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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 an upper second class honours degree from 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

In addition, students will choose courses equivalent to one full unit. The options list is wide so as to permit students to choose an option or options 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.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Social Policy (Research) 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, some circumstances may cause the School to subsequently change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. 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 circumstances outside of its control. You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee places on its courses. 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.

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 non-governmental organisations.


Application code: L4UA (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

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

Intake/applications in 2014: 13/65

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 £9,936; overseas £19,344

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 11 January 2016