Critical Social Science

Critical Social Science MRes

Course fees (2017/18 entry)

Option / fee Value
Home full time annual tuition fee: £4,400
Home cost per credit: £24.40
International full time annual tuition fee: £11,630

More about course fees »

Course type



Humanities and Social Science

Study mode

Full Time (1 year)

About your course

The MRes in Critical Social Science at Liverpool John Moores University critically combines the disciplines that inform society, organisations and institutions relevant to criminology, geography, media, culture, communication, politics and sociology.

  • Complete this masters degree full time (one year)
  • An interdisciplinary MRes bringing together staff from Criminology, Geography, Sociology and Media, Culture, Communication
  • Fosters a creative and innovative postgraduate culture
  • Critical approach with a research focus
  • Can lead to doctorate study in social sciences
  • Secure the research training demanded by the ESRC/AHRC for postgraduate funding

Coming back to full-time education, I have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the MRes. I have gained experience and new skills in research, which I hope to use in further study or employment.

Mark Rowley, graduate

The MRes has undeniably provided a firm foundation for the PhD I am currently studying. My MRes research has been expanded for this new course and the research skills I developed during the MRes will definitely assist me throughout the doctorate.

Carly Speed, graduate

Introduction to the School

The School of Humanities and Social Science provides an ideal environment in which to expand your knowledge and horizons at postgraduate level, leading you to a broad range of career opportunities.

Our dynamic, professional and experienced staff excel in innovative and exciting research which contributes to the teaching and learning methods you will experience here. You will join a warm and friendly learning community, offering excellent learning resources and first class student support.

Our working relationships with Merseyside employers and organisations may benefit you in both academic and personal career development. We are situated in an historic part of Liverpool, close to the Anglican Cathedral and a short walk from cafes, bars and the cultural quarter.

You will be taught, mentored and supervised by academic staff who are passionate, experienced and active in respect of critical social scientific research and the knowledge and skills you acquire will allow you to progress to doctoral research in the social sciences or are transferable to a range of academic, professional and commercial occupations.

Research excellence

In the 2014 REF, 81% of research submitted by Communication, Cultural and Media Studies at LJMU was either recognised internationally, or considered as internationally excellent. This research helps ensure that our postgraduate courses are positioned at the vanguard of developments in the field and that you have an opportunity to study alongside leading experts.

Why study this course at LJMU?

This Masters programme provides you with the opportunity to think beyond traditional subject boundaries and construct a postgraduate level research project that showcases your interdisciplinary application of theory in your chosen area of specialist research.

This postgraduate programme gives you the breadth of knowledge necessary to make informed decisions, and to imagine positive new ways in which to direct social experience. You will consider the consequence of strategy within a number of different contexts and understand how your ability to analyse at this level can make a valuable contribution to the experience of future generations.

Programme outline and structure

This Critical Social Science MRes programme will equip you with a range of knowledge and skills, allowing you to complete an independent research project, and become an expert in social analysis through the interdisciplinary application of critical theory.

The programme's structure, content and approach emerge from the expertise on offer in the School of Humanities and Social Science and LJMU's commitment to the interdisciplinary study of Critical Social Science.

Specifically, the MRes represents a bespoke collaboration between the disciplines of Criminology, Geography, Media, Culture and Communication and Sociology. It fosters a creative and innovative research culture, which crosses traditional disciplinary boundaries and builds on the distinctive, critical approaches of each of the disciplines.

You will prepare for and conduct a piece of independent research, interrogating a particular area of theory, policy and/or practice, within one of five interdisciplinary pathways:

  • crime, criminalisation and social harm
  • ecology, environment and activism
  • consumption, identity and mass media
  • health, disease and social wellbeing
  • power inequality and the state

Our dynamic, professional and experienced staff excel in innovative and exciting research which contributes to the teaching and learning methods you will experience. Good working relationships with Merseyside employers and organisations also frequently benefit the academic and personal career development of our students.

What you will study on this degree

Please see guidance below on core and option modules for further information on what you will study.

  • Critical social science research proposition and development

Engages you in independent and critical thinking, and develops and applies theoretical concepts in critical social sciences

  • Research Project in critical social science

Assesses your ability to present, in scholarly form, a sustained piece of research which demonstrates knowledge and understanding of a relevant field and appropriate methodologies to organise material into a clear and relevant argument

  • Professional development for researchers in arts, professional and social studies

Provides you with professional guidance geared to the conduct and dissemination of research

  • Research methods for arts, professional and social studies

Introduces you to library, bibliographic, online and other facilities necessary for postgraduate research; assisting you in recognising and applying appropriate strategies for developing a research project

Further guidance on modules

The information listed in the section entitled ‘What you will study’ is an overview of the academic content of the programme that will take the form of either core or option modules. Modules are designated as core or option in accordance with professional body requirements and internal Academic Framework review, so may be subject to change. Students will be required to undertake modules that the University designates as core and will have a choice of designated option modules. Additionally, option modules may be offered subject to meeting minimum student numbers.

Please email if you require further guidance or clarification.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is based on a range of research tasks and projects reflecting the skills developed by the various modules.

Assessment will include: 

  • academic essays
  • annotated bibliographies
  • reflective research exercises
  • position papers
  • oral presentations
  • dissertation/research project 

Staff research interests

Staff within the School of Humanities and Social Science conduct a wide range of research. 

Our staff conduct reseach in areas including:

  • Representation and identity (particularly representations of gender) and cultural politics
  • 17th, 19th and 20th Century British Literature and Cultural History
  • Women’s writing
  • Critical and feminist theory
  • History, including British decolonisation, the British empire, Nazi Germany, labour history
  • Criminology, including policy responses to young people in trouble
  • Child welfare
  • Penal systems
  • Illegal and problematic drug use
  • Corporate crime
  • Night-time economies in the city

The Centre for Crime, Criminalisation and Social Exclusion (CCSE) conducts research and hosts widely attended events in the field of crime, criminalisation, social policy and social exclusion. Research areas include:

  • Children, young people and youth justice
  • Policy responses to children in trouble
  • Criminological theory
  • Sociology including: 'Race and political theory; Racism and relations between states and ethnicised and racialised minorities
  • Wales and postcoloniality
  • Work-life balance
  • Women’s health

Entry requirements (Home)

Applicants for MRes graduate study in Critical Social Science will normally be expected to have a good first degree (a 2:1 or above) in a relevant discipline. Applications are also welcomed from highly motivated non-standard entry students with relevant experience, but without the necessary formal qualifications. Prospective applicants are advised to contact the Admissions Tutor or Programme Leader for further information.

International students

Applicants should have acquired passes in appropriate examinations in their country of origin and provide evidence of English language ability. Where English is not a first language, an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in Academic Writing must be achieved.

Entry requirements (International)

LJMU welcomes applications from international students. In addition to normal entry requirements, you will be expected to demonstrate a very good level of English language competence, for example an IELTS score of 6.0-6.5 or equivalent. Please note: specific courses may require higher levels of English language competence. If you have applied to study a full-time taught Masters, MRes, MPhil or PhD at LJMU, you should check if you require an Academic Technology Approval Scheme or ATAS certificate. It can take four to six weeks to receive an ATAS certificate, so please make sure you apply as early as possible. You can find out more on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website. Alternatively, contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for guidance. Please note: international students entering on a Tier 4 visa cannot study part time. Students entering the UK on alternate types of visa may be in a position to study part time. Please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team for further details before making your application.  In order to obtain a visa you will also need to show evidence that the money required to cover your tuition fees and living expenses has been in your bank account for at least 28 days prior to submitting your visa application. So please make sure that your finances are in place before applying. For more details, go to our international website

For advice on any aspect of the application process, please contact LJMU’s International Admissions Team.

Application and selection

All prospective students are required to complete the online application form for postgraduate research programmes, together with their academic transcript or equivalent; two academic references; and a research proposal (1 side of A4). The application form should indicate an area of research interest relevant to the themes of the MRes in Critical Social Science.

The decision to admit a candidate to the programme will depend upon:

  • a sufficient level of knowledge to embark upon the programme
  • the potential to develop research skills to an appropriate level
  • identification of a research area commensurate with appropriate staff resources for supervision and relevant to the research directions of the programme (research proposals should typically fall within the research interests of staff. However alternative topics outside these areas will be considered on a case-by-case basis)
  • evidence of the learning capability and commitment at postgraduate level

Evidence of written work will be a further requirement for applicants who have not previously studied at LJMU. This will be circulated to members of the programme team and other staff where specialism is required. This work will be assessed for:

  • intellectual rigour
  • fluency in articulation of an argument
  • evidence of engagement with critical debate
  • adherence to presentation standards as required at undergraduate level; and relevance to research topic

Applicants should have acquired passes in appropriate examinations in their country of origin and provide evidence of English language ability. Where English is not a first language, an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with a minimum of 7.0 in Academic Writing must be achieved.

Will I be interviewed?



6.5 (Min. 5.5 (7 in writing) in each component)


58-64 (Min. 51 in each component for UKVI Purposes)

Is RPL accepted on this programme?


Please Note: All international qualifications are subject to a qualification equivalency check via NARIC.

Financial support

Tuition fees

All full and part-time students enrolled on postgraduate taught programmes at LJMU are liable to pay an annual tuition fee. You can opt to pay your tuition fees in full at the start of each academic year or pay by instalments. If you need advice about how you will pay your tuition fees, please email to LJMU’s Student Funding Team as soon as possible.

Sources of funding


Postgraduate loans

Postgraduate Masters loans are available for the 2017/18 academic year. The new loans, of up to £10,000, are available for students attending eligible full and part-time Masters courses, in line with the existing qualification framework for England. Administered by the Student Loan Company, the loans will be available to those under 60 at the start of their course.

Loan repayments will begin the April after course completion, with the first cohort of borrowers commencing repayments in April 2019. Repayments will be made at a rate of 6% of income above an earning threshold of £21,000. This threshold will be frozen until 2021. For details of loan terms, conditions and eligibility, go to: LJMU Alumni Award

Final year undergraduates and alumni of the University are eligible to apply for a 20% reduction in their postgraduate tuition fees if they choose to progress onto a higher degree programme at LJMU. Both Home and international LJMU students and alumni can apply for this award (subject to eligibility criteria*). 

Postgraduate International Scholarships

LJMU offers scholarships for international applicants accepted onto taught masters programmes (excluding distance learning programmes) and research degrees. Current LJMU international students and alumni interested in pursuing postgraduate study and research at the University are eligible to apply for these scholarships along with new applicants.

English for Postgraduate Studies Bursary

A Bursary is also available for international students who need to improve their IELTS score prior to enrolling on their postgraduate course or research programme at the University. This course is run by LJMU’s International Study Centre.


Earn While You Learn

Working while you study means you may be able to pay for your course without taking out any further loans or at least reducing the amount you need to borrow. Working while you study also gives you the skills valued by employers, such as managing your workload and prioritising your time.

LJMU’s Vacancy website can help you find graduate vacancies, sandwich/industrial placements, internships / summer work, part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work-based learning placements. Over 1,000 local and regional employers regularly list opportunities on the website.

Professional and Career Development Loans (PCDL)

Many students fund their postgraduate studies via Professional and Career Development Loans. This is a bank loan which you will have to pay back once you’ve completed the course. However, while you are studying any interest on the loan will be paid for you by the Skills Funding Agency. PCDLs worth between £300 and £10,000 are available for eligible postgraduates to fund up to two years of study (three if the course includes work experience). The loan is split into course fees and living costs. 

Employer sponsorship

Some organisations and companies fund the cost of postgraduate studies for their employees as they recognise the value of having well qualified staff. Check out our courses and see if there are any on offer that could enhance your current career. Remember, employer support doesn’t always have to be financial; it can take other forms too, such as flexible working arrangements, day release and time in lieu of study.

Support for disabled students

Disabled Students’ Allowances or DSAs are designed to help meet the extra course costs students can face as a direct result of a disability, on-going health condition, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty. DSAs don’t have to be paid back and the type of support you receive will be determined by your specific needs not your household income. Please contact LJMU’s Disability team for further advice: 0151 231 3164/3165.

Council tax exemption

All full-time postgraduate students studying courses lasting one year or more are eligible for a council tax exemption certificate.

Graduate employment

Postgraduate study in Critical Social Science enables you to progress to the next level in social analysis and influence in a range of rewarding roles for social change.

On successful completion of the programme you can progress to doctoral research in the social sciences or bring your new found skills in argument, presentation, organisation and research to a range of academic, professional and commercial occupations.

The programme offers the full range of research training demanded by the ESRC/AHRC for postgraduate funding.

International Study

International applicants are required to demonstrate equivalent qualifications to the standard requirements for entry when applying for courses at LJMU.

Students must also demonstrate a proficiency in communicating through English, for example via an IELTS tests or equivalent.

Please note: UK visa restrictions mean that international students are only permitted to study on a full-time basis.

Please contact LJMU’s International Team by visiting for more information and advice.


LJMU has launched a range of generous international scholarships for students enrolling at the University.

These prestigious scholarships take the form of tuition fee waivers and are available for outstanding international students applying for taught postgraduate programmes and research degrees.

You will need to complete an additional application form in order to be considered for these scholarships. Full eligibility criteria and the online application form are available here:

Applications for these scholarships are welcomed from:

  • new international applicants
  • current LJMU international students hoping to progress onto postgraduate study at the University
  • LJMU international alumni

English for Postgraduate courses bursary

A bursary will be available for students who must complete the six week English for Postgraduate Studies course to improve their IELTS score by 0.5 prior to enrolling on their postgraduate taught or research degree at LJMU.

This bursary take the form of a tuition fee waiver, which will be deducted from your tuition fee when you enrol on your degree programme. You do not need to complete the online scholarship form in order to receive this bursary. Please note: If you are awarded this bursary you are not eligible to apply for an international scholarship.

The University may make changes to a programme of study or module where such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University.
Further guidance on programme changes

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