Social Research Methods and Statistics at Manchester: My experience so far

by | Apr 16, 2021 | Postgraduate, Sociology, Social Anthropology and Social Statistics | 0 comments

MSc Social Research Methods and Statistics student, Jack Bailey, shares his experience of studying at The University of Manchester.

Deciding on a master’s in Manchester

When I left university I lived in a few different cities, including London. I had some friends who lived in Manchester and enjoyed visiting them so much that I decided to move. The city is large and busy, but also liveable and affordable, which was a nice surprise after leaving London.

Having worked in higher education, I was used to being surrounded by people doing interesting research. Although I would have liked to have taken part, I lacked the necessary analytical skills. I knew from colleagues that the University had a strong reputation and the course seemed ideal as it would allow me to undertake a PhD or a research career outside of higher education.

The best things about my degree

There are two great things about the degree. First, its breadth. Staff members and students have a wide range of interests from across the social sciences that are fascinating and inspiring. Second, the people. Both the staff and my fellow students are some of the smartest I know and also some of the most open and generous with their time. Everyone supports each other and this contributes to an informal atmosphere that makes learning much easier.

Personal highlights

I’ve enjoyed all of the units that I have taken so far. Introduction to Statistical Modelling, however, stands out. The unit was taught in a very intuitive way that built everything up from first principles and, most importantly, was a lot of fun. The examples were also interesting and provided a good idea of the complications you face using real-world data.

Non-degree university life

A tram arriving at a tram stop in central ManchesterOther than bar and restaurant hopping, I like to learn languages. Manchester is an international city, so there are a lot of different people who you can speak to. The University has many societies and the Language Centre offers courses in many different languages. Manchester also has an Alliance Française and an Instituto Cervantes where you can take part in activities while learning French or Spanish too.

Future plans

I’d like to do a PhD in the future, so need hard analytical skills. The amount I have learnt in the past few months is incredible and the course has exposed me to useful research techniques that I didn’t even know were possible, without getting bogged down in formulae or jargon. Being able to pick course units that suited my interests (and audit any extra ones I fancied) was welcome and allowed me to adapt the course to fit my needs.

My advice to applicants

Manchester is a great city and you’ll love it here. In short, it’s vibrant but liveable, and the University is excellent and welcoming.