Masters degrees in Social Theory examine the ways in which sociological thought can be used to explain human behaviour and relationships. Unsurprisingly, these courses have a particularly theoretical focus compared to other kind of Sociology Masters, concentrating on the work of certain thinkers and schools of thought.
Similar postgraduate specialisms include Social & Cultural Theory, Social & Political Theory, Social Policy and Social Research Methods.
Social Theory is a broad and complex field, and a Masters in this area will allow you to address a range of different theoretical frameworks and methodologies. Typical subjects include postmodernism, poststructuralism, feminism, Marxism and postcolonialism. You might look at the history and development of these movements, or explore how they relate to the events and issues that shape contemporary society.
These usually culminate in a piece of independent research, consisting of a lengthy dissertation on a subject of your choice. The skills you gain through this project will be applicable in a range of careers, and employment destinations typically include the government, publishing and journalism. Alternatively, a Masters in Social Theory provides a great foundation for further study of the subject through a PhD.
The MA in Social Policy and Social Development Programme aims to prepare students to develop the necessary core professional and personal competence required to work in the field of social policy and to engage in professional practices in social development. This involves gaining critical knowledge and skills in analysing and appreciating local and global policy issues and the ability to formulate and assess policy options that ensure effective, appropriate and sustainable outcomes, uphold social justice and improve social well-being. To these ends, the programme is designed to bring together theory and practice that enables participants in the programme to meet challenges in social development ethically and imaginatively.
Unlike most other postgraduate programmes in social policy, this MASPSD is designed for those who are either to embark on a career in Social Policy and Social Development or those who are already mid-career practitioners seeking to improve their knowledge about public and non-government sectors specialising in social policy and planning for social development. It is structured to offer rigorous, interdisciplinary and hands-on training across a number of academic, managerial and professional disciplines that prepare participants to transfer knowledge into action to bring about social development, especially through responsible policy analysis, formulation, impact assessment and evaluation.
The programme provides students with a solid foundation in social policy analysis that can be adapted and applied in many fields of human service provision and practice in social development. Graduates are expected to gain the competence necessary to participate effectively in social policy processes, conduct needs assessments, evaluate policy impacts and develop appropriate and relevant policy options that respond responsibly to new challenges in social development.
MA : to be eligible for the award, students are required to take 30 credits (6 Required Subjects including the Integrative Project and 4 Elective Subjects).
PgD : Students who have successfully completed 21 credits (5 Required Subjects and 2 Elective Subjects) can exit that programme with a Postgraduate Diploma.
PgC : Students who have successfully completed 12 credits (2 Required Subjects and 2 Elective Subjects) can exit the programme with a Postgraduate Certificate.
Graduates of this programme may apply for membership of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA).
How we live with difference is the key issue of our time. Issues relating to race and ethnicity, whether immigration, Islamophobia, #blacklivesmatter, or media diversity, are at the forefront of public debate. The MA in Race, Media and Social Justice will equip you with critical and theoretical tools to unpack and deepen your understanding of contemporary debates on race, ethnicity and racism.
Goldsmiths is a centre of pioneering critical race scholarship and you will be taught by leading figures in the field. This interdisciplinary degree will introduce you to a range of different theoretical and philosophical approaches to race and ethnicity, including postcolonial and critical race theories, poststructuralist approaches, and theories of intersectionality.
The focus on the cultural industries which underpins the degree enables you to apply these theories to understand why representations of race and ethnicity take the shape that they do in news, film and social media. A series of industry talks from BAME practitioners working in the industry is designed to expand your practical as well as academic insight into issues of diversity in the media and other sectors.
This MA is taught across two departments - Media and Communications and Sociology – that are recognised as world-leading in their respective disciplines. As a postgraduate student you will join the active intellectual community at Goldsmiths, while learning the skills that you will be able to apply to a range of careers, from media, to policy, to charity/NGOs and other forms of social enterprise.
You will study these core modules:
You also take 60 credits of option modules from within the Departments of Media and Communications and Sociology, or relevant modules from other departments at Goldsmiths such as Theatre and Performance, Politics and International Relations, English and Comparative Literature, Centre for Cultural Studies and Anthropology.
Examples of modules that may be of particular interest to students on this course include:
Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.
This degree will equip you with the ability to recognise and negotiate sensitive ethical issues in research and representation. You will also hone your ability to listen and speak to diverse audiences.
As a graduate from this degree you will develop excellent critical thinking and teamwork skills. The practical and research elements of the course will also equip you with the skills to design and implement projects. These transferable skills are highly valued by employers across many sectors.
The knowledge and skills you will graduate with from this degree will mean you are well-equipped to enter a diverse range of roles, particularly in relation to issues of equality, diversity and social justice. This could include governmental and public administration roles, NGO and charity work, policy work, and business and communications. Moreover, the emphasis on media will suit graduates interested in careers in creative and cultural industries.
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.
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.
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.
This wide-ranging programme explores key concepts, methods, debates and applications in social and political theory.
Core modules will introduce you to social and political thought and its relation to economic, social, political and cultural problems in a fast-changing, globalised world. From the seminal works of Karl Marx to contemporary thinkers such as Judith Butler and Slavoj Zizek, you’ll think about how these approaches can help us understand social change on the global stage.
Beyond this, you’ll choose modules that suit your own interests – you could specialise in gender, racism and ethnicity studies, social policy, globalisation, care, health or disability among others. You can also pursue research training to prepare for further study.
Research insight - the Bauman Institute
You’ll become part of the Bauman Institute, launched in honour of Emeritus Professor Zygmunt Bauman to analyse social change around the world. It’s an exciting and stimulating research environment where you’ll learn from experts in their fields.
The Bauman Institute is inspired by Bauman’s sociological imagination, and has earned an international reputation for teaching and research. Bringing together researchers from diverse disciplines, it investigates the ways in which societies continue to evolve in areas such as power and resistance and the sociology of capitalism.
You’ll take core modules during the year that introduce you to different areas of social, sociological and political thought, from Marx and Weber to the Frankfurt School and recent feminist and psychoanalytic thinkers. You’ll consider the positioning and relevance of critical theory in relation to contemporary social phenomena.
These modules lay the foundations of the programme; you’ll build on them through your choice of optional modules which give you the chance to specialise. You could focus on areas such as research methods and design, healthcare, disability theory, globalisation, gender, racism and ethnicity studies or policy analysis and evaluation. If you’re planning to progress to PhD study, we’ll recommend you take modules focusing on research and data analysis.
At the end of the programme, you’ll submit your dissertation – an independent piece of research on a related topic of your choice, which allows you to demonstrate and apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired during the year.
Most of our modules are taught using lectures, seminars and tutorials. Optional modules may also include workshops, online learning or other methods. However, independent study is still a crucial element of this programme, allowing you to develop your skills, pursue specific research interests and form your own ideas.
Core modules are assessed using essays, as well as your final dissertation. Depending on the optional modules you choose, you may also be assessed using research reports, project work, presentations, literature and book reviews among other methods. If you select research methods modules, you’ll also be expected to engage with some data analysis in your essays.
This programme will enable you to think critically with an ethical awareness and to understand how a consumer society has transformed social and political realities.
These qualities are crucially important for a wide range of potential careers from policy research to local authority and government roles, campaigning and political lobbying, work with development agencies and NGOs, and even entry to the academic profession and research-based employment.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.
The MA Methods of Social Research provides essential training for employment where an understanding of social research is important, as well as for further academic research in a social science discipline.
This MA programme at Kent exposes students to a wide range of thinking and approaches in social science research presented in a multi-disciplinary context and at an advanced level.
Through this programme you develop practical skills in data collection, in data analysis and interpretation, and in the presentation of research findings so that students gain insight into the research process from design to the production of new knowledge. You will also broaden your understanding of the philosophical, theoretical and ethical issues that matter in research, and will become aware of debates about the relationship between theory and research and between research, policy and practice.
You take compulsory modules alongside optional modules of your choice. Modules may include:
Through this programme you will:
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/
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.
* of 122 universities, not including specialist institutions
Develop the skills and understanding to tackle the global challenges of development, social justice and sustainability.
Whether you are a graduate aiming to make a difference in the world, or a professional wishing to deepen your knowledge and critical thinking, this course is for you.
You will explore the political, economic and social forces that promote and prevent social and environmental justice around the world. These include people’s struggles for wellbeing and sustainability and the visions that inspire them; and the roles of state, society and market actors. Transcending geographical binaries of Global North and South, you will consider areas of complementarity and trade-off between economic development, human wellbeing and environmental sustainability.
This specialist master’s combines skills and knowledge of international development with an in-depth focus on social justice, wellbeing and sustainability. Innovative learning approaches promote investigation of particular cases and issues drawing out connections and contradictions between different actors, analytical perspectives and across global, regional, national, and local scales. The course provides you with the opportunity to apply what you have learned in a placement leading to a work-based project.
You will leave the course with:
You will join the Department of Social & Policy Studies here at Bath. We are ranked in the top 50 for Development Studies in the QS World University Rankings 2017.
Our staff are all active in this field, research-led, and united in their commitment to finding better solutions to the world’s development problems.
We encourage diversity of intake, in experience, qualifications and interests, to stimulate the richness of experience and learning.
This course provides an excellent grounding for careers in social, economic and environmental justice in both global North and global South. It provides the core skills required in a range of policy, communication, advocacy, research and programmatic roles. These may also be used to support social movements, foster corporate social responsibility, promote social enterprise or advance regulatory activities by government or the third sector.
This course lasts 1 year. It starts in September 2018 and ends in 2019. Induction week starts on 24 September 2018.
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.
The total number of credits for the taught-stage is 60 credits, with most units being 12 Credits. A typical week would approximately average between 6-10 hours of classes or seminars a week depending on options taken. The dissertation or practicum are 30 credits.
Compulsory course units
These compulsory units are currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new units.
Optional course units
These optional units are currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new units.
As an alternative to writing a dissertation, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake a six-week placement (practicum), working with an organisation involved in international development. You'll write a report reflecting on a particular area of professional practice.
Learning and assessment
This MA provides students with key analytical skills to study the ethical dimensions of public policy. The programme, drawing on three areas of excellence at UCL, is a unique mix of politics, law and philosophy, centred on the normative evaluation of public policy at both the domestic and international levels.
The programme explores the moral quality of the decisions citizens and professionals take, and the justice of the legal and political structures within which they operate. Students develop the ability to analyse important modern political theories, and justify their position on issues concerning the relationship between politics, law and society.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of two core modules (60 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a research dissertation (60 credits).
Students choose modules worth a total of 45 credits from the list below (the others remain available as options).
They also choose one further 15-credit module from a list available at: the programme website
All MA students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 10,000 words.
Teaching and learning
Teaching for all modules takes the form of seminars where time is dedicated both to introducing knowledge and materials, and allowing students to test their understanding, knowledge and evaluative skills, through discussion, criticism and debate. Assessment is primarily through long essays, coursework and the dissertation.
Further information on modules and degree structure is available on the department website: Legal and Political Theory MA
This MA provides an excellent foundation for further research in political theory, or a wide variety of careers in this field.
Recent career destinations for this degree
Students of the Legal and Political Theory MA acquire advanced analytical transferable skills and exposure to cutting-edge legal and philosophical work - problem-solving, logical skills - combined with deep understanding of challenges of the contemporary world. As a result our students have an excellent record of employability in leading professions - law, consultancy, politics, journalism and academic careers.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013–2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL Political Science is recognised as a centre of excellence in the field and offers a uniquely stimulating environment for the study of legal and political theory.
Weekly interactive seminars offer students an unrivalled opportunity to meet and engage with some of the leading figures in the field.
The Legal and Political Theory MA benefits from the interdisciplinary research culture of the Department of Political Science, as well as from the participation of UCL Philosophy and UCL Laws.
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Political Science
89% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.