Programmes

MSc International Social and Public Policy

  • Graduate taught
  • Department of Social Policy
  • Application code ISPP: L4UR; ISPP (Devpmt): L4U7; ISPP (NGO): M1T2; ISPP (Migration): L4UQ; ISPP (Research): L4UA
  • Starting 2020
  • UK/EU full-time: Open from October
  • UK/EU part-time: Open from October
  • Overseas full-time: Open from October
  • Overseas part-time: Open from October
  • Location: Houghton Street London

The ISPP programme addresses how states and societies respond to global challenges of social, demographic and economic change, and of poverty, migration and globalisation. It is underpinned by the LSE approach to social and public policy which is explicitly international, interdisciplinary and applied. 

Meeting human needs and increasing well-being are universal policy goals but these are addressed differently around the world, with different roles for key stakeholders such as governments, NGOs, families and markets. ISPP approaches the policy process from an international and comparative perspective. Looking at low, middle, and high-income countries, you will gain the skills to identify key social challenges and to analyse the social and public policies used to address them, and the role of difference actors in these processes.

You can choose to follow one of six streams. You can take either the general stream:

  • MSc International Social and Public Policy

Or you can choose one of the following specialist streams:

  • MSc International Social and Public Policy (Development)
  • MSc International Social and Public Policy (Migration)
  • MSc International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations)
  • MSc International Social and Public Policy (Research)
  • LSE-Fudan Double Master's in International Social and Public Policy (China)

Whichever stream you choose, ISPP will equip you for a career in social and public policy within government, NGOs, international organisations, private sector providers, or in academia.

The MSc ISPP replaces, consolidates and builds upon five previous MSc programmes: Social Policy and Planning, European and Comparative Social Policy, Social Policy and Development, Social Policy and Development (NGOs) and Social Policy (Research).

Programme details

Key facts

MSc International Social and Public Policy
Start date 28 September 2020
Application deadline None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadlines
Duration 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
Applications 2018 953
Intake 2018 121
Tuition fee UK/EU: £14,840
Overseas £22,808
Financial support Graduate support scheme (deadline 27 April 2020)
Minimum entry requirement 2:1 degree or equivalent in a relevant social science
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.

Entry requirements

Minimum entry requirements for MSc International Social and Public Policy

Upper second class honours (2:1) degree or equivalent in a relevant social science.

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

If you have studied or are studying outside of the UK then have a look at our Information for International Students to find out the entry requirements that apply to you.

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)
- statement of academic purpose
- 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.

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. 

Careers

Students who have graduated from programmes similar to this have gone on to work for:

  • different UN agencies including UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCR
  • a variety of small and large NGOs including Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières, International Red Cross and One World
  • action international or intergovernmental organisations such as the World Economic Forum, European Commission and World Bank
  • consulting companies
  • government ministries.

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

Programme structure and courses (General stream)

You will take two compulsory courses and complete a dissertation. You will also choose from a wide range of optional courses to the value of two units. 

(* denotes a half unit) 

International Social and Public Policy*
Introduces students to core issues, concepts, actors and debates shaping our understanding of social and public policy, its drivers and impacts.

Understanding Policy Research*
Provides an understanding of issues associated with the research process in the context of the MSc in International Social and Public Policy.

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

Courses to the value of two units from a range of options

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page.

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.

Programme structure and courses (Development stream)

You will take three compulsory courses and complete a dissertation. You will also choose courses from a wide range of further options to the value of one and a half units.

(* denotes a half unit) 

International Social and Public Policy*
Introduces students to core issues, concepts, actors and debates shaping our understanding of social and public policy, its drivers and impacts.

Understanding Policy Research*
Provides an understanding of issues associated with the research process in the context of the MSc in International Social and Public Policy.

Social Policy and Development*
Provides the analytical tools needed to understand and critically evaluate the key practical challenges of social development.

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

Courses to the value of one and a half units from a range of options

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page.

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.

Programme structure and courses (Migration stream)

You will take three compulsory courses and complete a dissertation. You will also choose courses from a wide range of options to the value of one and a half units.

(* denotes a half unit) 

International Social and Public Policy*
Introduces students to core issues, concepts, actors and debates shaping our understanding of social and public policy, its drivers and impacts.

Understanding Policy Research*
Provides an understanding of issues associated with the research process in the context of the MSc in International Social and Public Policy.

Migration: Current Research, Critical Approaches*
Examines contemporary global migration issues with reference to different patterns and forms of migration, the relationship between migration and social and public policy, inequalities and transnational impacts. 

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

Courses to the value of one and a half units from a range of options

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page.

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.

Programme structure and courses (NGOs stream)

You will take three compulsory courses and a dissertation. You will also choose courses from a wide range of  options to the value of one and a half units. 

(* half unit) 

International Social and Public Policy*
Introduces students to core issues, concepts, actors and debates shaping our understanding of social and public policy, its drivers and impacts.

Understanding Policy Research*
Provides an understanding of issues associated with the research process in the context of the MSc in International Social and Public Policy.

Non-Governmental Organisations, Social Policy and Development*
Focuses on the specialised field of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) within the field of social policy and development, and considers theoretical and policy issues.

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

Courses to the value of one and a half units from a range of options

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page

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.

Programme structure and courses (Research stream)

You will take two compulsory courses on research applications in international social and public policy. You will also choose one course suited to your previous experience and skills from qualitative research methods options, and one course from quantitative research methods options. In addition, you will select from a wide range of further optional courses to the value of one unit. Finally you will undertake an empirical dissertation on a subject of your choice, which applies your research training.

(* denotes a half unit)

Understanding Policy Research*
Provides an understanding of issues associated with the research process in the context of the MSc in International Social and Public Policy. 

Understanding Policy Research (Advanced)*
Equips you with an understanding of more advanced and specialist research applications in social and public policy including approaches to policy evaluation, systematic reviewing, longitudinal analysis, and cross-national research, and reflects on the role of research in the policymaking process.

One from:
Introduction to Quantitative Analysis*
Provides an intensive introduction to quantitative data analysis in the social sciences.
Applied Regression Analysis*
Concerned with deepening the understanding of the generalized linear model and its application to social science data.
Multivariate Analysis and Measurement*
Provides an introduction to the application of modern multivariate methods used in the social sciences, with particular focus on latent variable models for continuous observed variables, and their application to questions of measurement in the social sciences. 
Causal Inference for Observational and Experimental Studies*
Provides an introduction to statistical methods used for causal inference in the social sciences.

One from:
Qualitative Research Methods*
Presents the fundamentals of qualitative research methods.
Doing Ethnography*
Focuses on ethnography as a means to examine how social order is produced as people go about their everyday interactions.
Qualitative Research with Digital and Visual Data*
Focuses on three emerging strands of qualitative research: digital, visual and mobile methods.
Qualitative Text and Discourse Analysis*
Provides training on mapping the social and political implications of discourses and making explicit their implicit dimensions.

Dissertation
An independent research project, normally involving original empirical research written up in 10,000 words.

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

For the most up-to-date list of optional courses please visit the relevant School Calendar page.

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.

Programme structure and courses (LSE-Fudan Double Master's)

This degree will appeal to students who are interested in the MSc International Social and Public Policy and who also desire an even more internationalised experience by studying in two contrasting country contexts (UK and China) over two years.

Students will complete a 1 year MSc in International Social and Public Policy at LSE, followed by a 1 year MSc at Fudan University, Shanghai, China. They will graduate with two MSc degrees – one from LSE, and one from Fudan University. Learn more about the LSE-Fudan Double Master's in International Social and Public Policy.

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 mentor 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 the compulsory courses:

General stream

D Béland and R Mahon Advanced Introduction to Social Policy (Edward Elgar, 2016)

T Faist  Cross-Border Migration and Social Inequalities (Annual Review of Sociology, 42: 323-346, 2016)

M Hill and F Varone The Public Policy Process, Seventh Edition (Routledge, 2017)

J Howell and J Pearce Civil Society and Development:  A critical exploration  (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2001)

T Mkandawire (ed.) Social Policy in a Development Context (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004)

N Yeates (ed.) Understanding Global Social Policy, Second Edition (The Policy Press, 2014)

 

Development stream

Same as general stream with the addition of:

A Hall and J Midgley Social Policy for Development (London: Sage, 2004)

 

Migration stream

Same as general stream with the addition of:

A Guveli, H Ganzeboom, L Platt, B Nauck, H Baykara-Krumme, S Eroglu, S Bayrakdar, E Keren Sozeri, N Spierings Intergenerational consequences of migration: Socio-economic, Family and Cultural Patterns of Stability and Change in Turkey and Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016)

 

NGOs stream

Same as general stream with the addition of:

D Lewis Non-governmental Organizations, Management, and Development, Third edition (London: Routledge, 2014)

 

Research stream

A Bryman Social Research Methods (Oxford, 2016)

J Parkhurst The Politics of Evidence: From Evidence Based Policy to the Good Governance of Evidence (Routledge, 2017)

C Robson and K McCartan Real World Research: A Resource for Social Scientists and Practitioner-Researchers (Oxford, 2015)

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, a programme of events and activities and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2020/21 for MSc International Social and Public Policy

UK/EU students: £14,840
Overseas students: £22,808

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.

Fee reduction

Students who completed undergraduate study at LSE and are beginning taught graduate study at the School are eligible for a fee reduction of around 10 per cent of the fee.

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 £13 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

Selection for any funding opportunity is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents, before the funding deadline. 
Funding deadline for needs-based awards from LSE: 27 April 2020.

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. 

ESRC '1+3' Award

The ISPP research stream is recognised by the ESRC for research training purposes. It is eligible for inclusion in applications for an ESRC ‘1+3’ Award in conjunction with the MPhil/PhD Social Policy 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. 

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

Further information

Fees and funding opportunities

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