PhD Advanced Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences

Qualifications and durations

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) comprises a significant piece of research which will enable you to contribute to the academic community through a large written thesis (typically up to 90,000 words). You can complete your PhD in 2 to 4 years (full-time) or up to 6 years (part-time).

If you have a limited grounding in the research methods relevant to this subject, we strongly recommend you apply after first completing a relevant one-year MRes.


The Advanced Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences interdisciplinary pathway offers postgraduate research training in the application of advanced quantitative methods in the social sciences. The pathway utilises expertise from a range of disciplines to provide training and supervision that emphasizes quantitative methods to a higher level than is usually offered.

The pathway is for social scientists who wish to learn advanced quantitative methods and apply these methods appropriately to answer particular substantive questions from their discipline. This group includes social scientists interested in interdisciplinary research involving the application of quantitative methods from one discipline (for example economics) to problems in another (for example politics).

The pathway is also for statistically trained researchers whose interests are more methodological. Projects may involve applying statistical methods used in other disciplines to social science problems, or developing novel statistical methods for analysing social-science data.

The pathway combines insights and methods from a number of disciplines and research groups including social and policy sciences, economics, psychology and health. Applications are welcome from those with backgrounds in social sciences and with appropriate prior training in quantitative methods, statistics or other related disciplines.

South West Doctoral Training Partnership

This course is accredited by the Economics & Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of the larger South West Doctoral Training Partnership (SWDTP).

If you wish to study for both the MRes and the PhD (the 1 + 3) you should apply for the PhD but indicate on the Application Form, that you also wish to study for the MRes.

Progression from the MRes to the PhD stage is dependent on achieving an acceptable level of achievement (typically an overall average of 60% on at least the taught component of the MRes).

Research proposal

Your research proposal should address a problem in your chosen discipline that can be pursued by the application of advanced quantitative techniques. Given the nature of the pathway, interdisciplinary approaches – which seek to address a question in one discipline by drawing on approaches and (quantitative) methods from different disciplinary perspectives – are very much welcome.

The proposal itself should include:

  • a brief review of relevant background literature (to contextualise the issue)
  • A core research question or theme
  • an outline of the possible methods that could be used to address this question

Wherever possible, you should try and match your research interests with those of a potential lead supervisor. View further guidance on developing your research proposal.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • A good first degree in a social science subject (or)
  • An equivalent degree in another subject, together with substantial relevant work experience

Underlying these conditions is a belief that students must bring a minimum combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience to the programme. Marginal cases are often dealt with at interview, and it is not uncommon for relatively inexperienced students to be asked to defer entry.

English requirements

  • IELTS 7.0 (with not less than 6.5 in each of the four components).
  • PTE Academic of 69 with no less than 62 in any component.

Financial information


You will find details of available University postgraduate research funding opportunities by checking the funding pages. We also welcome applications from candidates who are able to self-fund or who have funding from elsewhere.

Unique funding opportunities

This is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recognised programme, suitable for ESRC-funded 1+3 awards or subsequent +3 applications.

ESRC-funded students are able to claim (during their studies) for three additional allowances:

  • Overseas Fieldwork Allowance
  • Difficult Language Training
  • Overseas Institutional Visits

For more information on these allowances please see the ESRC Postgraduate Funding Guide. Please note that if you anticipate such activities you should outline the details in your application.

How to apply

Applications must be made online.

Two references are required for this programme (at least one of these should be an academic reference).


Tel: +44 (0)1225 385949