Social Policy
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Ulster University - Belfast

Social Policy

The MSc in Social Policy offers you the opportunity to acquire detailed knowledge and understanding of contemporary social policy, including the working of devolution in the UK. You will receive an excellent training in social research methods, effective dissemination, policy analysis, and the ability to apply theoretical perspectives and concepts to real-life problems.

The course has a strong focus on major societal challenges such as social justice and inequality, and global perspectives on these issues. You will benefit from working with a team of internationally recognised researchers and educators committed to facilitating students' personal, intellectual, and professional development. As a student in the School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences you will also benefit from the research expertise of our staff and from the work of specialist research centres in the School, such as ARK (ark.ac.uk).

The course is suited to those aiming for a career in the public sector, in NGOs, and in private sector research organisations. It is also geared towards professionals working in these sectors who are seeking to enhance career progression.

Work placement / study abroad
The Social Policy team has strong working relationships with a range of organisations working on Social Policy issues, and can help facilitate internship opportunities for those students who wish to gain practical work experience during, or after, the course.

For further course details please see "Course Web Page" below.

Subjects taught

Year one
Foundations of Social Science Research
This module will introduce students to some of the key concepts, ideas and debates in social science research. The module will also introduce students to the main stages in the research process, the main approaches and methods and will give students a firm foundation in the basics of social research that will prepare them for other research methods modules.

Theorising and Researching Social Policy, Equality and Social Justice
This module is designed to introduce participants to approaches to investigating and understanding key aspects of social inequality and key processes of social exclusion.

From Theory to Practice: addressing inequality and injustice through Social Policy
The module is designed to familiarise students with the role of policies, frameworks and mechanisms to address inequality and social justice and their application in different contexts

Making and Implementing Social Policy Nationally and Internationally
This module is intended to introduce students to the context of policy making as a contested process.

MSc Dissertation
This module enables students to develop and apply policy analysis and research skills in a 15,000 word dissertation. The dissertation represents a sustained period of independent work which addresses a research question or issue in the field of Social Policy

Social Action for Peace and Justice: A Community Development Approach
This module is optional
This module is designed as an integrated social sciences paradigm infused with a co-production theme.

The content is fashioned to raise the awareness of students to injustices oppression and discrimination that are embedded in personal, cultural and structural frames of reference. They will be challenged to explore how to tackle these issues using a community development approach that leads to sustainable social action.

The module is primarily focused on emancipatory praxis to promote critical dialogue and social action using a community development lens.

Survey and Quantitative Methods
This module is optional
This module provides students with a thorough knowledge of survey research and quantitative analysis. It takes students from an introduction to the principles and practice of elementary techniques through to use of advanced quantitative methods. Topics covered include survey methods and sampling as well as univariate, bivariate and multivariate techniques. Practical applications are used to give the student experience of data handling, analysis, inference and results presentation.

Qualitative Research Methods
This module is optional
The module will introduce students to essential features of qualitative research through: conceptualizing research, constructing appropriate and effective data collection instruments, accessing archived data, interpreting and presenting research findings. Throughout, the module explores issues of ethics, access and accountability; and issues of application and limitation of different qualitative approaches in different exampled research contexts. This module is designed to introduce participants to approaches to research with groups who are most impacted by social inequality and to understand the ethical issues that apply to research with 'vulnerable groups', a term that is used here in the sense in which it is used by ethics approval committees. By the end of the module, students are expected to be conversant with qualitative research perspectives and methods, skilled in the techniques of qualitative research design and data collection, and competent in both manual and computer-aided qualitative data analysis (Nvivo), and will be required to demonstrate their newly acquired competencies through coursework.

Entry requirements

Applicants must have a second class honours degree or better in Social Sciences, Humanities, Law or a cognate discipline from a university of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or from a recognised national awarding body, or from an institution of another country which has been recognised as being of an equivalent standard; In exceptional circumstances, where an individual has substantial and significant experiential learning, a portfolio of written evidence demonstrating the meeting of graduate qualities (including subject-specific outcomes, as determined by the Course Committee) may be considered as an alternative entrance route. Evidence used to demonstrate graduate qualities may not be used for exemption against modules within the programme.

English Language Requirements
If English is not your first language this course requires
a minimum English level of IELTS (academic) 6.0 with no band
score less than 5.5, or equivalent.

This course is open to international (non-EU) students (full-time only).

For full entry requirements please see "Course Web Page" below.

Application dates

Your Application
Application is through the University's online application system (see "Application Weblink" below).

Post Course Info

Career options
The course is suited to those aiming for a career in the public sector, in NGOs and in private sector research organisations. It is also geared towards professionals working in these sectors seeking to enhance career progression. Employability and progression opportunities are enhanced through the opportunity to receive advanced research methods and skills training and opportunities to apply theoretical learning to real life policy situations.

More details
  • Qualification letters

    MSc/PGDip/PGCert

  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma at UK Level 7,Degree - Masters at UK Level 7,Postgraduate Certificate at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider