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MA Social and Public Policy

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  • Entry requirements
    a good honours degree in a social science discipline.
  • Course description

    If you want a firm foundation for a career in policy
    • And need a deeper understanding of the issues and concepts…

    If you want to learn how to analyse policy evaluation research
    • And examine a range of social policy perspectives …

    If you work in the health service, education or local or central government
    • And want to investigate specific policy fields…

    then MA Social and Public Policy is the programme for you.

    MA Social and Public Policy at Leeds enables you to explore issues, approaches and techniques related to research and advanced scholarship within Social and Public Policy.

    Providing you with the ability to examine specific fields within policy, practice, research and implementation, you will have the opportunity to develop and execute plans that investigate Social and Public Policy ideas and hypotheses.

    Through the course, you will have the opportunity to critically and creatively evaluate current policy issues, research and advanced scholarship within the discipline.


    MA Social and Public Policy is available on a 12-month full-time or 24-month part-time basis. The course has five modules: three compulsory, two elective.

    Compulsory Modules

    Issues in Social Policy Analysis and Research explores the intellectual paths and means available for analysing and investigating policies and practices, taking recent developments in welfare arrangements and social policy institutions as material. The module will introduce you to a range of analytical starting points and theoretical perspectives; it will ask you to consider views about causation, the problem of 'proof' and the kinds of enquiries that arise through particular positions, values and settings.

    Evaluation Research aims to provide an overview of the theory, methodology, practice and usage of programme and policy evaluation. The module will introduce you to the family of methods used to conduct evaluations, such as randomised controlled trials, quasi-experimental methods, formative evaluation, action research, and empowerment evaluation. You will also explore the issues surrounding the impact of policy research and evaluation on the policy-making process, and address some of the current debates about evaluation, such as the trend towards mega and meta evaluations, the professionalisation of evaluation, and the need for standards.

    Social and Public Policy Dissertation allows you to tailor your own programme of training and research in consultation with a member of staff drawn from the department's MA/PhD supervisory panel. Through the dissertation, you demonstrate your ability to develop and complete an in-depth analysis, select and use appropriate research methods, deploy advanced theoretical concepts and relate a focused study to broader social and public policy debates and concerns.

    Elective Modules
    In addition to the compulsory modules, you also choose two modules from the following list.
    • Research Strategy and Design
    • Advanced Ethnicity and Racism Studies
    • Debates on Disability Theory and Research
    • Race, Gender and Migration
    • Quantitative Research Methods
    • Qualitative Research Methods
    • Fundamental Issues in Sociological Research
    • Advanced Sociological Theory
    • Sociology of Health and Illness
    • Social Policy, Politics and Disabled People
    • Disability and Development
    • Negotiated Study in Disability Studies

    For more information about both the compulsory and elective modules, please consult the module catalogue .

    Full-time students may take either three modules in Semester 1 and one in Semester 2, as well as the dissertation, or two modules in Semester 1 and two in Semester 2, as well as the dissertation.

    Part-time students have some flexibility as to when they take their modules, but we do advise candidates to consider the credit load between semesters. One pattern may be to take three modules in the first year, with two in Semester 1 and one in Semester 2. This leaves one module and the dissertation for the second year.
    Postgraduate Diploma in Social and Public Policy
    Available on a 12-month full-time or 24-month part-time basis, the Postgraduate Diploma in Social and Public Policy covers similar ground to the MA, but does not include the dissertation module.

    On the basis of a good performance in a full-time student's first semester, or a part-timer's first year, students initially registered for the Diploma may be transferred onto the corresponding MA.

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