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.