Courses & seminarsMSc in Social Policy and Social ResearchCourse map
Course map MSc in Social Policy and Social Research

The MSc in Social Policy and Social Research consists of four taught modules, after which students undertake a research-based project under supervision.

All students take the core taught module, Social Policy: Theory, Practice and Research, which provides a sound theoretical and empirical base from which to explore and develop a substantive area of interest in later parts of the programme.

In addition, students select three taught option modules, including at least one research methods module.

The core module will be delivered in face-to-face daytime sessions, after which attendance may vary depending on option modules chosen. Some modules are available online.

Students are assessed by coursework assignments of 5,000 words per module, and a 20,000-word dissertation. 

Core module (30 credits required) 

Social Policy: Theory, Practice and Research


This module provides research-led teaching on social policy in theory and practice. It combines an advanced overview of the theoretical base of the field with a range of real world examples drawn from different policy settings in the UK and other countries. Particular attention is drawn to the role of research evidence in policy processes, from conception through to implementation and evaluation. The module starts off by looking at key concepts, models and theories of policy-making, such as redistribution, citizenship, and so on. It then moves on to illustrate them by examining policy-making across different policy sectors, such as education, health and social care. Policy initiatives examined in each case study will be chosen to highlight particular concepts and debates. We then go on to examine in greater detail the theory and practice of using research and analysis to inform social policy choices and decisions, including looking at different methods of measuring and evaluating research uptake and impact.

The module aims are to:

  • build students’ substantive content knowledge and critical understanding of:

           - competing theoretical and conceptual frameworks within social policy
           - different social policies adopted in the UK and other countries
           - the role of research evidence within policy processes
           - key themes, issues and debates relating to the study of research use 

  • provide students with a sound base from which to develop a substantive area of interest in later parts of the programme, where they will apply what they have learnt to a policy-related problem or issue of relevance to them.

It is delivered in 10 face-to-face sessions over the autumn term, and can also be taken by students on other programmes, or as a short course without MSc credit.

Option modules (90 credits required)

You will be able to select from a range of option modules. All students take at least one research methods module to deepen and extend their research-related experience and strengthen their chosen substantive route (up to a maximum of two).

Dissertation (60 credits required)

All students write a 20,000-word dissertation (worth 60 credits), under the supervision of a relevant member of staff. Conducting an independent piece of research for the dissertation allows students to apply their substantive knowledge and research method skills to a specific research context within their subject of interest.

Copyright 2016 Social Science Research Unit, UCL Institute of Education :: Privacy Statement :: Terms Of Use :: Site Map :: Login
About::Projects::Publications::Research Use::Courses & seminars::Resources::Databases::Blog