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MA Social Policy

Detailed study of social policy issues combined with research training

Year of entry: 2019

Length

1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

This course will equip you with the skills to analyse social policy in a way that enables you to understand how policies are developed and the role they play in people's lives. 

The course offers a combination of taught coursework and supervised independent study. You'll develop the skills required to carry out your own research in an area of social policy that interests you.

This MA is especially suited to you if you are considering a career in social policy analysis, advocacy or research in the public sector or socially-focused NGOs. You'll cover topics such as the welfare state in the UK and other countries, the impact of globalisation on social programmes and why patterns of social inequality persist.

REF2014

With one of the largest concentrations of social policy research in the UK, the Department was ranked third in the UK for overall research performance and joint first for the impact of our research by THE, based on the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.

Research centres

Graduate students have access to staff, projects and research across a wide range of social policy areas and the Department is home to many internationally renowned research centres.

Top 20 in the world

York is ranked in the world too twenty by QS World Rankings by Subject 2018 for Social Policy.

Course content

The MA in Social Policy is based around a combination of social policy analysis and research training. You'll start with a broad introduction to social research methods and social policy analysis. You'll then narrow down your focus, choosing between advanced research training, more detailed analysis of social policy or a mix of the two.

Most people study full-time for 12 months, but part-time study over 24 months is also available.

Modules

You will take modules totalling 180 credits in the course of your, including 60 credits of core taught modules, 40 credits of option modules, and the 80 credit Independent Study Module.

In the Autumn Term you'll take two compulsory modules:

In the Spring Term you will chose two of these option modules:

In the Summer Term and summer months you'll take part in two compulsory modules:

This will give you the chance to develop your research interests and participate in a group project with other students who have similar interests. You will also use this time to work on a dissertation of between 15,000 and 20,000 words for the Independent Study Module.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Dissertation

You will design, develop and manage your own original research project. You'll be supervised by an individual member of staff. Our strong research focus means that there is an equal balance of time spent on taught courses and your own specialist research project.

Given the individual nature of dissertations, there is huge variation in the topics which can be studied. Recent projects by Social Policy masters students include:

  • A comparative study of policy responses of four Asian Tigers after the 1997 Asian financial crisis
  • A comparative analysis of child-centred investment strategy in the EU27: lessons for the UK
  • A critical study of health inequality in OECD health care systems
  • Nutrition policy: the food industry's corporate social responsibility on nutrition and public health
  • Social protection and education: the basic education assistance module initiative in Zimbabwe
  • Youth-led civil society organisations in Bangladesh: projects of modernisation or participation?

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Engage and inform policy discussions at local, national, cross-national and global levels by using in-depth knowledge of key theories and analytical methods on social policy analysis.
  • Identify and synthesise theories and concepts from multiple disciplines and critically apply them to real world contexts to contribute to the informed construction of social policy responses to social needs.
  • Effectively design policy research projects drawing on appropriate research theory and methods; retrieve, generate and interpret relevant primary and secondary data, digital resources and work within appropriate ethical codes of conduct and data protection laws.
  • Communicate research findings and policy analyses authoritatively to specialist and informed audiences in ways that balance academic rigour and accessible presentation of complex information.
  • Reflect on their own independent learning experience by conducting and facilitating the management of a policy and research project that requires analysis of relevant policy context and the devising of policy strategies that take into account diverse and multilevel interests.
  • Work effectively in teams, with sensitivity to the individual perspectives, organisational positions and institutional dynamics of peers and other actors, and recognition of their own subjective positions.
  • Critically apply knowledge and skills to the pursuit of social progress beyond the local and domestic policy-making context as active and participatory citizens.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2019/20

Study modeUK/EUInternational
Full-time (1 year)£7,810£17,370
Part-time (2 years)
Fees for subsequent years are subject to confirmation.
£3,905
year 1 fee
£8,685
year 1 fee

Students on a Tier 4 Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

Additional costs

There are no mandatory additional fees but we do recommend that you set aside some money for photocopying. Course books will be available to you from the Library either in print or online format but you may wish to buy your own copies (book prices vary, with new books usually costing between £20 and £60). All other teaching resources will be available online.

Fees information

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK/EU or international student.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Home/EU students

International students

Departmental scholarships

Other funding opportunities

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

I did some research as to good Social Policy masters degrees: York came up as one of the highest in the country. The plan was to come for a year, do the masters, then go back to London and carry on my career. There was a change of plan because I loved my masters so much that when an opportunity came up to do a PhD, it occurred to me that I really didn't want to leave, so here I am still in York.
Sophie
MA Social Policy graduate

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

The modules for this MA have been specifically developed for postgraduate study. You will be taught through a combination of hands-on workshops, lectures and seminars. You will find that small group working and establishing your own perspective on social issues will become a core part of your studying process.

  • One-to-one supervision whilst undertaking an extended social policy research project on a topic of your choosing
  • A friendly, supportive and intellectually stimulating environment in which to study
  • Small group teaching with lectures typically no larger than 30 people and often less than 15.

You'll also be able to attend the Department's lectures and University lectures from visiting speakers from across the world.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work which is based on Campus West. Teaching will take place in Alcuin College and other locations across Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

Your assessment will be continuous and based mainly on essays and reports. You will receive written feedback on all assessed work.

You'll complete a 15,000-20,000 word dissertation as part of your own specialist research project. You'll also have the opportunity to present your research as it progresses to a wider audience as part of our dissertation workshops.

Careers and skills

The MA in Social Policy develops the skills that employers need in a number of areas, especially policy analysis and research. You'll also find you develop transferable skills that will allow you to progress to different career areas or to continue your studies at PhD level.

Career opportunities

The MA in Social Policy is designed for students who want to become active in social policy analysis and research. Graduates from the MA in Social Policy go on to a wide variety of destinations but most tend to go into one of three key areas:

  • Policy analysis inside government agencies, NGOs or campaigning organisations
  • Research in policy organisations
  • Academic research and PhD level study.

Transferable skills

  • Communicate effectively, drawing on a range of skills and presentation techniques for different settings and audiences
  • Manage time effectively to work independently to deadlines
  • Work effectively in a group and as a member of a team in a variety of roles, including taking on leadership responsibilities
  • Working effectively in a variety of workplace settings by understanding the internal dynamics of institutions and being self-aware
  • Evaluate, analyse and design effective policy delivery and outcomes
  • Retrieve and interpret data from a variety of sources, including electronic databases
  • Use computer skills to present and analyse data.

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
Degree

You will normally be expected to have at least a 2:1 undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification. You will also be considered if you have relevant work experience and academic potential.

Other qualifications

Guidance on international equivalents for entry qualifications.

English language

If your native language is not English, you should meet an English language proficiency level of 6.5 in the British Council's IELTS test with at least 5.5 in each component. We do accept other English Language Tests.

You may also want to attend the University's Intensive Summer Courses.

Applying

You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

Apply for this course

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Social Policy and Social Work

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