MSc International Social Change and Policy banner

Start date: September 2016
Duration: 1 year full-time
2 years part-time
Programme code: SCST82 (full-time)
SCST83 (part-time)

MSc International Social Change and Policy

Overview

Want to find out more about the MSc International Social Change and Policy?

Watch our webinar with Dr Majella Kilkey (Course Leader), Dr Kate Weiner (Admissions Tutor) and Laura Towers (former MA student in the Department of Sociological Studies), where you can hear more about the course, entry requirements and what it's like to be a postgraduate student in the Department.

Watch the webinar

We live in an era of unprecedented rapid social change, which reaches all parts of the globe. Understanding the processes driving these changes, the challenges that they pose and the policy responses needed are fundamental to the work of social policy analysts internationally, including in Asia, the Americas, Africa and Europe.

The MSc in International Social Change and Policy is an innovative and exciting programme that will develop your awareness of the most pressing challenges posed by social change, enable you to critically examine dominant policy responses to key aspects of social change at national, cross-national comparative and global levels, and make you aware of agendas on policy alternatives and futures.

The course is taught by a team of internationally-recognised academics with specialism in ageing, migration, labour markets, inequalities, family life and comparative and international research methods, and whose research has demonstrable impact beyond academia. The course team is composed of social policy, sociology and social work academics, leading to deeper understanding of the causes of, and solutions to, global and international social problems.

Throughout the course, there is a strong emphasis on developing the practical skills required by social policy analysts working internationally. The Dissertation with Internship option will also give you the opportunity to apply those skills in a real-world policy environment.

Aims and outcomes

The MSc International Social Change and Policy aims to provide students with an up-to-date and critical understanding of the epistemologies, theories and processes through which we might better understand contemporary social change from an international perspective.

Not only will the course develop your awareness of the most pressing challenges posed by social change, and how the scale and patterning of those challenges varies internationally, but it will enable you to critically examine the dominant policy responses to key aspects of social change at national, cross-national comparative and global levels, making you aware of agendas on policy alternatives and futures.

The course provides comprehensive training in research methods, with an emphasis in approaches relevant to research and policy analysis from an international and comparative perspective.

You will be equipped with the skills required to undertake independent social scientific research with international policy relevance at an advanced level. Furthermore, you will develop transferable skills and knowledge that will be of benefit whether you eventually work in international or national social policy analysis or some other related field.

Is this course for me?

This course is an excellent choice for students who want to think systematically from an international perspective about the key social challenges of the 21st Century, and develop the knowledge and skills to critically analyse policy responses at the national, cross-national comparative and global levels.

For professionals already working on social policy in government, international organisations and development agencies, global advocacy agencies and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs), this course provides an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the subject area.

Funding opportunities

The University of Sheffield has a strong commitment to International Development. One of the themes of the University’s strategy is ‘celebrating, promoting and increasing the volume of the work that we do to improve the lives of others through our international relationships, locally and abroad’. Building on this commitment the University, in collaboration with the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust and the Sheffield Institute for International Development, is now able to offer scholarships targeted at international students from developing countries for a number of courses that are affiliated with the Sheffield Institute for International Development. Overseas applicants to the MSc International Social Change and Policy may be eligible for one of these scholarships.

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Modules

Teaching is conducted through a combination of lectures, seminars, laboratory classes, small-group work and problem-solving.

Assessment can vary across modules between a combination of essays, oral presentations, posters and portfolio work. You are assessed in a variety of ways in order to test a range of knowledge, skills and capabilities through modes of assessment appropriate to the specific subject. There is also a dissertation, which provides the opportunity to focus in-depth on a topic of individual choice. You can choose to do a standard dissertation or a dissertation linked to an internship.

One-to-one supervision is provided for students when undertaking their dissertations. These sessions are arranged between student and supervisor, and it is here that the intellectual and methodological issues of the dissertation are discussed, and where you can get help and support in planning your work.

The course is based around three main aspects:

  • The first is a series of core modules aimed at covering the foundational theoretical and methodological concepts and approaches in international social policy analysis, as well a focus on major contemporary social problems.
  • This is then built upon through chosen modules; these focus on substantive topics related to international social change and policy that reflect some of the most pressing global social concerns and current research and expertise in the Department of Sociological Studies, as well as an elective in advanced quantitative methods for comparative research.
  • The course culminates in the dissertation module, which provides the opportunity, under one-to-one supervision, to focus in depth on a topic of individual choice. In addition to offering a standard dissertation, students have the option to undertake the Dissertation with Internship option.

Each module is assigned a credit value: 180 credits are required for graduation. 90 of these are core modules, 30 are optional and finally 60 credits are allocated to one of two dissertation options.

Students who take this programme part-time will have a period of two years to complete. The part-time route is structured in the following way: students will take 90 credits in the first year and the remaining 90 credits in the second year. The dissertation, which is worth 60 credits, must be taken in the second year.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement is a 2:1 honours degree, or equivalent, in a relevant or social science discipline, such as sociology, social policy, politics, international relations, or development studies. Applicants with relevant work experience and good academic potential are also encouraged to apply.

International students

We have wide experience of a range of international qualifications. Please visit our website for international applicants for specific advice on the entry requirements for your country.

Select your country from the list on this page

If you do not meet the entry requirements for our postgraduate taught Masters degree programme, you can still be considered for our pre-Masters programme. Please find out more about our Graduate Diploma and our relationship with Sheffield International College.

Graduate Diploma

English language requirements

Our minimum English requirement is:

For more information on other acceptable English language qualifications with variable requirements, please visit: www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/info/englang

If you do not meet the entry requirements for the MSc in International Social Change and Policy, you can be considered for our pre-Masters programme.

More information about English language requirements

Fees and funding

There are a variety of ways to fund your postgraduate study; find out more here.

How to apply

The application process can be completed through the quick and easy online form, or it can be completed by hand and posted.

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View our other taught Masters programmes.