Advanced Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences (AQM)

What is it?

The AQM pathway offers +3 and 1+3 postgraduate research training in the application of advanced quantitative methods in the social sciences and health. The ESRC has designated AQM as a priority area, and the purpose of the pathway is to provide training and supervision that emphasizes quantitative methods to a higher level than is usually offered. Training includes a structured programme of core AQM courses and a fortnightly research and reading group.


Who is it for?

The AQM pathway is for computational social scientists who wish to further develop their advanced quantitative skills and apply these methods appropriately to answer particular substantive questions from their disciplines. This group includes social scientists interested in inter-disciplinary research involving the application of quantitative methods from one discipline (e.g. geography) to problems in another (e.g. economics).

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

Applications are welcome from those with backgrounds in social sciences with some training in quantitative methods, statistics or other related disciplines


What are the prerequisites?

AQM is offered as an ESRC 1+3 and +3 pathway. For +3, applicants should have masters level training in a social science discipline, public health or statistics As students will have followed different disciplinary pathways in their masters years of doctoral training, the only prerequisite for AQM is a familiarity with intermediate-level quantitative techniques. For 1+3, the students will be required to demonstrate that their undergraduate course contained a substantial quantitative element (nominally 60 credit points, 30 European Credit Transfers) and that their dissertation included the use of quantitative methods.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they are familiar with multiple regression. Students will be selected on the basis of performance in previous quantitative methods courses (e.g. at undergraduate and masters levels). Students will have to provide a reference letter from a tutor who can assess their quantitative skills. It is also important that students have a solid grounding in the substantive discipline to which they wish to apply advanced quantitative methods. It is expected that this will be provided by the masters ‘+1’ phase of their postgraduate training.


When would it start?

Students will be expected to start September/October annually.


How many studentships are there?

PhD studentships will be awarded each year on a competitive basis from a pool of 45 SWDTP studentships across the five universities.


How do I apply?

  • Work out your substantive research topic and consider what computational methods you might need to utilise and/or develop to address your research questions.
  • Contact the pathway lead at your preferred host University with a brief description of your proposed topic (no more than 1 page) to discuss your research ideas.
  • Dr Samantha Curle, University of Bath,, Dr Emmanouil Tranos, University of Bristol, or Professor Susan Banducci, University of Exeter, until 31 December and Dr Nitzan Peri-Rotem, University of Exeter, for 2022
  • Go through the different university webpages (University of Bath, University of Bristol, Exeter University) to identify a potential supervisor. Students applying for ESRC funded studentships are encouraged to speak to their chosen school/college prior to application in order to discuss their research ideas with a suitable supervisor.
  • It is the student responsibility to identify and get in touch with potential supervisors.
  • Write a 1300 word proposal.
  • Students are encouraged to look at ways of incorporating collaboration with external partners into their research proposal. Collaboration does not always have to be a financial arrangement and could take the form of a placement, voluntary work, data sharing or other payment in kind opportunities. Students considering overseas fieldwork, overseas institutional visits or difficult language training should also mention this in their application.
  • Submit your proposal to your host University using their online application form.

Some notes on completing the application form for the AQM pathway:

  • In the Personal statement section make it clear that you wish to apply for the AQM in Social Sciences pathway.
  • In your Personal statement, it is important that you give full details of your previous training in quantitative methods/statistics to justify your suitability for this pathway.
  • Your 1300-word proposal should be uploaded in the Research statement section.
  • All applicants are required to provide two references: one of your referees must be qualified to comment on your training and experience in quantitative methods.
  • Please see the Admissions Statement & FAQs 2022 Entry for further information about the proposal and collaboration.




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