Comparative Social Change

Trinity College Dublin

Comparative Social Change

The course has a significant international dimension drawing on the rich and informative experiences of other EU member states, North America, the four Asian Tigers, plus the BRIC countries, particularly Brazil, China and India. In addition, the course provides advanced training in conceptualising, designing and conducting comparative research across countries and the role that this can play in policy development. It provides students with both the theoretical frameworks and practical research skills necessary to understand the processes and pressing issues presented by global social change. It aims to show students how everyday experience and practices are shaped by broader social and economic processes. As the programme is jointly delivered by Trinity's Department of Sociology and the School of Sociology at UCD students benefit from a greater range of staff expertise, both in terms of teaching and research supervision, in the areas of comparative research methodologies and social change. Policy-relevant and practice-based components, such as fieldwork projects, add an extra dimension to the MSc which have been designed to contribute to the training and employability of the next generation of researchers.

Course Structure
The MSc carries 90 ECTS, the Postgraduate Diploma carries 60 ECTS (exit only).

Subjects taught

Course Structure: The MSc carries 90 ECTS, the Postgraduate Diploma carries 60 ECTS (exit only).

The three core modules are:
1. Globalisation and Social Change: India, China, Brazil (10 ECTS)

2. Introduction to Comparative Social Change: Concepts and Cases (10

3. Research Methods (10 ECTS)

The electives may vary from year to year and are worth 10 ECTS each. Students select 30 ECTS in total (at least 10 ECTS from each partner University). In 2020/21 these include:

1. The Migration Challenge: Comparative Educational Perspectives
2. Economic Globalisation and Social Change
3. Gender and Social Change in a Comparative Context
4. Comparing Healthcare Systems
5. Migration, Labour and Conflict
6. Nationalism and Social Change
7. Religion in Comparative Perspective
8. Nonprofit Sector in Comparative Perspective: Politics, Regulation and Business

In addition, students will complete a dissertation not exceeding 20,000 words (30 ECTS).

Entry requirements

Admission Requirements: Candidates should normally have achieved an upper second class honors degree (2.1) or equivalent, preferably with a social sciences component and excellent academic references. GPAs of at least 3.0 out of 4, or equivalent, will be expected from international applicants. All applicants whose first language is not English or who have not been educated through the medium of English will need to present evidence of English language competency.

Re-admittance to MSc: Students who have exited with a Postgraduate Diploma may apply to submit subsequently for the corresponding Master's degree. Following completion of the Master's requirements the student will inform the Registrar of his/her intention to rescind the Postgraduate Diploma and have the credit obtained during the Postgraduate Diploma integrated into the Master's degree. The student will be required to submit the original Postgraduate Diploma and/or any duplicates that have been issued. The time limit for applying to complete the credits required for the Master's degree will normally be up to 5 years following completion of the Postgraduate Diploma In exceptional circumstances, a longer time limit may be considered by the Dean of Graduate Studies. This arrangement is not available to students who exit with the Postgraduate Diploma as a consequence of failing to attain the pass requirements of the Master's.

Application dates

Closing Date: 30 June 2023

How to apply: UCD is the administrative hub of the MSc Comparative Social Change and applications therefore need to be made solely to UCD. Applications are then assessed by the Course Director and Course Coordinator. Upon graduation, students receive a single joint award/degree bearing the institutional names and logos of both Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin.


The MSc in Comparative Social Change is a one-year full time course.

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Career Opportunities
The MSc in Comparative Social Change is particularly relevant for students who are interested in pursuing careers in research, policy development, the public sector, nongovernmental organisations and national or local government. Students receive a solid academic training in social change issues - such as gender, education and the labour market - which can be applied to real-world problems. This training has the potential to open up career opportunities in fields such as advocacy, the media and communications. Furthermore, policy-relevant and practice-based components, such as fieldwork projects, have been designed to contribute to the training and employability of the next generation of researchers, adding an extra dimension to the MSc programme.

Students also learn valuable writing, communication, problem solving and policy assessment skills - transferrable skills which can be applied to a wide range of careers and further postgraduate study.

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  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters (Level 9 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

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