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Home>Study at York>Postgraduate>Courses>Social Media and Social Research (MA)

Overview Study at the forefront of an exciting new field


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Social media and other emerging communication technologies are becoming a key aspect of social research practice. The data they generate contain insights into how entire populations communicate, behave and interact with each other. 

The Social Media and Social Research masters provides the practical research skills and conceptual foundations needed to conduct studies in this new field. 

We are taught by lecturers who are experts in their fields. I have enjoyed learning about the different methods of quantitative and qualitative analysis and how to use statistics to inform research.
MA Social Media and Social Research

Course content What you’ll study


The Social Media and Social Research masters degree examines the role of social media in contemporary societies, and their potential for ethical research. You'll develop a foundation in traditional social science research skills, as well as explore new methods of analysis for both large- and small-scale data.  


The Social Media and Social Research masters consists of six modules:

Understanding Social Media
Identify and critically analyse key characteristics of contemporary new media such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter within the context of debates about broader sets of socio-cultural transformations.

Quantitative Methods and Data Analysis
Learn a range of statistical techniques, such as basic descriptive statistics, tables and chi-squared tests, analysis of variance and multiple and logistic regression analyses. The emphasis is on exploratory data analysis and visualising and interpreting secondary quantitative data; no mathematical formulae are used to teach the module.

Qualitative Methods
Learn and practice methods for the collection and analysis of qualitative data. Topics include observation, focus groups, interviews, visual data in social science research, the use of computer-assisted qualitative data analysis, and narrative, interaction and discourse analysis.

Metrics and Society
You will explore the social role, significance and consequences of metrics and data. Many of the most significant technological developments of our age will centre around data and metrics. This module will give you the means to understand these developments. You'll see how we are measured and how measurement links into power, governance and control. You will think through what part measurement plays in defining our everyday experiences in society.

Advanced Methods in Social Research
Develop your qualitative and quantitative research skills further with more advanced research methods. You'll gain practical-based knowledge of methods in social sciences and explore software packages which will enable you to critically engage with more advanced methods.

Themes and Issues in Contemporary Sociology
This module offers a critical and comprehensive introduction to key themes in contemporary sociological analysis and theory. You'll also gain a solid grounding in theoretical matters in cultural studies, conversation analysis, criminology, political economy and health and healthcare.


You will develop, design, implement and manage your own original research project, supervised by a member of staff. You will analyse the data and produce a 15,000-word dissertation based on your research project. 

Examples of dissertation titles with social media topics include:

  • The role of new media in politics
  • Application of digital by-product data: Using online ratings and reviews to analyse the market preferences of cultural products
  • “That’s entertainment”: A comparative analysis of culture and the current situation of TV entertainment programmes in the UK and China
  • The spread of celebrity gossip in the circumstances of new media.

Study abroad

This course is not associated with a specific Study Abroad programme, but York offers a number of options through international partnering programmes.

Study Abroad with York

Funding opportunities

A range of scholarships and studentships are available for masters students. 

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Teaching format

Modules are composed of lectures and seminars where you can discuss readings in a group. A member of the teaching staff will act as your supervisor throughout the degree, to help guide your studies and and monitor progress.

  • You’ll spend most of your time reading assigned texts and researching supporting materials on your own, discussing the readings and lectures in a group and presenting work when requested.
  • You'll also attend seminars from visiting scholars on a wide variety of sociological topics.


Core modules will be assessed by a mixture of open essays and exercises, where assignments are planned on your own time and handed in.

  • Open assessments are released early in the term so you can select one or more essay titles to read around the topic and plan your essay.
  • To cap your studies, you'll complete a 15,000-word dissertation on an original piece of your own research.

Careers Where you’ll go from here

The Social Media and Social Research masters degree develops skills employers need in many fields, and especially those requiring awareness of digital social research practice and theory.

Our Sociology alumni

Career opportunities

Work in a variety of social research organisations in the following industries:

  • Marketing
  • Media
  • Arts
  • Heritage and leisure
  • Management

Transferable skills

  • Data analysis
  • Critical reasoning
  • Social media
  • Social research

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

Applicants must have at least a 2:1 degree in sociology or a cognate discipline, or equivalent suitable experience or qualifications. If you are unsure about your eligibility, please contact the course coordinator to enquire about your interests.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically with our online system, which allows you to save progress and return later to finish. If you're unable to apply online, you can submit a paper application.

Applying for postgraduate study

Start your online application


English language

If your native language is not English, you should meet an English language proficiency level of 7.0 in the British Council's IELTS test with at least IELTS 6.0 in writing. We do accept other English Language Tests. Students who have successfully completed a recent undergraduate degree at a UK University are exempt from the English Language requirement.

We also strongly recommend that applicants attend the University's Intensive Summer Courses organised by the EFL Unit.

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions

Related courses

  • MA in Social Research

Next steps

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