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MSc International Social and Public Policy (With Specialisms in Development, Non-Governmental Organisations, Migration or Research)

Course content

About the MSc programme

This MSc International Social and Public Policy (ISPP) programme addresses how states and societies respond to global challenges of social, demographic and economic change, and of poverty, migration and globalisation. It is underpinned by the LSE approach to social and public policy that is explicitly international, interdisciplinary and applied. 

Meeting human needs and increasing well-being are universal policy goals but are addressed differently around the world, with different roles for governments, NGOs, families, and markets. Our ISPP programme incorporates this international and comparative perspective to policy design and evaluation. Looking at low-, middle-, and high-income countries, you will gain the skills to identify key social challenges and to analyse the social and public policies used to address them.

Specialism streams

You can choose to take the MSc International Social and Public Policy without a specialism, with unrestricted option courses, or you can take particular optional courses to provide you with a specialism. You can decide to specialise either when you apply or early in the first term. Specialism options include:

  • MSc International Social and Public Policy (Development)
  • MSc International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations)
  • MSc International Social and Public Policy (Migration)
  • MSc International Social and Public Policy (Research)

Depending on the subject stream that you undertake, you will be required to complete a number of compulsory courses (half units), which will introduce you to ISPP and the issues in researching social and public policy. You will also undertake an independent piece of research in the form of a 10,000 word research dissertation.

Other optional courses cover topics such as: education, globalisation, politics of social policy, social security, race and ethnicity, children’s rights, riots, sexuality, advantage and disadvantage, urbanisation, welfare analysis and measurement.

These programmes are offered by the Department of Social Policy, which is an internationally recognised centre of research and teaching in social and public policy. The Department is distinguished by its multidisciplinary, international and comparative approach. The faculty are leading researchers in their fields, and has particular strengths in behavioural public policy, criminology, development, economic and social inequality, education, migration, non-governmental organisations and population change and the life course.

The MSc ISPP replaces and consolidates five previous MSc programmes: Social Policy and Planning, European and Comparative Social Policy, Social Policy and Development, Social Policy and Development (NGOs), and Social Policy (Research).

Graduate Destinations

These programmes equip you for a career in social and public policy in government, NGOs, international organisations, private sector providers, or in academia. Students who have graduated from programmes similar to this have gone on to work for:

  • different UN agencies including UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCR;
  • a variety of small and large NGOs including Oxfam, Médecins Sans Frontières, International Red Cross and One World;
  • action international or intergovernmental organisations such as the World Economic Forum, European Commission and World Bank;
  • consulting companies; and
  • government ministries.

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme


Visit the MSc International Social and Public Policy (With Specialisms in Development, Non-Governmental Organisations, Migration or Research) page on the London School of Economics and Political Science website for more details!

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