- Start date: September
- Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time; 24 months part-time
Ranked: 2nd in UK for Social Policy (The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021)
Study with us
- offers the opportunity to develop and extend your knowledge and understanding of key social policy issues together with advanced training in research methods
- expand your knowledge of contemporary issues facing social welfare and wellbeing and how social policy responds to them
- develop knowledge and research skills highly valued by public, third and private sector employers
- acquire research training vital for further study at PhD level
Why this course?
This course offers you the opportunity to develop and extend your knowledge and understanding of key social policy issues together with advanced training in research methods.
It aims to improve your knowledge and understanding of the factors which shape social needs and the ways in which different societies have responded to these. This will enhance your research skills and enable you to undertake an independent research project on a topic of your choice.
Who's it for?
The course is aimed at:
- students who have studied social policy at undergraduate level and who now wish to build on the foundations they have already laid before entering employment or embarking on further study
- graduates of other disciplines who wish to improve their knowledge and understanding of social and welfare issues whilst also enhancing their research skills
- individuals already in employment who wish to update their existing knowledge and skills before moving onto the next stage of their careers
Interested in postgraduate study?
At the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, our friendly and knowledgeable team will be available to provide you with all the information you need to kick-start your postgraduate journey at the University of Strathclyde. Register for upcoming events below:
What you'll study
The course includes a combination of research methods classes, core disciplinary training and optional classes. Classes in research design, quantitative methods or qualitative methods provide a platform to enable you to proceed to the MSc stage of the programme to undertake a research-based dissertation on a topic of your own choosing.
You'll also take compulsory classes in Welfare concepts and ideas and Approaches to welfare: past, present and future and a choice of optional classes which reflect the specialist research interests of our social policy staff.
Alternatively you can choose optional classes from other Masters programme offered across the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences.
Staff research interests include such issues as:
- the history of social policy in the UK
- the mixed economy of welfare
- race, ethnicity and social policy
- child poverty
- technology and welfare
To complete the MSc, you'll undertake a 15,000-work dissertation on a topic of your choice, supervised by a member of staff.
Strathclyde’s School of Social Work and Social Policy features more than 30 academics, many of whom have experience of working in policy and practice; all of whom are committed to research informed teaching and learning. I hope you will find, like me, that this is a really friendly and welcoming School, where people are keen to engage in ideas and hear about different experiences.
Perspectives on Social Research
The most important skill students should develop in graduate education is how to design research projects that withstand critical scrutiny. This module is designed to develop this skill at MSc level.
The class introduces students to the theoretical and practical issues they will need to address when designing and conducting research in social and public policy and related areas. During this module students will critically evaluate empirical research, develop an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different research designs, and build a foundation for their research projects and master theses.
Quantitative Methods I
This course introduces students to the use of quantitative methods in social research. Like qualitative methods, quantitative methods are tools in the social scientist’s toolkit. Learning when and how to use them will make you a better social researcher, open new scope for Masters or doctoral dissertation work, and improve your job prospects.
Welfare concepts & ideas
This class introduces students to some of the most important concepts which have shaped our understanding of social policy as an academic discipline, including such concepts as need, citizenship and entitlement, equality and justice, and happiness and wellbeing.
It also looks at issues surrounding the governance and implementation of social policy and the variety of ways in which our needs for welfare provision can be addressed. We also look at some of the main theoretical perspectives which have informed the development of social policy, such as social democracy, liberalism, conservatism, feminism, environmentalism, Marxism and the New Right.
The final part of the class looks at some of the main challenges facing social policy-makers today.
This class provides an overview of the ever-expanding field of qualitative methods in social science. This includes the examination of a wide variety of approaches, including case studies, small-N comparisons, ethnographies, historical research, and discourse analysis.
It also includes the study of a range of data collection and data analysis techniques such as observation, document analysis, elite interviews, and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA).
Approaches to welfare: past, present and future
This class examines the ways in which different societies have sought to address welfare needs at different points in time.
It takes a broad view of the ‘field’ of social policy, examining issues associated not only with poverty but also health, housing and education. It explores the ways in which policies in these areas have developed in different countries and under different policy regimes over the last 200 years. It then looks at the varieties of social policy response in contemporary societies and examines the challenges to traditional social policy which are posed by population movements and the development of transnational welfare institutions.
Advanced project module
The aim of this class is to provide students with the opportunity to undertake an individual research project in one of our specialist research areas. Our staff have a wide range of interests, including such topics as:
- the history of social policy in the UK
- the mixed economy of welfare
- long-term changes in health, welfare and the standard of living
- citizenship & welfare
- race, ethnicity & social policy
- welfare & migration
- child poverty
- technology and welfare
Students will have the opportunity to review the literature in their chosen area, formulate their own research questions, develop their presentational skills and prepare their own projects.
This class will provide a particularly useful foundation for those students who wish to undertake a dissertation or go on to more advanced research.
Other approved classes
The Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences offers a large number of other MSc programmes, including programmes in Education, Government & Public Policy, History, Journalism, Law, Psychological Sciences & Health, and Social Work. Many of these programmes include classes which are directly relevant to Social Policy. You'll have the opportunity to complete your programme by selecting a class from one of these programmes, subject to availability.
In order to complete the MSc, all students will be required to undertake a 15,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice.
The dissertation will be supervised by a member of staff but is intended to provide students with the opportunity to develop their skills as independent researchers.
Hear from our student, Natasha
Watch Natasha's video
If you have any general interest in how policy impacts people, this course is for you. There is ample flexibility in reading and essay assignments, which will allow you to dive deep into your passions. Also, if you are not from a policy or sociology background, you should still apply!
Learning & teaching
The majority of our classes will be taught in weekly sessions of two hours. The formats of these sessions will include lectures, seminars, small-group discussions and practical sessions.
The Advanced Project module will include a combination of individual and group meetings.
Your work will be assessed in a variety of ways. Some classes, including the classes in the Principles of Research Design, Quantitative Methods and Qualitative Methods, are assessed by coursework and exams.
Welfare concepts and ideas is assessed by two essays of 2,500 words each. Approaches to welfare: past, present and future and the Advanced project module will be assessed by means of a single 5,000-word essay.
The dissertation is 15,000 words in length.
We're ranked 3rd in the UK for Social Policy
First or second-class Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in Social Policy or a related discipline.
|English language requirements|
You're required to have a suitable minimum level of competency in the English language if your first language is not English or if you have not been educated wholly or mainly in the medium of English.
For postgraduate studies, the University of Strathclyde requires a minimum overall score of IELTS 6.5 (with no score below 6.0) or equivalent. Tests are valid for two years.
Pre-sessional courses in English are available.
If you’re a national of an English speaking country recognised by UK Visas and Immigration (please check most up-to-date list on the Home Office website) or you have successfully completed an academic qualification (at least equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree) in any of these countries, then you do not need to present any additional evidence.
If you are from a country not recognised as an English speaking country by the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration (UKVI), please check our English requirements before making your application.
Pre-Masters preparation course
The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.
Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.
Chat to a student ambassador
If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Humanities & Social Sciences student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!
Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.Chat to a student ambassador
We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.Visit our international students' section
Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences Scholarships
- EU Transition Scholarships are available to EU applicants who would have previously been eligible for Home (Scottish/EU) fee status
- Full-time international (non-EU) students applying to postgraduate study may be eligible for a scholarship worth between £3,000 and £5,000
Fees & funding
All fees quoted are full-time per academic year unless stated otherwise.
|England, Wales & Northern Ireland|
|Visa & immigration|
International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.
Please note: The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my course?
Scottish postgraduate students
Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
Students coming from England
Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
Students coming from Wales
Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
Students coming from Northern Ireland
Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.
We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.
Social policy graduates are employed in a wide range of occupations, including:
- business, research and administrative professions
- welfare and housing associated professions
- caring and personal service occupations
- protective services
This course has been designed to enable you to update and extend your knowledge of a wide range of social and welfare issues whilst also developing your practical research skills.
It is particularly well-suited to individuals who wish to develop their methodological expertise in order to undertake research within the social and welfare services or to pursue opportunities for further postgraduate study.
Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city
Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.Life in Glasgow
Start date: Sep 2022
Start date: Sep 2022
Register your interest and find out more about the programme
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak our team are working from home and can be contacted via our online enquiry form.
Have you considered?
We've a range of postgraduate taught and Masters courses similar to this one which may also be of interest.