Postgraduate study
This course equips you with the skills to understand the new challenges of our increasingly interdependent world.
 
  
Qualification
MA International Social Policy
Duration
MA: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time; PGDip: 9 months full-time, 18 months part-time
Entry requirements
2.2 (or international equivalent) in any discipline
IELTS
6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If these grades are not met, English preparatory courses may be available
Start date
September or January
UK/EU fees
MA: £8,235; PGDip: £5,490 - Terms apply
International fees
MA: £17,910; PGDip: £11,940 - Terms apply
Campus
University Park
School/department
 

 

Overview

It is no longer possible to study national social policies in isolation. Global interconnections are multiplying and intensifying across a range of fields, including economics, politics and the natural environment. This course provides an introduction to comparative social policy and recent developments in welfare reforms from around the world.

Social policy is concerned with questions such as:

  • How can we create a good society?
  • How much money should we spend on welfare services?
  • Is the current distribution of income and wealth socially just?
  • Should we be charged individually for using welfare services?
  • Should free markets and profit motives play a central role in service delivery?
  • What are the causes and consequences of poverty?

You will compare welfare models of developed welfare states, such as European countries, and explore the relevance of recent developments and debates for developing countries. This course also considers the future of social policies and comparative analyses.

Training in research methods allows you to evaluate policy outcomes, not only in terms of their effectiveness and efficiency, but also their wider socio-economic and political contexts.

The school's teaching and research focuses on the fields of social policy, criminology, sociology, cultural studies, health studies, social work and public policy. You will be taught by researchers with world-leading reputations in these subjects, and our research-led culture allows you to develop your interests in particular themes and topics.

Studying international social policy at Nottingham paved the way for a bigger opportunity and has helped me to pursue my dream in the field of international development. I am now working as project officer at DAAD regional office in Jakarta. I am really living my dream!

Agung Pamungkas
 

Academic English preparation and support

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress to postgraduate study without retaking IELTS or equivalent. You could be eligible for a joint offer, which means you will only need to apply for your visa once.

Key facts

 

Full course details

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

MA students 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

Assessment

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.

 
 

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
  • EU policy
  • welfare 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 methodology
 
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

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

Between Europe and the Middle East: Critical Questions of Citizenship and Identity

This module will focus on two geo-political regions: Europe and the Middle East in order to explore and analyse a set of relevant discourses that pertain to understandings and experiences of citizenship and the political conditions for full citizenship. 

Discourses of freedom, human rights, democracy, gender and multi-culturalism will be of particular concern. These discourses will be situated within the specific regions of Europe and the Middle East and the module will end with the case example of Turkey as a country which perhaps bridges the Middle East and Europe.

 
Contemporary Issues and Debates in Criminology

The module engages with a range of issues and debates in contemporary criminology.

Contributions to the module will be made by a number of guest speakers with experience in the criminal justice system and related areas of practice as well as from members of staff in the School of Sociology and Social Policy and other schools in the University. 

The issues and debates covered in the course of the module will vary from year so the following list is provided for illustrative purposes only: 

  • The political economy of crime and justice in an age of austerity
  • Defining and responding to 'hate crime'
  • Pluralised policing
  • Prosecuting complex cases
  • Mental health in prisons
  • State crime, human rights and transitional justice
  • 'Whole life' sentences
 
Globalisation, Citizenship and Identity

This module considers the following key debates in the contemporary study of citizenship, identities and globalisation:

Block one:

  • Global and cosmopolitan citizenship
  • Globalisation, identity and violence
  • Gendering globalisation and citizenship, and globalising gender
  • Minorities, multiculturalism and politics of difference
  • Intimate/sexual citizenship

Block two:

  • From 'imagined communities' to the 'shock of denationalisation'
  • Ethnicity: culture politicized
  • Globalisation and 'resistance identities'
  • Transnationalism and diasporas
  • Theories of (contemporary) racism
 
Human Rights and Critical Modern Slavery

This module critically interrogates dominant liberal discourse on human rights and modern slavery.

Drawing on academic, popular and policy debate on human rights and case studies of phenomena that are deemed to constitute contemporary human enslavement - such as human trafficking, prostitution, domestic servitude, worst forms of child labour, forced labour and bonded labour in a number of sectors and regions - the module offers an opportunity to critically deconstruct the theoretical and political assumptions that underpin this discourse. 

The module ultimately aims to draw your attention to the deep connections between human rights and social, economic and political inequality on the basis of gender, class, race, sexuality, age and other identity markers under contemporary conditions of globalisation.

 
Information Age Management in Government

The module will examine a range of themes and issues within the domain of electronic government and democracy. It will aim to demonstrate the embeddedness of information and communications technologies, including the internet, in the everyday managerial life of government administration. As such it will locate information and its communication as crucial resources for management in government, including for the establishment both of new working practices and for new relationships in and around government, particularly those with citizens.

 
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.

 
Political Theory and Social Policy

As an academic subject social policy is underpinned by a wide variety of social, political and economic theories. Without an understanding of these theories our analyses of both society and of welfare systems are likely to be inadequate. For instance, we may overlook the extent to which policies and welfare reforms are sometimes based upon weak theoretical foundations and assumptions.

This module explores a range of both traditional and contemporary themes and concepts, including liberty, equality, citizenship, needs, class, old and new welfare ideologies, as well as recent developments in welfare theory.

 
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.

 
Theoretical Frontiers in Criminology

This module considers a range of theoretical and conceptual issues in criminology relating to the nature and scope of criminology as a discipline as well as recent developments in criminological theory. The work discussed during the course of the module will be at the forefront of the discipline.

 

 

The above is a sample of the typical modules that 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and information is provided for indicative purposes only.

 
 

Fees and funding

See information on how to fund your masters, including our step-by-step guide. Further information is available on the school website.

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.

Government loans for masters courses

The Government offers postgraduate student loans for students studying a taught or research masters course. Applicants must ordinarily live in England or the EU. Student loans are also available for students from Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

International and EU students

Masters scholarships are available for international students from a wide variety of countries and areas of study. You must already have an offer to study at Nottingham to apply. Please note closing dates to ensure your course application is submitted in good time.

Information and advice on funding your degree, living costs and working while you study is available on our website, as well as country-specific resources.

 
 

Careers and professional development

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

Our graduates move into a wide range of careers following their time in the school. Studying at postgraduate level can give you a head start in the job market by helping you to gain new knowledge and develop vital skills.

Employability and average starting salary

96.3% of postgraduates from the School of Sociology and Social Policy who were available for employment secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £27,900 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £31,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home postgraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Career and professional development

Whether you are looking to enhance your career prospects or develop your knowledge, a postgraduate degree from the University of Nottingham can help take you where you want to be.

Our award-winning Careers and Employability Service offers specialist support and guidance while you study and for life after you graduate. They will help you explore and plan your next career move, through regular events, employer-led skills sessions, placement opportunities and one-to-one discussions.

 
 
 

Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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