Social Policy - Conversion Programme

University College Cork

Social Policy - Conversion Programme

The Higher Diploma in Social Policy is a 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 as a one-year course or part-time over two years (by day).

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

You will study core modules on topics including the evolution of the welfare state, poverty and social exclusion, social policy and social theory, and housing and homelessness. Additionally, you will choose three optional modules from the areas of social science and social work, community development, youth policy, mental health, education, sexuality, planning, and developmental psychology.

You will also undertake a supervised 10,000-word, social research project on a social policy topic of your choice (in consultation with your supervisor). This will be a desk-based piece of research, involving an exploration of the policy and literature around your chosen topic.

Subjects taught

Students take 60 credits as follows:

Part I
SS3005 Housing and Homelessness (5 credits)
SS3008 Poverty and Social Exclusion (5 credits)
SS3049 Politics and Social Policy IV (5 credits)
SS3050 Politics and Social Policy V (5 credits)
SS5317 Social Policy and Social Theory (10 credits)

plus 15 credits from the following: (Subject to timetable availability)
AP1023 Lifespan Development (5 credits)
SS3006 Education and Welfare (5 credits)
SS3009 Communities, Activism and Development (5 credits)
SS3010 Social Science and Social Work (5 credits)
SS3011 Youth Policy and Practice (5 credits)
SS3015 The Politics of Racism (Online) (5 credits)
SS3016 Social Perspectives in Mental Health (5 credits)
SS3021 Sexuality and Society (5 credits)
SS3033 Issues in Planning and Sustainable Development (5 credits)
SS3045 Critical Perspectives on Age and Ageing (5 credits)
SS3051 Critical Perspectives on Disability (5 credits)
SS3118 Community Conflict Transformation and Peace Building (5 credits)

Part II
SS5400 Research Report (15 credits)

Entry requirements

The Higher Diploma in Social Policy is open to graduates who do not already possess a BSocSc Honours Degree.

Applicants may be required to present for an interview where an overall assessment of their suitability will be made.

Application dates

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

Assessment Info

Assessment is by a combination of essay, exams, and social research project.


1 year full-time, 2 years part-time.

Enrolment dates

Start Date 9 September 2024

Post Course Info

Skills and Careers Information
Our Higher Diploma in Social Policy gives you a foundation in the study of the welfare state and 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 you 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

  • Apply to

    Course provider