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MSc Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning) MSc Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy)

About the MSc programme

This programme (divided into two streams) is based in the Department of Social Policy and offers the following benefits:

  • a comparative, international and multidisciplinary environment
  • links to leading research groups in the Department specialising in social disadvantage, health and social care, education, criminology and development

1. The first stream, Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning) is a broad programme in many aspects of social policy that can be tailored to the interests of students from a wide range of backgrounds. It is the oldest master's level programme in social policy in the world but it has evolved to reflect new interests and challenges.

Applicants with an upper second class honours degree, or its equivalent, in any subject will be considered. A social science background and/or work experience in the social policy field are advantageous, but not essential.

Students on this stream are drawn from many parts of the world and the courses draw on international experience and evidence. It is a flexible programme allowing students to tailor their degree to their own areas of interest.

Programme details

A key component of the MSc is a long essay (dissertation) of up to 10,000 words on a topic individually selected, to be prepared in conjunction with a personal supervisor. This offers the opportunity to pursue an area in depth, often related to past or future career interests.

The stream is available on a full-time basis over one year or a part-time basis over two years.

2. The second stream, Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy) is an integrated programme designed for people looking towards careers as practitioners, planners and administrators of public services whose interest or work lies at the international and European level. It is equally aimed at those interested in careers in teaching and social research with an international or European perspective. The programme, launched in 1988, was the first graduate programme of its kind in the EU. It provides students with the opportunity of examining major current social problems and the range of policies being developed to address them from a cross-national European and international perspective. Through multi-disciplinary and cross-national study, students gain a thorough grounding in the comparative analysis of the institutional arrangements of European welfare states, as well as examining specific social problems shared by individual countries. Issues involved in further EU integration are also addressed. Equally, welfare state models outside the EU and the growing pressures of globalisation are also studied in order to widen understanding of social policy options available.

Students come from a wide range of backgrounds reflecting the variety of intellectual and professional skills involved in planning, managing and researching social policies cross-nationally and at EU level. You normally need an upper second class honours degree in a relevant academic subject. We welcome part-time students.

There are opportunities to learn major European and other languages (see LSE Language Centre).

Programme details

A key component of the MSc is a long essay (dissertation) of up to 10,000 words on a topic individually selected, to be prepared in conjunction with a personal supervisor. This offers the opportunity to pursue an area in depth, often related to past or future career interests.

The stream is available on a full-time basis over one year or a part-time basis over two years.

Stream one: MSc Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning) 

Compulsory courses

(* half unit)

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of two units from a range of options.

Stream two: MSc Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy)

Compulsory courses

(* half unit)

Students will be expected to choose courses to the value of two units from a range of options.

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses for MSc Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning) and MSc Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy) 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

Graduates from the Social Policy and Planning stream have gone on to a variety of careers in research, the policy arena in think tanks and the political sphere, social service administration, voluntary organisations and many other destinations.

Graduates from the European and Comparative Social Policy stream have found positions within a wide range of institutions, including the European Commission, European Parliament, EU lobbying organisations, consultancies, UNESCO, broadcasting, journalism, international departments of national civil services, as well as employment in teaching and research or further study for a PhD.

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Application code: L4U2 - Social Policy and Planning
L4U8 - European and Comparative Social Policy (check availability)

Start date: 22 September 2016

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

Intake/applications in 2014: Social Policy and Planning: 32/132; European and Comparative Social Policy: 18/57

Minimum entry requirement: First degree at 2:1 level or above 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)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions

Note: Flexible programme allowing students to tailor their degree to their area of interest


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