Social Policy - Conversion Programme

University College Cork

Social Policy - Conversion Programme

Course Outline
Our Higher Diploma in Social Policy (online) is an online conversion course giving a foundation in the field of social policy for graduates who do not hold a social science degree. It can be studied full-time over one year or part-time over two years.

The course is delivered online and provides a flexible approach to study for students with employment and/or care responsibilities; as well as those restricted geographically.

The course sets social policy in the context of the social sciences. The course is particularly relevant to those of you who want to apply for professional postgraduate courses in social work, e.g. Master of Social Work.

Subjects taught

In Part I of the Higher Diploma in Social Policy (online) programme you study core modules on topics including the evolution of the welfare state, poverty, social exclusion, social policy, and social analysis. You will be introduced to critical areas of study within the field of social policy.

In Part II you undertake a supervised 10,000-word, social research project (SS5104) on a social policy topic of choice (in consultation with your supervisor). This will be a desk-based piece of research, involving an exploration of policy and literature.

Part I

Core Modules (30 credits)
SS5101 Social Policy and Social Theory (online) (10 credits) – Semesters 1 and 2
SS5102 Contemporary Social Policy Analysis (online) (10 credits) – Semesters 1 and 2
SS5108 Poverty and Social Exclusion (online) (5 credits) – Semester 1
SS5106 Housing and Homelessness (online) (5 credits) – Semester 1

Elective Modules (choose 15 credits)
SS5110 Social Policy and Social Work (online) (5 credits) – Semester 2
SS5105 Social Professions and Social Practice IV (online) (5 credits) – Semester 1
SS5107 Education and welfare (online) (5 credits) – Semester 2
SS5109 The Politics of Racism (online) (5 credits) – Semester 2

Part II
SS5104 Social Research Report (15 credits) – Semester 2

Entry requirements

The Higher Diploma in Social Policy (Online) is open to graduates who do not already possess a BSocSc (Hons) Degree.

This is a conversion course and is designed for graduates of any discipline who may be interested in pursuing further study in the fields of social policy or social work.

The minimum entry requirement is an Ordinary Bachelor’s degree (Level 7) or equivalent.

Application dates

Closing Date Rolling deadline. Open until all places have been filled. Early application is advised.

Assessment Info


Summative assessment in the taught component of the course consists of essays, portfolios, policy papers, reports, analysis of texts. The research report is a 10,000 word document and is undertaken under the supervision of a staff member. Students are also supported for this project with a series of guiding videos. Formative assessment such as participation in group discussions and collaborative projects are not assigned marks.


1 year full-time; 2 years part-time online.

Enrolment dates

Start Date 9 September 2024

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
The Higher Diploma in Social Policy (online) gives students a foundation in the study of the welfare state and the social services. It is a conversion course for those who don’t hold a social science degree, but wish to apply for the Master of Social Work course. The course also prepares students for entry to other postgraduate courses in the School of Applied Social Studies, UCC, e.g. social policy, planning, youth and community work, social services administration and child care.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Higher Diploma (Level 8 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Part time,Daytime

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    Course provider