This programme is recognised by the ESRC as a research training programme designed to provide participants with a sound background in overall research design and the opportunity to apply these to your particular areas of policy interest.
The core elements of this programme are delivered by staff from across the College of Social Sciences, many of them engaged in cutting-edge research in their particular fields.
The MA programme includes assessed core modules and short courses (120 credits) and the completion of a 10,000-word dissertation (60 credits), while the Postgraduate Diploma includes the assessed courses only (120 credits).
Why study this course
If you are interested in undertaking an academic or research career in the areas of social policy, social work, health and social care or criminal justice fields, this programme could be for you. Normally you will have already done an undergraduate degree in Social Policy, Social Work, or other social sciences. The programme offers students a rigorous and systematic social research training, an opportunity to apply this to their particular areas of policy (or practice) interest and the opportunity to study relevant aspects of policy and practice in more depth.
The Institute of Applied Social Studies at the University of Birmingham, is an internationally leading centre for reearch in social policy and social work. It has developed a reputation for delivering high quality teaching and learning which enables students to develop into reflective and research informed professionals.
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Introduction to Social Research
This module aims to provide a general introduction to studying and research methods and prepares you for your dissertation, emphasising key skills such as searching literature, finding datasets and presenting and criticising arguments. It also covers ethics of research, the role of theory and philosophical bases for understanding the social world.
This module links the introductory module and data collection module through consideration of research design, questions, warranting practices and sampling methods. All the elements of research design are linked into an over-arching theme of the full cycle of research activity.
Social Research Methods I
This module introduces the principles and practices of data collection and explores rationales of the various methods. It will focus on the different stages of data collection, including various methods used to gather textual and numerical data.
Social Research Methods II
This module introduces students to a range of approaches for analysing and handling data. It will include covering statistical methods for quantitative data and methodological approaches for qualitative data. It emphasises that the method of analysis is not determined by the method of collection.
British Social Policy - Beyond Welfare?
This module provides students with an understanding of recent trends in social policy development and of the current social and economic context of policy making in the UK. The question underpinning the module is 'Where is British Social Policy heading?'
Researching Social Policy
This module is concerned with the politics of social research, rather than research methods and methodology. It addresses issues such as: how are certain topics identified as subjects for research, how is research commissioned and funded, and what are the relationships between research and the policy process. It draws on real-life experiences of doing research and being researched to explore these issues.
The modules on Social Research Methods I and Social Research Methods II cover a wide range of approaches, including the 'qualitative' traditions, plus mixed methods. It is possible to do further research methods courses for those with strong ideas about the kinds of techniques they need to learn (e.g. courses on panel data, factor analysis, advanced qualitative approaches).
Fees and funding
Fees for 2014-2015: Home and EU (full time): £5,940; Home and EU (part time): £2,970
Home and EU (full time): £3,960.
Standard fees apply
Learn more about fees and funding
Scholarships and studentships
Scholarships may be available, please contact the Department directly or contact the Student Funding Office via the online enquiries system at www.studenthelp.bham.ac.uk.
International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. See international scholarships.
A good Honours degree or equivalent is normally required. This will usually be in a social science, although applications from those with degrees in other disciplines will be considered. Applications are also encouraged from those without an Honours degree who have five years or more relevant work experience in a policy or practice area.
Learn more about entry requirements
We accept a range of qualifications - our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
You can satisfy our English language requirements in two ways:
by holding an English language qualification to the right level.
by taking and successfully completing one of our English courses for international students.
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