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?

View 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.

Find out more

Course structure

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.

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.

Core modules:

Module title: No of credits:
Introduction to Qualitative Social Research 15
International Social Change and Social Problems 15
International Social Change: Analysing Policy Responses 15
Introduction to Quantitative Research 15
Methods for International Social and Policy Analysis 30

Optional modules:

Module title: No of credits:
International Childhoods - Rights, Policies and Practices 15
Children, Families and Welfare States 15
Advanced Qualitative Research 15
Advanced Quantitative Methods for Social Research 15
Key Issues in Global Public Health 15
Key Issues in Environment and Development 15
Theorising the City in the Global South 15
Urban Development in the Global South 15
Ideas and Practice in International Development 15
Cities of 'the South': Planning for Informality 15
Governance and Participation in the Global South 15

The example course structure listed above may be subject to change in future years. The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant.

Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.

In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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.

Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust Masters Scholarships

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’.

In collaboration with the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust and the Sheffield Institute for International Development, we are offering scholarships targeted at international students from developing countries.

There are four scholarships available to academically strong individuals from developing countries. Each scholarship offers the following:

  • A full tuition fee waiver;
  • Maintenance for University accommodation and a monthly stipend.

In order to be eligible for one of the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust Masters Scholarships, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must hold an offer to study the MSc International Social Change and Policy at the University of Sheffield in 2017 by Monday 1 May 2017 :;
  • You must be classified as overseas for tuition fee purposes;
  • You must be self-funded to receive this award, i.e. not funded by a research council, government, private enterprise, charity or any similar organisation;
  • This scholarship cannot be awarded in conjunction with any other funding awards, either from the University of Sheffield or external sources.
  • Your mode of attendance must be full time;
  • You must begin your studies at the University of Sheffield in 2017. This scholarship cannot be deferred;
  • Receipt of the scholarship is subject to successfully meeting any condition(s) attached to your offer before the deadline provided by the Admissions Service;
  • Receipt of the scholarship is subject to successfully receiving a visa to study at the University in September 2017;
  • You must be a national of, or permanently domiciled, in one of the countries or territories listed here.

Find out more about how to apply...

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.

Find out more...

What our students say

Image of student Lucy Jessop"Having chosen to change career paths, I decided that completing a Masters degree would both equip me with new skills and give me the space I needed to find that alternative path. The MSc in International Social Change and Policy appealed to me for numerous reasons. First, I wanted to figure out how to affect social change, to be a positive actor in the world. That the course had an international focus was even better. Team this with the possibility of doing a dissertation with a paid internship, and also the opportunity to apply to the University's GLOSS scheme, then there really was no other course out there for me.

"The core module, International Social Change and Problems, has been interesting, particularly the way that we've been able to study such a variety of subjects. That we've been lucky enough to have had seminars delivered by other specialists in the department has also enriched my experience of the course. I've also enjoyed studying a module outside of the department - Theorising the City in the Global South. I love that there was the flexibility to do this and how welcome I felt in the class, despite coming from a different department."

- Lucy Jessop

View our other taught Masters programmes.

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