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MA/Diploma Social Research

(Social Policy)

Start date
MA: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time; Diploma: 9 months full-time, 18 months part-time
Course Type
Postgraduate, Taught


Masters (MA)
£9,810 f/t (UK students)
£4,905 p/t (UK students)
£21,240 f/t (International students)
£6,540 f/t (UK students)
£14,160 f/t (International students)
More Fees and funding details.

Within the public sector, there is an increasing emphasis on ‘evidence-based policy-making’ and on the critical review of policy-making and its impacts. The MA Social Research (Social Policy) will provide you with the skills to make a real difference in this area.

You will acquire a general overview of the philosophy of social research, and understand how this informs research design, methods of data collection and analysis. You will also develop an ability to use a range of research methods to communicate research findings effectively and an understanding of the potential use of, and impact of their research, within and beyond academia.  Optional modules will offer you the opportunity to advance your command of specific research methods and techniques, as well as substantive areas of social policy.

This programme is recognised by the ESRC as a research training programme designed to provide you with a solid foundation in a broad range of social science research methods as well as basic research skills. The core elements of this programme will be delivered by staff from across the College of Social Sciences, many of them engaged in cutting-edge research in their particular fields.

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. The programme will offer you a rigorous and systematic social research training, an opportunity to apply this to your particular area of policy.


Core modules

  • Philosophy of Social Science Research (20 credits)
  • Research Design, Practice and Ethics(20 credits)
  • Foundations in Qualitative Research(20 credits)
  • Fundamentals in Quantitative Research Methods (20 credits)
  • Dissertation

Optional Modules* (40 credits from the list below):

  • Transforming Identities (20 credits)
  • Transforming Societies (20 credits)
  • The Third Sector and Social Policy (20 credits)
  • Migration, Super diversity, Policy and Practice (20 credits)
  • Policy Futures: Theories and Concepts in International Policymaking (20 credits)
  • Globalisation, International Migration & Citizenship (20 credits)
  • Crime and Social Harm (20 credits)
  • Sociology of Race and Racism (20 credits)
  • Applied Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis (20 credits)
  • Global Policy Institutions and Networks  (20 credits)
  • Policy Evaluation (20 credits)
  • Philosophies of Welfare: creating new societies? (20 credits)
  • Poverty, Wealth and Inequality (20 credits)

Advanced Research Methods modules offered within the College of Social Sciences include:

  • Multivariate Linear and Logistic Regression (10 credits)
  • Factor Analysis (10 credits)
  • Narrative Research (10 credits)
  • Visual Research Methods (10 credits)
  • Researching Disability (10 credits)
  • Approaches to Research on Discourse (10 credits)
  • Policy Evaluation (10 credits)
  • Advanced Qualitative Data Analysis (10 credits)
  • Secondary Data Analysis in Social Research (10 credits)
  • Using and Producing Research (10 credits)
  • Activity Theory and its Research Applications (10 credits)
  • Ethnographic Methods: Ethics, Politics (10 credits)
  • Practice (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Time Series Regression (10 credits)
  • Introduction to Econometric Software (10 credits)
  • Analysing Hierarchical and Panel Data (10 credits)

*The optional modules listed for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.


Fees 2022 - 2023

Masters (MA)

Code: 5078 £9,810 f/t (UK students)
Code: 5314 £4,905 p/t (UK students)
Code: 5078 £21,240 f/t (International students)


Code: 5079 £6,540 f/t (UK students)
Code: 5079 £14,160 f/t (International students)
Code: 2574 £3,270 p/t (UK students)


Code: 8666 £3,270 (UK students)
Code: 8656 - £3,270 f/t (UK students)

Postgraduate Loans for Masters students 

A postgraduate loans system for Masters degrees in the UK will provide up to £11,570 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas including part-time and distance learning.

Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships and studentships

Scholarships may be available, please contact the Department directly or contact the Student Funding Office.

International students can often gain funding through overseas research scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships or their home government. See international scholarships.

How To Apply

1 July 2022 is the application deadline for international students applying through the student route who wish to study in the United Kingdom. We are not able to consider applications for 2022 made after this date. The deadline for Home students is 31 August 2022.

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

Our Standard Requirements

For entry onto this programme you will normally have an undergraduate degree of at least a 2:1. Applicants with a 2:2 degree classification will be considered on a case by case basis, if you have extensive related work experience. Speakers of English as a second language will be required to hold an IELTs 6.5 with no less than 6.0 in each band or equivalent qualification.

Learn more about entry requirements 

International Requirements

International Students

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.

The mission of the  Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology in the  School of Social Policy is not just to ‘understand the world’, but to also ‘change it.’ Consequently we are at the forefront of cutting edge social science research that informs and influences public debate.

Our achievements

In turning this mission into practice, we are proud of our many achievements.  Our academics are recognised leaders in their field, working alongside UK government departments and supra national organisations, such as the European Commission and United Nations to bring about positive social change.  More than 2/3rds of our research is rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in terms of its rigour, significance and originality, and we have extensive international links with like-minded partners at Harvard, Melbourne, Peking, Vancouver, Seoul and beyond.

Why choose to study in the Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology?

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.


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.

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