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Social Policy MA/PGDip/PGCert

Course Description

This programme aims to introduce you to the study of social policy and to the recent, current and future political, economic and demographic context of policy-making.

It is particularly suitable if you have a first degree in another discipline and are seeking a move into the area of social policy. It is also suitable for international students with experience in social policy, welfare and care areas in their own country.

Programme content

The MA programme includes assessed courses (120 credits) and the completion of a 10,000-word dissertation (60 credits), while the Postgraduate Diploma consists of assessed courses only (120 credits).

The modules include:

Introduction to Applied Social Research
This module introduces students to the theory of social research and the different methodologies in an applied policy and practice setting. The development of a research proposal, choice of methodology and methods, access and ethical considerations and the research process are included and students are expected to undertake a small piece of empirical or policy research as part of their dissertation.

Politics of British Social Policy
This module explores some key developments in the politics of British Social Policy since 1940. Topics include the impact of the Second World War, the welfare reforms of Attlee's Labour governments, 'One Nation' Conservatism, Labour's revisionist welfare strategy of the 1960s and 70s, Thatcherism and the New Right and New Labour.

British Social Policy – Beyond Welfare?
This module provides students with an understanding of recent trends in Social Policy development and of the current social and economic context of policy making in the UK. Current topics include income and wealth inequalities, workfare and anti-social behaviour and community justice.

International Social Policy Analysis
This module introduces students to Social Policy in countries other than the UK. It looks at different models of Social Policy and welfare development, explores the impact of globalisation on social welfare and enables students to critically compare and analyse Social Policy within different cultural, political and historical contexts.

Plus two courses from a range of options, including:

Researching Social Policy
Sectors and Services in British Social Policy
A range of optional choices from within social sciences

Visit the Social Policy MA/PGDip/PGCert page on the University of Birmingham website for more details!

Student Profiles

ESRC scholarships for PG Study and Doctoral Research - 14 Awards

The University of Birmingham ESRC Doctoral Training Centre is one of 21 across the UK that has been accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). It has been awarded 14 ESRC scholarships to fund postgraduate training and doctoral research starting in October 2012.Outstanding applicants will be considered for ESRC scholarships in the following pathways:Applied Linguistics
Russian and East European Studies
International Development (IDD)
West African Studies
German Studies
Business and Management
Economic and Social History
Economics and Econometrics
Urban and Regional Studies
Human Geography
Political Science and International Studies
European Studies
Local Government Studies and Public Policy
Sport and Exercise Science (Psy)
Social Policy
Social Work
Socio-Legal Studies

Value of Scholarship(s)



Please note that to be eligible for an ESRC award at the University of Birmingham you must have also submitted an application to study at the University.

Application Procedure

For further information, please visit http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/esrc

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A good Honours degree or equivalent is normally required. This will usually be in a social science, although applications from those with degrees in other disciplines will be considered. Applications are also encouraged from those without an Honours degree who have five years or more relevant work experience in a policy or practice area.

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