About us

The Institute of Applied Social Studies at the University of Birmingham is an internationally leading centre for research in social policy and social work. We have been providing social work education since 1908, when one of the first Diplomas in Social Studies in the UK was established at the University.

The Institute draws together expertise from across the fields of social policy, social work and community justice. In our research and teaching, we explore how policy and practice can contribute to making a difference in people's lives - particularly those who may face disadvantage or social exclusion.

The Institute is located within the newly refurbished Muirhead Tower and enjoys hi-spec, hi-tech teaching facilities. Close to the grand traditional redbrick buildings of Aston Webb with its Great Hall, Chancellor's Court and the imperious Joseph Chamberlain clock Tower, the Institute of Applied Social Studies is conveniently located on our leafy, green Edgbaston campus. The main Library is situated next to the Muirhead Tower and other libraries, including Medical, Education and Law, are only a short walk away.

Social Work at Birmingham

Chancellors Court under constructionThe University of Birmingham has been providing social work education since 1908, and we recently celebrated 100 years of social work education.  As the oldest running social work education programme in the country, we are proud of our history and we are committed to continuing our work to raise professional social work standards and promote good practice.  We offer our qualifying programmes, BA Social Work and MA Social Work, as well as post qualifying programmes.

Discover more about studying social work at Birmingham.

Social Policy at Birmingham

The Social Policy programmes are characterised by a number of important and distinctive features, for example, programmes are based in an active and dynamic research institute which provides research-led teaching; the content of our modules is highly contemporary and engaged; students are provided with employability support throughout their programme. The programme also offers student flexibility and choice, a feature which is most effectively illustrated through exploring the course structure. We offer both single honours BA Social Policy, BA Social Policy with Year Abroad, BA Policy, Politics and Economics, BA Policy Politics and Economics with Year Abroad; Joint Honours BA Social Policy and Sociology and BA Social Policy and Criminology, and our Pathway degrees - BA Social Policy: Housing and Communities, BA Social Policy: Health and Social Care.

Discover more about studying social policy at Birmingham.

International students

At Birmingham University and in the Institute of Applied Social Studies we have a long experience of welcoming students from all over the world. Over the years many students have successfully completed their degrees and enjoyed the experience of living and studying in the city of Birmingham before returning to flourishing careers in their home countries whilst retaining their links with us.

Read more about International Scholarships.

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 of Social Policy in our international section and collaboration map.

Find out why our students love living and studying in Birmingham.



The Institute of Applied Social Studies (IASS) is part of the School of Social Policy. It has developed a reputation for delivering high quality teaching and learning which enables students to develop into reflective and research informed professionals.


Head of Institute: David Stephenson