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Social Policy and Social Research MSc

The Social Policy and Social Research MSc combines a theoretical understanding of contemporary social problems, social policy and intervention, and policymaking processes across a range of different sectors and countries, with advanced research methods training. The relationship between research and policy is a key programme theme. This degree has ESRC 1+3 training recognition, meaning it stands alone as an MSc but can also prepare students for doctoral research.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years
Flexible: up to 5 years

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Notification
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£10,750 (FT)
£5,435 (PT)
Overseas:
£23,340 (FT)
£11,830 (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 Students website. Fees for flexible, modular study are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session.

Fee deposit: All full-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £1,000 for this programme. All part-time students are required to pay a fee deposit of £500.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

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: Advanced

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.

Visa information

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 conceptual tools and empirical evidence necessary for investigating social policy and policy-making, including critical assessment of the role of research evidence in policy development and implementation. Graduates will be able to apply their knowledge and understanding and analytical and methodological skills in conducting social research in different policy contexts.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of four compulsory modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Social Policy and Social Research.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Compulsory modules

Students take four compulsory modules (60 credits in total):

Understanding the Policy Process
Social Problems and Intervention
Evidence for Policy and Practice
Comparative Social Policy

Each of the four compulsory modules is offered as both a campus-based module and a fully-online module. The online version of each module does not require attendance on campus, providing greater flexibility for students combining study with work, particularly those taking the programme over two to five years.

Optional modules

Students select four optional modules (60 credits in total) from the following. 
Several of the optional modules are offered as both a campus-based module and a fully-online module. In making their selection of four optional modules, students may select a maximum of two of the following three modules: Systematic Review Design and Planning; Systematic Reviews for Complex Policy Issues; Research Engagement, Participation and Impact.

Introduction to Data Analysis
Introduction to Regression Analysis
Introduction to Qualitative Research
Systematic Review Design and Planning
Survey Design
Impact Evaluation Methods
Longitudinal Data and Analysis
Using STATA Efficiently and Effectively
Advanced Qualitative Methods
Advanced Quantitative Methods
Research Engagement, Participation and Impact
Systematic Reviews for Complex Policy Issues
Ethnography
Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study.  We have included these updates below:   Please note that compulsory modules include: Understanding the Policy Process (SOCS0058), Evidence for Policy and Practice (SOCS0057), Social Problems and Intervention (SOCS0093), Comparative Social Policy (SOCS0094). These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.  

Dissertation/report

All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 words (60 credits). 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 (e.g. written essay or research proposal), unseen examinations and a 12,000-word dissertation.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

The purchase of books many constitute an additional cost, but there is no requirement to purchase any book as part of the programme. If fieldwork is conducted for the dissertation, this is also at your own expense and should be estimated according to the type and length of fieldwork proposed. Fieldwork is not compulsory to complete a dissertation. Printing and binding final copy of dissertation (up to £50).

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.

Funding

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. Further information: https://ubel-dtp.ac.uk/

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

Careers

As a graduate of this programme you will be equipped to work in a broad range of roles, such as social policy researcher, advisor to government, or as NGO personnel. You will also have the methodological background to move into doctoral research.

Employability

Graduates from this MSc programme have gained sought-after skills that allowed them pursue professional careers in academia or policy research, policy analysis, policy development and implementation, programme management, and policy advocacy within the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Why study this degree at UCL?

The programme offers a unique opportunity to study social policy and the ways in which research, along with other forms of evidence and knowledge, connects with and impacts on policy-making and professional practice. Training is also provided in social research methods relevant to people working in a policy or academic context. 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 UCL Social Research Institute, a research-intensive department with an outstanding international reputation. It is taught by an interdisciplinary team, all with specialist expertise across a wide range of policy areas.

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: UCL Social Research Institute

What our students and staff say

Alumni view

"I would recommend studying at the IOE to anyone who is interested in education and social science research. The expert staff, learning opportunities and networking links have meant my year at UCL has flown by and has been extremely fulfilling. Q&A with Lydia Bailey"

Lydia Bailey

Social Policy and Social Research MSc (2019)
Alumni view

"I love how interlinked policy and research are, and how important research and evidence is for constantly improving policy. This inspires me to want to work in this field, improving policy through the use of evidence. Q&A with May Taleb"

May Taleb

Social Policy and Social Research MSc (2019)

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Application and next steps

Applications

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

The MSc in Social Policy and Social Research is aimed at recent graduates and mid-career professionals from around the world who are interested in social policy or policy-orientated research. It is suited to those 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. 

Application deadlines

All applicants
11 August 2020

Any late applications will only be considered after all those received by the closing date.


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.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 9 September 2020