We use cookies to ensure the best user experience and to serve tailored advertising. To learn more about our cookies and how to manage them, please visit our cookie policy

Close icon

Personalise what you see on this page.

Choose from the options below. We'll show you information based on your current location as default.


  • United States
Please select so we can show the most relevant content.


  • United States
Please select so we can show the most relevant content.


  • Undergraduate courses
Please select so we can show the most relevant content.
Viewing as a student from United States living in United States interested in Undergraduate courses

Course options

  • Qualification

    Postgraduate Certificate

  • Location

    Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

  • Study mode

    Part time

  • Start date


  • Duration

    20 weeks

Course summary

Learn how sociology can contribute to social change on the only degree of its kind in Scotland. Your studies will be driven by regular engagement with publics and by the close sharing of insights with your peers on the course. You’ll learn from public sociologists who have diverse community experience, and who are engaged with activism and innovative research.

This course will be particularly suitable if you are a sociology graduate looking to specialise in public sociology or someone engaged in community work, social welfare, public engagement or campaigns who wants to learn how sociological theory and research can meaningfully contribute to your work.

Why QMU?

Dialogue is at the heart of public sociology – a dialogue between sociology and the people and communities that are trying to make the world a better place. Learn from staff with a wide range of experience in community settings outside the university, including with young people, mental health, environmental campaigns, community education, gender justice and queer activism.

Course overview

Essentially, public sociology is about understanding society and how to bring about change. It actively brings sociology into dialogue with audiences beyond the classroom. By creating this active, open dialogue it aims to deepen both sides’ understanding of public issues.

Sociological knowledge theory, analysis and social practice are directly connected to the experiences of particular ‘publics’, normally understood as community groups, interest groups, campaigns or other civil society organisations. Public sociology is a discipline that speaks to, and for, udiences and communities beyond the parameters of the academic discipline and makes meaningful contributions to ongoing debates around public issues and concerns.

This course offers you the opportunity to engage with diverse public groups and to reflect critically on how sociology can contribute to work for social justice and change. You will study what is distinctive about public sociology and the methods of engagement and research of the discipline.

Public sociology is a contextual discipline responding to globalisation. The course draws on the experiences of public sociologists throughout the world and involves teaching by academics from a range of disciplines in which public sociology is relevant. Lecturers are engaged in research, education and activism with various public groups.


The course structure involves online lectures and seminars, self-directed study and, where feasible, seminars on campus for one day per week over 10 weeks. It is possible to complete this programme entirely online if desired.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will attend lectures and seminars, work in groups, as well as carry out independent learning. You will be expected to participate in discussions, collaboratively develop ideas and engage with experiential learning. It is particularly expected that you will be engaged with a ‘public’, either through personal experience, employment or voluntary commitment, to reflect on the sociological contribution to that work.


Graduates of public sociology will be suitably qualified for a range of careers involving public engagement in the public or third sector or in non-governmental organisations.

Exit awards

PgCert is the only exit award for this programme. Individual modules are available to be taken without award.

Tuition fees

Students living in United States
(international fees)

Information not available

Please check with the institution for most up to date details.

University information

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

  • University League Table


  • Campus address

    Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Queen Margaret University Drive, Musselburgh, Edinburgh, EH21 6UU, Scotland

Subject rankings

  • Subject ranking

    28th out of 102 6

  • Entry standards

    / Max 212
    130 66%


  • Graduate prospects

    / Max 100
    63 63%


  • Student satisfaction

    / Max 5
    4.26 85%



Suggested courses

University of Essex

PhD Sociology

University of Essex

Sociology league table

University of Kent

Applied Behaviour Analysis (Intellectual and Developmental Disability) - PCert, PDip, MSc

University of Kent

University league table


Is this page useful?

Yes No

Sorry about that...



Thanks for your feedback!