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Postgraduate taught

MSc Applied Social Data Science - 2023 entry

Please note: The below is for 2023 entries. Click here for 2022 entries.
UCAS code 1234
Duration 1 year full time
2 years part time
Entry year 2022
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Politics and International Relations

Dr Chris Playford
Web: Enquire online 
0300 555 6060 (UK)  
+44 (0)1392 723192 (non-UK)

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

2:1 Honours degree

Contextual offers


  • You will develop the ability to apply data analysis techniques to a range of substantive and policy related questions
  • Choose to specialise within a policy subfield such as social and family policy, economic and public policy, environment, criminal justice and security
  • Delivered by the highly successful Q-Step Centre for Applied Data Analysis. Teaching covers a range of data analytic techniques and practical software and programming skills
  • Put your market-leading social data science skills into practice with optional work placements or industry-based research consultancy projects
  • You’ll gain an understanding of complex political and cultural issues, often in continually changing environments which will be relevant to both business and public sector careers or PhD study

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View 2022 Entry

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Programme Director: Dr Chris Playford

Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Employability focussed

Top 15 in the UK for Politics

13th in The Complete University Guide 2022

Top 100 worldwide for the subject in the QS World University Rankings 2022

Entry requirements

Normally a 2:1 Honours degree in a related subject, eg. social sciences, psychology and economics, with demonstrable evidence of data analysis training/content.

Please note, if we receive an application which we deem more suitable for one of our other data science programmes we may make an offer for that alternative programme.

Entry requirements for international students

English language requirements


Please visit our entry requirements section for equivalencies from your country and further information on English language requirements.

Course content

Policy-making in all sectors has become more data driven. Advanced training in issues of data use, data sharing, transparency, and accountability are important for both the public and private sectors.

Unlocking the potential of collecting, sharing and analysing massive amounts of administrative and economic, social and political information to bring economic and social benefits requires individuals trained in both evidence-based decision-making and social data science.

This programme will equip you with the technical understanding of a range of social data science techniques and the practical software and programming skills to implement these methods to address your research questions, allowing you to pursue other professional research activities.

You can further enhance your employability skills by undertaking either a work placement or industry-based research consultancy project. Previous students are now working for organisations such as the ONS Data Science camp, YouGov, the FCA and Defra.

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.


2022/23 entry

UK fees per year:

£10,000 full-time; £5,000 part-time

International fees per year:

£20,500 full-time


We invest heavily in scholarships for talented prospective Masters students and have over £2.5 million in scholarships available, including our Global Excellence Scholarships* and Green Futures Scholarships* for international fee paying students.

For information on how you can fund your postgraduate degree at the University of Exeter, please visit our dedicated funding page.

*Selected programmes only. Please see the Terms and Conditions for each scheme for further details.

Teaching and research

Learning and Teaching

  • Each module typically delivered by lectures interspersed with seminar discussion, presentations, group work, reading and essay assignments
  • We bring in a number of subject experts, including alumni to expose you to the latest thinking in the field
  • You will learn a range of social data science skills and their application to policy-making and learn how to evaluate the suitability of these methods and the rationale for using them
  • We place a strong emphasis on the practical skills associated with working with data using a range of statistical software, including R, Stata and Python

Independent study

A large component of the MSc programme will include guided and independent study. The dissertation/research consultancy project is the main opportunity for you to apply the skills you have learnt to a policy-related topic of your own interest. You will also develop the communication of the findings of your work to a range of audiences using effective data visualisation tools.

Q-Step Centre

In addition to module based teaching we offer a variety of additional training including;

  • Applied Data Analysis workshops which seek to provide additional support to students interested in Quantitative Methods for the Social Sciences. These aspire to raise interest in Applied Data Analysis amongst both undergraduates and postgraduates, and embed quantitative literacy in wider University practice.
  • The Q-Step seminar series is a long-running successful annual postgraduate conference which brings together researchers from across all humanities and social science disciplines.

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You will develop a number of skills that are valued in professional and managerial careers: the ability to research and analyse information from a variety of sources along with written and verbal skills needed to present and discuss your opinions. The understanding you will gain of complex political and cultural issues, often in continually changing environments, can also be relevant to both business and public sector appointments.

Graduate careers

University of Exeter Politics postgraduates have been highly successful in securing interesting career opportunities and progressing to PhD level study. Previous students are now working for organisations such as the ONS Data Science camp, YouGov, the FCA and Defra.

Employment and professional development

Our excellent Employability and Graduate Development Service provides invaluable support, advice and access to graduate employers. Visit the employment and professional development pages for more information, including podcasts and profiles, about the range of support available.

Work placement

A work placement enables you to get hands-on analysis experience for a period of typically 3 to 6 weeks. There are a wide variety of placements to choose from locally, nationally and in Europe working in public sector organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and industry. Your work placement will also be supported by a bursary to enable you to make the most of this opportunity.

Industry-based research consultancy project

Industry-based research consultancy projects are a variant to a more traditional style dissertation. These provide you the opportunity to partner with an external organisation to examine a research question of mutual interest. This option is designed to integrate the applied nature of the course with direct workplace experience as you work on your project.

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