Programmes

MSc Social Policy (Research)

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of Social Policy
  • Application code L4UA
  • Starting 2018

This programme combines advanced training in research methods with hands-on experience of social policy research.

Through a set of high-quality, integrated courses taught by leading academics in the field – themselves engaged in impactful research – the programme equips you with transferable research skills and an in-depth understanding of social policy, before you move on to lead your own research,  in a PhD or employment in an international organisation, government, NGO or the private sector.

The programme is provided in conjunction with the Department of Methodology, and offers advanced training in both quantitative and qualitative methods along with a specialist taught course on social policy evaluation (including randomised controlled trials) and the relationship between research and policy.

You will also have the opportunity to take up to two optional courses in national or international social policy areas of your choice, including health, education, housing, criminal justice, poverty, inequality and climate change. A key component of the master’s is the dissertation on a topic individually selected by you, prepared with the guidance of an academic advisor, and involving original empirical research, possibly through a research placement.

See also MSc Social Research Methods (Social Policy) in the Department of Methodology, which involves greater methodological content, but no optional subject papers.

Programme details

Key facts

MSc Social Policy (Research)
Start date 27 September 2018
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Applications 2016 65
Intake 2016 14
Availability UK/EU: Open 
Overseas: Open
Tuition fee UK/EU: £10,728
Overseas: £20,904
Financial support Graduate Support Scheme (deadline 26 April 201), ESRC funding as part of a four-year award (deadline 8 January 2018)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in any discipline, with social science background and/or work experience in the social policy field advantageous
GRE/GMAT requirement None
English language requirements Higher (see 'assessing your application')
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections

Programme structure and courses

You will choose between two methodology courses, will take a social policy research course, and will choose optional courses from a wide range, allowing you to choose options that fit with your proposed dissertation subject. You will also complete a dissertation of up to 10,000 words on an approved topic of your choice. For students continuing to a PhD, this will often form the basis of their eventual doctoral thesis. Students without a background in social policy are encouraged to take a further half-unit course. 

(* denotes half unit) 

Social Policy Research
Equips you with the tools to critically assess a whole range of research designs used in the study of social policy questions. 

Dissertation
An independent research project of up to 10,000 words on an approved topic of your choice. 

Courses up to the value of one unit from a range of options. 

Either
Foundations of Social Research 1
Or
Foundations of Social Research 2
Both courses are designed to provide a good introduction to quantitative and qualitative methods and to acquaint you with the strengths and limits of different methodologies. 

If you do not have a social policy background, you are encouraged to take:

Social Policy: Goals and Issues*
Examines the nature of social policy and policy making, including key approaches and issues. 

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up to date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options. Note that that the School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place. These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback. Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated graduate course and programme information page.

Teaching and assessment

Contact hours and independent study

Within your programme you will take a number of courses, often including half unit courses and full unit courses. In half unit courses, on average, you can expect 20-30 contact hours in total and for full unit courses, on average, you can expect 40-60 contact hours in total. This includes sessions such as lectures, classes, seminars or workshops. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide

You are also expected to complete independent study outside of class time. This varies depending on the programme, but requires you to manage the majority of your study time yourself, by engaging in activities such as reading, note-taking, thinking and research.

Teaching methods

LSE is internationally recognised for its teaching and research and therefore employs a rich variety of teaching staff with a range of experience and status. Courses may be taught by individual members of faculty, such as lecturers, senior lecturers, readers, associate professors and professors. Many departments now also employ guest teachers and visiting members of staff, LSE teaching fellows and graduate teaching assistants who are usually doctoral research students and in the majority of cases, teach on undergraduate courses only. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.

Assessment

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. Summative assessment may be conducted during the course or by final examination at the end of the course. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Academic support

You will also be assigned an academic adviser who will be available for guidance and advice on academic or personal concerns.

There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Preliminary reading

Extensive background reading is not essential but it is advisable for you to do some reading before commencing the programme.  The following is a list of reading that will be useful for your compulsory courses. 

Students who have not studied British social policy before entering the programme are advised to read: 

H Glennerster British Social Policy since 1945 (Blackwell, 2007)

P Alcock and A Erskine M May The Student's Companion to Social Policy, third edition (Blackwell, 2008)

A Bryman Social Research Methods (Oxford, 2008)

C Hakim and M Routledge Research Design: successful designs for social economic research  (2nd edition, London, 2000)

C Robson Real World Research (Blackwell, 2002)

A Agresti and B Finlay Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences (3rd edition, Prentice Hall, 1997)

Careers

Graduates typically progress directly to postdoctoral research, enjoy accelerated promotion within their country’s civil service, or take up senior research and policy posts in national or international non-governmental organisations.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on your application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- personal statement
- two academic references
- CV

See further information on supporting documents

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

This programme is available as part of an ESRC-funded pathway onto a PhD programme. The 1+3 scheme provides funding for a one year research training master's linked to a PhD programme and is designed for students who have not already completed an ESRC recognised programme of research training. An application must be submitted for the relevant master’s programme, including a research proposal for the PhD aspect of the pathway. Applicants must also indicate their wish to be considered for the 1+3 pathway within their personal statement.

When to apply

Applications for this programme are considered on a rolling basis, meaning the programme will close once it becomes full. There is no fixed deadline by which you need to apply, however to be considered for any LSE funding opportunity, you must have submitted your application and all supporting documents by the funding deadline. See the fees and funding section for more details. 

Minimum entry requirements for MSc Social Policy (Research)

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in any discipline, with social science background and/or work experience in the social policy field advantageous.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you meet the minimum entry requirement, this does not guarantee you an offer of admission.

See international entry requirements

Fees and funding

Every graduate student is charged a fee for their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2018/19 for MSc Social Policy (Research)

UK/EU students: £10,728
Overseas students £20,904

Fee status

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

Scholarships and other funding

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country, and we provide over £11.5 million in scholarships each year to graduate students from the UK, EU and overseas.

This programme is eligible for needs-based awards from LSE, including the Graduate Support SchemeMaster's Awards, and Anniversary Scholarships

This programme is available as part of an ESRC-funded pathway onto a PhD programme. The 1+3 scheme provides funding for a one year research training master's linked to a PhD programme and is designed for students who have not already completed an ESRC recognised programme of research training. An application must be submitted for the relevant master’s programme, including a research proposal for the PhD aspect of the pathway. Applicants must also indicate their wish to be considered for the 1+3 pathway within their personal statement.

Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 26 April 2018.
Funding deadline for ESRC funding: 8 January 2018.

In addition to our needs-based awards, LSE also makes available scholarships for students from specific regions of the world and awards for students studying specific subject areas.

Check the latest information about scholarship opportunities

Government tuition fee loans and external funding

A postgraduate loan is available from the UK government for eligible students studying for a first master’s programme, to help with fees and living costs. Some other governments and organisations also offer tuition fee loan schemes.

Find out more about tuition fee loans
Find out more about external funding opportunities

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