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Digital Society


School - School of Health and Society

Subject area - Sociology and Criminology

Start Date(s): September


MSc: one year full-time or two years part-time

Fees 2018-19:

2019-20 fees will be displayed shortly.

Part-time - £1,296 per 30 credit module (Home/EU), £2,385 per 30 credit module (International)

UK - £7,776

International - £14,310

In Brief:

  • You will develop knowledge and skills to perform very effectively in roles across the digital sector
  • You will benefit from our excellent links with the digital industries
  • You will be taught by an experienced team of academics and practitioners with a strong trajectory in research and teaching in digital society
  • Part-time study option
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

This course will take a sociologically informed approach to critically examine how digital hardware, software and data are shaping our social institutions, social relations, culture and everyday life.

The course will provide you with the knowledge and skills to be able to critically analyse and creatively respond to a world that has undergone and is still undergoing digital transformation.

We will draw on our universities specialist expertise in Internet studies, digital audiences and publics, digital culture and digital research methods to provide you with the theoretical and methodological skills needed to enable you to analyse and address key issues of a digital society.

For example, you will learn about big data, the future of privacy, digital research methods, the ethics of data collection in everyday life, the impact of mobile and digital technology on leisure and work, platform politics and governance, app cultures and algorithmic cultures.

You will also have the opportunity to undertake a digital project, either via a work placement or dissertation and you will learn how to share digital sociological research with broader communities and publics.

You will gain highly valuable skills in digital research, digital communication, digital engagement, digital evaluation and project management.

Course Details

The modules on our Digital Society master's are designed to provide you with a systematic knowledge and a sociological understanding of how digital technologies shape - and are shaped by - social institutions, social relations, culture and everyday life.

You will critically engage with important issues and debates emerging from the rapidly growing field of studies into digital society, and learn the necessary skills for conducting your own innovative research.

You will benefit from a combination of traditional lectures and interactive seminars, as well as task-based creative learning to develop your critical understanding through group work, practical activities, case studies, peer and professional review, presentations, practical activities, and discussion and debate with peers and experts from industry

Your teaching will be delivered by research-active scholars engaging in cutting-edge work around digital society. Guest speakers from academia and industry will also provide you with a range of insights into key issues and real-world applications in the digital sector and other sectors where the digital plays a key role.

Course Structure

Our MSc in Digital Society introduces you to a wide range of topics and skills covered in our core modules, while also providing you options to pursue key issues in the fields of digital psychology and digital criminology. You will also benefit from guest lectures delivered by academic and industry experts.

Full Time

You will study three core modules of 30 credits each, a dissertation/ work placement (60 credits) and one optional module.

Core Modules

On this module you will gain a critical understanding of current and emerging approaches, concepts and issues in the digital. You will become acquainted with contemporary debates and key texts in the fields of digital sociology, technology studies and Internet and social media research. This includes learning topics such as: the ethics of big data; the digitalisation of everyday life; algorithmic culture; how digital technologies are implicated in ongoing social inequalities; and digital surveillance and control.

On this module you will critically examine the ways in which publics and audiences are shaped by contemporary digital life, including the following topics: the emergence of virtual communities and elective belonging; how social movements and politics have been transformed by digital media; how computer games are implicated in the rise of digital publics; participatory publics and creative cultures; and the role of algorithms in configuring and mediating digital publics and audiences.        

This module will provide you with the opportunity to engage with digital methods. You will be introduced to the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of digital methods. You will explore how digital methods can be combined with more traditional research methods in order to develop critical understandings of society, through and with a range of digital devices and platforms. Topics include big data methods; digital visual methods; app studies; the ethics of digital methods; and contemporary debates in digital research methods.
You will complete a dissertation project or digital work placement that will allow you to research or practically investigate a key issue in digital society.

Optional Modules (Choice of One)      

This module presents you with the opportunity to review and critically evaluate the research literature on digital processes in criminal justice, with particular reference to recent scholarship. You will critically assess the achievements and limitations of digitally-based procedures in criminal justice, and critically consider the role of digital information in decision making in the criminal justice system. Topics include cyber-crime and cyber-security; policing and digital technologies; digital forensics; the digital courtroom; the impact of digitising justice; and human rights and digital justice.
This module will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of the psychological factors that contribute towards usable, accessible and inclusive design in technology use across different audiences. You will learn how to critically evaluate the current research and methodological approaches to understanding human computer interaction. Topics include: issues in usability and user experience; applying research to design; immersive environments; technology and emotions; relationships to technology; and theoretical approaches to human computer interaction.

Entry Requirements

A minimum requirement of a Bachelor degree with a second class honours, or equivalent awarded by a UK higher education institution, or a comparable qualification from a recognised overseas education institution.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Suitable For

Our Digital Society master’s would be suitable for students who are looking to further their understanding of digital industries and develop their research skills.

Fees 2019-20

Fees for entry in 2019 will be displayed shortly.

Fees 2018-19

Type of StudyFee
Part-time£1,296 per 30 credit module (Home/EU), £2,385 per 30 credit module (International)
Full-time International£14,310

Scholarships and Bursaries

For more information please see our funding section.


Teaching on the course is delivered via:

  • Lectures, which provide theoretical and methodological perspectives and knowledge
  • Guest lectures, where speakers from academia and industry will provide you with a range of insights into key issues and real-world applications in sectors where the digital plays a key role
  • Seminars & practical workshops, where you will deepen your knowledge and develop a critical understanding through group work, practical activities, case studies, peer and professional review, presentations, practical activities, and discussion and debate with peers and experts from industry.
  • Tutorials, where you will have the opportunity to gain one-to-one feedback and support.

Independent learning, providing you with the opportunities and facilities to develop your skills in independent reading, autonomous research and practice, and private study, crucial practices in developing your critical skills, initiative, and responsibility in your continuing professional development


Your assessment on this course will comprise of:

  • Digital essays, which will allow you to combine modes of digital expression, such as mixed text and images, hyperlinks, videos, and audio files.
  • Portfolios, which include a combination of reflective diaries, academic or industry style reports, presentations (to a range of audiences and in different formats), research and digital data analysis exercises, group projects, writing blogs, and research proposals.

A dissertation, or work placement, or a work-based project based on an authentic assignment brief.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Professor Ben Light

Module leader for Digital Research Methods:

Ben’s research interests are principally concerned with every day (non-) consumption practices associated with the digital, but also include digital gender and sexuality, digital methods, and digital engagement/ evaluation.

Publications include:

  • Light, B. (2014). Disconnecting with Social Networking Sites. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.
    Light, B., Burgess, J. and Duguay, S. (2016). The walkthrough method: An approach to the study of apps. New Media and Society (Online First:
  • Light, B., Bagnall, G., Crawford, G. and Gosling, V. (2016). The Material Role of Digital Media in Connecting With, Within, and Beyond Museums. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies (Online First:
  • Light, B. (2016). The rise of speculative devices: Hooking up with the bots of Ashley Madison. First Monday, 21(6).

To find out more about Ben's work, please see the links provided below: 


Our Digital Society master’s is designed to enhance specialist knowledge and methodological expertise of relevance to professionals working in digital industries, to students interested in digital humanities, and those wishing to progress to a research degree in these fields.

Employability is an important part of our Digital Society master's programme. Teaching across the programme incorporates links with the digital industries, through employer engagement via guest lectures, masterclasses, work placements and industry projects.

You will gain highly valuable skills in digital research, digital communication, digital engagement, digital evaluation and project management.

Career Prospects

You will have the opportunity to develop working relationships with leading scholars in the fields of digital sociology, criminology, and psychology if you choose to undertake a dissertation. Alternatively, you can gain workplace experience and enhance your digital practice as well as your knowledge and understanding of digital issues by undertaking a work placement or project.

The Digital Society master's offers you the opportunity to undertake a work placement or do a ‘live authentic’ digital project in your current place of employment. The placement or the project will develop your professional practice, enhance your employability, and/or contribute to your continuing professional development.

Further Study

You may choose to pursue further study as part of the thriving research community here at the University of Salford. For example, within the interdisciplinary Digital Cluster:

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