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Course overview

As our world becomes increasingly connected, the challenges people face globally come to the forefront. International social policy is about understanding the world, but also changing it. How can we create a more inclusive society? What are the causes and consequences of poverty? Is the distribution of wealth socially just? What are the social consequences of global crises (such as pandemics) and how can they be addressed by social policy?

On this course, you'll explore topics like discrimination in a multicultural world, social policies in less developed countries, and international migration, compare welfare policies from around the globe, and the role of international agendas and organisations in international and national social policy.

You'll be able to critically evaluate policies and understand their socio-economic and political consequences, and use your knowledge to advise how these outcomes can be improved to ensure a more equal society.

You will be taught by experts who are influencing policy and procedures such as:

  • social security in the UK and the EU
  • family policies and gender issues
  • migration and refugees

We also have internship and placement opportunities available with local and international NGOs and public sector organisations.

This course will set you up for a career in international development, local and national governments, social services or journalism.

Why choose this course?

Learn from experts

whose research has influenced public and social policy

£33,070

average annual salary for postgraduates from the school who secured graduate level employment or further study

HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020, using methodology set by The Guardian

 

Gain real experience

by applying for internships and placements through our faculty placements scheme

78% of our research

ranked as world-leading or internationally excellent

Course content

Across the autumn and spring semesters, you will take 120 credits of core and optional modules.

You will choose 40 credits of optional modules from the list below, or schools/departments across the University, subject to approval.

Dissertation

You will complete a 60-credit 15,000-word dissertation over the summer, and an appropriate dissertation supervisor will oversee your progress.

Previous topics have included:

  • Illegal immigrants in the UK: the case of African migrants
  • Can international organisations stop child labour in Turkey?
  • Exploring the role of poor governance in increasing poverty in Pakistan: 2001-2011
  • Has there been a decline of the middle classes in Hong Kong?
  • Forget about love, let's talk money
  • The transforming Chinese family law and the implications for urban Chinese women

Modules

Core modules

Dynamics of International Social Policy

This module introduces you to comparative analyses of different welfare state models and approaches to social and public policy; institutions, issues and debates in international social and public policy; and methods of cross-country comparative analysis.

Topics include:

  • perspectives of international social policy
  • welfare state typologies and cross-national comparisons
  • international institutions, standards and goals
  • the European Union
  • social policy in less developed countries
  • globalisation and welfare states
  • international migration and the boundaries of welfare
  • discrimination in a multicultural world
  • international cooperation, policy learning and policy transfer
  • comparative research methods
Globalisation, Europeanisation and Public Policy

This module provides an applied, critical and informed understanding of the concepts and processes of globalisation and Europeanisation, and the impact of globalisation and Europeanisation upon governance and public policy.

In particular, it examines the impacts of globalisation and Europeanisation upon the governance of and the making of public policy in Britain and other countries.

Policy Analysis: Concepts and Theories

This module provides an applied, critical and informed understanding of policy-making and policy analysis in government.

It examines key concepts, models and theories of policy-making and policy analysis, and illustrates them by examining policy-making in Britain and other countries.

Research Methods and Research Management

This module provides a general introduction to a range of key issues in the design and conduct of social research, plus guidance on writing both a dissertation proposal and a dissertation. The module combines more formal taught sessions with practical exercises, some of which are group-based.

By the end of the module you will be equipped with the methodological and practical skills to carry out independent research using a variety of research designs and methods.

Welfare Policy

The module will examine theories of welfare, the funding of the welfare state and key changes in welfare policies, such as the increasing focus on markets and consumer choice, partnerships, the personalisation of service delivery, and the increasing role of the not for profit sector in service delivery.

It will use developments in health service, social care and social security to explore wider issues in the development of welfare services. Although focused on the UK, other countries will be examined as a way of further understanding the developments in the UK and as a form of policy learning for UK reform. It will look at the obstacles and issues associated with these changes.

Dissertation in International Social Policy (MA only)

For the dissertation, you will explore a topic of your choice under the supervision of a designated member of staff. The subject matter must be relevant to the your honours subject.

During the autumn and spring semester you will have identified a topic and decided on an appropriate strategy of enquiry and analysis and written a dissertation proposal. You will then complete the research and writing-up during the summer semester.

Optional modules

China Beyond the Headlines

This module emphasises sociological theories with reference to current events and social policy making in China. Topics change every year according to what is in the news, but may include:

  • nationhood, identity and ethnicity
  • gender, family and sexualities
  • inequalities, social capital and welfare
  • health, education and popular culture
  • crime, deviance and justice
Economics and Policy Analysis

The module will provide an introduction to the application of economic theories and concepts to policy analysis and provide an overview of public sector economics and of current issues in public sector economic analysis.

Topics covered include competition and market failure/externalities, public goods, discount rates and cost benefit analysis. Although focused on the UK, other countries will be discussed as a way of further understanding the ongoing policy developments.

The module is designed for 'non-mathematicians' and does not involve any econometric analyses. No prior knowledge of economics is required.

Leadership, Strategy and Performance in the Public Sector

This module will examine the role of leadership in the public sector. It will discuss different concepts of:

  • leadership
  • organisational culture and change
  • performance in the public sector
  • the use of knowledge and information in organisation learning
  • performance improvement in public sector organisations
  • the use of strategy in the public sector

You will study different models and approaches to these concepts, how they are affected by and interact with the policy environment, and how they influence each other.

Managing People

This module will examine the concepts, models and practices of managing people in the public sector. It will study the development and approaches of how staff are managed in the public sector in a range of countries (for example, UK and other European countries). The module will also investigate how public sector staff are recruited, rewarded etc and how their performance is measured.

Public Management and Governance

This module will cover models of management and governance in the public sector. 

It will critically examine comparative and historic trends in managerial practices and theory and contextually relevant ideas about management and governance in the public sector, including specific professional contexts.

This will include critically exploring specific debates about the alleged move from public administration to new public management and new public governance, from hierarchical to networked and marketised forms of organisation, and those involving communities in the design and delivery of public services.

Public Sector Financial Management

The module will study the application of modern financial management techniques in the public sector at governmental, sectoral, organisational and unit levels. It will look at:

  • budgetary cycles
  • financial and budget controls
  • cash and accrual (resource) accounting
  • management of working capital
  • capital budgets and programmes
  • project appraisal
  • cost benefit and cost effectiveness analysis
  • audit of public organisations

The module will look at both theoretical and practical methods, as well common developments in government policies.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Wednesday 30 June 2021.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Supervision

How you will be assessed

  • Essay
  • Reports
  • Dissertation
  • Policy review

Modules are typically assessed through essays or reports, usually on a topic of your choice. The Research Methods and Research Management module includes a dissertation proposal.

Contact time and study hours

You will have about 100 study hours and 30 contact hours, including a two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar for 10 weeks, per module.

Most students will take three to four modules in each semester.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:1 (or international equivalent) in any discipline or 2:2 (or international equivalent) in any discipline plus one year of working experience in national or local governments, public sector or third/voluntary sector organisations

Applying

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

UK fees are set in line with the national UKRI maximum fee limit. We expect fees for 2022 entry to be confirmed in August 2021.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you'll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

This course draws on carefully selected material to cover the whole area of international social policy, from formulation to implementation and outcomes. It is designed to equip you with the skills needed for a variety of careers, such as:

  • international development organisations including the World Bank, United Nations and International Labour Office
  • departments and ministries concerned with social policy in national governments
  • public and third sector organisations including research or managerial roles in health, housing and social services
  • academic and non-academic research
  • journalism

Some of our postgraduates have gone on to work for organisations such as:

  • Stonewall
  • Youth Movement for Reform Judaism and Zionism
  • Nottingham Labour Party
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Mitsubishi
  • Sky
  • Taylor Wessing

Career progression

81.8% of postgraduates from the School of Sociology and Social Policy secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £33,070.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020, using methodology set by The Guardian. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates

Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning (2017/18). Our teaching is of the highest quality found in the UK.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national grading system, introduced by the government in England. It assesses the quality of undergraduate teaching at universities and how well they ensure excellent outcomes for their students in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

This content was last updated on Wednesday 30 June 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.