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MSc Social Policy (Research)

About the MSc programme

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, whether in the form of a PhD or in government, NGO or private sector employment.

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 their choice including health, education, housing, criminal justice, poverty, inequality and climate change. A key component of the MSc is a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic individually selected by the student, prepared with the guidance of a personal supervisor, and usually involving empirical research.

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.

Programme details

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: 21 September 2017

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

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 (see entry requirements)

English requirement: Standard (see English requirements)

GRE/GMAT requirement: None

Fee level: UK/EU £10,320 (provisional EU); overseas £20,112

Financial support: Graduate Support Scheme (see Financial support), ESRC funding as part of a four-year award (see ESRC)

Application deadline: None – rolling admissions. However please note the funding deadline for ESRC funding: 9 January 2017. Selection for funding is based on receipt of an application for a place – including all ancillary documents

Notes: This research track can be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as the first year of a research degree, followed by 3–4 years of MPhil/PhD. You should indicate in your personal statement if you wish to be considered for the 1+3 programme and submit an outline research proposal

Intake/applications in 2016:  16/72