The Social Policy and Social Research (with Systematic Reviews) 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 training in systematic reviews. This degree has ESRC 1+3 training recognition, meaning it stands alone as an MSc but can also prepare students for doctoral research.
Modes and duration
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees. 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.
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.
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:
About this degree
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 eight compulsory modules (120 credits) and a dissertation (60 credits).
Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Social Policy and Social Research (with Systematic Reviews).
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 take eight compulsory modules (120 credits in total):
- Understanding the Policy Process
- Social Problems and Intervention
- Evidence for Policy and Practice
- Comparative Social Policy
- Systematic Review Design and Planning
- Systematic Reviews for Complex Policy Issues
- Research Engagement, Participation and Impact
- Approaches to Systematic Review Synthesis
Each of the eight 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.
The MSc programme can be taken entirely at a distance, or on campus.
Visit the UCL Institute of Education website for more information, including module descriptions, which can be seen by clicking on the module title.
All students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a dissertation of 12,000 words (60 credits). Webinars, 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. Assessment is through coursework assignments (e.g. written essay or research proposal), one unseen examination (campus-based students only) and a 12,000-word dissertation. The programme can be taken entirely at a distance, or on campus.
The purchase of books may 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.
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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees-and-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.
Graduates of previous versions 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.
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. As students on the specialist 'systematic reviews' route, you will also learn from research-active tutors based at UCL’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.
Our central London location and network of partners and alumni give us access to nationally and internationally prominent guest speakers who provide insight into policy as it is formed.
Department: UCL Social Research Institute
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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.
This programme only requires one reference in support of your application. Your reference should be academic unless you have been out of university education for more than four years. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.
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.
- All applicants
- 30 July 2021
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 (with Systematic Reviews) at graduate level
- why you want to study Social Policy and Social Research (with Systematic Reviews) 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.
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