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MSc Social Policy (Research)

About the MSc programme

This programme is based in the Department of Social Policy and aims to provide a set of high-quality, integrated courses to equip students in social policy with transferable research skills before they move on to substantive research, whether in the form of a PhD or in employment. It offers the following benefits:

  • study in a Department which has achieved one of the highest ratings in the UK for the quality of its research
  • teaching by specialists who are at the forefront of research into British, European and global social policy and by experts in different social science research methodologies
  • a comparative, international and multidisciplinary environment with links to several specialist research groups based in the Department as well as to LSE's Department of Methodology

Students can progress to research degrees (subject to normal admissions procedures at LSE and other institutions). The MSc is recognised as research training by the ESRC (for students seeking later funding for doctoral research).

Applicants with a good first degree from within any subject background will be considered. A social science background and/or work experience in the social policy field are advantageous, but not essential.

Programme details

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 in applications of different research approaches to social policy questions. It consists of four course units, including compulsory and optional courses. A key component of the MSc is a dissertation of up to 10,000 words on a topic individually selected by the student, to be prepared with the guidance of a personal supervisor. For students continuing to a PhD this will often form the basis of their eventual doctoral thesis.

See also MSc Social Research Methods (Social Policy) in the Department of Methodology, which involves greater methodological content (two taught units on methods, rather than one), but no optional subject papers. 

Compulsory courses

Students will be expected to choose courses equivalent to one full unit. The options list is wide so as to permit students to choose an option that fits with the proposed subject of their dissertation. Students without a background in social policy are strongly encouraged to take the 'core' half unit Social Policy: Goals and Issues in the Michaelmas term.

Please note that it is not always possible to offer students a place on each of their preferred courses. This is particularly the case where courses are offered outside the Department of Social Policy. 

Please read the following important information before referring to full details of course options found in the Programme Regulations.

The programme regulations available are for the current academic session and may be subject to change before the beginning of the next academic year. For more information about course availability in the next academic session, please contact the relevant academic department. The School reserves the right at all times to withdraw, suspend or alter particular courses and syllabuses, and to alter the level of fees. Courses are on occasion capped (limited to a maximum number of students) or subject to entry conditions requiring the approval of the course convenor. The School cannot guarantee that places on specific courses will be available.

Graduate destinations

Previous students have gone on to a wide variety of research and policy jobs in the public, private and voluntary sectors, in the UK and internationally, including work in central and local government, public services, research consultancies, and NGOs.


Application code: L4UA (check availability)

Start date: 24 September 2015

Duration: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time

Intake/applications in 2013: 17/55

Minimum entry requirement: 2:1 in any discipline, with social science background and/or work experience in the social policy field advantageous but not essential (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: UK/EU £9,552; overseas £18,600

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Fees and financial support). The Social Policy (Research) is accredited for ESRC funding as part of a four year award (see ESRC)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions, but consideration given for ESRC funding applications should apply by 12 January 2015