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International Social Policy - PDip, MA

Course Description

Welfare states everywhere face enormous challenges from population ageing, changes in family life and work-patterns, migration and the economic crisis. In a globalised and interdependent world, these issues can only be understood from an international perspective which accounts for these common pressures and processes, but which also recognises and engages with the diversity of national traditions and institutions for delivering welfare.

The International Social Policy programme takes a policy analytic approach to provide you with an advanced understanding of current debates, theories and concepts relevant to international social policy. You learn about the common features of social policy arrangements internationally and the variety and differences that characterise welfare across the countries and regions of the world. Drawing on the research-based expertise available at SSPSSR which relates to countries ranging from China, South Korea and Singapore in South East Asia to the UK, Germany and Sweden in Western Europe, you are equipped to understand how national and global forces interact to shape trajectories of welfare system development.

The programme enables you to apply theories and methods of social policy in exploring enduring cross cutting themes in social policy, including the prioritisation of equality and capabilities, as well as to drill down to how and why policy unfolds in key welfare fields. You develop policy analytic skills in relation to such areas as health, migration, pensions, education, social care, and children & family related policy. You acquire expertise in the use of primary and secondary data collection in areas pertaining to all these aspects of social policy, and are thus equipped to think critically about the development of social welfare systems in a global age across the full range of national contexts and policy situations.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/118/international-social-policy

About the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

SSPSSR has a long and distinguished history, and is one of the largest and most successful social science research communities in Europe.

Academic staff specialise in research of international, comparative and theoretical significance, and we have collective strengths in the following areas: civil society, NGOs and the third sector; cross-national and European social policy; health, social care and health studies; work, employment and economic life; risk, ‘risk society’ and risk management; race, ethnicity and religion; social and public policy; sociology and the body; crime, culture and control; sociological theory and the culture of modernity.

Course structure

We place considerable emphasis on structured, interactive seminars with a high degree of student participation. You also join the staff/graduate seminars which allow MA and research students to become involved in a professional research culture.

The programme gives you a clear and confident grasp of social policy in developed and developing countries. You gain an advanced understanding of the relevant debates, theories and concepts of international issues alongside skills in research design and data collection.


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. Current compulsory modules for this programme are: Critical Social Research: Truth, Ethics and Power; Design of Social Research; Key Issues in Comparative Social Policy.

You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

SO832 - Using Research-Advanced Critical Skills (20 credits)
SO833 - Design of Social research (20 credits)
SO877 - Key Issues in Comparative Social Policy (20 credits)
SO872 - Comparative Social Policy (20 credits)
SO876 - Organised Civil Society and the Third Sector (20 credits)
SO884 - Race, Difference and Belonging (20 credits)
SO894 - The Family, Parenting Culture and Parenting Policy (20 credits)
SO938 - Governing Science, Technology and Society in the 21st Century (20 credits)
SO838 - The Idea of Civil Society (20 credits)
SO839 - Fundraising and Philanthropy (20 credits)
SO867 - Foundations of Sociology (20 credits)
SA803 - Politics and Sociology of the Environment (20 credits)
SO813 - Sociology of health, illness and medicine (20 credits)
SO817 - Qualitative Research (20 credits)
SO819 - Quantitative Data Analysis (20 credits)
SO825 - Terrorism and Modern Society (20 credits)
SO998 - Dissertation (60 credits)


Modules combine various forms of coursework; a research dissertation also acts as a modular component of the course in its own right.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide you with an advanced understanding of current debates, theories and concepts relevant to international social policy

- impart country-specific as well as cross-national empirical and theoretical knowledge of current challenges and processes of transformation of welfare systems

- enable you to apply theories and methods of social policy in exploring specific policy fields such as health, migration, pensions, education, social care, poverty and social exclusion, urban development, and family policy

- develop your skills in research design and data collection in areas pertaining to social policy

- familiarise you with using primary and secondary data to develop cutting-edge research in the field of international social policy.


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.

SSPSSR consistently ranks highly for student satisfaction and teaching quality, ranking 6th in the UK for our Social Policy students' employment prospects (2015 Complete University Guide).

Recent graduates have pursued careers in academia, journalism, local and central government, charities and NGOs in roles which utilise their wide range of skills and are often found in managerial positions.

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the International Social Policy - PDip, MA page on the University of Kent website for more details!

(Student Profile)


The other students on my programme came from many different countries. This helped make discussions much more exciting as we could share experiences and stories which really helped broaden my understanding of social policy around the world.


Taught Postgraduate Scholarships - 20+ Awards

The school will award £500 to all First Class honours degrees (or their non-UK equivalents) and to very good upper 2.1 (i.e., 68%+), and is subject to academic transcript, references and personal statement. All applicants, who have accepted a place on one of the following programmes, will be automatically considered for a scholarship. There is no need to make a separate application.•MA Civil Society, NGO and Non-Profit Studies
•MA Criminology
•MA Criminology with a semester abroad
•MA International Social Policy
•MA Methods of Social Research
•MA Political Sociology
•MA Sociology
•MSc Environmental Social ScienceThis award of £500 is in addition to the Kent £1000 loyalty discount available to those who have finished their undergraduate studies in the previous academic year and who are going straight into postgraduate study at the University of Kent.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Home, EU and International fee paying students with First Class honours degrees (or their non-UK equivalents) and to very good upper 2.1 (i.e., 68%+) are all eligible.

Application Procedure

While there is no formal closing date, we recommend you apply for your chosen course as soon as possible, before the end of July 2016.Awards are subject to academic transcript, references and personal statement. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

Further Information



The Templeman Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

This scholarship covers the tuition fees for one year of a full-time taught postgraduate programme at the University of Kent.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Full-time taught postgraduation tuition fees for one year


•Applicants must be University of Kent Graduates.
•Applicants must already hold, or be expected to achieve, a first class honours degree from the University of Kent.
•Applicants must have received, and accepted an offer for a full-time taught postgraduate degree (any subject) at the University of Kent for 2016-17.
•Full-time UK (home), EU and overseas fee paying students are invited to apply.

Application Procedure

Email the Scholarships Unit ([email protected]) with the following:•Subject line: Templeman Scholarship
•Include in the email: ◦ full name
◦student application number or current student ID number
◦previous University of Kent undergraduate student ID number
•Attach a covering letter addressing "Why I wish to pursue my chosen postgraduate degree at Kent".

Further Information



Graduate School Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The University of Kent offers a broad variety of postgraduate study and research opportunities across a range of superb locations in Canterbury, Medway, Brussels and Paris. Our postgraduates benefit from teaching and supervision by world-leading researchers and have access to excellent facilities and training opportunities. The Graduate School Scholarship Scheme was established in 2009 to celebrate the founding of the University's Graduate School, which is responsible for the strategic development of graduate education and research within the University. The scholarship provides a £1,000 reduction (£500 per annum for part-time students, for 2 years) in tuition fees to University of Kent 2015 graduates who earn a Bachelors degree with honours (or undergraduate Masters degree) and register for a postgraduate degree at Kent by 1 October 2015.Candidates can hold the Graduate School Scholarship in conjunction with other awards except where these awards offer full fees and a Research Council UK equivalent maintenance grant. The Graduate School Scholarship cannot be held in conjunction with the University's loyalty discount.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1000 towards tuition fees


Exclusively for 2015 Kent graduates who are registered at Kent by 1 October 2015 for a self-funded postgraduate degree programme.

Application Procedure

There is no need to make a separate application. The tuition fee reduction will be provided to all eligible 2014 graduates on registration.

Further Information



Music Scholarships - 15 Awards

The University of Kent recognises the role that music and culture plays in the development of the individual and the benefits cultural activities bring to the wider University community. It offers Music Performance Scholarships of up to £5,000 each year to talented instrumentalists and singers studying for any degree. The scholarship is intended to encourage excellence and development in music performance, and includes instrumental/vocal tuition with experienced teachers. Around fifteen scholarships are awarded to new applicants each year. In return, recipients are expected to make a major contribution to the musical life of the University. Scholarships will normally be allocated only to those students whose musical interests and talents can be supported within the University community.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Music Scholarships/Awards are intended to recognise and encourage excellence. Applicants would usually be expected to demonstrate some or all of the following criteria when submitting their written application:•an advanced ABRSM grade (or equivalent, including RockSchool, Trinity or other international musical qualifications)
•a significant musical profile whilst in school / college / university or the local community
•appropriate performing experience at county or national level / conservatoire, e.g. youth choir, county orchestra, wind band, jazz or big band
•experience in giving public performances, e.g. gigs or solo recitals, major role in musical theatre productions

Application Procedure

There is no deadline prior to the start of the academic year, but early application for is advisable. If you would like to discuss the Music Scholarship/Award Schemes prior to your application, contact Susan Wanless, Director of University Music, Tel 01227 823305.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A 2.1 or higher university degree in a social science or related discipline. For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages (View Website).

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