MA Social PolicyDirect Applications

    Course Overview

    Duration: 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time
  • Engage in professional networks across a range of vibrant partnerships. Contribute to socially just and sustainable academic research with impact in practice.

    The MA Social Policy is one of a number of new and exciting programmes developed by the Department of Social Sciences.  This Social Policy programme will be of particular interest to you if you are:

    • An experienced practitioner looking for advanced Continuous Professional Development opportunities
    • An international student wanting to study and practice in the UK
    • An undergraduate student looking to move directly onto postgraduate education incorporating work based experiences and strengthening your employability prospects.

    If you are interested in making a difference with opportunities to theorise social policy in practice this challenging programme will engage you in a high quality, transformative educational experience.  The programme will provide opportunities to actively engage in professional networks across a range of vibrant partnerships as well as contribute to socially just and sustainable academic research with impact in practice.   A key feature of the programme is the emphasis on both breadth and depth of understanding of social policy analysis in its broader economic, social, environmental and political contexts.  

    The Programme aims to:

    • Introduce students to the study of social policy both from British and international perspectives. It explores the subject in the context of personal perspectives and position within broader political, social, cultural, economic and environmental developments.
    • Develop opportunities for global, employer and digital engagement through which to create a greater capacity for social policy practice and knowledge exchange 
    • Develop confidence, capabilities and creativity to flourish in the worlds of study and employment

    If you are currently working in social policy or interested in building on your undergraduate degree in order to pursue a related occupation in health, housing, social services or social security, then the MA Social Policy could be for you.  You’ll gain a wide range of knowledge and transferable skills throughout the programme, including sophisticated skills in research, communication and analysis that will be useful in a variety of jobs.

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* denotes a compulsory module and you will study a total of six modules:

1st Year
  • Contemporary issues in social science research
  • International social policy analysis
  • Social policy analysis
  • Research in social policy contexts
  • Independent social policy learning project*
  • Applied social policy*
  • Dissertation*

These modules will be focused towards developing both breadth and depth of understanding of social policy analysis in its broader economic, social, environmental and political contexts. The independent social policy module enables students to undertake a small research project linked to their own research interests.  The applied module provides opportunities for students to undertake work based experience in a social policy setting of their choice and gain first hand experience of impact of social policy in practice.  Through the dissertation module students will have an opportunity to develop an extended piece of social policy research.

Entry Requirements & Fees

Career Opportunities

Our graduates will be able to pursue a diverse range of career routes including progress to further PG Study via a doctoral route leading to a career as a researcher; managing and leading across a range of welfare contexts nationally, regionally and locally. The University also has partnerships with a range of organisations that are welfare orientated and that seeks to influence social policy.

"Social Policy graduates could expect to find  work in a wide range of posts across the third-sector public services, government and business.  These could include roles in central and local government departments, community bodies, charities, housing and health organisations, research consultancies and advocacy or campaigning body." Jo Lake, Head of Employability at the University

Course Leader


    More Information

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    Funding information:

    If you want to undertake postgraduate study and are wondering how to finance this you can now access a loan for up to £10,000 to support whether you want to study part time or full time.  Financial support is available from 2016/17 and anyone over 18 and under 60 is eligible to apply. More details can be found here.

    What our partners have to say:

    "Citizens Advice Plymouth is a member of a networked group of independent charities that work across the England, Scotland and Wales. There is an identified gap within research and we are pleased to join with Plymouth Marjon University Masters programme. We feel that with this partnership we would really be able demonstrate the value that advice has for the city and the impact on people’s lives once their issues have been resolved. This is a really exciting opportunity and we welcome the opportunity to be involved." Emma Handley, Chief Executive Officer, Plymouth Citizens Advice Bureau

    "A sound understanding of policy processes and the political, social and scientific discourses that inform policy making will equip the graduates of this course with some key skills. Social Policy is one of the major determinants of health at a population level and many Public Health practitioners study social policy before going on to complete specialist Public Health training." David Schwartz, Office of the Director of Public Health, Plymouth.

    "The Voluntary and Community Sector is a major driver and deliverer of social policy in practice. The Plymouth Octopus Project is the infrastructure for the groups in this sector, and is tasked to both build their capacity and improve their influence in decision making and design of services in the city. We work closely with staff and students from Plymouth Marjon University, and the collaboration has been very effective. Marjon has joined the sector in finding ways of delivering the recommendations of Plymouth’s ‘Fairness Commission Report’, hosted a debate on what is unfair in the city and how that can be changed, partnered with us in defining and measuring the sector in a ‘State of the Sector’ report, and is now actively engaged in setting up a more robust, sustainable and self-owned infrastructure organisation for the VCSE in the city." Jackie Clift, Plymouth Octopus Project

    MA Social Policy Partner Logos