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Course content

Researchers, research managers, policy advisers and service planners are all faced with a growing need for research that is timely and relevant. This programme builds on the links between research and policy in developing the particular skills and capacities needed by policy-oriented researchers, professionals and postgraduate students interested in carrying out public policy, social policy and social welfare research. We believe this is vital if researchers are to maximise the impact of their work in addressing issues of real concern to policy-makers.

The programme provides core research training in philosophy and research design in the social sciences, along with introductions to and further approaches in quantitative and qualitative methods in the social sciences. It also offers optional units in areas of the school's particular research expertise, such as child and family welfare, gender and violence, health and social care, poverty and social exclusion, and policy-oriented evaluation.

We recognise that students will be joining with relevant - albeit varied - experience. Therefore, there will be opportunities for you to draw on your own experiences as researchers, managers and policy advisers and to share these with other participants on the programme. Those who have recently embarked on a career in policy research, or who hope to do so, will find the programme offers a unique combination of academic rigour, up-to-date policy content and relevant skills development. 

Core units are taught in collaboration with other postgraduate programmes, providing a co-learning environment and giving you the opportunity to interact and share insights with other interest groups.

Programme structure

The programme is delivered through a combination of intensive block teaching and weekly delivery to ensure it is as accessible as possible to postgraduate students, busy policy professionals and practitioners. The way units are delivered means you can accumulate credits flexibly and organise your patterns of attendance to suit your needs and circumstances.

The MSc and Postgraduate Diploma consist of four core units and two optional units. A dissertation of 10-15,000 words is required for the MSc. The Postgraduate Certificate is awarded to students who successfully complete three units, two of which must be from the list of core units.

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure and unit content for our Postgraduate Diploma in Policy Research or our MSc in Policy Research.

Careers

The MSc in Policy Research stresses the development of policy research and analysis methods, as well as substantive knowledge. Graduates from our MSc Policy Research can go on to work as policy researchers and analysts, or research commissioners/managers in public or private agencies, both in the UK and overseas.

Potential employers include local or central government departments, national or international non-governmental organisations, or international institutions such as the European Union.

Alternatively, our MSc provides students with the core training to further their career in academic research with a PhD in Social Policy.


Visit the Policy Research - MSc/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of Bristol website for more details!

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