QMU launches Britain’s only master’s course in public sociology
A new master’s level course, which aims to improve understanding of the issues affecting society is being launched at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Believed to be the first master’s level course in public sociology, the new MSc Public Sociology will equip students with the knowledge to challenge decision makers and affect positive change across different population groups.
The new course aims to attract people working in a range of areas of public concern, such as the care system, environmental policy, refugee integration, violence against women or different areas of social justice who wish to help improve the lives of people in these key groups, and contribute positively to society as a whole. It is also aimed at sociology graduates who are looking to specialise in public sociology, as well as people engaged in community work, social welfare, public engagement or campaigns, who want to learn how sociological theory and research can contribute to their work.
Dr Eurig Scandrett, Programme Leader for the MSc Public Sociology, has an impressive background in community work, environmental activism, trade union representation and international solidarity. His work has also taken him overseas where, for example, he has campaigned for justice with those affected by the Bhopal gas disaster, which took place in India in 1984. He explained: “Students come with issues they are concerned with and ‘publics’ with whom they are working – or hope to work with. This course will encourage them to draw on the resources of sociology in order to study how to research and interpret social change alongside the public.”
Tackling the barriers faced by young people leaving the care system; advocating for the rights of Roma people in Eastern Europe; women’s campaigns against gender-based violence; re-building community in post-industrial Scotland; and working for a pollution-free and socially just environment are all areas which are likely to be looked at as part of the MSc Public Sociology.
Dr Scandrett continued: “Sociology is not much use to the public if it stays in the text books. Public sociology is all about a dialogue between sociologists and people who are facing barriers and looking how to organise to challenge them. As a community worker and activist, I have found the resources of sociology enormously helpful in trying to work out how to work for social justice. My colleagues all bring diverse experiences and make sociology work in many different contexts. We’ll be able to share some of this experience with students through QMU’s new MSc Public Sociology.”
The new MSc builds on Queen Margaret University’s undergraduate degree in Public Sociology launched in 2014.
Dr Richard Butt, Deputy Principal at Queen Margaret University, said: “QMU is committed to social justice, recognising equality and diversity in all that we do. Equipping students with the skills and knowledge to affect public action for the betterment of society is an excellent fit with QMU’s mission to improve people’s lives locally, nationally and internationally.”