MA Global Social Policy

The MA in Global Social Policy at York began in 2015 and is being spearheaded by Professor Bob Deacon, who joined the Department as an Honorary Professor. The MA taught by a number of internationally leading scholars in the area, including Kevin Farnsworth, Chris Holden, John Hudson and Zoe Irving.

The study of Global Social Policy is an area of increasing interest, both academically and as an applied subject, in the context of the growing importance of supranational and international social policy discourse and policy interventions to tackle social problems.

This new programme in Global Social Policy uniquely examines regional and global perspectives on Social Policy. It provides students with the necessary tools to critically analyse global social policy responses and solutions to global social problems and their implications for nation states. It will also offer students the opportunity to undertake a research placement with a relevant organisation working in the area of global social policy. 


The MA in Global Social Policy offers a combination of taught coursework and a supervised dissertation, giving you the opportunity to develop detailed knowledge of social policy in a global context and to examine, through your own guided research project, aspects of social policy in which you have a particular interest.

Who is this programme for?

This programme is aimed at prospective social policy analysts and researchers with an interest in global and/or international social and public policy, professionals working on social policy in international organisations and development agencies, global advocacy agencies and international non- governmental organisations (INGOs), students who want to hone their undergraduate studies in a more focused area of study, and potential PhD students who want to develop their theoretical and empirical skills in this area.

It will prepare students for a wide rage of careers ranging from national and/or international policy analysis to international development, applied research and campaign work. 

Entry requirements

Upper second-class honours degree or equivalent qualification. However, if you have relevant work experience with good academic potential you may also be considered.

International students: if English is not your first language you should also read the English Language requirements 2016/17 for postgraduate study.


Themes and content

The MA in Global Social Policy is based around a combination of social policy analysis and research training modules. In the Autumn Term students are provided with a broad introduction to relevant social policy theory, analysis and methods. In the Spring and Summer terms, students undertake more specialised analysis of global social policy themes and issues. Following completion of these modules, students will be given the opportunity to undertake a relevant research placement that will help to inform their own individual research project.  Students will produce a dissertation under the guidance of their individual supervisors. 

Course Structure

This is a 1-year, full time postgraduate programme. Part-time options are available, please contact Rachel McAllister if this route is of interest to you.

 Autumn TermSpring TermSummer Term

Social Policy Analysis: From Global to Local

Comparative & International Social Policy Research Methods

Global Social Problems & Global Social Policy

Globalisation & Social Policy

Making Global Social Policy Workshops

Dissertation Research Project (extends through the summer months)

You can view a brief description of our postgraduate modules

Teaching and support


The MA Global Social Policy programme comprises modules which have been specially developed for the postgraduate programmes in the Department.  Students are taught in small group settings by academics who are worl leaders in the field.  

Modules are taught through a combination fo workshops, lecture and seminars.

The Department

  • One-to-one supervision whilst undertaking an extended social policy research project on a topic of your choosing
  • The chance to study in one of the biggest social policy departments in the world that has a reputation for research excellence
  • A friendly, supportive and intellectually stimulating environment in which to study
  • Small group teaching with classes typically no larger than 20 people and some with fewer than 10 people


Dissertation examples

Reflecting York’s position as a leading research university, all Social Policy masters degrees at York – including the MA in Global Social Policy – require you to complete an individual research based dissertation on a topic of your choice and under the supervision of an individual member of staff. This strong research focus means there is a 50-50 balance between time spent on taught courses and your own specialist research project. This reflects the advanced nature of our social policy masters programmes, which are designed to act as a pathway to careers in policy analysis or PhD level study.

For MA Global Social Policy students taking advantage of the research placement, the dissertation will be based on the fieldwork undertaken within the placement organisation.

During the Autumn Term of the MA you will be asked to think through ideas for your dissertations and discuss these with staff. Topics and supervision arrangements are agreed by the beginning of the Spring Term and, once coursework is completed at the end of the Spring Term, students usually spend five months working full-time on their dissertation.

Given the individual nature of dissertation topics, examples of topics studied vary radically, but recent projects undertaken by social policy masters students include:

  • Measuring the extent to which welfare states in the OECD have moved towards a neo-liberal paradigm
  • An examination of the role of social capital plays in supporting different types of welfare state
  • An analysis of the conception of social rights embedded in UK asylum policies
  • Mapping the changing network of organisations involved in domestic violence service provision

Social Policy in challenging times - Book cover

‌‌You can apply for this course using our online application system. If you've not already done so, please read the application guidance first so that you understand the various steps in the application process.

Apply now

Contact details

Rachel McAllister
Admissions Manager

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 1273

Dr Antonios Roumpakis
Social Policy Programme Director
Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 1298