Duration: 12 months (full-time); 27 months (part-time)|Hope Park|Start month: January & October
International students can apply
About the Course
This Master’s degree is a cutting-edge, new MA programme, which aims to set new standards in the critical study and application of social sciences. Learning from active researchers with diverse areas of expertise, you will be led through the key contemporary debates in social policy. Our Master’s degree has a strong focus on critical and radical approaches to the study of social policy both here in the UK and from international and global perspectives. The commitment we share is to provide our students with the skills to apply challenging intellectual debates in order to design and conduct high quality research primarily with a view to improving social justice and creating change in the face of a turbulent and market-driven global society. In particular, the course examines how social policies can reinforce and reproduce marginalisation and oppression in society for groups such as women, deprived communities, ethnic minorities, migrants, disabled people and older people. The programme also analyses how various social policies have been the result of resistance to dominant economic structures and should therefore also be conceptualised as key institutions formalising the rights of the same groups which social policies often oppress. Social policy is a deeply political subject and as consequence our programme explores the theoretical links between the economy and transformations in welfare systems, with a focus on change through different phases of welfare development. It considers the ideologies and political-economic projects that underpin different stages of welfare development, and possible future changes for the welfare state. With our strong focus on research, our course also enables students to develop the central skills required to analyse, understand and critically evaluate social policy issues. Not only do we encourage students to understand policies comparatively, we also provide research training which covers the key philosophical issues and traditions in social science and the uses and strengths of the range of methods and methodological approaches. Finally, the programme enables participants to develop and critically assess a range of dialogical and transferrable skills, which will maximise their potential and equip them with the knowledge and awareness of the changing global social dynamics, necessary in order to pursue leading and managerial positions in various fields, including education, business, media and governance.
Why choose Liverpool Hope?
- Ability to shape own studies – You will have the possibility to develop your own ideas and research interests, collect and analyse original data and participate in small group work and presentations. This work culminates in the opportunity to produce a final original dissertation project.
- Expert teaching and learning - Liverpool Hope University's academic faculty has vast teaching and research experience both in the UK and internationally. You will benefit from the knowledge of academics, professionals and practitioners within the discipline.
- Focused learning in small class settings - Students will have the benefit of focused teaching from dedicated specialists in a small group setting.
- Exciting new programme based on latest developments in the discipline - Liverpool Hope University's MA Social Policy has been written with a contemporary curriculum in mind ensuring that you gain the most up-to-date knowledge. This is a vibrant and exciting new post-graduate development in a research-focused department.
- Career development - Liverpool Hope University is renowned for its first class student support and career development. You will have a dedicated tutor available for one-to-one guidance on learning, academic writing and career planning.
The programme consists of four modules and a dissertation (final research project) totalling 180 credits. Assessment methods will vary and may include academic essays, reports, presentations and examinations, research proposals and a research dissertation.
- Advanced Research for Social Change (30 credits) – This module adopts an innovative pedagogical approach, which combines a study of research philosophies with practical exercises, thereby providing insights into strategies and experiences acquired by social scientists at Liverpool Hope. On this course, you will learn about a diverse range of innovative research techniques and become equipped with the skills to design a high-quality research dissertation.
- Advanced Social Theory (30 credits) - You will engage with, evaluate and critically analyse a range of classical and contemporary social theory, with a focus on theoretical explanations of social change in the areas of economic relations, political ideologies, and patterns of political domination.
- Transformations in the UK welfare state (30 credits) – This part of the course explores the key issues in social policy in the UK from historical and contemporary perspectives. We investigate the relationship between social policies and the wider political economy, unpicking and critically analysing recent changes such as privatisation, marketization and austerity. The course is grounded in applying theoretical perspectives to empirical evidence, and analyses changes in the welfare state in relation to social change and social inequalities in class, race and gender.
- Comparative Social Policy and Globalisation (30 credits) – This part of the course will concentrate on developing an international perspective on social policy. The module has two main aims. Firstly, to comparatively analyse different welfare states across the world and, secondly, to explore social policy in relation to globalisation and global capitalism, in order to develop a broad and contextualised understanding of social policy issues and debates.
- Dissertation/Research Project (60 credits) – The focus of the research project will be on an issue of relevance to the study of social policy. The study can involve the collection of primary data or a literature-based dissertation.
A First Class or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in any relevant discipline.
International Entry Requirements
For students whose first language is not English there is a language requirement of IELTS 6.5 overall with 6.0 minimum of all components. In addition to this, we also accept a wide range of International Qualifications, for more information please visit our English Language Requirements page.
For additional information about country specific entry requirements visit the your country pages.
Teaching and Research
All classes are held at Liverpool Hope University’s main campus, Hope Park. The campus is situated just four miles from the city centre and offers superb academic and support facilities, including on-campus library, free computer and wi-fi access, and a careers service for advice on part-time work opportunities and post-study careers.
The Department of Social Work, Care and Justice has a growing reputation and is currently recognised as one of the key departments in the country for radical and critical social policy and social work studies. The department is home to the Journal of Radical and Critical Social Work.
We are a growing department with a diverse and enthusiastic staff team who are active researchers and are published widely in a number of areas. The team are largely focused on issues of inequality and social justice. Specific areas of interest include: radical perspectives on the welfare state, racism, immigration, critical perspectives on mental health, the history of welfare reform and class politics, political economy, immigration, social models of disability, social policy of youth/childhood and gender inequality.
UK/EU Tuition Fees
Tuition fees for Home/EU students for 2022/23 are £5,200
We offer a number of scholarships and loans to help fund your postgraduate studies. Visit our scholarships pages for more details.
International Tuition Fees
The International tuition fees for courses starting in the 2023/24 academic year are £12,500 per year.
If you are an international student, visit our international scholarships pages.
The MA in Social Policy will enhance the career development and prospects of entering occupations such as social work, public sector welfare work, probation service, teaching, journalism, local and national government, social research, charity/voluntary sector, campaigning and non-governmental organisations.
Graduates will also have developed the skills in research and communication and in critical and flexible thinking that are sought after by a wide range of employers. This post-graduate qualification would enable graduates to embark on a research degree or PhD programme.