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Full time & Part time September MSc 1 year full-time; 2-5 years part-time
Politics & Government (30)

FindAMasters summary

The MSc in Policy Research is a comprehensive programme that equips researchers, policy advisers, and professionals with the necessary skills to conduct timely and relevant research. With a focus on public policy, social policy, and social welfare research, this programme offers core training in research design and philosophy, as well as quantitative and qualitative research methods. Optional units are available in various areas of expertise, such as child and family welfare, gender and violence, and health and social care. The flexible delivery format allows students to tailor their learning experience, making it accessible to both postgraduate students and busy policy professionals. Graduates can pursue careers in policy research, analysis, or academic research.

About the course

Researchers, research managers, policy advisers and service planners are all faced with a growing need for research that is timely and relevant. This programme develops the skills and capacities needed to undertake high-quality social research that speaks to a wide variety of policy contexts.   

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.

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Entry Requirements

An upper second-class honours degree or international equivalent in Sociology, Social Care, Social Work, Social Policy, Social Welfare, Public Policy, Public Administration, Business Administration, Management, Social Administration, Political Science, Psychology, Economics, Gender Studies, Development Studies, Health, History, Philosophy, Law.

For more information visit the institution website.

 Course Content

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Where will I study?

Where is University of Bristol


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Student Profile

Audrey Lenoel

Audrey Lenoel is currently studying the MSc Policy Research at the School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol. The programme is the first year of an ESRC 1+3 funded studentship leading onto PhD study afterwards.

I had developed a strong interest in issues relating to migrations and the integration of migrants and very much wanted to pursue these interests through further studies. I chose the UK for its academic reputation in my field and applied for… a research associate position based at the School for Policy Studies (SPS) at the University of Bristol. The reputation of the institution in the field of social policy appealed to me.

I immediately liked Bristol and working at SPS. I found people here friendly and supportive, and enjoyed working in a School bringing people with different backgrounds and areas of expertise and research interests together. This environment encouraged me to pursue a career in research and I felt it was the right time to undertake doctoral studies.

I was keen to stay at SPS as I appreciated its multidisciplinary research environment and knew I would receive great support there.

Working at SPS put me in a good position to get advice on funding opportunities and develop a research proposal. I was recommended to apply for funding from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and, since my previous postgraduate qualifications did not contain the research methods modules needed to be recognised by this funding body, I applied for a 1+3 scholarship (MSc + PhD). I was granted the scholarship and started the MSc in Policy Research last October.

The MSc Policy Research course helps students build their practical research and analytical skills and constitutes a good preparation for doctoral studies. I intend to study the practices and impact of migrant remittances on both the senders and receivers sides during my PhD and the different modules offered in the MSc give me the opportunity to think carefully about research design and the most suitable methods to address my research questions.

As the course is particularly intended for researchers and practitioners working in public service organisations, it has a practical focus and the discussions during the classes are fuelled by real-life experiences. I regard this degree as a very good foundation course for my doctoral studies. It would also suit the needs of professionals willing to improve their understanding and skills in research methods.
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