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Social Policy

This full-time, one year course analyses social policy relating to contemporary issues facing Ireland, Europe and the wider world. The course gives you the theoretical and practical skills to engage in social research and policy analysis. As part of this course, you can specialise in the social policy area of your choice. The delivery of the programme is innovative, discussion-led and seminar-based to encourage the active participation of the group.

Entry requirements

To apply for this course you will need an undergraduate degree in social policy of second-class honours level or equivalent. Applicants with other relevant degrees in the broad areas of the humanities and social sciences (sociology, philosophy, politics and government, social care, social work, early childhood studies, public health, history, law, economics) and/or relevant experience, e.g. extensive experience in the areas of community activism, youth work, social work, trade union activism and development work will also be considered.

Applicants who do not meet these requirements can also enrol subject to a review by the course committee. The review consists of an interview and an evaluation of the applicant’s previous experience, understanding and knowledge of social policy. These applications are subject to the approval of the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences.

Students with a Higher Diploma in Social Policy, or the CACE Higher Diploma in Facilitating Inclusion (Disability Studies), are also eligible to apply for the MSocSc (Social Policy).

If you are applying with Qualifications obtained outside Ireland and you wish to verify if you meet the minimum academic and English language requirements for this programme please see course webpage (link below) to view the grades comparison table by country and for details of recognised English language tests.


1 year, full-time
Part-time 2 years

The part-time option will be taught during evening hours over 2 years.

Careers or further progression

Our graduates are employed in a variety of posts including the public and voluntary sectors and other service/advocacy groups. The course is ideally suited to those who have worked in this area, or who are interested in working in social policy related areas such as youth work, community work, social activism and trade unionism. The specialist pathways also suit various professionals working with children and young people, or in the areas of mental health, disability, and conflict transformation and peace building.

Further enquiries

Acting Programme Coordinator
Ms. Eluska Fernandez
Department of Applied Social Studies, UCC.
Tel.: 00 353 21 4902228

Phil O’Sullivan
Tel: + 353 21 490 2228

Subjects taught

The MSocSc (Social Policy) core modules include:

Contemporary Social Policy Issues
Social Research: Methodology and Ethics
Social Policy Analysis

Students are also required to conduct a piece of social research and submit a 25,000 word thesis.

You will also pursue a specialist pathway from one of the following:

Children and Young People

Designed for a wide range of professionals working with children and young people. You are encouraged to reflect on policy, theory and practice. Topics covered include: children and young people in society; children’s rights, participation and democratic engagement; and researching childhood and youth.

Mental Health and Disability

Helps you understand key perspectives in the areas of mental health and disability, and their implications for policy, research and practice. Issues of human rights and citizenship are given particular attention.

Conflict, Transformation and Peace Building

Explores the causes and dynamics of conflict in society, and looks at grassroots and governmental approaches to peace-building internationally. Conflict in Ireland and the peace process in the North will act as a focus. ‘Transitional justice’ and ‘nation-building’ in post-conflict societies will also be considered.

Critical Social Policy

Gives you an advanced understanding of social policy theory, and the skills needed to analyse key contemporary social policy issues. You will be encouraged to theorise and critically examine the implications of recent trends for social policy and welfare states.

Further details of the programme content and modules are in the Postgraduate College Calendar.


Unique Aspects of the Course
The course gives you the unique opportunity to take a one-year full-time evening course in an era of rapid social change and policy developments. It will give you the skills to:
◾engage in social policy analysis
◾become an autonomous researcher
◾link practice with theoretical and conceptual debates
◾address contemporary debates in key social policy issues
◾evaluate, and ultimately have an impact on policy agendas

Course Practicalities
Lectures take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5.30-7.30 pm (for both full-time and part-time students). You are also expected to engage in ongoing online seminar activities and discussions, as well as self-directed learning. You are required to read articles before attending lectures.

Assessment method

The MSocSc (Social Policy) course gives you the skills to understand and discuss key issues in contemporary social policy, specialise in a policy field of your choice and conduct policy research. Our assessment methods enable students to become autonomous social policy analysts and researchers. Assessment includes: writing and presenting a policy report, participating in online discussions of contemporary key social policy issues, theoretical analysis of a current policy issue and a 25,000 word social policy research thesis.

Application date

Applications for 2017-18 intake are now open.

While UCC operates a rounds system for Postgraduate Taught courses (detailed below) we would advise you to apply as soon as possible.

Deadline for receipt of Applications: Offers will be made:

For all completed applications received by January 16th 2017 Offers will be made by January 30th 2017

For all completed applications received by March 1st 2017 Offers will be made by March 15th 2017

For all completed applications received by May 1st 2017 Offers will be made by May 15th 2017

For all completed applications received by July 3rd 2017 Offers will be made by July 17th 2017

Late applications may be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis for any courses that have remaining capacity for places.

Non-EU Applicants:

Please visit the following page for further information for Non EU applicants

Course fee

2017/2018 Irish/EU Fee: €6,000 full-time; €3,000 per year part-time

Enrolment and start dates

Next Intake: 11 September 2017

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