The MA Social Policy explores issues and developments in social welfare from both a British and international perspective. The programme examines social policy within the context of broader political, social, economic and demographic developments. The programme will appeal to those who have studied another social science subject at undergraduate level, or who are seeking to study social policy for the first time at postgraduate level. It is also suitable for those who are looking to refresh their understanding of the subject, as well as those who are currently employed in the voluntary or public sectors in areas such as health or housing. The MA Social Policy welcomes applications from international students.
A good Honours degree or equivalent is normally required. This will often be in the field of social science, although applications from those with degrees in other disciplines are welcome. 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.
We accept a range of qualifications.
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
by holding an English language qualification to the right level.
by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students.
There are currently four core modules on the MA Social Policy programme. These are:
The Politics of British Social Policy Since 1940 (20 credits)
Current Module Lead: Robert Page
This module explores some key developments in the politics of British Social Policy since 1940. Topics will include the impact of the Second World War on the development of the British welfare state, the post-war Labour reforms (1945-1951). ´One Nation´ Conservative social policy (1951-1964), Labour´s revisionist welfare strategy in the 1960s and 70s, the Thatcher and Major neo-liberal welfare ´revolution´ (1979-1990), New Labour´s ´third way´, welfare strategy (1997-2010) and the ´welfare´ records of both the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government (2010-2015) and the current Conservative administration (2015 - present day).
Introduction to Applied Social Research (20 credits)
Current Module Lead: Lisa Goodson
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.
Policy Futures: Global and local perspectives (20 credits)
Current Module Lead: Rob Macmillan
This module provides students with the opportunity to identify and discuss the nature and role of policy analysis.
International Social Policy (20 credits)
Current Module Lead: Kelly Hall
This module introduces students to social policy in countries other than the UK. It looks at different modules 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.
There are also a range of optional 20 Credit modules. These include:
Researching Social Policy
Current Module Lead: Jenny Phillimore
Sectors and Services in British Social Policy
Current Module Lead: Lee Gregory
Migration, Superdiversity, Policy and Practice
Current Module Lead: Lisa Goodson
Third Sector in Social Policy
Current Module Lead: John Mohan
Approved modules from another Department.
The optional modules listed on the website for this programme are subject to change. As you will appreciate members of staff may leave the University and this may result in the withdrawal of a particular module. If a module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as possible so that you can make an alternative choice.
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