MSc Social Change and Policy

The MSc in International Social Change and Policy can be taken over a one or two year period. Teaching consists of a variety of lectures, seminars, laboratory classes, workshops and supervision in different areas of social work.

A group of students studying on laptops

Full-time students will complete 180 credits during one year. 90 credits are allocated to core modules, 30 credits are allocated to optional modules and  60 credits are allocated to the dissertation, which provides the opportunity to focus in-depth on a topic of individual choice. Students 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.

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.

 Semester 1

International Social Change and Social Problems (15 credits)

This unit focusses on the processes, dynamics and consequences of contemporary social change from an international perspective. Key patterns of international social change are explored and analysed with reference to the main theories and at different spatial scales from the global to the local. The dominant discourses around the social problems ensuing from such changes are critically examined using Bacchis innovative theoretical framework `Whats the Problem Represented to be. Arguments will be applied through a number of cases studies, including: (international) migration, labour market change, economic competitiveness, population ageing and family change.

Innovations in Qualitative Research (15 credits)

This unit introduces students to a variety of advanced and innovative qualitative research techniques common to sociology and the social sciences more widely. The module provides students with a philosophical introduction to qualitative methodology, and covers a range of innovative research techniques including creative interviewing, sensory ethnography, mobile methods, longitudinal research, memory work, re-using qualitative data and participatory approaches such as the use of diaries and drawings. The module will also introduce students to a range of analytical techniques and covers innovative approaches to writing and communicating with qualitative data. Finally, the module will also introduce students to a range of ethical issues arising from creative and innovative approaches to qualitative research.

Quantitative Research & Fundamental Statistics (15 credits)

This module introduces students to the types of research designs and statistical tests that are used in quantitative research, and what the fundamental underlying logic and theories are that these methods of inquiry are based on. Students with any level of mathematical ability will learn about what quantitative research is, why it is needed, how to design surveys and experiments, the importance of sampling, about probability, hypothesis testing and common statistical tests (such as ANOVA, correlation, and regression). By the end of the module, students should feel confident in their core understanding of introductory statistics.

Semester 2

 Methods for International Social and Policy Analysis (30 credits)

The course will introduce fundamental ideas in data analysis and research methods in international comparative social and policy research. This unit introduces basic concepts such as what a methodology is as well as incorporating issues such as ethics and different philosophical perspectives on research design. The unit deals mainly with practical issues around the design of a research project including appropriate choice of methods and data. This includes an evaluation of available methods and software at a quantitative and qualitative level. The unit also focusses on methods for international policy analysis, including documentary research and policy evaluation.

International Social Change: Analysing Policy Responses (15 credits)

This unit examines policy responses at national, international and global levels to significant contemporary social changes occurring across the globe, including population ageing, migration, globalisation and new labour market risks and family change. It introduces the theoretical frameworks utilised in the analysis of social policy in global, international and comparative contexts, and the architecture of international and global social policy governance, so that students can understand the nature of social policy responses and their outcomes, as well as reasons for international variations in the logic of policy responses. It also introduces students to key debates about policy alternatives and futures.

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it is 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.

Information last updated: 4 December 2020


Postgraduate taught scholarships

Explore scholarships for postgraduate taught courses starting in 2021:

  • 100+ scholarships worth £10,000 each for home fee paying students
  • 150 scholarships worth 25 per cent of the tuition fee for international students