Bristol Q-Step

Increase your career prospects across multiple professions with Bristol Q-Step, by enhancing your social science degree with training in quantitative data analysis.

About Q-Step

Q-Step is a national multi-million pound initiative, initially funded by the Nuffield FoundationESRC and HEFCE. It is designed to respond to the UK's shortage of quantitatively skilled social science graduates looked for by employers, and for postgraduate research.

Q-Step at Bristol 

Bristol is one of 17 universities in the UK to develop Q-Step pathways for social science students.  

Our focus is on providing students with skills in applied data analysis, relevant to the social sciences and to work beyond academia.

Our undergraduate courses are designed to advance your understanding of quantitative data analysis, providing you with the skills to understand, interpret, evaluate and produce quantitative research. These are important transferable skills that will enhance your career prospects, or provide you with a strong platform for postgraduate study.  

Our integrated four-year MSci degrees are particularly relevant for those thinking of continuing to postgraduate study, or who wish to develop additional skills to differentiate themselves within the job market.

What are quantitative research methods?

Quantitative research methods are ways of collecting, making sense of and answering questions of relevance to social and public debate, using numeric data. They have a long and important history in the social sciences.  

Quantitative research methods can include anything from the ability to design surveys or experiments, to assessing and using quantitative evidence from surveys, digital media, archives or open data: it is the ability to handle data and use numerical evidence systematically.

As a Bristol Q-Step student you can learn how to:

  • Analyse and interpret data from a variety of sources, such as data collected by government departments and agencies, data from longitudinal cohort studies, or social media data.
  • Design surveys and experiments, and analyse and interpret the data they generate.
  • Evaluate the quality of other people’s data collection and analysis, as well as developing an understanding of what constitutes good (and bad!) evidence, and how you can use it to make decisions.

Why study quantitative research methods? 

Quantitative skills are highly desired by employees across all sectors, and the skills you’ll learn during your Q-Step degree will equip you for a range of careers.

In addition to the employment opportunities it brings, studying for a social science degree with a quantitative element will enable you to ask important questions about society and give you the necessary skills to answer them. This is at the heart of what it means to graduate as a student of the social sciences.

What types of careers require quantitative research methods?

Quantitative research methods are in demand across all sectors: government, business, charities, and academia, where employers desperately need people who can draw out insights from quantitative data to inform policymaking, organisational strategy and resources. 

Quantitative skills are highly transferable across different industries and sectors, and they also translate well overseas.

Who can become a Q-Step student? 

Anyone can become a Q-Step student. Our courses are about applied data analysis, not mathematics, so an A-level or AS-level in Mathematics, or equivalent, is not necessary.

At Bristol, we offer 'with Quantitative Research Methods' degree pathways in:

  • childhood studies
  • criminology
  • geography
  • politics
  • social policy
  • sociology

You will take modules that provide you with practical quantitative research skills alongside your main degree subject. 

You can choose a Q-Step degree when you first apply to Bristol, or you can convert to a Q-Step degree after your first year at Bristol.

Contact us

For further information, contact Dr Mircea Popa, the Bristol Q-Step Lead

A student guide to quantitative skills

This guide will show you the steps you could take to learn quantitative skills and launch an exciting career.

A student guide to careers in quantitative methods

This guide looks at the wide range of careers open to quantitative social scientists.

Explore our full range of Q-Step courses

Bristol's Quantitative Research Methods (QRM) degrees, also known as 'Q-Step', are social science degrees with enhanced quantitative training.

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