account arrow-down-linearrow-down-small arrow-downarrow-download arrow-left-small arrow-leftarrow-link arrow-rightarrow-upaudio-less-volume audio-not-playing audio-plus-volume audio awarded books calendar close-modal closedate document education emailevent Facebookhamburger impact instagramjustice linkedin location-outline location opinion page phonepinterestplay pluspost preview project reports search-bigsearch-old search share startime twitterwelfare youtube zoom-in zoom-out

Q-Step is a major strategic programme designed to promote a step-change in quantitative social science education and training in the UK.

Social science explains how society works and is the key to making sense of data.

For students


Q-Step funding is helping 17 universities across the UK to run Q-Step Centres that support the development and delivery of specialist undergraduate programmes.

This includes the creation of new courses, work placements, and pathways to postgraduate study with an emphasis on improving and growing undergraduates’ high-level quantitative skills.

Q-Step Centres deliver new forms of quantitative skills training that provide a deep and secure grasp of the quantitative research methods needed to evaluate evidence and analyse data. New courses include ‘3+1’ four-year degree programmes providing training equivalent to a combined Bachelors and Masters course – and sequences of courses leading to a BSc or BA. The majority of Q-Step Centres offer courses that provide links to Masters degrees.

Q-Step Centres also offer a broad range of summer schools, research placements and internships and most are engaged in outreach work with schools to support teachers and encourage student recruitment.

Why study a Q-step social science degree?


Social science is the scientific study of society and the ways in which we relate to one another. It helps explain how society works – from the causes of unemployment or what drives economic growth, to how and why people vote, or what makes people happy. Social scientists are influential because the work they do helps determine government policy and can change how we interact with the institutions and environments that influence our behaviour, such as the legal system, social services, our neighbourhoods, schools and universities.

During a Q-Step degree programme, you can learn how to:

  1. Design surveys and experiments, and how to analyse and interpret the data they generate.

  2. Analyse and interpret data from other sources, such as social media data, data collected by government departments and agencies, and data from longitudinal cohort studies.

  3. Evaluate the quality of other people’s data collection and analysis, as well as developing an understanding of what constitutes good – and bad! – evidence and how you can use it to make decisions.

  4. Plus, take part in work placements and apply your knowledge and skills in a professional environment. Q-Step students have completed placements in a range of organisations including Yougov, Office for National Statistics, Citizens Advice Bureau, HMI Probation and Ofstead.

Studying for a social science degree at a Q-Step Centre will enable you to ask important questions about society and give you the necessary skills to answer them. Why does life expectancy vary depending on where you live? Why do opinion polls sometimes get it wrong? Can we predict the next recession? Is the level of violent crime going up or down? Quantitative skills are highly desired by employees across all sectors and the skills you’ll learn during your Q-Step degree will equip you for a range of well-paid careers.

Q-Step career paths


Quantitative skills are interdisciplinary and transferable. With a Q-Step degree you could:

  • Pursue a career as a policy advisor or analyst in the public sector, in business or for a charity.

  • Work in market research for a professional services company, local government or a trade union.

  • Become an investigative or data journalist, an economist or statistician.

  • Undertake postgraduate study and become a researcher in your specialist area in a university, think tank, or the civil service.

  • Apply your skills in many different industries and services, such as healthcare, finance or education.

The Applied Quantitative Methods (AQM) pathway allows you to start a different conversation with employers – one about politics as an exciting, forward-thinking and data driven degree. As a student competing to get a job at a top agency, AQM has helped me stand out from other applicants. On my placement at Colchester Borough Council, I worked with huge datasets, learned a new programming language, and made an end product that I was proud of. The placement has helped me make decisions about what I want to do in life. James Potter, BA Politics, University of Essex

After completing his degree, James secured a job as a Marketing Executive for customer acquisition company, MVF Global.

For employers


Q-Step funding is helping 17 universities across the UK to run Q-Step Centres that support the development and delivery of specialist undergraduate programmes.

This includes the creation of new courses, work placements, and pathways to postgraduate study with an emphasis on improving and growing undergraduates’ high-level quantitative skills.

Q-Step Centres deliver new forms of quantitative skills training that provide a deep and secure grasp of the quantitative research methods needed to evaluate evidence and analyse data. New courses include ‘3+1’ four-year degree programmes providing training equivalent to a combined Bachelors and Masters course – and sequences of courses leading to a BSc or BA. The majority of Q-Step Centres offer courses that provide links to Masters degrees.

Q-Step Centres also offer a broad range of summer schools, research placements and internships and most are engaged in outreach work with schools to support teachers and encourage student recruitment.

Benefits to host organisations


Work placements give students the opportunity to use their training in quantitative research methodologies and contribute to a project with a significant data analysis component.

Most Q-Step degrees require students to undertake work placements, usually one day a week towards the end of their second year of study, or full-time over 4-8 weeks during the summer.

  1. Provide invaluable experience to students with strong quantitative research skills.

  2. Help develop talented students and offer graduate positions.

  3. Provide staff the opportunity to mentor a student and develop their management skills.

  4. Strengthen links with the higher education sector.

Working with Q-Step has given us access to strong students with good quantitative skills, who want to put these skills in practice. The Q-Step placement scheme is an excellent way that we can work together with social science students at the University of Leeds to undertake joint projects on important issues for the Yorkshire region. Mark Goldstone, Head of Business Representation and Policy, West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce

Provide a work placement


We are always looking for employers who are interested in providing work placements and if you would like to learn more, please submit the form below.

Q-Step

Your Details











Q-Step centres

Universities were selected to become Q-Step Centres through an open application process, with a panel of international peer reviewers and an independent selection board.

  • University of Bristol Q-Step Centre

    BSc / MSci Childhood Studies with Quantitative Research Methods (L522/L523)
    BSc / MSci Geography with Quantitative Research Methods (F802 / F804)
    BSc / MSci Politics with Quantitative Research Methods (L202 / L203)
    BSc / MSci Social Policy with Quantitative Research Methods (L402 / L403)
    BSc / MSci Sociology with Quantitative Research Methods (L302 / L303)

    Visit Bristol Q-Step Centre
  • Cardiff University Q-Step Centre

    BSc Social Analytics (J3G5)

    Visit Cardiff Q-Step Centre
  • City, University of London Q-Step Centre

    BSc Criminology with Quantitative Methods (4T82)
    BSc Sociology with Quantitative Methods (L300)
    BSc Criminology and Sociology with Quantitative Methods (L390)
    BSc Media, Communication and Sociology with Quantitative Methods (PL33)

    The with Quantitative Methods courses are available to students at the end of their first year of study.

    Visit London, City Q-Step Centre
  • University of Edinburgh Q-Step Centre

    MA (Hons) Government, Policy and Society with Quantitative Methods (L231)
    MA (Hons) International Relations with Quantitative Methods (2W3A)
    MA (Hons) Politics with Quantitative Methods (8M9D)
    MA (Hons) Social Policy with Quantitative Methods (4T6H)
    MA (Hons) Sociology with Quantitative Methods (5S9K)

    Visit Edinburgh Q-Step Centre
  • University of Essex Q-Step Centre

    BSc Accounting and Finance (Applied Quantitative Methods) (N420)
    BSc Banking and Finance (Applied Quantitative Methods) (N390)
    BSc Finance (Applied Quantitative Methods) (N300)
    BA International Relations (Applied Quantitative Methods) (L258)
    BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics (Applied Quantitative Methods) (L0V0)
    BA Politics (Applied Quantitative Methods) (L200)
    BA Sociology (Applied Quantitative Methods) (L300)
    BA Sociology and Criminology (Applied Quantitative Methods) (LM39)
    BA Sociology with Social Psychology (Applied Quantitative Methods) (CL83)

    The Applied Quantitative Methods (AQA) pathway is available for over 30 different degrees at the University of Essex.

    Visit Essex Q-Step Centre
  • University of Exeter Q-Step Centre

    BSc Politics and International Relations (L292)
    BSc Sociology with Applied Data Analysis (L303)
    BSc Criminology (M900)

    Visit Exeter Q-Step Centre
  • University of Glasgow Q-Step Centre

    MA (Social Sciences) Sociology with Quantitative Methods (L292/L293)
    MA (Social Sciences) Politics with Quantitative Methods (L302/L303)
    MA (Social Sciences) Social and Public Policy with Quantitative Methods (L430)
    MA (Social Sciences) Central and East European Studies with Quantitative Methods (RL84)
    MA (Social Sciences) Economic and Social History with Quantitative Methods (V300)

    The with Quantitative Methods courses are available to students at the end of their first year of study.

    Visit Glasgow Q-Step Centre
  • University of Kent Q-Step Centre

    BSc (Hons) Statistical Social Research (3+1 option) (L9G3)

    Visit Kent Q-Step Centre
  • University of Leeds Q-Step Centre

    BA Politics with Quantitative Methods (L200)
    BA Politics and Parliamentary Studies with Quantitative Methods (L242)
    BA International Relations with Quantitative Methods (L254)
    BA International Development with Quantitative Methods (L920)

    All programmes are offered as a four-year variant including either a study abroad year or a placement year between years two and four. The with Quantitative Methods courses are available to students at the end of their first year of study.

    Visit Leeds Q-Step Centre
  • Manchester Metropolitan University Q-Step Centre

    BSc Sociology with Quantitative Methods (S5Q7)
    BSc Criminology with Quantitative Methods (C268)
    BSc Criminology and Sociology with Quantitative Methods (C2S7)

    Visit Manchester Metropolitan Q-Step Centre
  • University of Manchester Q-Step Centre

    BA Sociology and Quantitative Methods (52L8)
    BA Politics and Quantitative Methods (P467)
    BA Criminology and Quantitative Methods (C856)
    BA Philosophy and Quantitative Methods (P567)
    BA Social Anthropology and Quantitative Methods (S456)

    Visit Manchester Q-Step Centre
  • University of Nottingham Q-Step Centre

    BA Criminology with Quantitative Methods
    BA Geography with Quantitative Methods
    BA Law with Quantitative Methods
    BA Politics and International Relations with Quantitative Methods
    BA Sociology with Quantitative Methods

    Visit Nottingham Q-Step Centre
  • University of Oxford Q-Step Centre

    BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics (L0V0)
    BA History and Politics (LV21)

    Revised curriculum in Politics contains a compulsory Quantitative Methods component.

    Visit Oxford Q-Step Centre
  • University of Sheffield Q-Step Centre

    BA Quantitative Social Sciences (L435)
    BA Applied Social Sciences (L431)
    BSc Applied Social Sciences (L305)
    MA Social Research

    Visit Sheffield Q-Step Centre
  • University of Southampton Q-Step Centre

    BSc Quantitative Social Sciences

  • Queen's University Belfast Q-Step Centre

    BA Sociology and Quantitative Research (L301)

    Visit Queen's Belfast Q-Step Centre
  • University College London Q-Step Centre

    BA Geography with Quantitative Methods (L700)
    BSc Philosophy, Politics and Economics (4V86)
    BSc Population Health (170C)
    BSc Social Sciences with Quantitative Methods (LG33)
    BA European Social and Political Studies (R990)

    Visit UCL Q-Step Centre
  • University of Warwick Q-Step Centre

    BA Sociology and Quantitative Methods (52L8)
    BA Politics, International Studies and Quantitative Methods (7L29)

    Visit Warwick Q-Step Centre

Commonly asked questions

  • What subjects are offered at Q-Step Centres?

    Q-Step degree programmes are available in:

    • Area studies
    • Criminology
    • Education
    • Environmental planning
    • Human geography and demography
    • International relations
    • Linguistics
    • Management and business studies
    • Political science
    • Population health
    • Social analytics
    • Social anthropology
    • Socio-legal studies
    • Social policy
    • Social sciences
    • Social work
    • Sociology

    Not all subjects are available at all Q-Step Centres.

  • How do I apply for a Q-Step degree?

    The application process for a Q-Step degree programme is through UCAS. A full list of all the Q-Step Centres and the degree programmes they are offering, and their UCAS codes can be found on the UCAS website. This information will also be available in each individual university prospectus and on their website.

  • What are the entry requirements for Q-Step degrees?

    Entry requirements for a Q-Step degree vary according to the subject and Q-Step Centre. Our Q-Step Centres page includes a link to each university’s website where you can find detailed entry requirements and a Q-Step prospectus showing all the available courses.

  • How long does a Q-Step degree take?

    Like most undergraduate degree programmes, the majority of Q-Step degrees are three years. The exceptions are those offered by the Universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, which are four years (like all undergraduate degrees offered by Scottish universities).

  • Do I need to be studying a social science subject at A or AS level (or equivalent) to apply for a Q-Step degree?

    No. You don’t need to be studying a social science subject at A or AS level (or equivalent) to apply for a Q-Step degree course.

  • Do I need to be studying maths to apply for a Q-Step degree?

    All Q-step Centres encourage applications from students who enjoy maths and other science and technology subjects, but only the University of Edinburgh Q-Step Centre requires applicants to have A or AS level or Scottish Higher maths (or equivalent). If you can understand a percentage or a proportion, and make sense of a simple graph, you have the skills you need to start.

    In common with studying most subjects at degree level, you will usually need to have at least a grade C in GCSE maths (or the equivalent for other qualifications). The GCSE/National 5 or Standard Grade level required may vary between Q-Step Centres, so check the entry requirements on the relevant website.

  • I’m studying advanced maths – will a Q-Step degree enable me to use and develop my maths skills?

    Yes, it will. The quantitative element of Q-Step courses is different to learning maths at school or college, but you will use and develop some of the same skills in order to apply your knowledge in a practical context. For example, you’ll use numbers to develop logical, consistent rules for evaluating evidence in your chosen field of study.

    If you enjoy maths and want to continue to develop and apply your quantitative skills, then Q-Step offers the perfect opportunity to do that in a social science context. It’s also a good option to consider if you want to continue using maths in a less abstract way than at A level (or equivalent). Similarly, if you are studying science and technology subjects and enjoy designing experiments and working with numbers, then a Q-Step degree programme will have a lot to offer you.

  • What are Q-Step work placements?

    Q-Step work placements give undergraduate social science students who have been trained in quantitative research methodology the opportunity to apply their data analysis skills in the workplace.

  • When do the Q-Step work placements happen?

    The placements normally happen towards the end of the second year of the students’ degree programme – sometimes on a day per week basis during term time, sometimes on a fulltime basis during the summer. The duration of the placements may vary between four and eight weeks (or their daily equivalent).

  • Who organises Q-Step work placements?

    The students are studying at one of seventeen UK universities that are being funded by the Q-Step Programme to enhance quantitative skills training within their social science undergraduate degrees. Each university has established a Q-Step Centre to coordinate this work. Arrangements for the work placements would be on a partnership basis between the employer and the Q-Step Centre and may vary from university to university.

  • What do Q-Step work placements offer students?

    The placement would offer the student the opportunity to gain experience of a workplace that utilises data management and analysis and to undertake a discrete piece of social research that they might then build on for a quantitative research dissertation. The placement enables the student to see for themselves how quantitative analysis is used professionally, and this experience will inform their career choices.

  • What do Q-Step work placement offer host employers?

    Host employers benefit from the additional skills and resources that the students bring and the development opportunities for their staff to mentor a student. Placements give employers the opportunity to shape students’ learning and may lead to future employment or greater involvement with the university. This could include helping to develop the taught curriculum (so it better reflects the needs of employers) or in a strategic capacity (for example, as part of the Programme steering group at a university).

  • What kinds of project could the Q-Step work placement cover?

    The project should be self-contained or be a self-contained element of a larger project. It must contribute to the work of the host employer and have a clear data analysis component.

  • What supervision or management is required by the host employer?

    The placement students will not be experts – the host employer will need to have some experience of doing the kind of analysis work asked of the student and be prepared to provide mentorship. Some Q-Step Centres may provide technical support and assistance to students on placement, but this would need be agreed in advance.

  • Does the host employer have to pay the student?

    Yes and no…

    If a student is undertaking a placement as part of the credit-bearing element of their degree programme, then it is not a requirement to include a salary for this period, although project hosts may wish to do so (or to cover out of pocket expenses).

    If the placements are internships or summer vacation activities, then it is an expectation that students are remunerated at the appropriate Living Wage rate at least. Some of the Q-Step Centres offer bursaries to their students for work placements, covering part or all living cost, in other cases the placement host meets some or all of the associated costs.

  • What are the health and safety obligations for employers?

    Insurance and health and safety issues are made under the partnership arrangements between the host employer and the Q-Step Centres.

  • What’s the process for applying to provide a Q-Step placement?

    If you are interested in offering a work placement, or have any other questions about placements, then please submit this form in the employers information sectionabove and we can put you in touch with the most appropriate Q-Step Centre who will contact you to explore the possibility further.

Profile