The MA in Social and Public Policy will equip you with the skills and knowledge to analyse, critique and shape social and public policy.
You will critically engage with the theoretical and empirical dimensions of social and public policy development, drawing on different disciplinary traditions to understand policy-making in multiple contexts. You will gain detailed knowledge of policy processes, assessing the ways in which policy-making seeks to respond to complex social problems and exploring the location of policies in their wider institutional, social, political and economic context.
Your studies will enable you to engage in informed debate around the distribution of power and resources, and how this intersects with the interests and activities of policy actors, and influences policy outcomes. You will develop professional and digital skills including the retrieval, interpretation and presentation of evidence, and learn how to communicate and represent complex ideas to a range of audiences. Your independent research project provides an opportunity for you to apply your research design skills to an in-depth exploration of a policy-related topic.
As a graduate of this programme, you will be equipped to transfer your knowledge, insights and skills to your professional life. Our graduates work across the public, private and non-profit sectors, contributing to the public good and social progress in their chosen careers.
We're ranked in the top quartile in the UK for the quality of our research in Social Work and Social Policy, and Business and Management, according to the Times Higher Education's ranking of the latest REF results (2021).
Graduate students have access to staff, projects and research across a wide range of social policy areas and the School is home to many internationally renowned research centres.
York is ranked 7th in the UK and =28th in the world for Social Policy and AdministrationQS World Rankings by Subject 2023
The MA in Social and Public Policy is based around a combination of social and public policy theory, analysis and research training. You'll start with a broad introduction to social and public policy analysis, key theoretical and conceptual tools and social research methods. After this you will then choose three option modules, which will examine different aspects of social and public policy in more detail. At the end of your studies you will have the opportunity to apply the skills that you have learned into practice through a dissertation, under the guidance of an individual supervisor.
Most people study full-time for 12 months, but part-time study over 24 months is also available.
You will also study three option modules. Examples include:
The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information, please get in touch.
Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
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 and Public Policy Masters students include:
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.
|Study mode||UK (home)||International and EU|
|Full-time (1 year)||£10,590||£23,900|
|Part-time (2 years)||£5,295||£11,950|
Students on a Student Visa are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.
For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study.
UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.
Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.
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.
Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2024/25 throughout the year.
If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.
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.
A degree in Social Policy has the potential to bring forward a diverse range of options that you could choose from. The possibilities are endless and the best part is that due to the joined-up working approach, it is likely to get an insight into more than one area of expertise.Ana, Social Policy student.
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.
The modules for this course 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.
You'll also be able to attend the School's lectures and University lectures from visiting speakers from across the world.
You'll be based in the School for Business and Society in the Church Lane Building on Campus West. Teaching will take place in Church Lane Building and Alcuin College and other locations across Campus West.
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.
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 12,000-15,000 word dissertation as part of your own specialist research project.
The MA in Social and Public 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.
|Undergraduate degree||2:1 or equivalent|
|Other qualifications and experience||You will also be considered if you have relevant work experience and academic potential|
|Other international qualifications||Equivalent qualifications from your country|
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS (Academic and Indicator)||6.5, minimum 6.0 in each component|
|Cambridge CEFR||B2 First: 176, with 169 in each component|
|Oxford ELLT||7, minimum 6 in each component|
|Duolingo||120, minimum 105 in all other components|
|LanguageCert SELT||B2 with 33/50 in each component|
|LanguageCert Academic||70 with a minimum of 65 in each component|
|KITE||459-494, with 426-458 in all other components|
|Skills for English||B2: Merit overall, with Pass with Merit in each component|
|PTE Academic||61, minimum 55 in each component|
|TOEFL||87, minimum of 21 in each component|
|Trinity ISE III||Merit in all components|
For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.
You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.
The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.
After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.
Get in touch if you have any questions
We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.
Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.
Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.
Find out more about York. Chat to staff and students and take the tour, on campus or online.