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Postgraduate short course in Narrative Research

Course overview

Start date

September 2021

Subject area

Sociology and Social Policy




Distance Learning

Course summary

Human beings are great storytellers, making sense of their experiences by constructing narratives to help them analyse the things which have happened to them or to the world around them. 

Narrative research offers new areas of inquiry and creative solutions to problems in a wide variety of areas.

The University of East London has been a pioneer in the subject, establishing its prestigious international Centre for Narrative Research in 2000. It continues to attract leading academics and researchers from around the world. 

We understand that it is not always possible to make it on to campus to study. Many of our students live overseas, while others have family and work commitments to balance.

So, flexible learning is a key to this course. You will have the option of studying by distance learning. But, if you can, you are also welcome to attend our on-campus sessions. 

Return to campus: dual delivery

In a Covid-secure environment, enjoy learning on our state-of-the-art campuses and flex between online delivery

Find out more

Pioneers In Narrative Research

University of East London is the only social science institution in the UK with a general narrative focus and has built up a strong international reputation in this area.

A Unique Course

The University provides a rare opportunity to study narrative research by distance learning and the course includes a unique module in Narrative Force.

Academics that are highly respected internationally

Your learning will be guided by an academic team who are well known and highly respected internationally. They are part of a prestigious Centre for Narrative Research, established 15 years ago, which serves as a meeting point for researchers from around the world.


What we're researching

Our research interests are clustered around five vibrant research centres and groups, including The Centre for Narrative Research - the leading international centre for narrative work in the social sciences.

Centre co-director Professor Molly Andrews recently completed a project, The Unbuilding of East Germany: Excavating Biography and History, which was at the centre of the 25th anniversary commemoration of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Fellow co-director Professor Maria Tamboukou is involved in writing feminist genealogies which currently focus on women’s work and, in particular, conditions for women working in the garment industry.

As we’re located in the Olympic borough of Newham, it’s only natural that we’re taking lead on local issues. Dr Penny Bernstock has recently written a book on the housing legacy of the London 2012 Games. She’s also published extensively on housing and urban regeneration in east London.

Much of our research has attracted international interest in areas such as housing and urban studies, political narratives, gender studies and post-structural theories, racism and the work on terror, multiculturalism and the Holocaust, poverty and the media, nationalism and religion, crime and prevention, young people and urban identities.

Our research interests are clustered around five vibrant research centres and groups, including The Centre for Narrative Research - the leading international centre for narrative work in the social sciences.

Racism is a key research topic. Dr Helen Kim is conducting research on racism in London nightclubs while Syd Jeffers has worked on racism and policy for government bodies such as the Home Office.

Professor Gargi Bhattacharyya takes an international perspective, researching racism in relation to the War on Terror. Bob Cannon’s research interests include modernity, the Holocaust, race, multiculturalism and social justice.

Dr Tracey Jensen is exploring the current fascination with poverty in reality TV shows, while Dr Eric Taylor Woods is researching nationalism and religion.

Alice Sampson is a criminologist who specialises in community-based research on violent crime and prevention. She has conducted research on domestic violence, youth criminality and armed violence in the UK and Brazil.

Making a difference

UEL is one of the UK’s leading modern research universities. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF), 17 per cent of our overall research submission was classified as ‘world-leading’ for its quality and impact – almost double our previous REF score. A further 45 per cent of our work was considered ‘internationally excellent’.

How you'll learn

The learning materials for this course are detailed and activity-based to encourage you to engage actively with concepts, theories and techniques. We will provide you with key reading texts, while the learning material provides links to electronic journals and websites. 

Online support is available through two platforms: UEL Direct and UEL Plus. 
UEL Direct provides access to online services, enabling you to manage your account and view your assessment feedback and results online. It also provides general course information and some support material tailored to the needs of distance learners.  

UEL Plus, the platform used for the delivery of the course, provides the academic content for each module and facilitates online discussions between learners and UEL staff. It also helps you download course material. 

Sometimes we use Skype for tutorials and we encourage our students to interact with each other on their ideas and learning. This is part of a flexible approach to all of your learning. 

Our academic team are actively involved in both international narrative research projects and in producing publications on the latest developments in practice across a variety of areas. 

They have also written respected text books on narrative research. So you will have access to academics who are experts in both the practical and theoretic approaches to the subject.

Kathleen Wells PhD

Narrative Research Graduate Emerita Professor of Social Work, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland,

I registered for this online Narrative Research course, though I worried that mastery of the subject matter required actual and not virtual interaction. I was wrong. The online course was a terrific learning experience, and it helped me to launch a new research project and to complete a book on narrative.

Fees and funding

Below are some ideas on how to fund your postgraduate study:
There are a number of ways you can pay your fees to UEL
•    Online payment facilities
•    By telephone
•    In person at our Docklands or Stratford campus
•    Bank transfer
Full information on making payments can be found here
If you wish to discuss payments to the University, please contact our Income Team on 020 8223 2974 or you can email

The Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) are here to help you navigate
your finances while you're a student at the University of East London.

We can give you advice, information and guidance on government and
university funds so that you receive your full funding entitlement.


Phone: 020 8223 4444

Tuition fees

per 30 credit module

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals starting a course in September 2021, will no longer be eligible for Home fees. However, such nationals benefitting from Settled Status or Citizens' Rights may become eligible for Home fees as and when the UK Government confirms any new fees regulations. Further information can be found at UKCISA

Tuition fees are subject to annual change. Fees for future years will be published in due course.
Deposits and paying by instalments

International students are required to pay a deposit prior to being issued a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

Your remaining balance will be paid in five monthly instalments over your first term. The first of these instalments must be paid when completing your enrolment on arrival at UEL. Please follow the payment instructions here.

After the required payment has been made, you will be asked to complete the online International Student Reply Form to confirm your acceptance of our offer and of our terms of admittance and fees policy.

Our International team at UEL are available for advice and guidance on studying in London, fees, scholarships and visa requirements.


Tuition fees

per 30 credit module

EU, EEA and Swiss Nationals starting a course in September 2021, will no longer be eligible for Home fees. However, such nationals benefitting from Settled Status or Citizens' Rights may become eligible for Home fees as and when the UK Government confirms any new fees regulations. Further information can be found at UKCISA

Tuition fees are subject to annual change. Fees for future years will be published in due course.

Entry requirements

Minimum 2.2 Honours in a Relevant Subject
We would normally expect you to have Grade 4 / C in GCSE English and Maths. All suitable applicants are required to attend an interview.


(Including European Union)


Other subject areas may also be considered. Applicants who are not graduates but who have relevant research or professional experience may also be considered. 

All applicants with appropriate qualifications will be invited for an interview. In lieu of the interview, overseas students may be asked to supply detailed written evidence of their interest in Narrative Research, together with evidence of research or writing or other work of a standard sufficient for successful postgraduate study.

Overall IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in Writing, Speaking, Reading and Listening (or recognised equivalent).

If you do not meet the academic English language requirements for your course, you may be eligible to enrol onto a pre-sessional English programme. The length of the course will depend on your current level of English and the requirements for your degree programme. We offer a 5-week and an 11-week pre-sessional course.

As an inclusive university, we recognise that applicants who have been out of education for some time may not have the formal qualifications usually required for entry to a course. We welcome applications from those who can demonstrate their enthusiasm and commitment to study and have the relevant life/work experience that equips them to succeed on the course. We will assess this from the information provided in your application – in particular your personal statement - to help us decide on your eligibility for the course.

Please note that some courses require applicants to meet the entry requirements outlined on the course page. Our pre-entry Information Advice and Guidance Team are able to provide further advice on entry requirements and suitability for study.
You can speak to a member of our Applicant Enquiries team on +44 (0)20 8223 3333, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. Alternatively, you can visit our Information, Advice and Guidance centre.

What you'll learn

The course consists of two core 30-credit master’s-level modules in Narrative Research and Narrative Force – how a story can sometimes have a force or dynamic of its own. 

Through a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives, it addresses key questions which will give you the skills to make decisions about how to conduct narrative research to produce the most meaningful results possible. These questions include:

How do people come to see themselves as distinct subjects about whom a story can be told? What role do memory and ideology play in people’s accounts of their lives?

How do class, ethnicity, gender and other social characteristics shape the stories people tell? How does culture intervene in the way narratives are produced? 

How do we decide on a research question in narrative analysis? What are the advantages and disadvantages of different modes of narrative inquiry and analysis? 

What are the possibilities and limitations of narrative research for drawing conclusions of theoretical and practical significance?

What you'll study and when

We consistently review our courses to ensure we are up-to-date with industry changes and requirements from our graduates. As a result, our modules are subject to change.

Narrative Research (core) 

How you'll be assessed

We assess you by your coursework, totalling around 6,000 words.

Your future career

Our distance learning students are based all over the world – from Canada and New Zealand to Sweden and other parts of the UK – and their career paths go in many different directions. 

Some are looking to use narrative research in their current jobs, returning to work with a completely new set of skills which will allow them to apply for more challenging roles within their organisation. 

Others are PhD students or researchers intending to use narrative research in their work and adopt a more creative approach to their current role or research. 

We have wide experience of teaching students from health services or organisations, especially the National Health Service in the UK. Our courses have also attracted people working in variety of industries from the media to public sector bodies and local authorities. 

Using and applying narratives is an expanding area for careers, especially in fields such as academic social science and cultural studies, applied social policy and in the computer industry. 

By working with some of the most experienced narrative research experts in the world – especially through the Centre for Narrative Research – you will finish the course with the knowledge and connections to help you in your current role and open up new career opportunities.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal

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Meet us in your country

Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London.

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