marks at 2:2 level in the final two years of study. Relevant modules include, but are not limited to:

Comparative Political Systems, Constitutional Democracy, Contemporary World Affairs, Democratic Theory, Econometrics, European Integration, Foreign Policy, Game Theory, Governmental processes, Human Rights, Ideology & Political Analysis, International Economic Law, International Economic Relations, International Trade/Business Law, International Law, International Public Relations, International Security, Law of Armed Conflict, Micro/Macro Economics, Peace Studies, Political Conflict, Political Decision Making, Political Economy, Political Sociology, Public Administration, Public International Law, Public Policy Analysis, Quantitative reasoning, Strategic Studies, Theories of Development, Current Affairs, Political Economy, Terrorism, Security Studies.

We will also consider applicants with a non relevant degree but at least six months relevant work experience such as working with a NGO.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall with a minimum component score of 5.5

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

The University uses academic selection criteria to determine an applicant’s ability to successfully complete a course at the University of Essex. Where appropriate, we may ask for specific information relating to previous modules studied or work experience.

Structure

Example structure

Most of our courses combine compulsory and optional modules, giving you freedom to pursue your own interests. All of the modules listed below provide an example of what is on offer from the current academic year. Our Programme Specification provides further details of the course structure for the current academic year.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

The example structure below is representative of this course if taken full-time. If you choose to study part-time, the modules will be split across 2 years.

Research Design

In this module you gain an overview of the logic of social science research designs that includes the goals, theories and strategies of social science research, and develop a research agenda for potential use as publication in a peer reviewed journal, MA or PhD dissertation.

View Research Design on our Module Directory

MA Dissertation

Your dissertation gives you an opportunity for independent learning on a topic of your choice, with one-to-one supervision from a member of staff. You write a dissertation of up to 10,000 words, which is due at the end of the summer.

View MA Dissertation on our Module Directory

Data Science and Decision Making

The aim of this module is to familiarise students with the whole pipeline of processing, analysing, presenting and making decision using data. This module blends data analysis, decision making and visualisation with practical python programming. Students will need a reasonable programming background as they will be expected to develop a complete end-to-end data science application.

View Data Science and Decision Making on our Module Directory

International Security Studies (optional)

The field of security studies has become increasingly important over the last decade. While old conflicts are reigniting and new ones are emerging, scholars and decision-makers debate about changes to the concepts of security, the redundancy of military force, and the centrality of the state in order to face these ever-important issues.

View International Security Studies (optional) on our Module Directory

International Negotiation (optional)

Master the explanatory and practical value of negotiation style, strategies and tactics in the context of theories of international relations.

View International Negotiation (optional) on our Module Directory

From Cradle to Grave: Social Justice in Childhood, Adulthood, and Death (optional)

Theories of justice are still being worked on and developed today. You question contemporary theories of justice through applying them to some of the most controversial issues dominating contemporary politics.

View From Cradle to Grave: Social Justice in Childhood, Adulthood, and Death (optional) on our Module Directory

Environmental Politics (optional)

Study one of the most important contemporary aspects of political action: the natural environment. You consider the state of the environment and possible paths along which it might change, before exploring environmental policies from the level of individual values, to the environmental movement, to political parties, and finally to the level of international affairs.

View Environmental Politics (optional) on our Module Directory

Conflict Resolution (optional)

In this module you focus on conflict resolution in inter- and intra-state issues. You gain experience in the practical as well as in the theoretical aspects of negotiation and mediation, exploring the applicability of various tools and techniques in problem-solving real cases of international conflict, and making use of negotiation and mediation techniques in role playing exercises and other types of simulations.

View Conflict Resolution (optional) on our Module Directory

Theory and Explanation in Political Science (optional)

This module outlines a series of topical issues in political science research. Using a positivist paradigm the module explores a variety of methodological approaches to answer substantive questions. This module seeks to provide students with an overview of how political scientists study the social world and the types of questions they ask. You will learn become familiar with current research in the discipline and learn how to synthesise and extrapolate core concepts from it.

View Theory and Explanation in Political Science (optional) on our Module Directory

Information Retrieval (optional)

Search engines have become the first entry point into a world of knowledge and they form an essential part of many modern computer applications. While much of the underlying principles have been developed over decades, the landscape of search engine technology has changed dramatically in recent years to deal with data sources magnitudes larger than ever before (the rise of 'big data'). As a result of this, new paradigms for storing, indexing and accessing information have emerged. This module will provide the essential foundation of information retrieval and equip students with solid, applicable knowledge of state-of-the-art search technology.

View Information Retrieval (optional) on our Module Directory

Machine Learning and Data Mining (optional)

Humans can often perform a task extremely well (e.g., telling cats from dogs) but are unable to understand and describe the decision process followed. Without this explicit knowledge, we cannot write computer programs that can be used by machines to perform the same task. “Machine learning” is the study and application of methods to learn such algorithms automatically from sets of examples, just like babies can learn to tell cats from dogs simply by being shown examples of dogs and cats by their parents. Machine learning has proven particularly suited to cases such as optical character recognition, dictation software, language translators, fraud detection in financial transactions, and many others.

View Machine Learning and Data Mining (optional) on our Module Directory

Text Analytics (optional)

We live in an era in which the amount of information available in textual form - whether of scientific or commercial interest - greatly exceeds the capability of any man to read or even skim. Text analytics is the area of artificial intelligence concerned with making such vast amounts of textual information manageable - by classifying documents as relevant or not, by extracting relevant information from document collections, and/or by summarizing the content of multiple documents. In this module we cover all three types of techniques.

View Text Analytics (optional) on our Module Directory

Natural Language Engineering (optional)

As humans we are adept in understanding the meaning of texts and conversations. We can also perform tasks such as summarize a set of documents to focus on key information, answer questions based on a text, and when bilingual, translate a text from one language into fluent text in another language. Natural Language Engineering (NLE) aims to create computer programs that perform language tasks with similar proficiency. This course provides a strong foundation to understand the fundamental problems in NLE and also equips students with the practical skills to build small-scale NLE systems. Students are introduced to three core ideas of NLE: a) gaining an understanding the core elements of language--- the structure and grammar of words, sentences and full documents, and how NLE problems are related to defining and learning such structures, b) identify the computational complexity that naturally exists in language tasks and the unique problems that humans easily solve but are incredibly hard for computers to do, and c) gain expertise in developing intelligent computing techniques which can overcome these challenges.

View Natural Language Engineering (optional) on our Module Directory

Introduction to Econometric Methods (optional)

Which econometric methods can analyse economic data? How do you critically assess applied economic literature? Learn how to carry out statistical and econometric calculations, plus gain experience of using the Stata software package. Demonstrate your subsequent understanding of the linear regression model with your own investigation on an empirical issue.

View Introduction to Econometric Methods (optional) on our Module Directory

Econometric Methods (optional)

Wish to conduct your own research using econometric methods? Understand econometric methods and learn to apply them to a wide variety of situations. Examine methods of linear regression and hypothesis testing. Study time series concepts of unit roots and co-integration. Explore ideas around simultaneous equation models and panel data models.

View Econometric Methods (optional) on our Module Directory

Microeconometrics (optional)

Get to grips with modern microeconometrics. Examine the nature of causal and noncausal models, discuss the nature of microeconomic data structures, and review core econometric methods in the first part of this module. Then, analyse limited dependent variable models, including discrete choice and selection models, and examine program evaluation methods.

View Microeconometrics (optional) on our Module Directory

Estimation and Inference in Econometrics (optional)

What are the main principles of estimation and inference in econometrics? Learn to justify or criticise (where appropriate) the use of econometric methods of estimation and inference in a variety of situations. Gain analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as an understanding of economic and business policies.

View Estimation and Inference in Econometrics (optional) on our Module Directory

Panel Data Methods (optional)

What are the main issues with panel data? And the main econometric techniques to analyse panel data? What methods can you use to evaluate spell duration data? Answer such questions with examples from labour economics, while gaining the skills to analyse a variety of research and policy problems.

View Panel Data Methods (optional) on our Module Directory

Applications of Data Analysis (optional)

What are the issues regarding different types of panel datasets? Or problems with survey methodology? Understand longitudinal data analysis by using micro-econometric techniques and critically examine survey methodology issues, like response rate and sampling frames. Apply panel data methods to study labour markets, focusing on marriage, unemployment and wages.

View Applications of Data Analysis (optional) on our Module Directory

Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (optional)

How do you critically analyse quantitative data? What are the appropriate statistical techniques for your research questions? And how do you interpret your results? Learn to conduct investigations relevant to your own research, as well as be a critical user of other research.

View Introduction to Quantitative Analysis (optional) on our Module Directory

Digital Economy (optional)

Do hackers have ethics? Who owns digital media? Is surveillance justified? Explore the history of the digital media economy, looking at hacking, digital media piracy and peer-to-peer networks. Build your understanding of the social, economic and cultural role that digital media now plays in developed Western societies.

View Digital Economy (optional) on our Module Directory

Advanced Quantitative Analysis: Models for Cause and Effect (optional)

How do you interpret studies using panel data? What are the various approaches to panel data analysis? And can you analyse the same data using different methods? Gain the knowledge and confidence to manipulate panel data sets, while developing practical skills in selecting and conducting panel data analysis.

View Advanced Quantitative Analysis: Models for Cause and Effect (optional) on our Module Directory

The Analysis of Conflict and Peace (optional)

Explore the relationship of power, preferences, economic relations, domestic politics and international organisations in relation to conflict and peace. You investigate the underlying theoretical arguments about war and peace, consider the implications entailed by these different theories, and evaluate these using empirical data.

View The Analysis of Conflict and Peace (optional) on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • You will have modules in both the Department of Government and Department of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
  • Courses are designed to provide you with an advanced understanding of either the politics of a geographical area or an aspect of the discipline
  • Courses include both compulsory and optional modules, so the course can be tailored to fit your interests and aspirations
  • Learn through discussion and problem-solving
  • Lab sessions allow you to improve your technical research skills
  • We encourage students to attend national conferences to meet researchers and discuss their work

Assessment

  • Your coursework comes in the form of essays, simulations, presentations and in-class tests

Dissertation

  • You are given guidance on how to prepare a Masters dissertation by our Graduate Director in the spring term
  • We link you with an appropriate supervisor at the earliest opportunity

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£8,340

International fee

£18,460

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

What's next

Open Days

We hold Open Days for all our applicants throughout the year. Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex, and give you the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

If the dates of our organised events aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

2020 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, September 19, 2020
  • Saturday, October 24, 2020

Applying

You can apply for this postgraduate course online. Before you apply, please check our information about necessary documents that we’ll ask you to provide as part of your application.

We aim to respond to applications within two weeks. If we are able to offer you a place, you will be contacted via email.

For information on our deadline to apply for this course, please see our ‘how to apply’ information.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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