Why Choose This Course

Students who achieve a strong result (2.1.) in the MA in Sociology will be eligible to continue on to pursue Ph.D. research if they wish.

The course will be of interest to students who wish to explore and understand societies in the 21st century, through a focus on the themes outlined above.

Additionally, students will acquire a range of subject-specific and transferrable skills. In terms of subject-specific skills, students will develop detailed knowledge on contemporary Sociological theories and concepts. They will also develop knowledge of how to put research methods, particularly qualitative methods, into practice in order to generate data and evidence to inform policy and research. Students will also furthermore develop skills in public speaking in seminar presentations and seminar contributions; in time management; in being able to articulate their ideas clearly and with precision in their writing and research; and in terms of personal effectiveness and innovation, being able to design, implement and analyse a large scale research project in a defined amount of time.

Students who have taken this MA have gone on to a wide variety of careers, including research, banking, business, social media and technology companies, the civil service, charities/advocacy, and civil society organizations such as those working on environmental or housing issues. Most careers these days involve research and data acquisition and management in some form, and the research and transferrable skills that you acquire will be of use in many employment situations.

Entry requirements


Applicants must have obtained a minimum of a 2H1 (or equivalent) honours degree in sociology, law, politics, psychology, history, applied social studies, anthropology, geography, economics, study of religions, media studies, communication, government, public policy, criminal justice, environment and planning, criminology, European studies, women studies, early childhood studies, cultural studies, political studies, international relations or another subject relevant to the study of Sociology. Candidates who hold an honours primary degree with a 2H2 will also be considered subject to a written expression of interest and/or interview acceptable to the department selection committee.

English Language Requirements

Applicants that are non-native speakers of the English language must meet the university approved English language requirements available here.

For applicants with qualifications completed outside of Ireland

Applicants must meet the required entry academic grade, equivalent to Irish requirements, please find our grades comparison by country here.

International/non-EU applicants

For full details of the non-EU application procedure please visit our how to apply pages for international students. In UCC, we use the term programme and course interchangeably to describe what a person has registered to study in UCC and its constituent colleges, schools, and departments.

Not all courses are open to international/non-EU applicants, please check the fact file above.

For more information please contact the International Office.

Assessment Info


Assessment is conducted through the grading of five graduate module papers. The word limit for the Social Theory paper is 3,000. The word limit for all other papers including Methodology is 5,000. These marks are combined with the student's grades on their final thesis (PART B) in order to determine an overall result.

Subjects taught

Course Outline
Sociology is concerned with the study of the modern world, how it came into being, and the challenges and crises that it faces at local, national and global levels.

The MA in Sociology in UCC will provide you with an opportunity to study advanced Sociological Concepts and Methods, and put your research interests into practice by enabling you to conduct your own sustained research project.

The course is divided into two main components. The first component focuses on cutting-edge Sociology modules which are completed in Semesters 1 and 2. All students must take the following two compulsory modules:

SC6608 Social Theory: This module will introduce you to key classical and contemporary Sociological concepts and theorists. The module will increase your knowledge of Sociological concepts and your capacity to apply those concepts to major social problems and issues.

SC6614 Sociological Methods: This module will introduce you to key Sociological methods including interviewing; focus groups; visual methods; and biographical and ethnographic methods; amongst others. The Dept. of Sociology in UCC is a leading centre of excellence for the study and application of qualitative research methods and our aim in particular is to increase your knowledge of and expertise in these methods.

Additionally, students take three additional modules from a list including:

SC6623 Globalization and Culture: This module focuses on understanding the process of globalization, global inequalities, resistance to globalization, and the impact of globalization on Ireland, Europe and the world.

SC6624: Modernity and Globalisation: This module focuses on the Sociological underpinnings of the modern world; the Sociology of Technology; and lessons from Historical Sociology. It examines how humans and their systems have transformed the world, and are increasingly now destroying it.

SC6626: Sociology of the Public Sphere: This module addresses the theory and methodology of the public sphere as the site of democratic public debate. Topics include democratic participation; the impact of social movements; changes in the media and technology; the role of law; and the theory of society. The literature drawn upon covers a wide span across sociology and critical theory and the theory is illustrated through various examples.

SC6627: Social Pathologies & New Technologies: This module focuses on the Sociology of Health and Technology. Specific topics focus on: Sociological drivers of high-risk health behaviours such as self-harm and anorexia; Sociological drivers of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety; anthropological concepts such as mimesis and pleionexia that are useful for Sociologists of health; social breakdown and disorder under anomic conditions; the Sociology of the technology giants such as Google and Facebook; Sociology of mass surveillance; violence on the internet (self-harm and cyberbullying); social networks and social media.

SC6631: Sociology of Sustainability: This module examines if, and if so how, humans can come to terms with, manage, and possibly reverse, the destruction that they are now causing to the natural world, and also their own cities and social systems. It also examines the role of social capital; social movements; and social networks in creating or undermining sustainability.

SC6638: Rethinking Borders: This module focuses on the Sociology of Human Rights and social justice in the context of climate change, international poverty and economic crises in the 21st The module examines topics such as border control; securitization; detention; mass migration, refugees and asylum seekers; and what will happen to citizens of ecologically challenged states in the future.

SC6639: Sociology of Feminism, Sexuality and Society: This module focuses on the Sociology of identity; sex work; sexual violence and abuse; sex and gender in the media and popular culture; social movements around women's health and rights; and transgender studies and transactivism.

A number of themes cut across all of the modules that we teach, reflecting the interests of staff members in the Dept. One is a strong focus on power, the powerful, powerlessness and marginalization. Another is on human rights and violence, whether that violence is self-directed, directed at others or directed at the natural world. A third strand is seeking to understand the negative and often unanticipated costs that our economic and technological systems are now having on our world and societies. And a fourth is an examination of where, or in fact if, there are grounds for hope and optimism to be found in the massive Sociological shifts of the 21s century.

Finally, in addition to these advanced level MA modules, students on the MA in Sociology are also free to audit (attend without credit) any undergraduate in Sociology modules that they find interesting or relevant. MA students are furthermore eligible to attend the Economy and Society Summer School, which is a week long Summer School that the Dept. runs for advanced Sociology students (please note- the Summer school may not run every year).

The second component of the course is a 20,000 word dissertation, or advanced research project, that students can undertake on a topic of their own choosing. One of the advantages of the MA in Sociology is that students have a wide degree of latitude to pursue their own research interests and goals in their dissertation. In their dissertations students put into practice the knowledge that they have developed in their modules. All students will be assigned an academic supervisor who will work closely with them on developing their ideas and their projects. Over the past few years students have conducted MA dissertation research on topics ranging from the computer gaming industry to sexual violence and the metoo movement to animal-human relationships, amongst a wide variety of other projects. We would encourage students who undertake strong dissertation research to publish their work in academic journals.


Further details on the modules listed above can be found in our book of modules. Any modules listed above are indicative of the current set of modules for this course but are subject to change from year to year.


1 year, full-time

In teaching periods 1 and 2, you will have a mandatory two-hour graduate seminar on theory/methodology. Mandatory seminars are generally timetabled on Tuesday afternoons after 4pm. The timetabling of optional seminars changes from year to year but most are scheduled between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Some seminars are run on a weekly basis while others are run using a one-day workshop format.

Enrolment dates

Start Date: 7 September 2020

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
This course gives you the opportunity to develop a range of analytical and critical-thinking skills as part of a lively academic community. Throughout the year, the Department hosts distinguished visiting speakers. You will also get the opportunity to participate in a wide range of stimulating scholarly events and conferences hosted by the Department, including the prestigious Theory and Philosophy Summer School held each year in May in UCC.

This course prepares you for doctoral studies in the social sciences, or employment in various sectors including:
civil service
social services
health care
public administration

More details
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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

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