Policy into Practice (with Integrated Placement) MA

This programme has been designed primarily for international students who are government officers with work experience in social policy areas. It includes a work-based placement within one or more public, private or third sector organisations in the West Midlands area. 

International Collaboration mapOver 4,500 students from 150 countries worldwide choose to study here at Birmingham, and we now boast one of the largest and most vibrant international student communities in the UK. Take a look at the collaboration map in our international section and find out what it is like to be an international student living and studying in Birmingham, as well as the global reach of the School.

You can also find out why our students love living and studying in Birmingham.


Course fact file

Type of Course: Taught

Study Options: Full time

Duration: 21 months PG Diploma (9 months)

Start date: September/October 2014


Thie programme is part of a suite of programmes designed primarily for international students who are government officers or policy officers, researchers or practitioners in non-governmental organisations who have work experience in social policy areas. The study of Policy into Practice concerns the development and nature of government interventions aimed at ensuring the welfare needs of their populations are met, and the ways those interventions are put into effect. Starting from an examination of UK social policy, the programme widens out to examine the experience and challenges facing other countries, as well as to study UK social policy in more depth. Some programmes include the opportunity to have a work-based placement within one or more public, private or third sector organisations in the West Midlands area.

The programme introduces students to the study of Social Policy and Practice and considers current and future political, economic and demographic contexts of policy making around the world.

Why study this course

The Institute of Applied Social Studies, part of the School of Social Policy, is an internationally leading centre for research in social policy and social work and is based in the recently refurbished Muirhead Tower.


The programme introduces students to the study of Social Policy and Practice and considers current and future political, economic and demographic contexts of policy-making around the world. The MA programme consists of three compulsory modules:

  • Sectors and Services in British Social Policy
  • International Social Policy
  • Introduction to Applied Social Research

and three optional modules from:

  • The Politics of British Social Policy
  • Researching Social Policy
  • British Social Policy: Beyond Welfare?
  • New Migration and Super Diversity
  • Social Policy into Practice: learning through volunteering
  • Managing Public Money
  • Social Analysis of Poverty Development
  • Understanding Organisations
  • Social Marketing for Social Justice
  • Introduction to Disaster Management
  • Other modules offered in the College of Social Sciences

MA students also undertake a 60-credit dissertation and a work-based placement in the second year.

The PG Diploma programme consists of three compulsory modules:

  • Sectors and services in British Social Policy
  • International Social Policy
  • Integrated placement

And two optional modules from the list above.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2014-2015:

(Full time only)
Year 1: international fee (£12,565)
Year 2: half international fee (£6,283)

(Overseas - Full time only) £9,424

Please check with the Department for the latest fees information

Learn more about fees and funding 

Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available. International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. More information about international scholarships.

For further information contact the Student Funding Office at www.studenthelp.bham.ac.uk.  

Entry requirements

For entry onto this programme you should normally have an undergraduate degree of at least an upper second or an equivalent professional qualification. Participants with relevant work or employment experience will also be considered.

Learn more about entry requirements

International students:

Listen to what some of our international students in the School say about studying at Birmingham.

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries – our country pages show you what qualifications we accept.

English language requirements

These programmes require applicants to attend a Presessional English Course - please contact the Programme Co-ordinator, Dr Kelly Hall, k.j.hall@bham.ac.uk  for advice on this.

Most students will be required to take either:

10 week presessional English course (Fee £2,600)
OR 6 week presessional English course (Fee £1,560)

How to apply

When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. Further information regarding how to apply online can be found on the How to apply pages

Apply now

Learning and teaching

All participants will be supported by a personal tutor and will also be able to draw on the support of the Institute's Programme Director, Welfare Tutors and International Student Tutors.

Work-based placements

Work-based placements are sought in discussion with the student and every effort is made to find a placement which will suit the student and provide a valuable learning experience for both the student and the organisation.

Participants will also benefit from access to e-learning resources as well as the University's main library and student services.

Assessment methods

On completion of the taught modules (120 credits) Maters students undertake a 10,000 dissertation on a subject of their choice. Each student is allocated an experienced specialist supervisor, selected for their experience of both the subject matter and supervision.

Our Dissertation workshops provide an excellent forum for students to share their experiences and to get advice and support.


Our graduates come from the UK and from a wide range of other nations including Chile, China, Cyprus, Japan, Poland, South Korea and Taiwan. Our graduates have gone on to careers in the public and non-governmental sectors as civil servants, policy analysts, practitioners and social researchers. Others have continued with Doctoral level study.

Eun Chul Kim, Republic of Korea, "MA Policy into Practice has provided me with a good chance to study British social policy and to experience the related practice. The modules which I took, satisfied my academic needs and curiosity over a quite broad spectrum of social policy fields. The academic staff made every effort to transfer academic knowledge and also they are highly kind and open-minded. We sometimes discussed over the issue passionately, other times we analysed the policy with cool and neutral attitude. I really enjoyed the time I had at the IASS and would like to recommend it to students who are interested in social policy from both academic and practical perspectives."


Hyochul Ahn, Republic of Korea, "Studying British social policy with other international students and leading academics on this beautiful campus is really fascinating. More than anything, I have realised the significance of social research which can influence policy and people's futures."


Isha Frederick, St Vincent, "The module 'The Politics of Social Policy in Britain: From 1940 to the present day', has really helped me understand the history of the UK and apply it to my studies. I've also found the university library to be a very useful place to study and the breadth and selection of books there is impressive."

Video courtesy of PGS TV

More about Careers