MRes Advanced Quantitative Methods

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New programme for 2017

Awards available MRes
Programme length One year full-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available No, full-time only
Open to international students Yes
Start date September 2017

Programme overview

This new and distinctive MRes aims to develop a systematic understanding and critical appreciation of alternative approaches, methodologies and paradigms of social science research. It will develop fully trained and competent social science researchers, who are able to understand and use research techniques appropriate to their subject area as well as being conversant with approaches used by other social scientists.

The programme has a substantial theoretical and quantitative core but also delivers complementary qualitative training. This will provide an essential foundation for any working researcher, whether they are going on to do a PhD or otherwise engaged in research. The training will enable students to think through how they can use their knowledge and skills of advanced quantitative methods in different contexts and apply them to a variety of problems; and, progressively, to identify their own needs for training.

The MRes joins a suite of interdisciplinary training programmes that are part of the Economics and Social Research Council South West Doctoral Training Partnership. It is a joint initiative between the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Exeter. The course is delivered collaboratively; each semester one core unit is taught intensively, with time spent at each location. This collaborative delivery means that the expertise of academics at each institution can be made available to students from all three universities, enhancing the training capacity of each.

Fees for 2017/18

Full-time fees


Fees quoted are per annum and subject to annual increase.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2017/18

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 and +3 ESRC scholarships, please see for more information

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

1. Research Design Methods and Skills (15 credits, mandatory): delivered over intensive sessions at each institution (Bath, Bristol, Exeter).
The main topics to be covered include: ontology and epistemology in social research; varieties of approaches to research design from different backgrounds; question design and formulation; criteria for evaluating research and strategies to enhance research quality; critical evaluation of different methodologies; preparing research proposals and communicating research.

2. Mathematics and Programming Skills for Social Scientists (15 credits, mandatory): delivered over intensive sessions at each institution.
The main topics covered are programming statistical and graphical techniques using R; dynamic programming and coding using Python; multi-level modelling theory and application using MLwiN.

3. Introduction to Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences (20 credits, mandatory): delivered at the home institution.
This unit aims to provide a philosophical appreciation of the underpinnings of qualitative research methods, to develop a critical understanding of the potential of various qualitative methodologies and key epistemological and methodological problems raised in qualitative methodologies.

4. Optional units 
An appropriate range of optional units is provided at each institution to ensure students can take a full suite at their home institution should they wish to. Optional units may include substantive subject units of interest, or further methods units. At Bristol these may include: Big Data and Society; Spatial Data Analysis; Spatial Regression Modelling and GIS in R; and Explanation, Causation and Longitudinal Analysis. Students can also take options from across the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law, or from Bath and Exeter, subject to timetabling constraints.

5. Dissertation (60 credits, mandatory): An extended research project of between 10,000 and 15,000 words.

Entry requirements

Upper second-class degree (or equivalent) with substantive quantitative elements. Substantive is normally considered as at least 60 credits plus a quantitative dissertation.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Application method Online application form
English language requirements Profile B
Further information about English language requirements
Admissions statement Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.


This programme provides outstanding academic and research training for prospective PhD students and can lead to careers in data and quantitative research.

How to apply
Application deadline:

The closing date for studentship applications is midday on 2 February 2017.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, and the support we offer to international students.

I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.


REF 2014 results

  • 51% of research is world-leading (4 star)
  • 33% of research is internationally excellent (3 star)
  • 14% of research is recognised internationally (2 star)
  • 2% of research is recognised nationally (1 star)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Get in touch

Postgraduate Student Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 3317328 Email:

Dr David Manley Programme Director Phone: +44 (0) 117 928 8305 Email:

School of Geographical Sciences
University of Bristol
University Road
Bristol BS8 1SS
United Kingdom


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