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Masters Degrees (Social Policy)

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Engage in professional networks across a range of vibrant partnerships. Contribute to socially just and sustainable academic research with impact in practice. Read more
Engage in professional networks across a range of vibrant partnerships. Contribute to socially just and sustainable academic research with impact in practice.

The MA Social Policy is one of a number of new and exciting programmes developed by the Department of Social Sciences. This Social Policy programme will be of particular interest to you if you are:
-An experienced practitioner looking for advanced Continuous Professional Development opportunities
-An international student wanting to study and practice in the UK
-An undergraduate student looking to move directly onto postgraduate education incorporating work based experiences and strengthening your employability prospects.

If you are interested in making a difference with opportunities to theorise social policy in practice this challenging programme will engage you in a high quality, transformative educational experience. The programme will provide opportunities to actively engage in professional networks across a range of vibrant partnerships as well as contribute to socially just and sustainable academic research with impact in practice. A key feature of the programme is the emphasis on both breadth and depth of understanding of social policy analysis in its broader economic, social, environmental and political contexts.

The Programme aims to:
-Introduce students to the study of social policy both from British and international perspectives. It explores the subject in the context of personal perspectives and position within broader political, social, cultural, economic and environmental developments.
-Develop opportunities for global, employer and digital engagement through which to create a greater capacity for social policy practice and knowledge exchange.
-Develop confidence, capabilities and creativity to flourish in the worlds of study and employment.

If you are currently working in social policy or interested in building on your undergraduate degree in order to pursue a related occupation in health, housing, social services or social security, then the MA Social Policy could be for you. You’ll gain a wide range of knowledge and transferable skills throughout the programme, including sophisticated skills in research, communication and analysis that will be useful in a variety of jobs.

Modules

*denotes a compulsory module and you will study a total of six modules:
-Contemporary issues in social science research
-International social policy analysis
-Social policy analysis
-Research in social policy contexts
-Independent social policy learning project*
-Applied social policy*
-Dissertation*

These modules will be focused towards developing both breadth and depth of understanding of social policy analysis in its broader economic, social, environmental and political contexts. The independent social policy module enables students to undertake a small research project linked to their own research interests. The applied module provides opportunities for students to undertake work based experience in a social policy setting of their choice and gain first hand experience of impact of social policy in practice. Through the dissertation module students will have an opportunity to develop an extended piece of social policy research.

Career Opportunities

Our graduates will be able to pursue a diverse range of career routes including progress to further PG Study via a doctoral route leading to a career as a researcher; managing and leading across a range of welfare contexts nationally, regionally and locally. The University also has partnerships with a range of organisations that are welfare orientated and that seeks to influence social policy. "Social Policy graduates could expect to find work in a wide range of posts across the third-sector public services, government and business. These could include roles in central and local government departments, community bodies, charities, housing and health organisations, research consultancies and advocacy or campaigning body." Jo Lake, Head of Employability at the University.

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Understand social policy in a regional and global context with this unique masters degree. The study of global social policy is an area of increasing interest, both academically and as an applied subject. Read more
Understand social policy in a regional and global context with this unique masters degree.

Overview

The study of global social policy is an area of increasing interest, both academically and as an applied subject. It is especially relevant given the growing importance of supranational and international social policy discourse and policy interventions in tackling social problems.

This course will enable you to engage effectively and critically with theoretical and empirical dimensions of global social policy development. It offers a combination of taught coursework and a supervised dissertation. So you'll have the opportunity to develop detailed knowledge of social policy in a global context. Through your own guided research project you will explore aspects of social policy in which you have a particular interest.

This MA is especially suitable for:
-Prospective social policy analysts and researchers with an interest in global and/or international social and public policy
-Professionals working on social policy in international organisations and development agencies, global advocacy agencies and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs)
-Graduates from social policy, politics, sociology or international studies degrees who want to hone their undergraduate studies in a more focused area of study
-Potential PhD students who want to develop their theoretical and empirical skills in this area

Course content

The MA in Global Social Policy is based around a combination of social policy analysis and research training modules. In the autumn term you'll get a broad introduction to relevant social policy theories, analysis and methods. In the spring and summer terms you'll undertake specialised analysis of global social policy themes and issues.

After this you'll have an opportunity to undertake a relevant research placement that will help inform your own research project. In the placement you will have the opportunity to put the research skills that you have learnt on the course into practice in a real world situation. You'll then produce a dissertation under the guidance of your individual supervisor

Most people study for full-time for 12 months, but part-time study over 24 months is also available.

Modules
In the autumn term you'll take two compulsory modules:
-Social Policy Analysis
-Comparative and International Social Policy - Research Methods

In the spring term you'll take two more compulsory modules that focus on international social policy:
-Global Social Problems and Global Social Policy
-Globalisation and Social Policy

After you've completed these modules, you will produce a dissertation research project, under the guidance of an individual supervisor. Subject to availability of fieldwork opportunities in internationally-focused NGOs, some students undertake a relevant research placement that helps inform their dissertation research project

Careers

The MA in Global Social Policy develops skills that employers need in a number of areas, especially policy analysis and research. You'll also find you develop transferable skills that will allow you to progress to different career areas or to continue your studies at PhD level.

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Rigorous training in the comparative analysis of institutions, from local to international. The MA in Comparative and International Social Policy will train you in comparative and international policy analysis, research and design. Read more
Rigorous training in the comparative analysis of institutions, from local to international.

Overview

The MA in Comparative and International Social Policy will train you in comparative and international policy analysis, research and design. It is ideal for those working in, or wishing to work in international policy analysis and policy development in governments, charities and NGOs around the world.

It is based in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work which was ranked equal first in the UK for the impact of its research, with 87% of its research activity rated as world leading or internationally excellent.

This MA is especially suitable for:
-Graduates from degrees in social policy, politics, sociology, international studies or other social sciences
-Graduates from other backgrounds who wish to develop a high quality of graduate level research training in social research methods and policy analysis
-Graduates who wish to develop an understanding of comparative and international welfare institutional arrangements
-Those looking to develop a career in social research and/or policy analysis

Course content

The MA in Comparative and International Social Policy is based around a combination of social policy analysis and research training. You'll start with a solid introduction to comparative social research methods and social policy analysis. You'll then explore how social policy is affected by globalisation. You'll finish with a comparative exploration of how emerging governance structures and actors affect the management and delivery of social policy in national and international settings.

This masters degree has a broad international approach, rooted in the analysis of higher income countries in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and adapting this to a study of a broader sample of countries across the globe.

This particular masters degree attracts an international student body so you'll benefit from a truly comparative experience.

Most people study for full-time for 12 months, but part-time study over 24 months is also available.

Modules
In the autumn term you'll take two compulsory modules:
-Social Policy Analysis
-Comparative and International Social Policy - Research Methods

In the spring term you'll take two more compulsory modules that focus on international and comparative social policy:
-Comparative Social Policy - Governance, Management and Delivery
-Globalisation and Social Policy

You'll examine how social policy is affected by globalisation in four regions: Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia.
More details on the MA in Comparative and International Social Policy modules.

In the summer term and summer months you'll take part in the Graduate Dissertation Workshop. This will give you the chance to develop and present your research interests. You will participate in a group project with other students who have similar interests. You will also use this time to work on your individual research project.

Careers

The MA in Comparative and International Social Policy develops skills that employers need in a number of areas, especially policy analysis and research. You'll also find you develop transferable skills that will allow you to progress to different areas or to continue your studies at PhD level.

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Programme Aims. The MA in Social Policy and Social Development Programme aims to prepare students to develop the necessary core professional and personal competence required to work in the field of social policy and to engage in professional practices in social development. Read more

Programme Aims

The MA in Social Policy and Social Development Programme aims to prepare students to develop the necessary core professional and personal competence required to work in the field of social policy and to engage in professional practices in social development. This involves gaining critical knowledge and skills in analysing and appreciating local and global policy issues and the ability to formulate and assess policy options that ensure effective, appropriate and sustainable outcomes, uphold social justice and improve social well-being. To these ends, the programme is designed to bring together theory and practice that enables participants in the programme to meet challenges in social development ethically and imaginatively.

Special Features

Unlike most other postgraduate programmes in social policy, this MASPSD is designed for those who are either to embark on a career in Social Policy and Social Development or those who are already mid-career practitioners seeking to improve their knowledge about public and non-government sectors specialising in social policy and planning for social development. It is structured to offer rigorous, interdisciplinary and hands-on training across a number of academic, managerial and professional disciplines that prepare participants to transfer knowledge into action to bring about social development, especially through responsible policy analysis, formulation, impact assessment and evaluation.

The programme provides students with a solid foundation in social policy analysis that can be adapted and applied in many fields of human service provision and practice in social development. Graduates are expected to gain the competence necessary to participate effectively in social policy processes, conduct needs assessments, evaluate policy impacts and develop appropriate and relevant policy options that respond responsibly to new challenges in social development.

Programme Structure

MA : to be eligible for the award, students are required to take 30 credits (6 Required Subjects including the Integrative Project and 4 Elective Subjects).

PgD : Students who have successfully completed 21 credits (5 Required Subjects and 2 Elective Subjects) can exit that programme with a Postgraduate Diploma.

PgC : Students who have successfully completed 12 credits (2 Required Subjects and 2 Elective Subjects) can exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate.

Professional Recognition

Graduates of this programme may apply for membership of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA).

Core Areas of Study

Required Subjects

  • Policy Research Method
  • Social Context and ethics
  • Social Policy Analysis and Social Accountability
  • Social Planning and the Policy Process
  • Theory and Practice of Social Development
  • Integrative Project

Elective Subjects

  • Assessing Globalization and Social Development
  • Organization Theories and Analysis
  • Comparative Social Policy and Social Development
  • Contemporary Issues in Social Policy
  • Digital Technologies and Social Development
  • Social Impact Assessment
  • Social Policy and Social Development in China
  • Social Policy Evaluation
  • Emerging Issues of Social Policy in Asia
  • Quantitative Methods for Policy Research and Evaluation


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Our Masters degree in Social Policy is designed to develop students’ critical knowledge and understanding of social policy. Read more
Our Masters degree in Social Policy is designed to develop students’ critical knowledge and understanding of social policy. Together with active researchers you will be led through the key contemporary debates in social policy as well as learning how to develop and carry out your own social policy-focused research projects.

Our Master’s has a strong focus on critical and radical approaches to the study of social policy both here in the UK and from a global perspective. In particular the course is concerned with how social policies can reinforce and reproduce marginalisation and oppression in society for groups such as women, deprived communities, ethnic minorities, migrants, disabled people and older people. Concurrently, nevertheless, the program will also analyse how various social policies have been the result of resistance to dominant economic structures and should therefore also be conceptualised as key institutions formalising the rights of the same groups which social policies often oppress. Social policy is also a deeply political subject and as consequence our program explores the theoretical links between the economy and transformations in welfare systems.

With our strong focus on research methods, however, our course also enables students to develop the central skills required to analyse, understand and critically evaluate any social policy issue. Not only do we encourage students to understand policies comparatively, we also provide a significant amount of research training which covers the key philosophical issues and traditions in social science complimented by significant instruction on the uses and strengths of the range of methods and methodological approaches (i.e. quantitative and qualitative data analysis, focus groups, ethnography and so on).

Drawing on our vibrant and developing research culture we offer contemporary and relevant degree programme, drawing expertise from our interest in current social policy trends in Britain, Europe and globally. Studying for a Master’s in Social Policy is guaranteed to be an intellectually engaging experience which will allow students to develop the skills required for many relevant career pathways.

Curriculum

The programme consists of four modules and a dissertation (final research project) totalling 180 credits. Assessment methods will vary and may include academic essays, reports, presentations and examinations, research proposals and a research dissertation.

Advanced Social Theory (30 credits) – You will engage with, evaluate and critically analyse a range of social theory ranging in scope from classical social theory to post-modern approaches.

Advanced Studies in Social Research (30 credits)-You will understand the methodological principles and practices that underpin independent research at Master’s level. You will examine the research process, including design, data collection and analysis, interpretation and presentation.

Transformations in the UK welfare state (30 credits) – This part of the course explores the key issues in social policy in the UK in a contemporary perspective. Notably we will explore the relationship between social policies and the wider political economy, unpicking and critically analysing recent changes in social policy such as privatisation, marketization and austerity. The course will analyse these changes in the welfare state in relation to poverty, class, ‘race’, gender, ageing, sexuality and disability.

Comparative Social Policy and Globalisation (30 credits) – This part of the course will concentrate on developing an international perspective on social policy. The module has two main aims. Firstly, to comparatively analyse different welfare states across the world and, secondly, to explore social policy in relation to globalisation and global capitalism.

Dissertation/Research Project (60 credits) – The focus of the research project will be on an issue of relevance to the study of social policy. The study can involve the collection of primary data or a literature-based dissertation.

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Welfare states everywhere face enormous challenges from population ageing, changes in family life and work-patterns, migration and the economic crisis. Read more

Welfare states everywhere face enormous challenges from population ageing, changes in family life and work-patterns, migration and the economic crisis. In a globalised and interdependent world, these issues can only be understood from an international perspective which accounts for these common pressures and processes, but which also recognises and engages with the diversity of national traditions and institutions for delivering welfare.

The International Social Policy programme takes a policy analytic approach to provide you with an advanced understanding of current debates, theories and concepts relevant to international social policy. You learn about the common features of social policy arrangements internationally and the variety and differences that characterise welfare across the countries and regions of the world. Drawing on the research-based expertise available at SSPSSR which relates to countries ranging from China, South Korea and Singapore in South East Asia to the UK, Germany and Sweden in Western Europe, you are equipped to understand how national and global forces interact to shape trajectories of welfare system development.

The programme enables you to apply theories and methods of social policy in exploring enduring cross cutting themes in social policy, including the prioritisation of equality and capabilities, as well as to drill down to how and why policy unfolds in key welfare fields. You develop policy analytic skills in relation to such areas as health, migration, pensions, education, social care, and children & family related policy. You acquire expertise in the use of primary and secondary data collection in areas pertaining to all these aspects of social policy, and are thus equipped to think critically about the development of social welfare systems in a global age across the full range of national contexts and policy situations.

Course structure

We place considerable emphasis on structured, interactive seminars with a high degree of student participation. You also join the staff/graduate seminars which allow MA and research students to become involved in a professional research culture.

The programme gives you a clear and confident grasp of social policy in developed and developing countries. You gain an advanced understanding of the relevant debates, theories and concepts of international issues alongside skills in research design and data collection.

Modules

You take compulsory modules alongside optional modules of your choice. Modules may include:

  • Design of social research
  • Key issues in comparative social policy
  • Comparative social policy
  • Organised civil society and the third sector
  • The family, parenting culture and parenting policy
  • Governing science, technology and society in the 21st Century
  • Foundations of sociology
  • Politics and sociology of the environment
  • Sociology of health, illness and medicine
  • Quantitative data analysis
  • Terrorism and modern society

https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/118/international-social-policy#structure

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • provide you with an advanced understanding of current debates, theories and concepts relevant to international social policy
  • impart country-specific as well as cross-national empirical and theoretical knowledge of current challenges and processes of transformation of welfare systems
  • enable you to apply theories and methods of social policy in exploring specific policy fields such as health, migration, pensions, education, social care, poverty and social exclusion, urban development, and family policy
  • develop your skills in research design and data collection in areas pertaining to social policy
  • familiarise you with using primary and secondary data to develop cutting-edge research in the field of international social policy.

Careers

Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability, we place considerable emphasis on you gaining specialist knowledge in your chosen subject alongside core transferable skills. We ensure that you develop the skills and competences that employers are looking for including: research and analysis; policy development and interpretation; independent thought; writing and presentation, as well as time management and leadership skills. You also become fully involved in the professional research culture of the School. A postgraduate degree in the area of social and public policy is a particularly flexible and valuable qualification that can lead to many exciting opportunities and professions.

Our graduates obtain a range of transferable skills and report high levels of being in employment or further study within six months of graduation across all of our degree programmes.

Over 98% of Kent's postgraduate students who graduated in 2016 were in work or further study within six months. Recent graduates from our School have pursued careers in academia, journalism, local and central government, charities and NGOs.

How to apply: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Why study at the University of Kent

We offer inspirational teaching and supervision alongside first-class library and IT facilities. You also benefit from our high-impact research in all subjects. Whatever you are looking to study, Kent provides a dynamic and challenging environment for your postgraduate studies.

  • Kent was awarded gold, the highest rating, in the UK Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework
  • Kent is ranked 21st in the Times Higher Education (THE) ‘Table of Tables’ 2017
  • Kent is ranked 25th in the Complete University Guide 2018
  • Kent is ranked 22nd in the Guardian University Guide 2018
  • 42% of our academics are from overseas and we have students representing 158 nationalities
  • In the most recent research rankings, 97% of research at Kent was found to be of international quality (REF 2014)
  • Kent is ranked 17th in the UK* for research intensity and research output (REF 2014)
  • Find out more: https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/why-kent/

* of 122 universities, not including specialist institutions



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The MA in Social Policy equips you with the skills to analyse social policy in a way that will allow you to understand how policies are developed and the role they play in people's lives. Read more
The MA in Social Policy equips you with the skills to analyse social policy in a way that will allow you to understand how policies are developed and the role they play in people's lives. The course offers a combination of taught coursework and supervised independent study. You'll develop the skills required to carry out your own research in an area of social policy that interests you.

This MA is especially suited to you if you are considering a career in social policy analysis, advocacy or research in the public sector or socially-focused NGOs. You'll cover topics such as the welfare state in the UK and other countries, the impact of globalisation on social programmes and why patterns of social inequality persist.

Course content

The MA in Social Policy is based around a combination of social policy analysis and research training. You'll start with a broad introduction to social research methods and social policy analysis. You'll then narrow down your focus, choosing between advanced research training, more detailed analysis of social policy or a mix of the two.

Most people study full-time for 12 months, but part-time study over 24 months is also available.

Modules
In the autumn term you'll take two compulsory modules:
-Social Policy Analysis
-Introduction to Social Research Methods

In the spring term you will chose two of these optional modules:
-Advanced Qualitative Methods
-Advanced Quantitative Methods
-Comparative Social Policy - Governance, Management and Delivery
-Globalisation and Social Policy
-Global Crime and Justice
-Global Social Problems and Global Social Policy

In the summer term and summer months you'll take part in the Graduate Dissertation Workshop. This will give you the chance to develop your research interests and participate in a group project with other students who have similar interests. You will also use this time to work on your individual research project.

Careers

The MA in Social Policy develops the skills that employers need in a number of areas, especially policy analysis and research. You'll also find you develop transferable skills that will allow you to progress to different career areas or to continue your studies at PhD level.

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The MSc International Social Policy masters programme considers social policy issues and debates in a broad international context. Students will receive training in international social policy analysis and evaluation using quantitative and/or qualitative research methods. This MSc offers choice and flexibility to specialise on the basis of three pathways. Read more

The MSc International Social Policy masters programme considers social policy issues and debates in a broad international context. Students will receive training in international social policy analysis and evaluation using quantitative and/or qualitative research methods. This MSc offers choice and flexibility to specialise on the basis of three pathways:

Ageing Societies, Development Studies and Research Methods.

Introducing your course

How can we create a better society? What does it take to improve the way a global community interacts and governs? Explore these questions and more with a masters in International Social Policy and forge a career that covers social policy, welfare, politics, social policy issues and debates in a broad international context. Study fascinating modules which include International Social Policy, Understanding Social Change, Research Design and International Social Welfare.

Overview

The aims of the international social policy masters programme are to provide you with:

  • an in-depth understanding of key theoretical and conceptual debates in international social policy, the capacity to evaluate competing explanatory frameworks and the role of cross-national and comparative perspectives
  • detailed knowledge of the various means by which social policy is delivered and the ability to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches in varying national contexts
  • a knowledge of key issues in the philosophy of social science and the ability to apply this knowledge in the design and practice of social research
  • a knowledge of the principal methods of qualitative or quantitative research utilised in the social sciences and an understanding of their application in different contexts, and (dependent on your choice of options in semester two) a knowledge of the techniques of data analysis utilised in the social sciences and their applications
  • a choice of specialising, dependent on pathway, on key issues associated with international social policy (ie ageing societies, development and social enterprise) or advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • the ability to design and conduct independent research in the field of sociology and/or social policy, utilising appropriate research methodologies, and grounded in an understanding of the process of research management and ethical and legal issues associated with the conduct of social research
  • the capacity to present ideas, arguments and research findings through different means of communication

View the programme specification document for this course

Pathways

Four pathways are offered for the MSc International Social Policy: Research Methods, Ageing Societies, Development, Social Enterprise

Research Methods

Compulsory

RESM6003 Qualitative methods 1

Optional

RESM6005 Survey design

DEMO6021 Understanding population change

DEMO6023 Population poverty and policy

DEMO6026 Population and reproductive health

GERO6017 Methods for researching ageing societies

GERO6018 Perspectives in gerontology

GERO6019 Demographic change ageing and globalisation

GERO6020 Ageing health and wellbeing

PAIR6005 The south and global politics

PAIR6010 Governance and policy

SOCI6035 Understanding modernity

SOCI6045 Development and migration

SOCI6048 Social enterprise design

 

Ageing Societies

DEMO6021 and DEMO6023 must be taken togehter

Compulsory

GERO6018 Perspectives in gerontology

Optional

DEMO6021 Understanding population change

DEMO6023 Population poverty and policy

GERO6017 Methods for researching ageing societies

GERO6019 Demographic change ageing and globalisation

GERO6020 Ageing health and wellbeing

Development

DEMO6021 (10 credits) and DEMO6023 ( 10 credits) must be taken together

Compulsory

SOCI6045 Development and migration

Optional

DEMO6021 Understanding population change

DEMO6023 Population poverty and policy

PAIR6005 The south and global politics

SOCI6035 Understanding modernity



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Social Policy has been defined as the study of the collective and individual procedures through which people gain access to life-enhancing and sustaining experiences such as education, health care, housing, income during periods of cessation and interruption of earnings, and the care associated with the loss of autonomy and independence. Read more

Social Policy has been defined as the study of the collective and individual procedures through which people gain access to life-enhancing and sustaining experiences such as education, health care, housing, income during periods of cessation and interruption of earnings, and the care associated with the loss of autonomy and independence. UCLan's MA Social Policy postgraduate degree will be of benefit to professionals working in the world of social welfare, to graduates in Social Policy or a related discipline, and to the interested citizen. There are core modules in poverty and social inequality; comparative social policy and social change; social theory and social policy; the making of social policy; introduction to social research. Newly-introduced modules include a work placement module: social policy in practice, with an alternative choice of a reflecting on policy and practice module for those students already in work who may wish to focus analysis on their current professional role.

LEARNING ENVIRONMENT AND ASSESSMENT

Students will be taught in a combination of lecture, seminar and workshop settings. The research module makes extensive use of eLearn. Full-time students will normally have six hours per week class contact time (3 taught modules per semester), whilst part-time students will normally have between two to four hours per week class contact time (One-two modules per semester, depending on the student's chosen programme of study). Students also receive additional tutorial support in negotiation with their personal tutor.

The course employs a variety of assessment methods including essays, seminar presentations, data analysis and a 15000 word dissertation that is the biggest single component (worth three modules) of the MA target award. There are no examinations. All forms of assessment have been designed to test the extent to which learning outcomes have been achieved.

There is also a dissertation (triple module) on a topic of the student’s choice. The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars and supervised self-directed study. It is assessed through coursework and a dissertation. There are no examinations.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Social Policy has been defined as the study of the collective and individual procedures through which people gain access to that range of life enhancing and life sustaining experiences, whose distribution lies at the heart of welfare states. These include education, health care, housing, and income during periods of cessation and interruption of earnings and the care associated with the experience of contingencies which lead to a loss of independence and autonomy. There can be little doubt that social policy issues are now at the centre of political debate in Britain and much of the rest of the industrialised world.

The New Labour government of 1997-2010 made the ‘modernisation’ of these services and the improvement in the quality of users' experiences the test by which it wishes to be judged: in what directions has the new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition taken social policy since the defeat of New Labour?

The MA Social Policy is a modular course that offers the opportunity to engage in a discussion of some of the most important issues of a world characterised by profound cultural, demographic, economic, political and technological change. It will be of relevance and benefit to professionals who work in one or other sector of the mixed economy of welfare, to graduates in Social Policy or a related discipline such as Economics, Health Studies, History, Philosophy, Politics and Sociology, and to the interested citizen.

The course aims to:

-Provide an intellectually challenging range of modules that focus on a number of the most important theoretical perspectives at the "cutting edge" of the subject

-Apply an advanced critical perspective to social policy issues relevant to your professional and/or academic situation

-Encourage you to develop a framework of knowledge, critical understanding and analytical skills that can be used as a basis for both professional and personal development.



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Our Social Science Research (Social Policy) MSc programme provides you with a comprehensive overview of the key methodological and philosophical debates that currently shape social sciences. Read more

Our Social Science Research (Social Policy) MSc programme provides you with a comprehensive overview of the key methodological and philosophical debates that currently shape social sciences. It also provides an opportunity to develop specialised research methods skills in social policy in an internationally renowned department for Social Policy research.

The Social Science Research (Social Policy) programme consists of compulsory and optional modules, delivered across four different academic schools within the University, which means you benefit from an interdisciplinary approach to your studies. The academic schools involved are:

  • School of Social, Political, and Geographical Sciences
  • School of Sport, Exercise, and Health Sciences
  • School of Business and Economics
  • School of Science.

On completion of the Social Science Research (Social Policy) programme, you will have met the MSc training requirements for PhD funding from the ESRC, opening up the possibility of securing PhD funding from the ESRC. Further information regarding the future career prospects associated with this programme can be found below.

The modules are taught by leading researchers selected for their expertise in the taught research methods and topics.

What makes this programme different?

The Social Policy courses in the Department of Social Sciences at Loughborough Universities are consistently rated in the top-15 UK Social Policy courses by national league tables.

The Department of Social Sciences hosts the prestigious Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) which over the past 30 years has developed an international reputation for high quality applied policy research. Most prominently, CRSP is currently involved in the study of the Minimum Income Standard programme.

The School of Social Political and Geographical Sciences is the home to the Centre for Research in Communication and Culture (CRCC). Established in 1991, the centre has since grown to be one of the largest of its kind in the UK. The CRCC’s core topics themes include:

  • Culture, Economy, and Policy
  • Interaction and Discourse
  • Media, Memory, and History
  • Nations, Migrants, and Citizenship
  • Political Communication
  • Social, Political, and Cultural Theory

The programme is in full compliance with the Economic and Social Research Council’s requirements for an MSc in Social Science Research. On completion of the course, you will have met the training requirements for PhD funding from the ESRC, opening up the possibility of securing PhD funding from the ESRC.

Who should study this programme?

  • Individuals wishing to pursue a career in academia
  • Social policy practitioners, who wish to both develop and strengthen their applied research skills
  • Those wishing to conduct research in non-academic public and private sector roles

What you'll study

Our Social Science Research (Social Policy) MSc programme is designed to produce graduates with rigorous research and analytical skills, who are well equipped to progress onto being high level researchers in their chosen field of study.

Modules

Social Science Research (Social Policy) covers a wide range of topics; please visit the website for a full list of modules.



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This Masters in Social Policy and Social Research Methods is particularly significant if you are currently working in local authorities or the voluntary sector. Read more
This Masters in Social Policy and Social Research Methods is particularly significant if you are currently working in local authorities or the voluntary sector. The skills you learn will progress your career in social welfare policy development, delivery or research. Or it is also relevant if you are thinking of starting a career related to social policy in the public, voluntary or private sectors.
The focus of this course is on contemporary substantive issues in social policy development and delivery, and social policy research methods. You'll develop your theoretical, policy and technical understanding of key issues related to policy-making, social welfare delivery, equality and social justice, and research methods.

You'll gain an advanced understanding of national and international factors influencing policy development and implementation. The changing relationship between the State, voluntary sector and private sector in terms of social welfare delivery. You'll also explore how ideas of equality, diversity, justice and human rights shape institutions and the programmes they offer.

You'll engage with recent research linked to changing family forms and how family policy impacts on children and families. You'll be equipped to design and implement social scientific research using a broad range of methodologies, consider research ethics then analyse and present the material such research generates.

The course fosters a critical awareness of the relationship between theory, policy and practice and enables you to utilise your research knowledge and research skills and translate these into research practice in the field of social policy and broader social science research professions.

Flexible modes of study

You can choose between three modes lasting one, two or three years allowing you to study whilst maintaining other life commitments.

Modules

Social policy analysis
The voluntary sector and the state: protagonist or partner
Methods for social research and evaluation: philosophy, design and data collection
Approaches to social change: equality, social justice and human rights
Family policy
Data analytic techniques for social scientists
Dissertation

Teaching and learning

Modules are assessed by coursework. There are different kinds of writing required which include: a critical reading log, a self-reflective essay, a methodological critique of a research article, a research proposal, extended essays, an evaluation of social change and a dissertation.

Modules are supported by Moodle, the LSBU virtual learning environment where most course reading will be made available. The classroom is envisaged as a core learning environment where you can discuss new ideas but also to think how they can be applied to previous or current work or voluntary experiences. Attendance is crucial for building your knowledge and skills. You'll be making use of computer laboratories in order to develop your use of a range of programmes that can be used to analyse quantitative and qualitative methods.

Timetable

Full-time:
Eight or nine hours of scheduled teaching per week with an additional 25 hours of independent study.

Part-time:
Three hours of scheduled teaching per week with an additional six hours of independent study per module.

Placements

If you are not already working in an environment which is linked to social welfare you'll be encouraged to undertake voluntary work which will give you useful experience alongside the degree. In addition it may become used as a location where you can undertake primary research for your master's dissertation. The Employability team at LSBU can help students find voluntary placements.

Employability

This MSc will enable you to pursue a range of professional careers in areas linked to social policy and social welfare. You'll be able to access work in the statutory, commercial or voluntary sectors and operating at central, and local government levels, for example, local government; MORI, NSPCC and DEMOS. The acquisition of specific social policy and research methods knowledge will also enhance your career opportunities if you are currently working in the field in social policy development and delivery or in undertaking social policy related research. The specialist focus on research methods also offers an excellent foundation for those interested in undertaking subsequent doctoral research in the field.

LSBU Employability Services

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search. Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or an internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the job you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

• Direct engagement from employers who come in to interview and talk to students
• Job Shop and on-campus recruitment agencies to help your job search
• Mentoring and work shadowing schemes.

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The MSc Sociology and Social Policy is designed to equip postgraduate students with advanced knowledge in the disciplines of sociology and social policy. Read more

The MSc Sociology and Social Policy is designed to equip postgraduate students with advanced knowledge in the disciplines of sociology and social policy. It allows for greater flexibility than either the MSc Sociology and Social Research or the MSc Social Policy and Social Research by enabling you to specialise in quantitative or qualitative methods.

This programme explores contemporary issues in sociology and social policy, such as social inequality and diversity, migration and terrorism, and can be used as a stepping stone for those who wish to pursue careers in the public, private or voluntary sector.

Introducing your course

Do you want to explore the structure of human society? Do you want to investigate why societies pool their resources to pay for social protection how social policy forms society? Enrol on the MSc Sociology and Social Policy degree and conduct social science research to understand the forces behind the construction of policies.

This masters course will open a path a range of fulfilling careers in social research and social policy. It also provides a stepping stone for those who wish to pursue a PhD in sociology and/or social policy.

Overview

The aims of this programme are to provide you with:

  • an in-depth understanding of classical and contemporary themes and debates in sociology and (dependent on your choice of options in semester two) their application in the analysis of selected social issues
  • an in-depth understanding of key conceptual debates in social policy, the capacity to evaluate competing explanatory frameworks and (dependent on your choice of options in semester two) the role of cross-national and comparative perspectives
  • a knowledge of key issues in the philosophy of social science and the ability to apply this knowledge in the design and practice of social research
  • a knowledge of the principal methods of qualitative or quantitative research utilised in the social sciences and an understanding of their application in different contexts, and (dependent on your choice of options in semester two) a knowledge of the techniques of data analysis utilised in the social sciences and their applications
  • the ability to design and conduct independent research in the field of sociology and/or social policy, utilising appropriate research metholodogies, and grounded in an understanding of the process of research management and ethical and legal issues associated with the conduct of social research
  • the capacity to present ideas, arguments and research findings through different means of communication

View the programme specification document for this course



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Understand and link practice and theory across public and social policy. This course is ideal for professionals in organisations that develop or implement social policy and public policy. Read more
Understand and link practice and theory across public and social policy.

Overview

This course is ideal for professionals in organisations that develop or implement social policy and public policy. During your studies you'll develop the skills and knowledge required to influence policy and you'll link public policy theory to concrete examples of social policy.

You'll deepen your understanding of policy-making and explore the interaction between policy-making on local, national and global levels. You'll use evidence to improve social policy practice and develop a range of transferable skills such as critical thinking and designing and conducting research.

By choosing this part-time online course you will be able to combine your study with your career and family. You'll also be studying with one of the top universities in the world, with teaching and support from experienced academics and practitioners. Our Department is ranked 25th in the world, and 4th in the UK (QS World Rankings 2016). All our courses are run directly by us, so you can always count on coherent and strong support from your academic tutors, personal supervisor and our dedicated support team.

You'll study alongside your peers working in similar organisations around the world. You'll be able to actively engage with them and share your ideas, learning and experience as you progress through the course. You'll also be in a position to immediately apply your learning and insight to your work and your organisation.

Course content

This masters course will explore four themes:
-The social policy process: how are social policies made within nation states? What is the role of institutions, interests, ideas and evidence in this governance process?
-Social policy in a globalised world: how do global, international and transnational influences filter through the national policy-making process, and how do they impact on the design and the effectiveness of social policies?
-Social policy, politics and society: why is social policy making a conflicted process? How do social policies shape society and impact on specific social groups?
-Social policy and research: how can social policy be analysed? How can research improve the design and implementation of social policies?
-In your second year you'll start to prepare for your independent dissertation which will allow you to explore an area of particular interest. You'll have support from a dedicated dissertation supervisor.

You can also study for a shorter period of time and graduate with a Postgraduate Certificate or Diploma.

Modules
To graduate with a masters degree you will need to take 120 credits of taught modules and complete a dissertation worth 60 credits.

You'll study these modules to a schedule. This will allow you to participate online with academics and fellow students from around the world.

Year one: foundation
In your first year you'll study 60 credits with these modules:
-Social Policy Analysis (20 credits)
-Globalisation and Social Policy (20 credits)
-Social Policy: Evidence, Ideas and Institutions (20 credits)

Year two: specialisation and dissertation
In your second year you'll study a combination of taught modules, which will help prepare you for your dissertation:
-Introduction to Research Methods (20 credits)
-Dissertation Workshop Part One (10 credits)
-Dissertation Workshop Part Two (10 credits)

You will also explore an area of particular interest by choosing to study one of these modules:
-Comparative Social Policy (20 credits)
-Housing and Social Justice (20 credits)
-Work, Welfare and Citizenship (20 credits)

Careers

This course is ideal for people working in the public and not-for-profit sectors as well as people working in for-profit organisations that deliver public services. It will allow you to develop the skills required for management in a large and complex organisation. You'll achieve an understanding of public policy so you can analyse and influence policy-making and implementation.

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Compulsory modules. The Research Process. This module introduces the main varieties of both quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences. Read more
Compulsory modules:

The Research Process: This module introduces the main varieties of both quantitative and qualitative research in the social sciences. Principles of research design and issues of data collection and analysis are studied. Data collection and analysis will include:

How to construct, use and critique questionnaires and interviews
Interpret measurement error and missing data
Engage in various kinds of observational research
Analyse observational data
Record, transcribe and analyse conversational, textual and visual data
Conduct archival, documentary and historical research
Key Issues in Social Policy: This module extends and deepens knowledge and understanding of key issues in contemporary social policy. Links between theoretical analysis in welfare and empirical enquiry in social policy are made, and key issues, debates and concepts in social policy analysis and evaluation are explored. Contemporary forms of welfare delivery including issues of participation, user involvement and control in the provision of welfare are critically evaluated. Core debates relating to social change, equality and inequalities, discrimination, risk and dependency, citizenship and rights will be examined. The impact of devolution and local government change on social policy in Wales is reviewed together with national and international comparisons of welfare systems.

Health Policies: This module adopts a comparative approach to the study of health policies in Britain and internationally. Students will consider the politics of health and will develop an understanding of the dynamics of power between professionals, administrators and patients. The role of social policy analysis in evaluating the impact of change, factors associated with good and bad practice, and barriers to implementing new health policies are explored through examples and case studies. The case of the British NHS will be considered in detail examining evidence of attempts to improve the quality of care through funding and organisational change. The module will also examine the implications of devolution for the NHS.

Optional Modules:

Researching Community: This module examines the developments in the field of community research and related theoretical and policy debates surrounding the application of ideas of ‘community’ to current economic and social changes. The module focuses on four main themes:

Conceptual issues: the meaning of ‘community’ and its use as a concept in social scientific and popular discourse. This will be considered in relation to different theoretical approaches such as social constructionism, realism, and post-structuralism.
Empirical applications: an examination of classic and contemporary examples of community research and relevant case studies dealing with different forms of ‘community’.
Policy issues: relating to contemporary forms of intervention in relation to community development, regeneration, mobilisation, participation, leadership and power. This will be considered in the context of frameworks such as communitarianism, social capital, and the ‘third way’.
Community methodology: examines how ‘community’ has been researched and the tools and methods available for empirical investigation. These include ethnographic studies, large-scale surveys, ‘community profiling’ and auditing, and action research.
Nationalism and Minorities: This module will examine key issues and debates concerning the growing claims by ethnic and national minorities and indigenous peoples for distinct language, territorial and other minority rights and recognition within nation-states and beyond. The relationships between nationalism, citizenship and minority rights will be considered with reference to empirical examples. Debates and policies concerned with the management of cultural and ethnic diversity by the state will also be considered. The approach is interdisciplinary drawing on sociology, political theory, anthropology, law and education, with case study examples provided from Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania. It aims to provide students with a global and comparative understanding of individual cases, of their historical antecedents, and of the key similarities and differences between them.

Policy Research and Evaluation: Monitoring and evaluation of policy initiatives has become increasingly important. This module aims to develop full complement of skills required to successfully undertake specialist research and robust evaluation that will inform future policy. Evidence-based policy and practice are imperatives of the public, independent and voluntary sector organisations nationally and internationally. Evaluation research is one of the cornerstones of evidence-based practice both locally and nationally and is important right across local government and public and independent sector organisations. The module will provide key skills to enable individuals to understand, conduct or commission evaluative work at a time when it is increasingly important for organisations to consider the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of the services they provide.

Key Issues in International Social Work: The purpose of the International Social Work module is to widen students’ understanding of the differing models, traditions and welfare contexts of social work. On completing the module, students are expected to be able to:

Critically evaluate social work within the international context
Critically evaluate and contrast social work in the UK with European and other countries
Analyse the strengths and weaknesses in the different ways of doing social work within the countries studied
Discuss in depth the philosophical, historical and theoretical differences between the contexts of social work practice within the welfare frameworks of the different countries
Develop a sound and broad understanding of the contrasting differences with social work based in African and Asian countries
Applied Social Research: This module delivers specialist training in social policy research. It draws upon generic social science research skills and k knowledge and applies them to a joint group project. In the group project, students will select the social policy-related topic in which they will develop their skills as empirical researchers. It is a ‘hands on’ module and students will engage in hypothesis development, research design, data gathering, data analysis and interpretation of the results.

MA Dissertation:

The dissertation is normally around 20,000 words in length for MA degrees. Students will receive full support from lecturing staff throughout the process, from the planning stage through to the final stages of writing up the final version. Every student is allocated a supervisor who will oversee and provide advice and guidance on research design, methodology, results, drafting and final dissertation submission. Recent MA dissertation topics have included:

Mental health policy in Japan
Whose welfare benefits?
Violence against women in Pakistan

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Advanced research training combining in-depth methods training with schooling in social policy analysis theories. The MRes in Social Policy will equip you with advanced social-policy specific research skills that are needed to critically analyse and research contemporary social problems and policy issues. Read more
Advanced research training combining in-depth methods training with schooling in social policy analysis theories.

Overview

The MRes in Social Policy will equip you with advanced social-policy specific research skills that are needed to critically analyse and research contemporary social problems and policy issues.

The course offers a combination of taught coursework and supervised independent study. You will also complete an Independent study project that will provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate the research skills and knowledge you developed in the earlier stages of the course.

This MRes is especially suited for:
-Graduates from social policy, politics, sociology or other social sciences
-Graduates from other backgrounds who wish to develop an understanding of social research methods and policy analysis
-Those looking to develop a career in social research and/or policy analysis
-Those considering undertaking a 1+3 route to a PhD level qualification

Course content

The MRes in Social Policy is based around a combination of social policy analysis and research training. You'll start with a broad introduction to social research methods and social policy analysis ​. You'll then go on to study effective data collection, analysis and interpretation at an advanced level as well as developing the presentation and communications skills you'll need to effectively disseminate your research.

Most people study for full-time for 12 months, but part-time study over 24 months is also available.

Modules
In the autumn term you'll take two compulsory modules:
-Social Policy Analysis
-Introduction to Social Research Methods

In the spring term you'll take two more compulsory modules that build upon your earlier study:
-Advanced Qualitative Methods
-Advanced Quantitative Methods

In the summer term and summer months you'll take part in the Graduate Dissertation Workshop. This will give you the chance to develop your research interests and participate in a group project with other students who have similar interests. You will also use this time to work on your individual research project.

Careers

The MRes in Social Policy develops skills required by employers in a number of areas, especially policy analysis and research. You'll also find you develop transferable skills that will allow you to progress to different career areas or to continue your studies at PhD level.

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