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Masters Degrees (Social Policy Analysis)

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The MSc in Social Policy and Social Research encompasses both a theoretical understanding of the policy process with advanced research methods training, providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to work in complex and challenging policy contexts. Read more

The MSc in Social Policy and Social Research encompasses both a theoretical understanding of the policy process with advanced research methods training, providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to work in complex and challenging policy contexts. This degree has ESRC 1+3 training recognition, meaning it stands alone as an MSc but will also prepare students for doctoral research.

About this degree

Students are equipped with the conceptual tools and empirical evidence necessary for investigating social policy and policy-making, including critical assessment of the role of research evidence in policy development and implementation. Graduates will be able to apply this knowledge and understanding and analytical and methodological skills to conduct social research in different policy contexts.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of three core modules (60 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules

  • Understanding the Policy Process: Theories and Issues
  • Evidence for Policy and Practice
  • Social Theory and the Study of Contemporary Social Problems

Optional modules

Students select optional modules from the following list.

  • Introduction to Data Analysis
  • Introduction to Regression Analysis
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research
  • Systematic Reviews Design and Planning
  • Survey Design
  • Impact Evaluation Methods
  • Longitudinal Data and Analysis
  • Using STATA Efficiently and Effectively
  • Advanced Qualitative Methods
  • Systematic Reviews for Complex Policy Issues
  • Research Engagement, Participation and Impact
  • Systematic Reviews: Meta-Analysis, Qualitative Synthesis and Mixed-Methods Synthesis

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 words. Workshops and online resources help prepare students for the dissertation.

Teaching and learning

A rich variety of teaching of methods are used, including lectures combined with seminars. In some modules, students are given the opportunity to develop presentational skills through group projects. The programme includes both face-to-face and online components. Assessment is through coursework assignments and a 12,000-word dissertation.

Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Social Policy and Social Research MSc

Funding

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Careers

Graduates of this programme may find work in a broad range of areas, including as social policy researchers and advisers in government, NGO personnel, or as university and college lecturers and researchers.

Employability

Graduates from this MSc gain sought-after skills that allow them to pursue professional careers in academia and/or policy research, policy analysis, policy development and implementation, programme management, and policy advocacy within the public, private, or non-profit sectors.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The programme offers a unique opportunity to study social policy and the ways in which research, along with other forms of evidence and knowledge, connects with and impacts on policy-making and professional practice. Training is also provided in social research methods relevant to people working in a policy or academic context. It is structured to allow students to customise their degree according to their preferred area of study and future career plans.

The programme is located within the Department of Social Science, a research-intensive department with an outstanding international reputation. It is taught by an interdisciplinary team, all with specialist expertise across a wide range of policy areas.

Our central London location and network of partners and alumni gives us access to nationally and internationally prominent guest speakers who give insight into policy as it is formed.



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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 MRes Social Policy programme is designed for;. - those developing careers as policy analysts or applied researchers in national or international social or public policy organisations or government departments. Read more

Overview

The MRes Social Policy programme is designed for;

- those developing careers as policy analysts or applied researchers in national or international social or public policy organisations or government departments
- prospective PhD students in social or public policy.

The programme combines the academic study of social policy with a comprehensive exploration of research methods. Students develop experience and skills through analysing, comparing and evaluating social and public policies. Within an active research community (http://www.bath.ac.uk/sps/research/research-students/) students are supported in identifying, investigating and realising their own original research. We encourage diversity of intake regarding experience, qualifications and interests to stimulate the mutual experience and learning.

The excellence of the research undertaken within the Department of Social & Policy Sciences has been recognised most recently by the award of the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.

- South West Doctoral Training Centre
This MRes is accredited by the Economics & Social Research Council (ESRC), specifically, as part of the larger South West Doctoral Training Centre (SWDTC). It forms part of the Social Policy Discipline-specific Pathway.

The MRes can be taken as a course in its own right, or as part of the 1 + 3 (MRes + PhD) pathway, where successful graduates could proceed onto an MPhil or PhD in the Department of Social & Policy Sciences.

If applying for an MRes + PhD (the 1 + 3 programme) you should indicate on the Application Form, your preferred PhD route.

Progression from the MRes to the MPhil or PhD stage is dependent on achieving an acceptable level of achievement (typically an overall average of 60% on at least the taught component of the MRes).

Visit the website http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/pg/programmes/mres-soci-poli/

Programme structure

Core Units

- Short research apprenticeship project (MRes)
- Quantitative methods 1: introduction to quantitative methods
- Long research apprenticeship project
- Research for policy: concepts, methods and values
- Qualitative methods 1, Principles & skills of social research
- MRes Dissertation

Optional units

- Comparative European social policy
- International family policy
- Globalisation & economic insecurity: social policy challenges
- Comparative research methods
- Quantitative methods 2
- Qualitative methods 2

View Programme & Unit Catalogue (http://www.bath.ac.uk/catalogues/2015-2016/sp/sp-proglist-pg.html#FB) for further information.

Learning and teaching

Our programmes are modular, consisting of self-contained units, taught and assessed on a semester basis. As you progress through each semester and successfully pass the examinations, you will receive credit for the units, thus providing you with a clear indication of your academic progress.

Teaching takes the form of lectures, classes and seminars. Lectures are quite formal, whereas classes and seminars involve interaction between the lecturer and a small number of students for study skills and discussion.

Methods of assessment

Assessment consists of a combination of coursework essays, class exercises, projects, oral presentations and examinations.

We also place strong emphasis on developing presentation and discussion/communication skills, which in many units is part of the assessed work.

Careers

The Social & Policy Sciences department is committed to ensuring that postgraduate students acquire a range of subject-specific and generic skills during their training.

Our graduates generally go on to work in a wide variety of organisations, such as:

- Social research in universities and research institutes, government, business, voluntary organisations and international organisations.
- Public policy analysis at local, national and international levels.
- Public information and campaigning within organisations concerned with wellbeing, sustainability and social justice.

About the department

The Department of Social & Policy Sciences (http://www.bath.ac.uk/sps/) includes academics from social policy, sociology, social work and international development.

The international excellence of our research (http://www.bath.ac.uk/sps/research/) was recognised by the award of the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.

We are committed to advancing learning and knowledge through teaching and research. Our Department collaborates with a wide range of users at the local, national, European and global levels.

Postgraduate programmes:
We offer a wide range of postgraduate programmes. Our postgraduate teaching strongly reflects our research and our links to policy-makers and development institutions at the national, European and global level.

Our Department also has an active MPhil/PhD research programme. We take great pride in fostering a friendly and supportive learning environment.

Seminar series:
We run a lively and well attended postgraduate research seminar series. Each of the Research Centres run seminar series and conferences associated with their research activities. The University of Bath also has a Research in the World public lecture series where key national and international academics are invited to speak.

Main areas of research

We are an internationally-recognised research-intensive department with a strong focus on policy and practice and a commitment to contribute to social wellbeing and social justice.

We draw together academic staff with backgrounds in Social Policy, Sociology, Social Work and International Development and work closely with colleagues in Psychology, Economics, and Health.

We also have an active and vibrant community of research students (http://www.bath.ac.uk/sps/research/research-students/) undertaking their own research alongside our academic staff.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.bath.ac.uk/hss/graduate-school/taught-programmes/how-to-apply/

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This unique programme is aimed at international and UK students with an interest in international social work, community development, and comparative social policy. Read more

This unique programme is aimed at international and UK students with an interest in international social work, community development, and comparative social policy. The programme examines advanced knowledge about the theory and practice of social work and community development in an international context. You will be encouraged to develop a critical understanding of global social issues (such as social exclusion, poverty, environmental degradation, and disasters) and relate this knowledge to developments in their own country. You will be equipped with the skills to engage in research and to apply research findings effectively in practice. The programme includes a two-week field-based learning opportunity in a social work or community work agency. The dissertation provides space for you to carry out research on an aspect of social or community work in the UK. 

Durham University is a world leader in international social work and community development research, theory, and practice. Our social work team has edited the prestigious International Social Work journal and works closely with social work’s key international organisations - , the International Association of Schools of Social Work, .the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW), and the International Council of Social Welfare (ICSW). Its Programme Director also represents social work at the UNFCCC and other UN bodies.

Course structure 

You will study in a small group of international students, and also alongside UK students on postgraduate social work and research degree programmes. This will give you plenty of opportunities to share knowledge and experience in addition to your learning through lectures, presentations and seminars.

The MA consists of five core modules, designed to give you an understanding of social work as it is practiced in the UK, and a thorough grounding in research methods and their application. You will also choose two specialist modules according to your particular professional interests. Finally, you will undertake a research project and write a dissertation. To achieve the Master's degree, you must accumulate a total of 180 credits, as listed below.

Core Modules

International Social Work (30 credits)

  • International social work: Debates and controversies.
  • The history of international social work.
  • International institutions and social work theories and practices.
  • Legislative underpinnings to international social work
  • Internationalised Social problems 

Social Work: Context and Practice (30 credits)

  • Contemporary social work and social welfare in a diverse society
  • Construction of social problems
  • Ethical frameworks for social practice
  • Contemporary social work theories and practice.

Community Development and Organising (15 credits)

  • Critical analysis of communities
  • Origins, history, and theoretical approaches to community development
  • Contemporary forms of community development practice
  • Community and public policy.

Practitioner Research and Dissertation (60 credits)

  • Uses of research in social welfare policy and practice
  • Approaches to social research
  • Ethical issues in research
  • Literature reviewing, sampling, data collection and analysis methods.

Field Based Learning (15 credits)

  • Social work practice
  • Comparative theory/practice approaches
  • Social and community work organisations
  • Practice based pedagogies

Note students are required to pay for travel costs to and from their fieldwork practice placement.

Optional Modules

These are subject to staff availability. In previous years, typical modules offered were:

Youth Policy and Practice (15 credits)

  • Youth policy in the UK
  • Origins, development, and theoretical underpinnings of youth work
  • Critical overview of contemporary youth work practice Key forms of intervention.

Management in Community Settings (30 credits)

  • Critical analysis of a range of perspectives which have informed the management oforganisations in community settings, including those relating to:
  • Development of understanding in effectively managing and developing these organisations in the current context to increase their effectiveness in achieving their aims in ways that are consistent with professional values
  • Personnel management
  • Physical resource management
  • Financial management
  • Strategic management
  • Change management.

Policy Related and Evaluation Research (15 credits)

  • Relationship between theory and empirical research in evaluation
  • Defining and measuring outcomes
  • Case study analysis
  • Poster presentation and participatory evaluation.

Statistical Exploration and Reasoning (15 credits)

  • Spreadsheets and data analysis
  • Populations, sample data and sampling distributions
  • Point estimates and confidence intervals
  • Significance tests, cress-tabulations, and Chi-Square tests
  • Correlation and linear regression.

Quantitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)

  • Sampling and sample design, questionnaire design
  • Numerical taxonomy and cluster analysis in practice
  • Methods for representing complex systems.

Qualitative Research Methods in Social Science (15 credits)

  • Introduction to theory and research practice in qualitative methods
  • Ethnography and grounded theory
  • Group discussions
  • Data analysis and management processes.

Theorising Crime and Criminal Justice (30 credits)

  • Apply theories of crime and justice to topical issues
  • Theory and practice of criminal justice
  • Analysis of contemporary politics
  • Governance of criminal justice.

Crime, Violence and Abuse (30 credits)



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Do you want a career which can change people’s lives? With the focus on social welfare and social policy issues in the local, national and international context, our course will give you the skills and understanding to really make a difference. Read more
Do you want a career which can change people’s lives? With the focus on social welfare and social policy issues in the local, national and international context, our course will give you the skills and understanding to really make a difference.

See the website http://www.anglia.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/international-social-welfare-and-social-policy

How does globalisation impact on social welfare provision and planning in different countries? Do issues like poverty and social exclusion, street living and migration need to be culturally and locally specific, or could there be global solutions? You’ll explore these and many other issues in our MSc which will prepare you for a career in social welfare and policy. The emphasis is on comparative and global analysis, exploring social welfare and planning responses to issues such as street children, criminal justice and social welfare in areas of political conflict. You’ll have the chance to build and expand on skills relating to policy making, social sciences, leadership and strategies of change. An understanding of comparative and global welfare policies is important for national and international organisations. Therefore, our course is a positive step towards a career in a national and international context, working within the area of social welfare and policy.

Careers

Career possibilities once you’ve graduated are likely to be in the fields of community development social policy, social welfare, youth work, education, higher education, consultancy or policy making in local, regional and international governmental and non-governmental bodies. You’ll also be prepared to carry out further research and study towards a PhD.

- Links with industry and professional recognition
Our Faculty of Health, Social Care & Education works in collaboration with a number of universities from across Europe on the International Doctoral Studies in Social Work (INDOSOW) project. This is the first European Doctoral Programme of its kind and offers the opportunity to take part in an international interdisciplinary study of social work, welfare systems and social policies. For further information about the INDOSOW project visit: http://www.indosow.net.

Core modules

Globalisation, Social Welfare & Social Policy
Comparative Social Policy & Social Welfare
Research Studies
Major Project

Optional modules:
Global Leadership
Collaborative Practice for Integrated Care
Essential Issues in Public Health Policy

You will choose one optional module from the above list. Modules are subject to change.

Assessment

You’ll be assessed in a range of ways to examine the development of your skills throughout our course, leading to the submission of your Major Project bringing together aspects of learning from earlier modules. Assessment strategies include essays, reports, case studies and debates; there are no exams in this course. You’ll have plenty of group workshop and individual supervised support for your Major Project.

Special features

The course leader is a specialist in research and teaching within an international context.

Our students come from across the globe including Bangladesh, Columbia, Ghana, India, Kenya and the UK. Each of our students brings their individual experience in areas as varied as international relations, psychology, social work, social policy, sociology and economics. With lively classroom debates at the top of our agenda, you can be sure that each topic is discussed from multiple perspectives.

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The University of Bath Institute for Policy Research offers a pioneering Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice (DPRP). Read more
The University of Bath Institute for Policy Research offers a pioneering Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice (DPRP). The course is designed to enable experienced professionals working in a range of policy arenas – locally, nationally, and globally – to develop their policy analysis expertise without having to take a full career break. Combining advanced training in policy research and analysis with a thesis based on original research, it is based on a cohort model and can be spread out over up to six years.

Key features

- A combination of advanced policy research and analysis training with a thesis component based on original research
- Part-time programme structure designed to cater for busy professionals
- A means to enable participants to draw on their working experience at the same time as engaging with up-to-date academic research and thinking
- A cohort structure based around an annual two-week residential to provide networking with other participants as part of the programme
- Access to a wide range of sector-specific expertise across the University, including Technology Policy, International Development, Health, Education and Social Policy

Visit the website http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/pg/programmes/prof-doct-in-poli-rese-and-prac/

Why take a professional doctorate in policy research and practice?

In all areas of government and public administration – whether in local government, national civil services or international organisations – the world of policy making is changing fast. There is an increasing recognition of the need for a secure and transparent evidence base on which to make policy, but there are also a range of approaches and methods that policy makers can use to assess the evidence base and consider the likely impact of different policies. This Doctorate will enhance professional capability and critical reflection on the theories, methods and practices of policy making.

The course involves a blend of face-to-face and distance learning. The academic coherence of the course is built around a ‘hub and spoke’ model comprising two core policy analysis units (in Transformational Policy and Practice and Policy Research Methodology) and two specialist units to enable students to broaden and deepen their understanding of policy research across a range of disciplines. You are required to complete four ‘taught’ units over three years of study – two core and two optional – followed by a supervised piece of original research over up to three years.

Educational aims of the programme

The Professional Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice is designed to:

- give particular priority to the transfer of multidisciplinary research and learning to the workplace, to enhance the academic and the professional contribution that policy makers and practitioners can make to theory and practice in their field
- engage current practitioners with knowledge, awareness and understanding of philosophical, organisational, political, social, economic, managerial, interpersonal, and technical dimensions of policy
- develop the capability to broaden an understanding of critical issues facing policy makers today
- provide you with a broad foundation from which you can hone your specific interests towards the conduct of supervised research and make an original contribution to your field
- support you in publishing and disseminating your research

Course structure

The Professional Doctorate in Policy Research and Practice is built around a part-time cohort model. You will advance through the course with a cohort of other participants from a range of countries, sectors and organisations. Teaching is focused on a two-week residential held in early September each year, with subsequent virtual seminars, tutorials, and supervision throughout the rest of the year.

This structure will enable you to interact, learn, and network with a stable cohort of participants, while ensuring the flexibility to continue your own professional career.

The course is structured into two stages: the taught stage and the thesis stage.

If your circumstances change and you are unable to complete the course, there are alternative qualifications that may be awarded depending on the number of credits accumulated.

- Taught stage:
The taught stage is based on four units. In the first year, two compulsory core units provide advanced training in policy analysis and research methods. The first year is designed to equip you with the knowledge and capability to understand and use a range of research methodologies, novel analytical frameworks and toolkits to address key issues within a broad policy context. The two core generic analysis units include:

- Transformational Policy and Practice – to introduce you to theoretical understandings of ‘policy’ and policy making and how they relate to practice. This will include a series of case studies of policy making and implementation from different countries

- Policy Research Methodology – to develop your knowledge and understanding of the methodologies (philosophic frameworks) employed in policy research, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as the merits of particular quantitative and qualitative methods.

Each of these generic units carry 18 credits and are assessed with an 8,000 assignment or equivalent. Successful completion of these units would normally entitle you to the PG Certificate exit award if appropriate.

- Specialist streams:
Over the subsequent two years you elect two specialised units, relevant to their field of practice, from a choice of up to four units. These are designed to enable you to develop and hone specific interests towards the conduct of supervised research: current optional units are listed below. The five initial units are:

- international development policy
- education policy
- health policy
- technology policy
- social policy (awaiting final approval).

Each specialist unit carries 18 credits and is assessed by an 8,000 word assignment.

You will be asked to choose a specialist unit in the first year, while undertaking your core modules so that teaching resources can be planned for the following year.

- Research enquiry:
You will spend the final three years of your study developing a supervised research enquiry. Supervision is primarily provided virtually over this period but it would normally be expected that you adhere to a minimum number of face-to-face contact hours. We also provide other online support for you during this time including webinars and online forums.

About the IPR

The University of Bath Institute for Policy Research (IPR) brings together many of the University’s research strengths to foster inter-disciplinary research of international excellence and impact. It bridges the worlds of research, policy and professional practice to enable us to address some of the major policy challenges we face on a local, national and global scale.

Read more (http://www.bath.ac.uk/ipr/)

Find out how to apply here - http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/pg/apply/index.html

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Our highly sought-after graduates benefit from a programme that integrates training in identifying, framing and effectively researching social problems with a leading computational approach to social science. Read more
Our highly sought-after graduates benefit from a programme that integrates training in identifying, framing and effectively researching social problems with a leading computational approach to social science.

Furthermore, we are home to the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS) and its world-leading expertise in agent-based modelling.

PROGRAMME OVERVIEW

Interest in simulation has grown rapidly in the social sciences. New methods have been developed to tackle this complexity. This programme will integrate traditional and new methods, to model complexity, evolution and the adaptation of social systems.

These new methods are having an increasing influence on policy research through a growing recognition that many social problems are insufficiently served by traditional policy modelling approaches.

The Masters in Social Science and Complexity will equip you to develop expertise in the methods necessary to tackle complex, policy-relevant, real-world social problems through a combination of traditional and computational social science methods, and with a particular focus on policy relevance.

PROGRAMME STRUCTURE

This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time over two academic years. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation. The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
-Data Analysis
-Field Methods
-Computational Modelling
-Theory Model Data
-Modelling the Complex World
-Policy Modelling
-Theory and Method
-Statistical Modelling
-Evaluation Research
-Dissertation

EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF THE PROGRAMME

The main aims of the programme are to:
-Provide an appropriate training for students preparing MPhil/PhD theses, or for 
 students going on to employment involving the use of social science and policy research
-Provide training that fully integrates social science, policy modelling and computational methodologies to a high standard
-Provide training resulting in students with high quality analytic, methodological, computational and communication skills

PROGRAMME LEARNING OUTCOMES
The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, skills, qualities and other attributes in the following areas:
-Develop skills in tackling real world policy problems with creativity and sound methodological judgment
-Cover the principles of research design and strategy, including formulating research 
questions or hypotheses and translating these into practicable research designs and models
-Introduce students to the methodological and epistemological issues surrounding research in the social sciences in general and computational modelling in particular
-Develop skills in programming in NetLogo for the implementation of agent-based models for the modelling of social phenomena
-Develop skills in the acquisition and analysis of social science data
-Make students aware of the range of secondary data available and equip them to evaluate its utility for their research
-Develop skills in searching for and retrieving information, using library and Internet resources
-Develop skills in the use of SPSS, and in the main statistical techniques of data analysis, including multivariate analysis
-Develop skills in the use of CAQDAS software for the analysis of qualitative data
-Develop skills in writing, in the preparation of a research proposal, in the presentation ofresearch results and in verbal communication
-Help students to prepare their research results for wider dissemination, in the form of seminar papers, conference presentations, reports and publications, in a form suitable for a range of audiences, including academics, stakeholders, policy makers, professionals, service users and the general public

Knowledge and understanding
-Show advanced knowledge of qualitative, quantitative and computational methodologies in the social science
-Show advanced knowledge of modelling methodologies, model construction and analysis
-Show critical understanding of methodological and epistemological challenges of social science and computer modelling
-Show critical awareness and understanding of the methodological implications of a range of sociological theories and approaches
-Show understanding the use and value of a wide range of different research approaches across the quantitative and qualitative spectra
-Show advanced knowledge in data collection, analysis and data driven modelling
-Show advanced knowledge of policy relevant social science research and modelling
-Show advanced understanding of the policy process and the role of social science and modelling therein
-Show advanced knowledge of statistical modelling

Intellectual / cognitive skills
-Systematically formulate researchable problems; analyse and conceptualise issues; critically appreciate alternative approaches to research; report to a range of audiences
-Conceptual development of Social Science and Complexity models to creatively enhance the understanding of social phenomena
-Integration of qualitative, quantitative and computational data
-Judgement of problem-methodology match
-Analyse qualitative and quantitative data drawn both from ‘real world’ and ‘virtual world’ environments, using basic and more advanced techniques, and draw warranted conclusions
-Develop original insights, questions, analyses and interpretations in respect of research questions
-Critically evaluate the range of approaches to research

Professional practical skills
-Formulate, design, plan, carry out and report on a complete research project
-Use the range of traditional and computational techniques employed in sociological research
-Ability to produce well founded, data driven and validated computational models
-Generate both quantitative and qualitative data through an array of techniques, and select techniques of data generation on appropriate methodological bases
-Employ a quantitative (SPSS) and qualitative software package to manage and analyse data
-Plan, manage and execute research as part of a team and as a sole researcher
-Ability to communicate research findings models in social science and policy relevant ways
-Ability to manage independent research

Key / transferable skills
-Communicate complex ideas, principles and theories by oral, written and visual means
-Apply computational modelling methodology to complex social issues in appropriate ways
-Creativity in approaching complex problems and a the ability of communicating and justifying problem solutions
-Apply computing skills for computational modelling, research instrument design, data analysis, and report writing and presentation
-Work to deadlines and within work schedules
-Work independently or as part of a team
-Demonstrate experience of a work environment

PLACEMENTS

On the MSc Social Science and Complexity, we offer the opportunity to take a research placement during the Easter vacation. This will provide you with first-hand experience of real-life policy research in action.

Organisations in which placements might be possible are a number of consultancies (e.g. Sandtable), government departments (e.g. Defra) and academic research centres (e.g. Centre for Policy Modelling at Manchester).

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES

Computational methods and especially computer-based simulations, are becoming increasingly important in academic social science and policy making.

Graduates might find career opportunities in government departments, consultancies, government departments, consultancies, NGOs and academia.

GLOBAL OPPORTUNITIES

We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

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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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This is an ideal course if you want to develop your capacity to analyse social and public policies nationally and internationally. Read more
This is an ideal course if you want to develop your capacity to analyse social and public policies nationally and internationally. It will enable you to deepen your understanding of the major aspects of social and public policy, including competing conceptions of citizenship and how these inform social policy; contemporary forms of governance and public policy implementation, and the use of theories and research evidence to analyse and explain social and public policy change.

The course is suitable for those who have recently completed undergraduate courses of study, as well as those working in the community and voluntary sector, think-tanks, as researchers, or at different levels of government. It has been designed to be of value and relevance to students both from the UK and overseas, so interested individuals from all nations are encouraged to apply.

We aim to equip you with the theoretical, conceptual and analytical tools to examine contemporary social and public policies in both national and international contexts. It will enable you to draw on theories and concepts and interpret a range of forms of evidence in analysing policy developments and their social impacts.

Distinctive features

This MSc in Social and Public Policy is one of the few such courses in the UK to be offered by an interdisciplinary School of Social Sciences. As such, the approach to social and public policy offered here is shaped by a strong belief in the value of interdisciplinary social science theory and research and the importance of understanding the relationship between social and public policy and the other social sciences.

Structure

The course can be completed in one year with full-time study or in two years by part-time study.

The MSc in Social and Public Policy is organised around a sequence of up to three 20-credit specialist modules, two 30-credit modules in social science theory and research methods, and one 60-credit supervised dissertation on a social or public policy topic of your choice.

You will conduct your own analysis and present these in written work and oral presentations. In addition to specialist modules which deepen your understandings of social and public policy analysis, you will undertake modules in social science and research methods. The skills developed on these modules will enable you to complete your own dissertation on a social or public policy topic of your choice.

For a list of modules for the FULL-TIME route, please see website:

http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught/courses/group/social-and-public-policy

For a list of the modules for the PART-TIME route, please see website:

http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/taught/courses/course/social-and-public-policy-msc-part-time

Teaching

You will be expected to attend lectures, seminars and tutorials as set out in the timetable for MSc students. These sometimes sit outside the regular pattern of university attendance and may include day, evening and weekend study and on occasion may fall outside the standard semester dates. You will also be expected to undertake independent study in preparation for lectures, seminars and assessments. A 20 credit module comprises 200 hours of study, including about 30 hours of contact time, and the MSc as a whole, 1800 hours of study.

Modules employ a diverse range of teaching including lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials, and independent guided study.

The programme benefits from being located in an inter-disciplinary environment so that in parts of the course, you will come into contact with staff and students from other subject areas and, in other parts of the course, with staff and students in the same substantive area.

Assessment

Modules are assessed by a combination of essays, reports, reviews and presentations.

Career Prospects

The programme is designed to be of particular interest to individuals who have experience of working with, or an interest of working for, social or academic research organisations, departments at different levels of government (e.g. local, Welsh, UK-wide, European), international organisations (e.g. UNICEF), or at community and voluntary sector organisations. It is also relevant for students who seek to pursue other avenues but who wish to deepen their understanding of social and public policy in Wales, the UK and internationally.

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- professionals with a strong interest and need in gaining a thorough academic foundation in, and understanding of, current developments in the area of global economic governance. Read more

Who is this programme for?:

- professionals with a strong interest and need in gaining a thorough academic foundation in, and understanding of, current developments in the area of global economic governance.

- graduate students from other disciplinary backgrounds wishing to further their understanding of global economic policy issues and debates through systematic academic study.

- economics graduate students wishing to specialize in global economic policy and governance.

Prior knowledge of economics is not a requirement.

The MSc Global Economic Governance and Policy is the most recent addition to the Department of Economics’ portfolio of masters programme. The programme builds on the department’s unique combination of expertise – in policy analysis, regional economics and critical theoretical perspectives – to provide students with an in-depth understanding of core policy debates in the area of global economic governance. Specifically, the programme focuses on:

- global economic governance: It offers in-depth specialisation in this area of wider global governance.

- economic policy: It provides high-level training in the understanding and critical evaluation of economic policy issues, design and solutions, their foundation in the evolution of economic theory and methods, as well as critical discussion of the application of policy design to real-world problems, such as issues of implementation and monitoring.

- regional specificities within the global economy: It provides a differentiated analysis of problems of global economic governance from a range of regional perspectives, in advanced as well as developing country regions.

The programme is taught through two dedicated core courses (Global Economic Governance I: Global Economic Policy Debates and Analysis and Global Economic Governance II: Institutional and Governance Debates on Economic Development and Growth). In addition, students can choose from a wide range of optional courses and will write a 10.000 word dissertation.

Visit the website http://www.soas.ac.uk/economics/programmes/msc-global-economic-governance-and-policy/

Structure

The MSc in Global Economic Governance and Policy is a new masters programme designed for professionals and postgraduate students, with or without a prior background in economics, who wish to gain a focused and in-depth understanding of contemporary economic governance and policy debates.

The MSc is taught through two dedicated core courses. The first, Global Economic Governance 1 deals with issues of Global Economic Policy. This covers international trade and investment relationships between countries, trade and industrial policies, global capital markets, the international monetary and financial system, multinationals, global production networks and labour in the global economy. The second core paper, Global Economic Governance 2 deals with issues of institutions and governance. This includes issues of governance reforms for developing countries, the theory of institutional economics informing these debates, the policy and theoretical debates around property rights reforms, anti-corruption, industrial policy, rents and rent seeking, democratization and related governance issues. In addition, students will choose one, two or three optional courses, depending on the weight of the courses (see the list below), from across a range of SOAS departments plus a 10,000 word dissertation.

Students can, but do not have to, choose a course structure that, in addition to the programme’s focus on policy analysis and training, provides research method training.

- Optional Courses

MSc GEGP students can choose either one (1 unit) course or two (0.5 unit) courses or three (0.33 unit courses) to make up a total of 1 unit from the following list of courses by department. The availability of open option courses in other FL&SS departments from the below list is conditional on the approval of individual course convenors as well as the usual restrictions with regard to pre-requisites, timetable compatibilities and availability of individual courses in any one academic year. Students should note that some courses are capped in terms of student numbers, and that students from home departments will be given priority in case the relevant caps are reached. All law courses are open only for students with an LLB or who take the Law pre-sessional course offered by the School of Law at SOAS.

- Economics Department

MSc GEGP students will be eligible to take any of the post-graduate courses offered in the Economics Department, pending permission by the course convenors on the basis of the students’ prior academic qualifications in economics. Economics options with CATS 22.5 (0.5 unit) modules will be made available subject to approval.

Programme Specification

MSc Global Economic Governance and Policy programme specification (pdf; 392kb) - http://www.soas.ac.uk/economics/programmes/msc-global-economic-governance-and-policy/file97019.pdf

Materials

- SOAS Library
SOAS Library is one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, attracting scholars from all over the world. The Library houses over 1.2 million volumes, together with significant archival holdings, special collections and a growing network of electronic resources.
Access to other London Universities will be provided, where relevant to specific courses.

Teaching & Learning

Courses are taught in lectures and tutorial groups. Degrees are awarded on the basis of assessed coursework, examinations and the dissertation. Courses are generally assessed on the basis of a final examination (70%) and an essay or project-based coursework (30%). MSc degrees are taught over a period of twelve months of full-time study within a structured programme. In the case of part-time study, the degrees will be taught over two or three years.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge

- Students will learn about core policy debates on global economic governance.
- Students will study the current institutional and organisational architecture of global economic policy-making and governance.
- Students will have an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of differing economic theories and methods, and of how these relate to economic policy debates and designs in the area of global economic governance.
- Students will study regionally specific economic policy challenges in the context of the evolution of the global economy, and will have an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of different regional perspectives on global economic governance.
- Students will be trained in the understanding and use of economic policy tools and design, as well as issues of policy implementation and monitoring.
- Students taking the research pathway of the MSc GEGP will acquire sound knowledge of statistical research techniques and economic research methods.

Intellectual (thinking) skills:

- Students will learn to develop intellectual initiative and to analyse, evaluate and reflect critically on current research in the area of global economic governance.
- Students will acquire the ability to discriminate between competing economic theories and methods underlying the design of global economic policies, and to critically appraise the policy implications of these differing approaches.
- Students will learn to apply theoretical, empirical and technical knowledge about core features of current global economic governance to practical policy analysis through coursework and the dissertation.
- Students will have an opportunity to translate a complex understanding of issues in global economic governance into reform proposals, and to learn how to present these in an articulate, informed and coherent manner.

Subject-based practical skills:

- Students will learn how to gather, organise and employ data, information and evidence for economic policy analysis and design in the area of global economic governance.
- Students will gain the ability to critically assess economic policy tools and to design economic policy proposals in a case study context.
- Students will learn how to identify core problems in economic policy design, implementation and monitoring
- Students will acquire the ability to marshal arguments lucidly, coherently and concisely to present core analyses and policy messages or suggestions in clear language (written and verbal).
- Students taking the research pathway of the MSc GEGP will learn how to apply one or more research methods systematically to a chosen topic or project.

Transferable skills:

- Students will be able to analyse, evaluate and reflect critically on information received.
- Students will learn how to present ideas coherently and concisely, in writing and orally, extracting key elements from complex information.
- Students will be given the opportunity to engage with independent research on well defined tasks or topics.
- Students will learn how to identify policy problems and design solutions, selecting and applying competing theories and methods appropriately.
- Students will gain an understanding of how to gather, organise and deploy data and evidence to form a balanced judgement and to develop and support critical argument and policy recommendations. S
- Students will have an opportunity to present written and oral materials clearly and effectively and to engage constructively with feedback.

Employment

The MSc Global Economic Governance and Policy is a new programme, starting in 2016/17.

Students enrolling in this programme will return to or pursue careers in a wide range of positions in public, private and non-governmental project management and policy advice, for which a thorough understanding of on-going issues in global economic governance is essential.

This includes, for example, government officials from developing and advanced countries whose remit requires a wider understanding of global economic governance issues; employees of international organisations whose remits are not primarily concerned with economic policy-making, but increasingly require a thorough understanding of global economic governance issue to co-ordinate their approaches with those of other national and international organizations; private sector managers and consultants requiring a systematic understanding of current economic crises and imbalances in the world economy as well as regulatory approaches to this; employees of NGOs working in areas affected by current global economic crises and imbalances and policy responses to these; graduate students wishing to build a career in any of the above, and economics graduates with a special interest in global economic policy debates and design.

For more information about Graduate Destinations from this department, please visit the Careers Service website (http://www.soas.ac.uk/careers/graduate-destinations/).

Find out how to apply here - http://www.soas.ac.uk/admissions/pg/howtoapply/

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Programme description. Our Master of Public Policy (MPP) programme is designed for graduates looking for an advanced professional qualification to provide a launch pad for careers in the public sector, nonprofit sector or international policy community. Read more

Programme description

Our Master of Public Policy (MPP) programme is designed for graduates looking for an advanced professional qualification to provide a launch pad for careers in the public sector, nonprofit sector or international policy community.

The MPP is a theory-based empirically informed and practice-oriented. It aims to:

  • develop analytical and conceptual skills to enable critical evaluation of major policy issues, policy processes, policy implementation and policy linkages
  • examine in detail the political, economic and social context of policy-making at the local, regional, state and international levels
  • develop an in-depth knowledge of specific policy issues
  • provide a thorough training in analytical methods and approaches (qualitative and quantitative) used for policy development and implementation
  • develop an understanding of practical and ethical issues in policy-making
  • enhance knowledge and professional skills for public sector careers
  • provide professional experience through the work placement component

The programme benefits greatly from being located in Edinburgh, Scotland's capital city and seat of government allowing ready access and collaboration with central and local government, parliament, as well as a range of public service and non-profit organisations.

Programme structure

Core courses in first semester give you a grounding in politics, economics and policy analysis; these inform a fourth, a case-based investigation of a specific policy domain. Optional courses (one in first semester and two in the second semester), chosen from across a wide range of graduate courses offered by the School of Social and Political Science, provide specialist understanding of different issues, topics and contexts. The programme culminates in a placement-based dissertation of 8-10 weeks in a policy organisation.

You will be taught using a variety of innovative teaching methods with a focus on providing a strong practice-oriented element to provide you with the skills necessary for a career in the public sector. Classes typically last up to three hours and include academic presentations, student-led discussion and practitioner contributions.

The types of assessment used will include:

  • writing short policy briefs of memos
  • problem-solving tasks
  • individual and group presentations
  • writing analytical reports
  • self and peer assessment
  • developing skills portfolios
  • other varied oral and writing tasks

Work placements/internships

This programme offers an opportunity to undertake a work placement (approximately 8-10 weeks) with a policy organisation. Students undertaking a placement are required to produce a professional analytical report, based on their placement, which explores an existing public policy problem faced by a real-life public or non-profit sector organisation and your recommendations for a strategy to address it.

Placements are not guaranteed and are dependent on overall academic performance as well as the availability of suitable placements. Students who do not undertake a placement will complete a research report in which they will engage with a policy problem, collecting data, and presenting policy recommendations.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme, you will have gained skills in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

  • Policy-making processes, including policy development and implementation.
  • Multi-level governance, policy interests, actors and power.
  • Domestic, European and International Policy Arenas.
  • Public Economics and Market Failure.
  • Analytical Methods for Policy.
  • Policy learning and transfer.
  • Theories of policy-making.

Intellectual skills

  • Analytical: involving the ability to analyse and critically evaluate major public policy issues, including their historical evolution; their social, political, economic, cultural and ethical dimensions and implications; and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Methodological: involving the ability to appreciate a variety of methods and approaches available in the analysis of policy, to choose when particular approaches are relevant, and to employ them effectively.
  • Interdisciplinary competence: involving the ability to develop complex arguments using material from different related fields (e.g. politics, social policy, public management, economics, law, geosciences, public health).

Professional/subject-specific/practical skills

  • Ability to critically evaluate factors shaping the policy-making process.
  • Skills in applying theories and insights from scholarly research to practical issues.
  • Ability to write analytical reports regarding policy issues and problems.
  • Practical skills and professional experience gained through the placement.
  • Ability to form a research-driven goal (of an essay, report, presentation), identify methods necessary for a given project, and to complete a project on time.

Transferable skills

  • General analytical: ability to critically evaluate policies and arguments, and to analyse policy documents and datasets.
  • Organisational: ability to complete a project, setting up analytical and research goals, identifying necessary means and ways to completion.
  • Interpersonal: leadership, delegation and team-work or group-work (presentations, joint policy reports, discussions in class).
  • Communications: ability to prepare and present reports, papers and briefs to a mixed audience of academics and practitioners using powerpoint etc.
  • Methodological: ability to evaluate and apply different qualitative and quantitative analytical methods.
  • Reflective: ability to reflect on self-development, progress and skills.

Career opportunities

The MPP is a recognised professional qualification. The combination of academic excellence and practical experience ensure that MPP graduates are well placed for careers in public policy, government, think tanks, consulting firms, NGOs, party politics, and advocacy/lobbying organisations, among others.

The transferable skills you will gain from the programme, and the experience and networking opportunities from the placement, will give you a competitive edge in the employment market whatever your eventual career.

Executive Programme in Public Policy

The University’s Academy of Government also offers an Executive Programme in Public Policy, aimed at mid-career professionals from the public sector, international organisations, business and civil society organisations, on a flexible, credit-accumulation basis:



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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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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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Rethink public policy from the ground up, by exploring creative and innovative approaches for making, shaping and influencing policy design and delivery. Read more

Rethink public policy from the ground up, by exploring creative and innovative approaches for making, shaping and influencing policy design and delivery.

This specialist MSc in Public Policy offers you the opportunity to delve into how public policy is made, what shapes it, and how you can make a real difference as a policymaker.

You will explore the political, economic and social dynamics and forces that influence contemporary public policy issues. This will enable you to think creatively about public policy design and delivery, and your role within it.

Highly applied in nature, the course draws on diverse cases from policymaking globally, as well as from Europe and the UK. You’ll work with academics from the Institute for Policy Research, Department of Social & Policy Sciences and Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies with international expertise in this area, and have links to senior and experienced policymakers from around the world.

The course also examines how data, knowledge and evidence in the digital environment are re-shaping how public policy is analysed, made and practised.

You will leave the course with:

  • a robust understanding of the concepts and tools used in public policymaking today, their application and limitations
  • an understanding of the wider contexts and constraints within which public policy is made
  • the confidence to apply different policymaking tools and think creatively about them, identifying new ways to achieve public policy goals
  • the ability to read, critique and develop persuasive arguments about the characteristics of policy problems, the knowledge we have about them, and alternatives for action and inaction

The course is delivered in an inspiring format, with highly structured and interactive online content; face-to-face learning and networking at short residentials in Bath and London; and intensive support from leading Bath academics throughout.

Ideal for those already working in policy, or aspiring to do so, the course offers plenty of opportunity to draw on examples from your own professional experience, and to apply the new ideas and skills to your own specific public policy interests.

Graduate prospects

The specialist teaching and tools you acquire will put you in a strong position for moving forward in any policy-facing or policy-shaping role, whether in analysis, strategy or delivery.

You will be equipped to work as a national civil servant in a policy role, government affairs official, think tank researcher, parliamentary advisor, policy advisor, policy advocate in a large INGO or advocacy organisation.

You could also work in regional or local government strategy, public service policy or strategy, or the private sector providing contracted public sector services.

You could also take your studies further to doctoral level.

Course brochure

Download the course brochure.

Course structure

This course lasts 2 years. Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

Units

Compulsory course units

These compulsory units are currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new units.

Year 1

  • Public policy: theory, politics and practice
  • Public policy and economics
  • Knowledge, evidence and data in public policy

Year 2

  • Public policy case analysis
  • Dissertation or Policy portfolio

Learning and assessment

Learning

Online resources

  • Podcasts and videos
  • Topic overviews with specified reading, key issues, questions and debates
  • Structured online web-discussion with academic staff
  • Blogs and forums
  • Policy Case Study library covering specific areas of public policy, developed by leading experts

Residential resources

  • Practical data analysis and intensive digital data workshops
  • Tutorials
  • Lectures
  • Extended seminars with visiting policy professionals on practice-based topics
  • Free attendance at the Institute for Policy Research annual symposium

Assessment

  • Blog
  • Data analysis practical
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Online web-forum contributions
  • Policy brief
  • Policy evidence and data review
  • Presentations
  • Public Policy case report
  • Take-home examination


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This course provides an understanding of social research, with a particular focus on social statistics and quantitative methods. Read more

Introduction

This course provides an understanding of social research, with a particular focus on social statistics and quantitative methods. The course includes orientation material on social research methods as a whole, and detailed training on a wide range of statistical methods, with advanced modules on data management and emerging priority research areas, such as big data and social network analysis.
Teaching covers the theories behind the methods, and the practical work in using datasets and analysing them with statistical software. Students will gain a variety of highly marketable skills in the areas of social research and social statistics.

Key information

- Degree type: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma
- Study methods: Full-time, Part-time
- Start date: Full-time: SeptemberPart-time: September/JanuarySee semester dates
- Course Director: Dave Griffiths
- Location: Stirling Campus

Course objectives

This course provides an understanding of social research, with a particular focus on social statistics and quantitative methods. The course includes orientation material on social research methods as a whole, and detailed training on a wide range of statistical methods, with advanced modules on data management and emerging priority research areas, such as big data and social network analysis.
Teaching covers the theories behind the methods, and the practical work in using datasets and analysing them with statistical software. Students will gain a variety of highly marketable skills in the areas of social research and social statistics.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:
- IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
- Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
- Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
- IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20

For more information go to http://www.stir.ac.uk/study-in-the-uk/entry-requirements/english/

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard.

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View the range of pre-sessional courses http://www.intohigher.com/uk/en-gb/our-centres/into-university-of-stirling/studying/our-courses/course-list/pre-sessional-english.aspx .

Structure and content

Students will undertake four core modules, two option modules and complete a 15,000 word dissertation. In the full time programme, 3 modules are completed during the Autumn semester, 3 in the Spring, and the dissertation submitted in the summer. Module either cover wider topics in social research, or focus on understanding and implementing advanced quantitative methods.

Core modules

- Research Design and Process
- Quantitative Data Analysis
- Advanced Data Analysis
- Advanced Data Management
- Using Big Data in Social Research

Option modules
Students will also select two option modules from a range of applied social research topics. The recommended option is Social Network Analysis.

Other options include The Nature of Social Enquiry, Policy Analysis and Evaluation Research, Qualitative Analysis and Research Methods in Criminology and Socio-Legal Studies. Some of these modules will be particularly suitable for students with an interest in mixed methods research.

Delivery and assessment

Modules are generally a combination of lectures and workshops. Teaching largely takes place on Tuesdays, although some components might take place on other days. The contact hours are sympathetic to those working alongside their studies. Most teaching is performed in smaller classes, with group activities. Modules are usually assessed by an examination, software based assignments, and essays.

Why Stirling?

REF2014
In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

Career opportunities

Social statistics are an important area within applied social research, offering employment opportunities within the private, public and voluntary sectors, as well as further study. Students will develop thorough knowledge of software and learn a range of sought-after technical skills, including accessing, preparing, analysing and summarising complex quantitative datasets. The course is also designed to provide the technical skill set required for further PhD study.

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