Social Research (Social Policy) MA/Diploma

The MA Social Research (Social Policy) is recognised by the ESRC as a research training programme designed to provide participants with a sound background in overall research design and the most up-to-date training in methods and data collection and analysis. The core elements are delivered by staff from across the College of Social Science, many of them engaged in cutting-edge research in their particular fields. The MA Social Research (Social Policy) welcomes applications from international students.

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Course fact file

Type of Course: Taught

Study Options: Full time, part time

Duration: MA: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time (longer for some PT students who need extra flexibility); Diploma: 9 months full-time, 18 months part-time

Start date: September

Details

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

Aston Webb building domesIf 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.

 

Video courtesy of PGS TV

Modules

  • 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.
  • Research Design
    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.

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

Students can choose from a variety of optional Substructure Modules or Advanced Research Methods Modules, for example:

20 credit modules

  • Sectors and Services in British Social Policy
  • Politics of British Social Policy since 1940
  • Third Sector in Social Policy
  • Migration, Superdiversity, Policy and Practice
  • International Social Policy
  • Globalisation, International Migration and Citizenship
  • Policy Futures: Global and Local Perspectives

10 credit modules

  • Multivariate Linear + Logistic Regression
  • Factor Analysis
  • Narrative Research
  • Visual Research Methods
  • Researching Disability
  • Approaches to Research on Discourse
  • Policy Evaluation

Fees and funding

Fees for 2015-2016:

Masters (MA)

Home and EU (full time) Code 5078: £6,210
Home and EU (part time) Code 5314: £3,105
Overseas (full-time) Code 5078: £14,140

PG Diploma
Home and EU (full time) Code 5079: £4,140
Overseas (full-time) Code 5079: £9,427

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.

Entry requirements

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 

 

International students:

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

Apply now

Learning and teaching

All participants on the Social Research (Social Policy) MA will be supported by a personal tutor and will also be able to draw on the support of the School's Postgraduate Taught Programme Director, Welfare Tutors and International Student tutors.

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

Assessment methods

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).

Employability

Video courtesy of PGS TV

This course is designed for those considering research as a career. That includes those wanting an academic career, for whom this degree is ideal preparation for undertaking a doctorate (PhD). It also includes those seeking a research career in such areas as central government, local government, charities and in consultancies and market/social research. The degree also provides good transferable skills in evaluation and in analysing data, and the ability to critique published research.

"Alison Kite, MA Social Research (Social Policy), "I chose to study at the University of Birmingham firstly bedcause a friend had done an MA in Social Policy here and recommended it. Secondly, my interest is in the Third Sector and I knew that Birmingham had made a bid to run the Third Sector Research Centre, which was successful. I really benefited from the Social Policy expertise within the department and the friendly and supportive working environment. The whole experience was very positive, the lectures and seminars were stimulating and interaction/group discussion was encouraged. Studying at Birmingham has changed my life in a big way! I am now starting the first year of a PhD ESRC studentship and it was the knowledge I gained at Birmingham that enabled me to go for this opportunity. When I started the Masters, I hadn't intended to do a PhD but the course helped me to see what the possibilities were. As a result I have been able to change direction with my career and am really excited about the next three years."