Q-Step is a £19.5 million programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science training in the UK. Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, ESRC and HEFCE, Q-Step was developed as a strategic response to the shortage of quantitatively-skilled social science graduates.
How does Q-Step operate?
Q-Step is funding fifteen universities across the UK to establish Q-Step Centres that will support the development and delivery of specialist undergraduate programmes, including new courses, work placements and pathways to postgraduate study.
With additional funding from the Nuffield Foundation, Q-Step Affiliate status has been awarded to groups of departments in a further three universities that demonstrate a high level of commitment to the aims of Q-Step.
What subjects are included?
Different Q-Step Centres are focusing on different disciplines but overall, Q-Step covers the breadth of the social sciences, excluding economics and experimental psychology as these disciplines do not show the systematic shortfall in quantitative skills, but including disciplines with less of a tradition for quantitative methodology such as social work, socio-legal studies, and social anthropology. Three Q-Step Centres are single discipline focused; the others cover a broad range of disciplines.
What new training are the Q-Step Centres offering?
Q-Step Centres are delivering new courses and modules and utilising datasets and datalabs to teach students, integrating the new quantitative training within the disciplines and substantive areas. They have developed new certificated courses including '3+1' courses - four year degree courses providing training equivalent to a combined Bachelors and Masters course - and sequences of courses leading to a new BSc or BA and/or 'badged qualification'. The majority of Q-Step Centres are establishing courses that provide links to Masters degrees.
The Q-Step Centres are also creating a broad range of summer schools, research placements and internships. Most of the Q-Step Centres will also be engaged in outreach work to schools to support teachers and/or encourage student recruitment.
Background and rationale
The detailed rationale for Q-Step and what it aims to do is set out in the Programme Background (PDF).