Social and Public Policy (MSc)
- Duration: 1 year
- Mode: Full time
Why study this course
Study how policy is designed around the world to meet human needs and increase wellbeing.
Examine contemporary social and public policies in national and international contexts.
Teaching is informed by our internationally-recognised research and expertise.
Study the theoretical, conceptual and analytical tools needed to examine contemporary social and public policies in both national and international contexts. Draw on theories and concepts and interpret a range of forms of evidence in analysing policy developments and their social impacts.
The MSc Social and Public Policy focuses on understanding the causes of, and potential solutions to, a range of important social issues. These include challenges such as poverty, increasing economic and social inequalities, and international development agreements.
This is an ideal course if you want to develop your capacity to analyse social and public policies nationally and internationally. It will enable you to deepen your understanding of the major aspects of social and public policy, including: competing conceptions of citizenship and how these inform social policy and the use of theories and research evidence to analyse, evaluate and explain social and public policy change.
The course is suitable for those who have recently completed undergraduate courses of study, as well as those working in the community and voluntary sector, think-tanks, as researchers, or at different levels of government. It has been designed to be of value and relevance to students both from the UK and overseas, so interested individuals from all nations are encouraged to apply.
Applicants should normally hold a first- or second-class undergraduate degree in a humanities or social sciences subject. However, other applicants will be considered if they can demonstrate, through recent and relevant experience, that they have the ability to undertake the course.
Applicants whose first language is not English are required to obtain a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 with at least 6.5 in writing, and at least 5.5 in all other sub-sections.
Applications should be made via the Online Applications Service. Please make sure that you explain clearly in your personal statement why you are interested in applying to this MSc in Social and Public Policy at Cardiff University.
In your statement, you should refer explicitly to the course and module content outlined above and should explain clearly the particular aspects of this course that most interest you, and what topics or themes you are hoping to learn more about in taking it. If this information is not included, this may cause delays in processing your application, and we may contact you with a request for further information.
The deadline for applications to this course for international applicants is 1st August; for other applicants, the deadline for applications is 1st September. The different dates are due to the need to allow sufficient time for visa processing for international applicants.
Find out more about English language requirements.
Applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK must present an acceptable English language qualification in order to meet UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) requirements.
You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.
If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:
- access to computers or devices that can store images
- use of internet and communication tools/devices
- freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
- contact with people related to Cardiff University.
This is a one year full time programme.
The MSc in Social and Public Policy is organised around a sequence of up to three 20-credit specialist modules, two 30-credit modules in social science theory and research methods, and one 60-credit supervised dissertation on a social or public policy topic of your choice.
You will conduct your own analysis and present these in written work and oral presentations. In addition to specialist modules which deepen your understandings of social and public policy analysis, you will undertake modules in social science and research methods. The skills developed on these modules will enable you to complete your own dissertation on a social or public policy topic of your choice.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2021/22 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2021.
We currently offer specialist social and public policy 20-credit modules on a range of topics, although these may change from year to year.
In addition to these specialist modules, you will also be required to take two 30-credit modules in social science theory and research methods.
Finally, you will be asked to produce a 60-credit, 20,000 word dissertation on a social or public policy topic of your choice. This dissertation involves a small scale independent piece of research, and enables you to develop your interests in a substantive area related to the programme, and to put into practice the knowledge and skills developed through participation in the taught modules. You will be allocated a personal dissertation supervisor to assist in planning, conducting and writing up the research project.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Critical Perspectives in Social Science||SIT720||30 credits|
|Principles and Practice of Research Design and Methods||SIT721||30 credits|
|Citizenship and Social Policy||SIT908||20 credits|
|International and Comparative Social and Public Policy||SIT912||20 credits|
|Evaluation: Developing and Evaluating Interventions in Complex Social Systems||SIT921||20 credits|
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.
Learning and assessment
How will I be taught?
You will be expected to attend lectures, seminars and tutorials as set out in the timetable for MSc students. These sometimes sit outside the regular pattern of university attendance and may include day, evening and weekend study and on occasion may fall outside the standard semester dates. You will also be expected to undertake independent study in preparation for lectures, seminars and assessments. A 20 credit module comprises 200 hours of study, including about 30 hours of contact time, and the MSc as a whole, 1800 hours of study.
Modules employ a diverse range of teaching including lectures, seminars, group and individual tutorials, and independent guided study.
The programme benefits from being located in an inter-disciplinary environment so that in parts of the course, you will come into contact with staff and students from other subject areas and, in other parts of the course, with staff and students in the same substantive area.
How will I be assessed?
Modules are assessed by a combination of essays, reports, reviews and presentations.
How will I be supported?
You will be allocated a personal tutor and a nominated supervisor when undertaking your dissertation. Regular contact will be maintained across the duration of the course. You will also have access to a programme convenor to offer additional subject-specific support.
All modules within the programme make use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Learning Central, on which you will find course materials, links to related materials and information on assessment.
You will have the opportunity to develop and practice advanced oral and written communication through formative tasks such as presentation of preparatory reading, group problem-based learning tasks, and group presentations. Feedback is therefore provided on an ongoing basis, as well as more formally for summative assessments.
What skills will I practise and develop?
On successfully completing the MSc in Social and Public Policy, you will have significantly enhanced your ability to:
- Critically analyse social and public policies in a range of thematic areas and geographical settings
- Assess theories of policy change and concepts which underpin policy formation, drawing on a variety of forms of research evidence
- Analyse and situate local, national and international social and public policies within their broader global, historical and ideological contexts
- Collect, analyse and interpret a range of social science data and appreciate the complexities of various forms of data
- Communicate and present ideas and research findings effectively in both spoken and written form
- Conduct your own research in the field of social and public policy.
Students from the UK
|Tuition fee (2021/22)||Deposit|
Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals starting in 2020/21 will pay the same tuition fee as UK students for the duration of their course.
If you are an EU/EEA/Swiss national, unless you qualify for UK fee status, tuition fees for 2021/22 will be in line with the fees charged for international students. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.
Students from the rest of the world (international)
|Tuition fee (2021/22)||Deposit|
More information about tuition fees and deposits, including for part-time and continuing students.
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?
No specific equipment required.
We’re based in one of the UK’s most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.
The programme is designed to be of particular interest to individuals who have experience of working with, or an interest of working for, social or academic research organisations, departments at different levels of government (e.g. local, Welsh, UK-wide, European), international organisations (e.g. UNICEF), or at community and voluntary sector organisations. It is also relevant for students who seek to pursue other avenues but who wish to deepen their understanding of social and public policy in Wales, the UK and internationally.
You may conduct fieldwork as part of your dissertation study as directed by, and in discussion with, your supervisor.