MA Social Policy

  • DeadlineStudy Details:

    MA 1 year full time, 2 years part time

Course Description

It’s an exciting time to study social policy! The world is changing rapidly with political, economic, and technological developments that impact on everyone’s life. On this MA in Social Policy we’ll explore some of the key issues, concepts, and debates of our time, such as poverty and inequality; welfare and social insecurity; economic crises and democracy; the role of the state; automation; work and leisure; and migration, global governance, and institutions. Policies and practices within and across societies will be compared.

You’ll look at topics that investigate social theories, issues, and research methods relevant to social policy and sociology. Ethical dimensions of social policies will be highlighted, and specialist research training provided. In the dissertation you’ll concentrate on a sustained research project following your personal interest under expert supervision.

Find out more about the Sociology and Social Policy subject area

Entry Requirements

Normally a 2(ii) in Social Policy or a related academic discipline. Students with relevant professional experience will also be admitted. All applicants in this category will have to provide substantiated evidence in their application and may be interviewed before an offer is made.

If your native language is not English, you must provide satisfactory evidence that you have an adequate knowledge and understanding of written and spoken English:

  • IELTS: 6.0 (with no element below 5.5)
  • Pearson PTE: a score of 56 (with no element lower than 51)
  • Cambridge English Test – Advanced: 169 (with no element lower than 162)

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For fees and funding options, please visit website to find out more

Student Destinations

The welfare and health sectors form the primary field of employment for graduates. Other areas of the public service also attract social policy graduates. A PhD can lead to a career in teaching and research. Apart from this, a social science qualification opens up a multitude of job opportunities related to politics and the media, or for business and social enterprises.

Module Details

Some modules you can expect* to study on this course include;

  • Key Issues in Social Policy: This module extends and deepens knowledge and understanding of key issues in contemporary social policy. Links between theoretical analysis in welfare and empirical enquiry in social policy are made, and key issues, debates and concepts in social policy analysis and evaluation are explored. The role of the state in contemporary forms of welfare is critically evaluated. Core debates relating to social change, equality and inequalities, discrimination, risk and dependency, privatisation, citizenship, and rights will be examined. The impact of devolution and local government change on social policy in Wales is reviewed together with national and international comparisons of welfare systems.
  • Research Process and Meaning: This module provides graduate level training in qualitative research methods and advanced training in qualitative data analysis. The module will involve familiarising students with the main varieties of qualitative and mixed qualitative-quantitative research as well as providing opportunities for students to carry out small, assessed, pieces of fieldwork and data analysis. Students will be assessed on their ability to complete assigned research tasks and on their understanding of the relationship between theory, research design and methods.
  • Health Policies: This module adopts a comparative approach to the study of health policies in the UK and internationally. Students will consider the politics of health and will develop an understanding of the dynamics of power between professionals, administrators, and patients. The role of social policy analysis in evaluating the impact of change, factors associated with good and bad practice, and barriers to implementing new health policies are explored through examples and case studies. The case of the British NHS will be considered in detail examining evidence of attempts to improve the quality of care through funding and organisational change. The module will also examine the implications of devolution for the NHS in the UK as well as marketisation and privatisation policies based around the notions of choice and the citizen consumer.
  • Dissertation: This module provides students with an opportunity to conduct a small-scale, yet significant piece of individual research supervised by a research supervisor. Students identify a research question, collect, and analyse data that bears on the research question, utilising an appropriate analytical framework. They then address the research question in the light of their findings. The research undertaken is presented in the format of a 20,000 (max) word dissertation. One-on-one supervision tutorials, as determined by the progress of the individual student, to include guidance on identifying and planning an appropriate research topic, investigation and applying relevant theoretical concepts, planning, and conducting fieldwork and data collection (where relevant) and presenting the results coherently and in the appropriate format. There are preparatory workshops and students present their proposals to fellow students and staff on a presentation day.
  • Theorizing Society and Politics: This module explores the origins, nature and significance of social and political theories and concepts developed in the 20th century. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of such approaches as Critical Theory (such as Adorno, Horkheimer, Marcuse), post-structuralism (such as Foucault, Bauman, Lyotard), and feminist 'standpoint' and 'intersectionality' theory (Yuval-Davis, Hill Collins). It considers a range of theories which seek to address knowledge, power, and subordination in terms of gender divisions and differences of class, race and/or sexuality. The module seeks to ask questions about the relationship between social and political theory, social action, movements, modernity, capitalism, social change, research, and everyday life. The module aims to encourage students to reflect on their own position as participants in social and political interaction.
  • Comparative and International Criminal Justice: Comparative and International Criminal Justice, offers critical reflection on the practice of studying criminal justice agencies and institutions comparatively. In analysing national, comparative, and international research on the police, the criminal courts and the penal system, students will be alerted to the numerous issues that influence the practice and experience of criminal justice and, in turn, research of criminal justice, including the method, the location, politics and ethics, as well as the relations and interactions between the researcher and the researched. The module will also consider some general issues relating to 'ordinary' victims of crime in national and international criminal justice systems.
  • Transnational Crime: This module aims to provide an examination of several aspects of transnational crime and criminality. Initially there will be discussion of terrorism, state crime and organised crime before moving to look at different forms of transnational criminal activity. This will include questions of crime and deviance, criminological theory, and the operation of systems of criminal justice. Each of these fundamental concerns differs across diverse regions around the world and regarding different forms of crime. The module will discuss various methodologies used to study transnational and global crime.

*Please note: course content is for guidance purposes only and may be subject to change. Contact us for most up-to-date information.

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