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Social Policy (MA)

Course Description


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.


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.

Visit the Social Policy (MA) page on the Liverpool Hope University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Normally a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a relevant discipline.

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