Award Type and NFQ level : POSTGRADUATE DIPLOMA (9)

CAO/PAC code : MHY42

CAO Points :

Closing Date : 30 June 2022

View FETAC details

The Postgraduate Diploma Sociology (Digital Societies) is new in 2022 and introduces students to the latest theories and research to understand contemporary digital societies.

It is no longer possible to talk about offline and online social life as if they were separate domains, they are increasingly enmeshed in all areas of our lives, from education and work to leisure and politics. The focus of this postgraduate diploma course is on the digital in all its manifestations, from digital media to embedded digital technologies in our homes, cities, health care and personal lives.

While issues of access to digital networks remain for many, social science research has identified a range of emerging digital inequalities that also need to be tackled. We are witnessing new forms of digital and data inequalities, issues related to online safety, and issues related to information quality and disinformation. These digital inequalities are marked by gender, race, ethnicity and class. They are marked by new patterns of inclusion and exclusion with implications for how societies evolve. The digital also offers new possibilities for societal transformation, for connecting people and spaces in new ways, for rethinking how we do research. 

This postgraduate diploma will equip graduates with the conceptual tools to understand digital societies and the advanced research skills to document, visualise, present and communicate your research findings. You will receive training and time to bring your quantitative, qualitative and digital research methods skills to a more advanced level, including time in computer labs and our data studio module using primary and secondary data. An important aspect of this advanced training is to interrogate the ethical challenges raised by conducting social science research in the digital age – when data appears to be available everywhere.

Small group discussions, presentations, computer lab workshops and fieldtrips are at the core of the postgraduate diploma experience. Students will have opportunities to work on funded research projects and to engage in co-developing projects with our partners which include community and activist groups, public sector organisations, local councils, and companies.

If you enjoyed your first experiences of conducting research in your undergraduate and want to improve your research skills. If you would like to learn how to conduct social science research and learn from, and with, top international researchers. And if you are concerned with social and digital inequalities and want to find solutions to these challenges. Then this is the diploma for you.

Successful candidates will normally have a minimum 2.1 honours (level 8) degree in Sociology or a related discipline such as Criminology, Anthropology, Social Psychology, Communication Studies or Media.

Students with an overall 2.2 degree are eligible if they have obtained a minimum 2.1 in Sociology or a related discipline. 

Other applicants may be considered on a case-by-case basis if they have:

  • A high 2.2. in Sociology or in a related discipline,
  • A high 2.2 in an unrelated discipline  (e.g. Engineering, Natural Science or Humanities disciplines)  but are willing to attend for interview to assess suitability.

A primary degree in any other discipline and have at least 5 years relevant work experience. This is done through the Maynooth University Procedure for Non-Standard Entrants and Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning.

Applicants must have a recognised primary degree which is considered equivalent to Irish university primary degree level (level 8).

Minimum English language requirements: please visit Maynooth University International Office website for information about English language tests accepted and required scores. The requirements specified are applicable for both EU and non- EU applicants.

National University of Ireland Maynooth’s TOEFL code is 8850

Jane Gray


Department of Sociology

Department of Social Sciences Institute (MUSSI)

Department of IQDA

Sociology - Paul Ryan - Maynooth University


Department of Sociology

Digital technologies provide an infrastructure for work, socialising, education, active citizenship, protest and surveillance. What are the dominant imaginaries and expectations surrounding digital infrastructures and what kinds of values inform their development?. Are these technologies neutral? What are the social, political, economic and cultural implications of this? How do experiences in Ireland compare internationally? This module will provide a broad theoretical and conceptual grounding to help students to understand these questions and to critically examine the emergence and ongoing development of digital infrastructures and related institutions, political economies and cultures.

Students will be introduced to contemporary social theories of digital societies including surveillance/data/platform capitalism, datafication, and the attention economy. These will be explored through topics including: digital work, identities online, games and play online, digital inequalities, online risks and safety, digital literacy and digital policies. We will also consider the environmental impacts of the digital.

On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

  • Understand the major social theories used to understand digital societies and digital infrastructures.
  • Evaluate empirical data on access and use of digital technologies
  • Critically assess the influence of digital infrastructures in different domains
  • Understand digital policy issues at a national and international level
  • Develop an independent perspective on digital technologies and their relationship to social practices and social change

Students take a total of 60 credits - 6 modules x 10 CREDITS each. For the Diploma there are 20 compulsory credits and 40 optional credits. There is no thesis for the  postgraduate diploma.

Teaching and Learning Methods: 24 hours class lecturers/seminars

Assessment: 100% CA

Course Duration: 1 year full-time

There is a demand for graduates who understand the role, impact and influence of digital technologies on contemporary life, cities, politics and workplaces. Graduates will understand the economics, politics, cultures and regulatory aspects of digital societies and be able to evaluate the negative and positive impacts of digitalization.  

Our aim is to produce graduates that are conceptually and analytically confident and capable of applying a suite of social science research skills across a broad spectrum of workplaces including public, private, not-for-profit, and technology sectors. Graduates will be able to initiate, manage, execute and report on research projects. They will be capable of presenting their ideas to different audiences, able to work in teams, and be capable of self-management.    

Potential employers include research organisations; public sector organisations including local councils, government agencies; small to medium sized and multinational companies who offer roles in public policy, online safety and market research. 

Possible careers include working as a social science researcher, working in digital or public policy, working in training and skills related to the digital, working on online campaigns for voluntary or charity organisations, or in politics. Other potential careers are in education. For example, some graduates may wish to continue to PhD research and to work in academia.

Online application only


PAC Code  


The following documents should be forwarded to PAC, 1 Courthouse Square, Galway or uploaded to your online application form:

Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for all non-Maynooth University qualifications listed MUST accompany the application. Failure to do so will delay your application being processed. Non-Maynooth University students are asked to provide two academic references and a copy of birth certificate or valid passport.

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