Policy into Practice (with Integrated Placement) MA/PGDip

This programme has been designed primarily for international students who are government officers or who have work experience in social policy areas. This programme starts from an examination of UK social policy, with opportunities to examine the experiences of, and challenges facing other countries, as well as study UK social policy in depth. It includes a work-based placement within one or more public, private or third sector organisations in the West Midlands area. Policy into Practice is also offered without a work-based placement.

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

This webpage is intended to provide prospective students with a general picture of programmes and courses offered by the school. Please note all programmes are subject to change and updates. 

This programme is currently undergoing a review process, which may result in some changes and updates to modules and the programme. Therefore, please contact the school for any queries you may have relating to modules and programme content.

This 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. 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. Starting from an examination of UK social policy, the programme widens out to examine the experience and challenges facing other countries. It includes the opportunity to have a work-based placement within one or more public, private or third sector organisation in the West Midlands area.

Specialist option in health policy

You can now study an MA or PGDiploma in Policy into Practice with Integrated Placement (Health) which has a particular focus on heath policies and interventions. Developed in collaboration with the Health Services Management Centre (HSMC) the programmes cover UK health policy, as well as the experiences of, and challenges facing, other countries in relation to health policy and population health and wellbeing. The programme has been designed for national and local government officers, as well as officers of non-governmental organisations who are involved in health policy-making or delivering health services in countries other than the UK. Students take a combination of modules on social policy and health services management. For module options please see the course brochure. The MA includes a 20 week work-based placement in a non-clinical health setting, and the PG Diploma includes an 8 week work based placement in a non-clinical health setting.

Course brochures

See also MA Policy into Practice

Why study this course

The Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology, part of the School of Social Policy, is an internationally leading centre for research in social policy and is based in the Muirhead Tower.


MA Policy into Practice with Integrated Placement

The programmes introduce students to the study of social policy and consider current and future political, economic and demographic contexts of policy-making around the world. The MA programme consists of three core modules:

  • Sectors and Services in British Social Policy
    Module Lead: Lisa Goodson
  • International Social Policy
    Module Lead: Kelly Hall
  • Introduction to Applied Social Research
    Module Lead: Lisa Goodson

Plus a dissertation, a 20 week work-based placement and three optional modules from:

  • Policy Futures: Global and Local Perspectives
    Module Leads: John Mohan
  • Migration, Superdiversity, Policy and Practice
    Module Lead: Lisa Goodson
  • Globalisation, International Migration and Citizenship
    Module Lead: Nando Sigona
  • Third Sector in Social Policy
    Module Lead: John Mohan

Plus other modules offered in the College of Social Sciences

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Postgraduate Diploma Policy into Practice with Integrated Placement

The PG Diploma programme consists of two core modules:

  • Sectors and Services in British Social Policy
    Module Lead: Lisa Goodson
  • International Social Policy
    Module Lead: Kelly Hall

Plus an 8 week work-based placement and two optional modules from the list above.

For modules on the MA/PG Diploma Policy into Practice with Integrated Placement (Health) - see the course brochure.

Students can also choose modules from other postgraduate programmes from some other university departments, including the International Development Department. We can help you choose the most appropriate modules to study based on your areas of interest and future career ambitions.

Fees and funding

Fees for 2019/20 entry:

Masters (MA)
Code: 6288  (International students) 
First year f/t: £16,740
Second year f/t: £7,860

Code: 8970 £12,555 f/t (International students)

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students

A postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will provide up to £10,280 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas including part-time and distance learning. More information can be found on the FindAMasters loans page.

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

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

English language: IELTS 6.5. Students with lower IELTS scores may apply, but will be advised to register for the pre-sessional English Course (six or ten weeks). Please contact the Programme Co-ordinator, Dr Kelly Hall, k.j.hall@bham.ac.uk for further advice on this.

How to apply

Monday 1 July 2019 is the application deadline for international students (Tier 4) who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2019 made after this date. The deadline for Home/EU (non-Tier 4) students is Monday 12 September 2019. Applications will reopen for 2020 entry in early October 2019.

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

All participants will be supported by a personal tutor and will also be able to draw on the support of the Department'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) Masters students undertake a 12,000 word 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, Indonesia 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 my time and would like to recommend it to students who are interested in social policy from both academic and practical perspectives.' 

Thi Hue Vu, Vietnam, 'You will have a chance to work for a voluntary organisation, so enjoy the time that you do as a volunteer because it will be one of the most unforgettable memories in your life.'

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.'

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