Institute of Education


Systematic Reviews for Social Policy and Practice MSc

The Systematic Reviews for Social Policy and Practice MSc equips students to work with the increasing number of national and international organisations committed to evidence-informed policy and practice. Students learn alongside early career and experienced researchers, policymakers and practitioners from a diverse set of policy sectors and disciplines.

Degree Information

The programme will enable you to plan and appraise a systematic review of research in any policy area, to develop a critical appreciation of the full diversity of review approaches and types of research use, and equip you with understanding and skills to help ensure perspectives from the public, practitioners, policymakers and researchers are all considered in research and policy development.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of five core modules (90 credits), one to two optional modules (30 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits).

Core modules
Systematic Review Design and Planning
Systematic Reviews for Complex Policy Issues
Research Engagement, Participation and Impact
Evidence for Policy and Practice
Social Theory and the Study of Contemporary Social Problems
Optional modules

Students must take 30 credits and can select from the following modules

Systematic Reviews: meta-analysis, qualitative synthesis and mixed methods synthesis
Introduction to Data Analysis
Introduction to Regression Analysis
Introduction to Qualitative Methods
Survey Design
Introduction to Longitudinal Data Analysis
Using Stata Efficiently and Effectively
Impact Evaluation Methods
Advanced Quantitative Methods
Advanced Qualitative Methods
Randomised Control Trials in the Social Sciences
International Comparisons in the Social Sciences
Understanding the Policy Process: Theories and Issues
Understanding Research
Other relevant modules available from the IOE (mainly at 30 credits)

Some optional modules have pre-requisites and not all are available for study at a distance


All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a 10,000 to 12,000-word dissertation on one of the following:

a) A systematic review in a social policy area of your own choice, including a critical discussion of that review.

b) A critical appraisal of the active involvement of stakeholders in research, or in evidence-informed policy development in an area of your choice.

Teaching and Learning

This programme can be studied completely online and at a distance or by taking face-to-face seminars or workshops on campus with online learning. It is assessed by coursework assignments and a 10-12,000-word dissertation.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2018

Modes and duration
Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years
Distance learning: available
Tuition Fees (2018/19)
£10,140 (FT) £5,120 (PT)
£21,160 (FT) £10,740 (PT)
Application deadlines
All applicants
Open: 16 October 2017
Close: 5 September 2018

Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Current Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

Normally a minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard is required.

English Language Requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Good

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

International students

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.

Select your country:


Applicants may be eligible to apply for funding from the Economic and Social Research Council via the UCL, Bloomsbury and East London Doctoral Training Partnership. The MSc provides Master's-level postgraduate training which can constitute the first year of ESRC 1+3 postgraduate PhD studentships.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

IOE Fulbright
Now closed for 2018/19
Overseas students

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.


Graduates of this programme are currently working across a broad range of areas, for example one is a project director in mobile technology for learning, while another is a social research manager advising national government. Another graduate works as a senior editor of systematic research reviews. Others have gone on to doctoral studies.


Students completing the programme are equipped with enhanced critical thinking skills and, in particular, skills for research design and appraisal, spanning a full range of research purposes and problems.

Why study this degree at UCL?

This multidisciplinary programme is unique in the way that students study methods for reviews of both qualitative and quantitative data, and a full range of research designs.

The programme can be taken entirely at a distance, or on campus, and attracts students from across the globe, many of whom are already working for research-focused or policy-making organisations.

You will learn from research-active tutors based at the IOE’s EPPI-Centre, which is recognised worldwide for its development of methods for diverse kinds of systematic review, for the production of policy-relevant research, and for research into perspectives and participation.

Department: Social Science

Research Excellence Framework (REF)

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: Social Science
78% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

Application and next steps


Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

Who can apply?

The programme is suited to experienced and recent graduates alike. The programme will provide you with the skills and knowledge to pursue, or further, a career in the field of social science research and evidence-informed policy and practice. Students bring interest in varied sectors, including health, education and social/international development.

Application deadlines
All applicants
5 September 2018

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now
What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Systematic Reviews for Social Policy and Practice at graduate level
  • why you want to study Systematic Reviews for Social Policy and Practice at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

Degree last modified on 14 November 2017 at 15:03 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing.