Courses & seminarsMSc in Social Policy and Social Research
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Master of Science (MSc) in Social Policy and Social Research

Course leader: Jan Tripney

This topical programme takes an informed, critical approach to studying the role of evidence in policy processes, both in the UK and internationally. Training is also provided in social science research methods relevant to people working in a policy or academic context. The MSc is designed for recent graduates who want to start a career in social policy and those already working in policy environments who want to improve their skills and career prospects. It would also be useful preparation for study for a PhD.  

The programme aims to:

  • equip you with the theoretical and conceptual tools and empirical evidence necessary for understanding and studying social policy and policy processes
  • increase your substantive content knowledge and critical understanding of contemporary developments in social policy, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between research, policy and practice
  • develop your theoretical, methodological and analytical social research skills to enable you to critique existing research and to pursue your own enquiries

Course structure

There is one compulsory module, and students tailor their study through a choice of taught option modules, including at least one research methods module, and the specialised dissertation.

A wide range of topics are suitable for the dissertation study. For example, students may choose to evaluate a particular strategy for encouraging research use (such as school-university partnerships), conduct a methodological study assessing methods for measuring and evaluating the impact of research, or focus their dissertation on the evaluation of social interventions in fields such as education or health. The dissertation may be entirely based on the analysis of secondary literature; alternatively, it may involve the collection and analysis of primary data, on an appropriate scale.

Course dates

The programme starts annually in October and can be taken over one year full-time or part-time over two to four years.

Our experience 

The programme fits into a high-quality research environment. The Department of Social Science contains three major research units: the Social Science Research Unit (SSRU) , the Thomas Coram Research Unit (TCRU) and Quantitative Social Science; all of which conduct policy-relevant research on key social issues. Students will be taught by leading social policy academics from these units, and from across the UCL Institute of Education, who are engaged in major national and international research programmes and cutting-edge debates. Attempts will be made, where possible, to include evidence from recent or current research undertaken in the Department.

ESRC training pathway

Find out about the Social Policy and Social Research ESRC training pathway, available for entry for 2016/17. Studentships are available for 1+3, +3 or +4 , with applicants focusing on any area of social policy for their PhD study.

Please use the left hand links to view a course map, for booking or any other enquiries.

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