Signup date: 07 Aug 2009 at 9:35am
Last login: 01 Dec 2010 at 11:26am
Post count: 40
I agree with Nastassia's advice: I'm in the same boat (graduating with a first in sociology from a less prestigious university - the OU in my case - and looking for Masters courses) and I've been researching courses by trawling through various university websites, looking at staff research interests and checking what sorts of option modules are offered.
As has already been said, league tables are of limited value, but the Guardian's postgrad table might be of interest: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/table/2009/feb/17/postgraduate-sociology-courses-table
You can also look at the sociology RAE results for 2008 here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/table/2008/dec/18/rae-2008-sociology
Is funding an issue for you?
The AHRC do offer funding for Masters study: like all research council funding, this isn't at all easy to get, but - if your interests lie more in the 'arty' end of sociology/cultural studies and you're a strong candidate - you might find a Masters which is eligible for AHRC funding. As the others have said, the ESRC don't fund Masters study, only 1+3, and you don't sound all that certain about going on to a PhD yet. Another option which may or may not be of interest: the OU do social science Masters courses. This could fit around paid employment and spreads the cost (although the overall cost is no lower than doing it at a brick university - I think it works out at around £4500).
I'd be very wary of making this decision just before a major life change (i.e. the birth of your first child). In your shoes I'd give myself a couple of years to adjust to new circumstances before deciding whether to go for the PhD option. What are your wife's thoughts about it?
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