Why QMU?

QMU has a long-standing track record of delivering postgraduate courses in the area of social justice, critical pedagogies and with partnering with social movements and activist communities. We are particularly well suited to providing education and research in public sociology at QMU because our vision and values as an institution emphasise the importance of social justice.

Our innovative PgCert Public Sociology is about understanding society and how to bring about change. This course is aimed at sociology graduates who are looking to specialise in public sociology as well as people engaged in community work, social welfare, public engagement or campaigns who would like to learn how sociological theory and research can meaningfully contribute to their work. The course draws on our academics’ extensive work with NGOs, and with humanitarian and community groups, in the UK and overseas.
Our course is highly professionally relevant. We use guest speakers, external consultants and experienced professionals alongside research-active academics to ensure our content is context-driven and practice-orientated. Our philosophy as an institution emphasises student support and our relatively small size means that we can develop strong working relationships with all our students.

Our new MSc Mad Studies is the first of its kind internationally. It has been designed in partnership with CAPS Independent Advocacy, Thrive Edinburgh and academics at (QMU) from Occupational Therapy and Public Sociology.
Mad Studies is an emerging academic discipline that explores the global knowledge that has emerged from the mad movement. This body of knowledge includes the exploration of the dominant understandings of madness. It examines individual and collective experiences of madness. It offers a critique of the mental health service landscape and the cultural and socio political responses experienced by the mad community. It evaluates activist responses and the creation of mad knowledge and action.

What is central to the philosophy of this MSc Mad Studies course is the importance of the mad community critiquing the dominant discourses on madness by creating its own discourses, spaces, partnerships, alternatives and organisations. At its analytic core Mad Studies should have mad people, mad issues and mad culture. Your studies will be driven by regular engagement with activists and educators from the mad community and the close sharing of insights with your peers on the course. You’ll learn from academics and activists who have diverse community experience, and who are engaged with critical education, activism and innovative research.


Our staff are deeply involved in research, ensuring that course content is up to date. You will be taught by active researchers in their own right, some of whom have recently completed their doctoral studies and others who are publishing in mainstream academic journals. Such engagement is key to the relevance of our courses, and helps equip staff and students with the background to make intelligent decisions about their future. You will also have contact with our growing number of PhD students, and the students who choose further study at master’s or doctoral level are able to develop these interests further.

The Mad Studies team are involved in critical research that partners with communities of people with lived experience of mental distress. You will be taught by researchers committed to survivor led research many of whom have been engaged in doctoral studies with communities of people within the mad movement. You will be connected to and supervised by a team who are contributing to the growing body of academic and community focussed Mad Studies publications.


The PgCert Public Sociology is particularly geared toward supporting work that involves public engagement and understanding society. Graduates will be suitably qualified for a range of careers in the public or third sector or in non-governmental organisations, and the course is also suitable for continuing professional development for staff in such organisations.

Our approach to teaching and learning

Our courses are designed to enable students who are full-time professionals to study on a part-time basis. The PgCert Public Sociology and MSc Mad Studies can be studied full-time or part-time.

Mad Studies has four scholarship places designed to engage people who are unemployed, on low income or working full or part time within the public or third sector organisations.

There is a blended learning approach that will involve you engaging in online modules and campus based sessions. You will be expected to participate in discussions, collaboratively develop ideas and engage with experiential learning. Both courses offer a unique critical dialogical space to share and expand your knowledge, skills, practice and actions with public sociology, activists and the mad community.