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Social and Public Policy (MA)

Course Description

This programme is for those who want to develop their policy analysis skills particularly in the field of social policy - the range of modules will provide a clear understanding of the complexity of the policy process and enable individuals to contribute to policy making at national and transnational levels.

Why is this course for me?

* You want to understand better how social policies are made by exploring the interplay between decision-making on the national level with global and transnational forces.
* You want to link theory and practice by applying public policy theories to concrete examples of social policy.
* You want to gain a wide range of skills that can be used in academic and professional contexts, such as designing and conducting research projects, developing critical thinking and using evidence to improve social policy practices.
* You want to study from where you are, in a flexible yet structured way, supported by dedicated and experienced academics, so that you can complete your Masters within 2 years, whilst maintaining your full-time employment.

How it works

All study is online. This enables you to study when it suits you best, whilst being supported by your module tutor and your personal supervisor. You will be part of an online learning community and work together with fellow students and your tutor on weekly tasks. Teaching staff are also available for one to one tutorials and will give you feedback in writing and via telephone or Skype, and will provide tailored support for your dissertation.
Find out more about our online learning here: http://www.york.ac.uk/spsw/postgraduate/ma-spp/#tab-6

Themes and content

The programme broadly addresses four themes:

*Social policy process: How are social policies made within nation-states? What is the role of institutions, interests, ideas and evidence in this governance process?
*Social policy in a globalised world: How do global, international and transnational influences filter through the national policy-making process, and how do they impact on the design and the effectiveness of social policies?
*Social policy, politics and society: Why is social policy making a conflictual process? How do social policies shape society and impact on specific social groups?
*Social policy and research: How can social policy be analysed? How can research improve the design and implementation of social policies?
More course details are available here: http://www.york.ac.uk/spsw/postgraduate/ma-spp/#tab-4

Our calibre

In the latest national research evaluation exercise (REF 2014) our overall research performance was ranked third in the UK, with 54% of research activity rated as world leading. We were also ranked joint first in the UK for research impact.

The QS World University Rankings included a separate subject league table for Social Policy & Administration for the first time this year and our department was ranked 25th in the world.

The QS World University Rankings also ranked us 4th in the UK for social policy.

Talk to us

Our Virtual Open Days are the ideal way to find out more about postgraduate study at York. At the live event you can chat online with academic staff and current York postgraduate students as well as watch talks on finance and student life. Go to https://www.york.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/open-days/virtual-open-day/ to find out more. In the meantime please contact us with any questions and we will respond within two working days.

Visit the Social and Public Policy (MA) page on the University of York website for more details!

Student Profiles

Jonathan Bradshaw Scholarship (online) - Single Award

The Department of Social Policy and Social Work is honoured to announce the call of applications for the ‘Jonathan Bradshaw’ Scholarship to prospective part-time distance learning postgraduate students who receive an offer for the 2 year online MA in Social and Public Policy.There are two scholarships available for those students who will begin their studies in September 2016. Each scholarship is worth £4,500 and is available to prospective part-time distance learning students from either the UK/EU or Overseas. All offer holders are eligible to apply for a scholarship. Each scholarship represents approximately half of the course fee and recipients would need to fund the remainder of their tuition fees through alternative means. To honour the ground breaking contributions of Jonathan Bradshaw, one of the leading scholars in his field and a founding member of this department, we anticipate that the successful recipients of the scholarships will explore in their Masters dissertation issues related to poverty, inequality and/or child well-being, be it in a national, international or comparative context.The scholarships will be awarded on the basis of academic potential and relevant work experience. Evidence of academic qualifications and relevant work experience must be included in your application. Preference will be given to prospective students who can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of debates in the areas of poverty, inequality and/or child well-being.

Value of Scholarship(s)



- Meet the entry requirements to the MA Social and Public Policy (online study)
- Hold an offer for the MA Social and Public Policy
- Begin their Masters studies in September 2016
- Have a first or upper second class honours degree or equivalent and relevant work experience prior to commencing the Masters programme. However, if applicants have relevant work experience and can demonstrate good academic potential then such applications are encouraged and will be assessed on their individual merits.
- If English is not your first language you should also read the English Language requirements 2016/17 for distance learning postgraduate study.

Application Procedure

You must apply to the Masters programme and get an offer of a place. Once you have this then you need to fill in the application form on the website below.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

In addition to 2:1 or higher degree (or international equivalent). However, if you have relevant work experience with good academic potential you are encouraged to apply. Applicants are required to have professional experience relevant to the topics covered by the programme, i.e. social policy development or delivering welfare services in government departments and agencies, not-for-profit and voluntary organisations and public/private partnerships.

Course Fees

Standard fee (1st year): £5,700; Discounted fee: £4,735

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