The MSc in Social Policy and Social Research combines theoretical understanding of the policy process with advanced methodologically focused training, providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to work in complex and challenging policy contexts. This degree has ESRC 1+3 training recognition, meaning it stands alone as an MSc but will also prepare you for doctoral research.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2017/18)
- £7,925 (FT) £3,930 (PT)
- £17,190 (FT) £8,470 (PT)
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. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelors' degree from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard in a social science subject, such as sociology, psychology, social policy, economics, or history. If you do not meet these requirements, other considerations, such as relevant work experience, may be taken into account.
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.
Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.
This programme is suitable for international students on a Tier 4 visa - study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October.
International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below.
Select your country:
About this degree
Students are equipped with the theoretical and conceptual tools and empirical evidence necessary for investigating social policy and policy-making, including critical assessment of the role of research in policy development. Graduates will be able to apply this knowledge and understanding and analytical and methodological skills to conduct social research in different policy contexts.
Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.
The programme consists of three core modules (60 credits), optional modules (60 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).
- Understanding the Policy Process: Theories and Issues
- Evidence for Policy and Practice
- Social Theory and the Study of Contemporary Social Problems
Students select optional modules from the following list.
- Introduction to Data Analysis
- Introduction to Regression Analysis
- Introduction to Qualitative Research
- Systematic Reviews Design and Planning
- Survey Design
- Impact Evaluation Methods
- Longitudinal Data and Analysis
- Using STATA Efficiently and Effectively
- Advanced Qualitative Methods
- Systematic Reviews for Complex Policy Issues
- Research Engagement, Participation and Impact
- Systematic Reviews: Meta-Analysis, Qualitative Synthesis and Mixed-Methods Synthesis
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 words. Workshops and online resources help prepare students for the dissertation.
Teaching and learning
A rich variety of teaching of methods are used, including lectures combined with seminars. In some modules, students are given the opportunity to develop presentational skills through group projects. The programme includes both face-to-face and online components. Assessment is through coursework assignments and a 12,000-word dissertation.
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 may find work in a broad range of areas, including as social policy researchers and advisers in government, NGO personnel, or as university and college lecturers and researchers.
Graduates from this MSc gain sought-after skills that allow them to pursue professional careers in academia and/or policy research, policy analysis, policy development and implementation, programme management, and policy advocacy within the public, private, or non-profit sectors.
Careers data is taken from the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012–2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
Why study this degree at UCL?
The programme offers a unique opportunity to study how research, along with other forms of evidence and knowledge, connects with and impacts on policy-making and professional practice. It is structured to allow students to customise their degree according to their preferred area of study and future career plans.
The programme is located within the Department of Social Science, a research-intensive department with an outstanding international reputation.
Our central London location and network of partners and alumni gives us access to nationally and internationally prominent guest speakers who give insight into policy as it is formed.
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.
What our students and staff say
"Going into a degree like this there is an element of wanting to create social change and improve society. This programme prepares you for that. It enables you to gain a realistic view of research, policy and practice over a range of different fields. The contact with other researchers and academics within the department has been great, and the encouragement and contact with staff has really helped, given the complexity of my dissertation."
Emma DickinsonSocial Policy and Social Research MSc
"The programme was exactly what I had been looking for. I wish to develop a career in social research because it allows you to engage with people's views on particular issues and present these to the people who are able to act upon them. I enjoy the challenge of trying to find answers and evidence that can contribute to the improvement of policy and policy-making that will hopefully, one day, lead to better welfare and wellbeing."
Lisa O'DeaSocial Policy and Social Research MSc
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?
This programme is suited to graduates who want to start a career in social policy analysis, advocacy or research within the public sector or a socially-orientated NGO, and those already working in policy environments who want to improve their skills and career prospects. It is also useful preparation for study for a PhD.
- All applicants
- 28 July 2017
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 Social Policy and Social Research at graduate level
- why you want to study Social Policy and Social Research 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.