The MSc International Social Policy masters programme considers social policy issues and debates in a broad international context. Students will receive training in international social policy analysis and evaluation using quantitative and/or qualitative research methods. This MSc offers choice and flexibility to specialise on the basis of three pathways:
Ageing Societies, Development Studies and Research Methods.
How can we create a better society? What does it take to improve the way a global community interacts and governs? Explore these questions and more with a masters in International Social Policy and forge a career that covers social policy, welfare, politics, social policy issues and debates in a broad international context. Study fascinating modules which include International Social Policy, Understanding Social Change, Research Design and International Social Welfare.
The aims of the international social policy masters programme are to provide you with:
an in-depth understanding of key theoretical and conceptual debates in international social policy, the capacity to evaluate competing explanatory frameworks and the role of cross-national and comparative perspectives
detailed knowledge of the various means by which social policy is delivered and the ability to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of these different approaches in varying national contexts
a knowledge of key issues in the philosophy of social science and the ability to apply this knowledge in the design and practice of social research
a knowledge of the principal methods of qualitative or quantitative research utilised in the social sciences and an understanding of their application in different contexts, and (dependent on your choice of options in semester two) a knowledge of the techniques of data analysis utilised in the social sciences and their applications
a choice of specialising, dependent on pathway, on key issues associated with international social policy (ie ageing societies, development and social enterprise) or advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods
the ability to design and conduct independent research in the field of sociology and/or social policy, utilising appropriate research methodologies, and grounded in an understanding of the process of research management and ethical and legal issues associated with the conduct of social research
the capacity to present ideas, arguments and research findings through different means of communication
You should apply for this masters in international social policy using the University's online application form. You can find more details on our Apply page.
Masters in international social policy applications can be submitted at any time, although we would encourage you to apply before the end of May. If you are seeking financial support for your postgraduate studies, we recommend that you apply before the end of February so you have time to gather the necessary documentation for your funding body/sponsor.
If applying for one of our MSc programmes, please specify the pathway from the four offered you intend to take.
For all international social policy masters applications, two academic references are required. Unfortunately, we cannot consider applications until we have received both references.
The structure of the international social policy masters can vary but normally full-time students take three modules (or equivalent) per semester. Part-time students normally take three modules in year one, and three in year two.
Social Sciences - As part of the Division, you will be joining our multidisciplinary Social Sciences community, which offers research and teaching programmes not only in sociology, social policy and criminology but also in ageing, demography, economics, international relations, politics, social work and social statistics.
Typical entry requirements
English Language Requirement
For applicants whose first language is not English, the IELTS requirement will be an overall score of 6.5 with no individual score below 6.0.
We welcome international social policy masters applications from students with a first- or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline (such as sociology, social policy, public and social administration, politics, economics). At the discretion of the admissions officer, applicants might also be accepted on the basis of relevant work experience.
The masters in international social policy course structure may vary but full-time students normally take three modules (or equivalent) per semester. Part-time students normally take three modules in year one, and three in year two.
Three pathways are offered for the MSc International Social Policy: Research Methods, Ageing Societies and Development Studies.
Some of the compulsory modules students may take are listed below.
Once you have successfully completed your taught modules, you will carry out a piece of independent research to be written up as a 15,000 word dissertation. Full-time students submit the dissertation by the end of September of that year; part-time students normally submit the dissertation by the end of the following December.
Some of the compulsory and optional modules students may take are listed below
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the
programme and the learning outcomes that a typical
student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage
of the learning opportunities that are provided.
More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide
Fees & funding
Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are
listed for UK,
EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course
Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you
through your course.
Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or
your country of origin.
These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.
Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such
essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the
academic requirements for each programme of study.
There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the
Approved calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570 This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.
You will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
Where a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.
Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and copying
In the majority of cases, coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:
In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated
with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also
ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and
Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at www.calendar.soton.ac.uk.
Learning & Assessment
Our MSc programmes are designed to give you the best possible opportunity to develop your skills as independent learners. The majority of our modules are taught in small-group seminars and workshops, which provide more opportunities for discussion of key issues than is normally possible at undergraduate level. You will be given the opportunity to present papers and to lead discussions or debates, and thus develop both your writing and presentation skills.
Our staff are actively engaged in research and are therefore able to use their experience of research to enhance the quality of their teaching.
Most international social policy masters modules are assessed, at least in part, by essays. Some modules are also assessed using oral presentations and group projects.
Four pathways are offered for the MSc International Social Policy: Research Methods, Ageing Societies, Development, Social Enterprise