MA Social Policy

Help drive change in social inequalities


Our online MA in Social Policy will help you understand and analyse some of the most pressing issues faced by the world today.

You’ll explore how cultural, demographic, economic, governmental, and technological changes shape social policy across the globe, and develop the skills needed to carry out social research informed by debates on methodology, epistemology, ethics, and politics.

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Course Details

Delivery: online, part-time

Duration: two years

Start dates: January, May and September

Next welcome week: 11 September 2023

Next course start date: 18 September 2023

Fees: £8,300 (flexible payment plans available)

Application deadline: 9 September 2023. Apply as soon as possible to secure your place.

Why this course?

Experienced team

Benefit from the insight of our experienced academics through regular discussion, feedback, assessments and live webinars (recorded so they can be watched back at any time).

Professional growth

Receive tailored support and resources to sharpen your independent learning, giving you the skills to further your own development long after graduation.

Thrive in the field

Explore contemporary issues with modules that will provide you with a framework of knowledge and the analytical skills needed to thrive in this field.


You will study the following compulsory modules.
Module 1 - The Making of Social Policy (20 credits)

During this introductory module, you’ll be introduced to several concepts, techniques, and theories employed in developing social policy systems and analysis. You’ll learn how to apply this knowledge to specific social policy issues, and will also dedicate time to researching the various dilemmas and challenges faced by the welfare state.

Module 2 - Poverty and Inequality: Conceptualisation, Investigation and Policy Making in Historical and Contemporary Societies (40 credits)

This module will allow you to develop an in-depth understanding of the contexts within which studies and debates on poverty and social inequality have been conducted.

You’ll analyse major investigations into poverty and learn how to identify elements of continuity and change in the study of poverty and social inequality as social phenomena.

Module 3 - Comparing Welfare States (40 credits)

The aim of this module is to help you expand your knowledge of this field by exploring the dynamics of social policy developments from an international point of view.

You’ll be encouraged to critically evaluate current international social policy trends and issues by drawing upon case studies and a range of theoretical contributions to social policy analysis.

Module 4 - Themes and Perspectives in Social Research (20 credits)

The studies you’ll take on will provide an overview of crucial issues and debates associated with the production and evaluation of research for practice in social care. You can look forward to extending your own knowledge and understanding of qualitative and quantitative research processes whilst developing your capacity to act as an independent and critical thinker.

Module 5 - Dissertation (60 credits)

With this final module, you’ll have the opportunity to undertake an in-depth, critical exploration and analysis of an area you are interested in within this field.

Your dissertation can be based on the area of specialisation you hope to enter following graduation, or even a challenge that’s present or relevant to your current place of work.

Examples of previous dissertation topics for on-campus MA Social Policy students include:

  • The social impact of the Second World War and the creation of the 'classic' Welfare State
  • Is the introduction of Universal Credit causing a decline in mental health?
  • Child Protection in England and India: Experience from the last three decades
  • Crumbs from the table? The social legacy of the ‘Right to Buy'

How you will learn

Benefits of learning online with us

Courses built for you
You’re passionate about furthering your education, and we want to make that as simple as possible. That’s why our courses are part-time and online – to give you the flexibility to schedule your studies around the rest of your commitments. Access your modules, assignments, and webinars at any time thanks to Canvas, our intuitive online learning platform. All you need is a computer or tablet, along with a reliable internet connection. Plus, to give you more control over your time, all modules are designed to be studied in weekly portions, with the option to attend live webinars or watch them back later. With this approach, you can plan out each week and develop a study style that works best for you.
Your own virtual classroom
Think of Canvas as your hub for everything related to your degree. In addition to holding all your course material in one place, it also connects you to a range of different services, including: Feedback from your tutors on assignments Our Student Adviser and IT Teams The University Library Online forums to join group discussions with your peers.
Support all the way through
In addition to our tutor-led courses, we’re dedicated to giving you a well-rounded student experience. You’ll have members of the University available to guide you with everything from submitting your application to preparing for your next job interview. Plus, with the ability to take advantage of our optional events and numerous student services, your time on the course will help nurture your growth as both a person and a professional.
Student Life
You may be studying remotely, but you won’t be studying alone. You’ll be supported by us through every stage of your journey. Who you'll meet: -Course Advisers -Student Advisers -Academic Team -Careers Team -Classmates -Graduation
Live events (physical and virtual)
We hold up to two subject-specific events each year. These events are optional and don’t make up a part of your curriculum. However, they can be a great opportunity to learn more about your field and spend time with your classmates and tutors. All event costs (like entry fees) are paid for by the University. You’ll be expected to cover your own travel and accommodation for physical events.
Counselling, mental health and wellbeing
If you’re going through a difficult time with your mental health, please know that you can get in touch with our Counselling, Mental Health and Wellbeing Team. Speak to them confidentially about any of your current challenges and receive professional support and advice.
Library and the Library Training Team
You can access the thousands of books, journals, and learning resources available digitally in the Library, which also has a dedicated team that provides research-related training for students, from how to format written assignments to making the most of the platform’s features.

How students study with us

• No visas or moving costs
• Access course from anywhere in the world
• Spend approx. 20-25 hours studying each week
• All course materials are available on demand
• Revise on the days and times that suit you best
• Course modules broken down into weekly
• Fit studies around work, family and social life
• Support with non-academic queries from a
student adviser team

Additional Support

As one of our students, you’ll have access to a range of services designed to support your studies and make your time with us as enjoyable as possible. -Our comprehensive online library of books, journals, and resources -A Student Advisor team to answer non-academic queries -Online software tutorials via LinkedIn Learning -The Students’ Union community -Career advice, CV creation, practice interviews, and more via our careers platform

Career prospects and opportunities

Upon completing the course and earning your degree, you’ll have the expertise needed to establish a successful career in social welfare provision and public service.

The self-direction and time management skills you can expect to gain will also make you a strong candidate for a variety of roles, particularly at a managerial level.

Some of the positions you could explore include:

  • Charity officer
  • Civil service administrator
  • Health service manager
  • Policy officer
  • Social researcher

Your degree also opens you up to the prospect of pursuing a PhD; in many countries an MA is an essential requirement for study at doctoral level.

As mentioned in the module overview section above, your dissertation gives you with the opportunity – after obtaining ethical approval – to conduct an in-depth research project in your intellectual and professional specialist area of choice.

MA Social Policy careers

How can we take real steps towards meeting the global need for healthcare, housing, and education? The study of social policy is one answer that can get us closer to said goal.

For aspiring specialists, the sheer scope of the subject means that it holds relevance across public, private, and third sector organisations. This means that you can find work relating to social research, policy making, and welfare provision in a wide range of areas – both locally and internationally.

From sustainability to crime prevention to childcare, there’s plenty of potential for you to establish a career in a field you feel passionately about.

Of course, your MA in Social Policy will equip you with the tools needed to accomplish this. In addition to developing analytical and research skills, you can also look forward to nurturing lifetime learning abilities to continue evolving alongside your career.

How to apply

Benefits of learning online with us

  • You must hold at least a 2:2 degree in Social Policy or a related discipline such as Economics, Health Studies, History, Politics, or Sociology. We’ll also consider your application if you have an honours degree classification of 2:2 or above in other disciplines.
  • We may ask you to attend an online, 45-minute interview to discuss your background and interest in the course.
  • You can also explore using our accreditation of prior learning (APL) to claim credits that you can put towards your degree, based on the experience you currently hold.
  • If you don’t speak English as a first language you will need to hold a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or an accepted equivalent.

If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to apply, please get in touch with our course adviser team for advice.


Contact an Agent

Share your details in order to receive information about this high quality online masters course.

Start your journey today.