Social Policy and Social Research MSc

London, Bloomsbury

The Social Policy and Social Research MSc combines a theoretical understanding of contemporary social problems, policy intervention, and policymaking processes across 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.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£12,900
£6,450
Pathways include:
With Systematic Reviews (TMSSOCSPSR01)

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£26,600
£13,300
Pathways include:
With Systematic Reviews (TMSSOCSPSR01)

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.
Duration
1 calendar year
2 calendar years
5 academic years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 31 Mar 2022

Applications open

Applications may close earlier if all places on the programme are filled.

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

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

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

Visa information for non-UK students

This programme is suitable for international students on a Student visa – study must be full-time, face-to-face, starting October.

Equivalent qualifications

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. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree


The degree equips students 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.

Who this course is for

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. 

What this course will give you

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 policy or academic contexts. 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 in 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.

The foundation of your career

Graduates from this MSc programme have gained sought-after skills that allowed them to 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.

Employability

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.

Teaching and learning

Assessment is through coursework (e.g. written essay or research proposal), unseen examinations (maximum two), and a 12,000-word dissertation.

Each 15-credit taught module involves up to 150 hours of study. This time is made up of scheduled classes and teaching (20 contact hours) as well as guided independent study (e.g., reading and preparing for lectures, carrying out e-learning and group activities, and preparing the summative assessment). The 60-credit dissertation module requires a notional learning time of about 600 hours.

Modules

Full-time

Students take four compulsory taught modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits).

The first term of the programme introduces you to the definition and study of social problems, policy intervention, and policy processes. You also select two research methods modules from the available options.

The second term provides you with the opportunity to explore international comparisons of social policy, and the use of research to support policy processes. You also take two advanced research methods modules and begin work on your final research project, the dissertation.

In the summer term, you work full-time on your dissertation, with a submission date in early September.

Part-time

Over the two years, students take four compulsory taught modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits).

The first year of the programme introduces you to the definition and study of policy processes through the term 1 module, Understanding the Policy Process (SOCS0058). In addition, you select a further three to five taught modules (compulsory and/or optional modules).

In the second year, you will take the remaining modules (bringing the total number to eight). You also begin work on your final research project, the dissertation, with a submission date in early September.

Where relevant, you will be required to take introductory research methods modules before moving on to the more advanced ones.

Flexible

Students take four compulsory taught modules (60 credits), four optional modules (60 credits), and a dissertation (60 credits). The degree can be completed in two to five years.

The first year of the programme introduces you to the definition and study of policy processes through the term 1 module, Understanding the Policy Process (SOCS0058). The remaining taught modules (compulsory and optional) can be taken at any time.

Work on the dissertation begins in the final year, with a submission date in early September.

Where relevant, you will be required to take introductory research methods modules before moving on to the more advanced ones.

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.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits. Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded an MSc in Social Policy and Social Research.

Accessibility

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

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Graduate Open Events: Applying for Graduate Study at UCL

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £12,900 £6,450
Tuition fees (2022/23) £26,600 £13,300

Pathways include:
With Systematic Reviews (TMSSOCSPSR01)

Programme also available on a modular (flexible) basis.

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

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.

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 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. 

Students should take into account any travel, accommodation and expenses involved in their report or dissertation.

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

Funding your studies

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/esrc-studentships/pathways/social-policy/

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

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.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at Application fees.

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.

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

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. The programme may remain open if places are still available after 31 March 2022 and will be closed as soon as it is full or by 30 June 2022.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021