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This programme, which is ESRC recognised for research training, and part of the White Rose Doctoral Training Centre, combines a thorough grounding in social science research methodologies with an in-depth exploration of topics at the forefront of contemporary social and cultural geography.
The topics covered include: social identities (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability; national identity); migration, transnationalism, and refugee/asylum issues; the life course and innovative methodologies. You will be able to choose from a number of optional modules that will allow you to explore modules on other programmes, such as Activism and Social Change, Gender Studies, or Sustainability.
On completing the programme you will have greater confidence in conducting independent research that you can apply in both academic and non-academic contexts. In addition to developing a firm grounding in qualitative and quantitative methods of research, you are exposed to a range of theoretical approaches in the module Space and Social Theory. You will also have the opportunity to explore cutting edge themes in social and cultural geography through modules associated with the Schools research clusters on Citizenship and Belonging and Cities and Social Justice.
In addition to continuing to PhD study, our graduates have obtained posts in local government, the NGO sector, and private industry. The transferable research skills developed on this masters are applicable in a wide range of contexts.
The programme consists of core and optional modules, with space for students to take appropriate electives from other departments in the University (including the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies; the School of Earth and Environment; Politics; Sociology, and related areas.
Core modules include:
* Qualitative Research Methods: This core module provides an advanced treatment of core issues in qualitative research design, data collection, and analysis. The module is primarily seminar based, although there is some use of lecture and other techniques. Students will develop sophisticated critiques of published qualitative work while providing practice in applying qualitative techniques. Methods of data collection discussed include participant observation, interviewing (both individual and group), and textual analysis. Attention is also given to qualitative analysis and writing practices, and students will receive an introduction to the use of qualitative analysis software.
* Space and Social Theory: This core module provides an in-depth exploration of key theoretical thinkers and approaches in contemporary human geography. The module takes students from the modernist period through postmodernism and more recent theoretical developments. Staff relate these theoretical developments to research and reflect on how theories can be translated into practice.
* Quantitative and Spatial Methods: This core module explains and demonstrates geography relevant quantitative and spatial analysis methods. Through both lectures and computer practical sessions, students gain experience in the application of geographical analysis methods to real world problems and learn to use appropriate statistical and GIS software.
* Citizenship and Belonging: This core module introduces students to research currently being undertaken by members of the School of Geography's Citizenship and Belonging research cluster. The module thus offers students the opportunity to engage with issues at the forefront of contemporary geographical research. Members of this research cluster are engaged in research around several core themes including social identity, social inclusion, equality and diversity, the transnational society, and diaspora. Attendance at selected departmental and research cluster seminars are a central part of the module.
Optional modules include:
* Spaces of Radical Thought: This option module (led by staff on the Activism and Social Change MA) focused on key radical thinkers in human geography and beyond. Political activism today has its roots in a body of social theory that has evolved over the last hundred years. There are many different radical traditions but most have been inspired by a number of core thinkers, such as Marx. Rather than attempting an encyclopaedic review of all existing radical thinking traditions, the module team will introduce selected thinkers and their works, that represent different strands of contemporary radical thinking enabling follow-up discussion on issues and themes that have been raised.
* Researching for Social Change: This optional module (led by staff on the MA in Activism and Social Change) provides a grounding in the principles, methods and strategies available to the campaigning researcher (or researching campaigner). It opens with a discussion on the role of the 'University' within the context of neoliberal globalisation. It then introduces students to different traditions of scholar activism and action research (a methodology aimed at 'improving practice' and 'achieving goals' rather than simply 'producing knowledge'), discussing ethical issues of positionality, privilege and power along the way. The remainder of the module explores some of the advanced skills and knowledges that are useful for social movement oriented research. These include: using Freedom of Information, participatory techniques (appraisal, video, mapping) and self-reflexive praxis. In line with the learning objectives, the module will be open to students' ideas, questions, and ways of thinking, 'free and open discussion' and will encourage 'independent thinking'.
* Cities and Social Justice: This optional module is led by members of the Schools Cities and Social Justice research cluster, and focuses on cutting edge debates regarding themes including the neoliberalisation of the city; public space; urban social movements; and anti-capitalist alternatives.
* Introducing GIS: This optional module provides an introduction to GIS for students with little practical background applying GIS in social science settings.