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Social Policy

Summary

The MSc in Social Policy offers the student the opportunity to acquire detailed knowledge and understanding of contemporary social policy, including the working of devolution in the UK. Students 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. Students 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 (www.ark.ac.uk).

About

The course will appeal to those who have studied Social Policy or another social science subject at undergraduate level, or those who want to study social policy for the first time at postgraduate level. It is especially suited to those aiming for a career in the public sector or in NGOs or professionals in those sectors seeking to enhance career progression. With exit points at PgCert and PgDip levels, the course provides a detailed knowledge and understanding of contemporary social policy, an excellent training in social research methods, the ability to apply theoretical perspectives and concepts to real-life problems, and an appreciation of the complexity and diversity of social problems and society.

In an increasingly uncertain and fast changing world questions around human need, welfare, inequality and wealth distribution are to the fore of public discourse. In this course you will explore how concerns such as new social risks and precarity are experienced by individuals and communities, and how they can be addressed by policy. This course considers social policy within the context of broader political, social, economic and demographic developments. It will equip you with a critical knowledge and understanding of Social Policy, which will allow you to challenge perceived wisdom. You will examine major societal challenges such as inequality and social justice and, with a range of optional modules to choose from, you will have the opportunity to choose a specialist research pathway, recognized by the ESRC as a research training programme or study topics such as the democratization of Social Policy, the racial politics of conflict and migration, NGOs and social welfare delivery and policy making in an uncertain world. There is a strong focus on the application of knowledge and skills, including policy analysis and conducting equality impact assessments. You will gain in-depth knowledge of Social Policy in Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland but will also be well equipped to address issues of global relevance.

As a passionate team of internationally recognised researchers and educators, we are dedicated to the pursuit of evidence-based policy-making and committed to facilitating students' personal, intellectual, and professional development. Members of the staff team have strong national and international relationships with learned societies, professional bodies, government bodies and NGOs. Our programmes and students benefit from this expertise. 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 our specialist research centres such as ARK (www.ark.ac.uk).

Teaching and learning assessment

The design of the curricula and assessment methods have a strongly applied focus, reflecting the demand for professionals with advanced skills in research and critical policy analysis skills and the ability to communicate effectively with a diverse audience. In studying for the MSc Social Policy you will be challenged to think independently. You will be taught through a combination of student led seminars, workshops and lectures. You will receive one-to-one supervision whilst undertaking your thesis on a topic of your choosing.

Assessment will be continuous and based on written assignments such as policy briefs, research project reports, impact assessments and essays. Other forms of assessment include oral presentations.

Our approach to teaching in an intellectually stimulating environment will enable you to gain the knowledge, skills and opportunities to allow you to excel.

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.

Entry requirements

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.

Where an applicant 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.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Duration

Attendance

Full-time
Taken in full-time mode the MSc takes one calendar year. You will normally be expected to attend class for 4-5 hours on two days a week during Semester One (Sept- Jan) and Semester Two (Jan - May). Students conduct their dissertation during Semester Three (June - Sept). The programme will be supplemented with seminars and lectures by visiting academics and practitioners.

In part-time mode students normally take 5/6 semesters of study to complete the MSc.

Part-time
The part time provision offers two points of entry in each academic year: September and January. For both intakes, the degree will normally be completed across three academic years.

In the part-time mode, students take two 15-credit modules per semester per year and each module equates to a student effort of 150 hours, made up of direct contact hours (i.e. delivered in the classroom) and the remainder as independent study time which would involve reading books, journals and researching for coursework etc. Students also undertake a 60-credit Dissertation in year 3, which has limited direct teaching but has a staff supervisory process to support you or a Real Estate Work Based Project.

On average the contact time per week for each module will be 5 hours (with a mix of lectures and tutorials) i.e. 5 hours x 2 modules = 10 contact hours. This varies in some modules but will never be more than 5 hours per week per module. Usually these contact hours are spread across a minimum of 1-2 days in the part-time mode across 12 weeks per semester.

Careers or further progression

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.

Further enquiries

Contact
Course Director: Ann-Marie Gray
T:+44 (0)28 9036 6689
E: am.gray@ulster.ac.uk

Application date

Application is through the University's online application system.

Enrolment and start dates

Start Dates:September 2019 & January 2020

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