Quantitative Social Science

Pathway Leader:
Lorraine Dearden l.dearden@ucl.ac.uk

Team members:
Ruth Keogh Ruth.Keogh@lshtm.ac.uk


Pathway Institution Training Route 1+3 2+3 +3 +4
Quantitative Social Science UCL Quantitative Research Methods
LSHTM Longitudinal Analysis and Design


Both the Department of Social Science (DSS) at UCL IOE and the Department of Medical Statistics (DMS) at LSHTM have international reputations in applied quantitative and statistical methods for social sciences as well as health science data.

The QSS pathway offers two routes, Quantitative Research Methods, and Longitudinal Analysis and Design, which are based on provision within the current Bloomsbury DTC. As there, the first will be available in 1+3, +3 and +4 structures, with core training for the 1+3 and +4 options provided by the UCL IOE MSc in Quantitative Research Methods. The +4 structure will involve students taking the taught elements of the MSc without a dissertation, alongside the initial stages of their programme of doctoral research. The Longitudinal Analysis and Design route is only available as a +3 option due to the specifically medical orientation of the MSc in Medical Statistics.

DSS has a large group of researchers specialising in applying quantitative methods to large, complex datasets to inform policy on education, health, labour markets, the lifecourse and child/adult wellbeing (very broadly defined). Any topics in this broad area would be welcome. Staff have leading expertise in applied economics, sociology, psychology, epidemiology, social statistics, econometric and statistical modelling, and the techniques of policy evaluation. DSS hosts a number of research and resource centres. The Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS) is an ESRC Resource Centre managing three of Britain’s world renowned birth cohorts: the 1958 National Child Development Study, the 1970 British Cohort Study, and the Millennium Cohort Study as well as the Next Steps cohort. It also hosts the ESRC funded Cohorts and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources Programme (CLOSER), a collaboration between nine separate cohorts and longitudinal studies. DSS is also a partner in the ESRC funded Administrative Data Research Centre England (ADRCE) and also manages the collection and analysis of OECD’s TALIS and PISA surveys for England in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

At LSHTM, topics of expertise include missing data, longitudinal data, causal inference, and structural equation modelling. Staff make the major contribution to the Royal Statistical Society accredited MSc in Medical Statistics, which includes a broad quantitative methods core appropriate for both social and medical data. The MSc is part of the provision within the LSHTM/St Georges MRC DTP, but advanced quantitative courses from it will also be available to students on the QSS pathway. The Department is home to the Trials Coordination Group and the Centre for Statistical Methodology. DMS undertakes broad-based research in applied projects and in statistical methodology. Some of the key methodological work on missing data undertaken at LSHTM has used the cohort studies which are housed at UCL IOE in DSS.  Much of the Department’s research can be classified under four broad areas: statistical methodology, epidemiological statistics, clinical trials, and pharmaco-epidemiology.

Students in the QSS pathway will benefit from a stimulating research environment that offers a range of activities taking place in close geographical proximity. The pathway will draw on major strengths in methodology and application of quantitative methods, via collaboration of the QSS, CLOSER and CLS groups in the DSS at UCL IOE and the DMS at LSHTM. This expertise provides cutting-edge training, enabling students to address questions key to ESRC’s Research Challenges. Our student intake has a very broad range of prior quantitative skills. We recruit both students with only a modest base in statistics, thus playing a major training role in fields where such skills are in short supply in the social sciences (e.g. education and sociology), but at the same time cater for students with a strong maths or statistics background who wish to do social science or public health research, including on frontier methods.

Students are almost always supervised by quantitative experts who come from different disciplines, which allows them to develop a very broad understanding of quantitative methods across the social sciences and public health. This means that they have a wide range of career options once they complete their PhD and this is not necessarily restricted to the field of their undergraduate studies. Our most recently completed DTC student has just received a prestigious job offer from the London School of Economics and has had 3 PhD papers accepted/published in high ranking social science journals.

Both QSS pathway routes and all structures are available to part-time students.