Social Policy

Part-time study available
Work placement opportunity
International Students can apply

3 good reasons to study Social Policy at Salford


Gain the knowledge and skills to research and evaluate key issues in Social Policy


Develop contemporary knowledge of Social Policy issues, and draw on the research expertise of the Social Policy team


Undertake a community placement enabling you to integrate theory and practice, and enhance your personal career profile

Course Summary

This course will enable you to develop your critical abilities, linking theory and ideologies to policy and practice. You will develop an advanced understanding of social policies in a national and international context. You will also gain the skills required to carry out a sustained and original piece of critical research if take the full Masters.

During your time with us you can take a community placement, which will enrich your understanding of the impact of social policies.

"I was apprehensive before going into postgraduate study. However studying Social Policy at the University of Salford has proved to be a fantastic opportunity that has already opened up career possibilities. They have great staff, excellent resources, and the freedom to focus on the areas that really interest you."
Ben Willmot, graduate of MSc Social Policy

Course Details

The course has both full-time and part-time routes, comprising three 14 week semesters or five 14 week semesters, which can be taken within one or two years respectively.

Course Structure

Full Time

  • Semester 1: October – February
  • Semester 2: February – June
  • Semester 3: June - September

Semester 1

You will review and apply ideological approaches and theories to social policies and outcomes, studying the key concepts of citizenship, social inclusion and exclusion. Areas covered include: social housing; service delivery and outcomes; welfare rights; social divisions; homelessness; and user participation.

On this module you will develop the ability to critically evaluate research, and research methods, and learn how to develop research questions, and which methods are appropriate.

Your skills as a researcher and abilities to design and manage your own project will be enhanced by this module.

Semester 2

You will critically review and explore contemporary global issues in social policy, covering a range of topics including: health; gender and age; migration; and the environment. Key elements of this module include understanding the process and impact of globalization, and the potential for the development of a global social policy agenda.
This is an opportunity for independent learning, developing key skills that will enhance employment opportunities. You will integrate theory and subject knowledge, with knowledge and experience gained within a practical context, and develop your research skills and the ability to critically evaluate policies and policy outcomes.

Semester 3

This module will be done by students completing their MSc and offers the opportunity to undertake an original piece of work. This can either be a systematic review, or a research project, and you will be assigned a supervisor who will provide support throughout the process of completing your Masters dissertation.


Year One

Semester One
  • Social Policy: ideology, theory and practice (30 credits)
Semester Two
  • Contemporary Global Issues in Social Policy (30 credits)

Year Two

Semester One
  • Research Approaches and Methodologies (30 credits)
Semester Two
  • Social Policy Community Placement (30 credits)
Semester Three
  • Dissertation

Entry Requirements

  1. A Bachelors degree with honours; normally a 2:2 and above.
  2. An equivalent academic or professional qualification from the UK or elsewhere, i.e. incorporating study at least comparable to 120 credits at Honours level.
  3. A graduate diploma or graduate certificate from a UK university.

Accreditation for Prior Experiential Learning (APEL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

English Language Requirements

Suitable For

This course is suitable for graduates with a degree in Social Policy, the Social Sciences, or a degree/professional qualification in Housing, Health or Social Welfare, the Voluntary Sector, Citizenship or Comparative Studies.

Applicant profile

You will be educated to degree level or equivalent, or have a professional qualification/work experience that relates to this degree. You will have an interest in social issues and problems, welfare interventions, social policies, and the way that these impact on the well-being of individuals and groups at the national and global level. An ability to be a reflexive learner, to manage your own work, and to be open to new ideas, and developing new skills is essential. You will also need good communication skills, and be able to express yourself clearly in the English language – both verbally, and in written work. This degree is suitable for full and part-time home and international students.


To accommodate different learning styles a combination of teaching and learning strategies will be used, including:

  • Lectures,
  • Discussion groups, individual and group tutorials
  • Some discussion will be online
  • Independent research will enable students to develop investigative skills. 
  • These strategies will capitalize on the academic and research expertise of the teaching team.

Full-time and part-time students will study together, but part-time students will take longer to complete the degree. You will have access to the University's Virtual Learning Environment, Blackboard, where you can tap into online resources inlcuding discussion boards.

All students will be allocated a Personal Tutor, and the University offers a range of student support services.


Social Policy: Ideology, theory and practice

  • Conference Paper: 3,000 words, 50% weighting
  • Essay: 3,000 words, 50% weighting

Research Methods

  • Draft outline research proposal (formative)
  • Research Proposal: 5,000, 100% weighting

Contemporary Global Issues

  • Briefing Paper: 3,000 words, 50% weighting
  • Essay: 3,000 words, 50% weighting

Social Policy Community Placement

  • Interim Report: 2,000 words (Formative)
  • Oral Presentation: 20 minutes, 20%
  • Final Report: 5,000 words, 80%


  • Dissertation: 15,000 words, 100%
  • This is a systematic literature review or project.

Postgraduate Staff Profile

Dr. Sandra Shaw

Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, Programme Leader for the MSc in Social Policy, and Module Leader on Contemporary Global Issues in Social Policy.

Teaching and research interests include: comparative and global welfare; children and families; young people; gender; older people; caring. Recent publication: Joint Editor of, and author of four chapters in An Introduction to Social Policy, published by Sage in 2013.

Dr. Anya Ahmed

Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, Module Leader on Social Policy: Ideology, Theory and Practice.

Anya’s research interests include: social housing; migration; gender; and ethnicity. She is currently researching the social exclusion of Somali communities in the EU. Recent publications include: Networks among retired British women in the Costa Blanca: insiders, outsiders, ‘club capital’ and ‘limited liability’. Urbanities (2012); Structural narrative analysis: understanding experiences of lifestyle migration through two plot typologies. Journal of Qualitative Inquiry (2013).

Rita Haworth

Module Leader on the Social Policy Community Placement.

Rita’s areas of interest include health policy, and older people. She is currently a Director of Healthwatch Bolton, and is a member of the Dementia Design Group at the University of Salford. She wrote a chapter on older people in Introduction to Social Policy. Rita is currently undertaking research on the impact of changing Mental Health Policy.


You will have the knowledge and skills to obtain work that relates to Social Policy within the public, voluntary and private sectors. Students can go on to undertake a PhD and/or develop a research career.

Further Study

On completion of this degree, students would be able to apply to do a PhD in Social Policy, or a related subject area at the University of Salford, or another university within the UK, or abroad.

Fees and Funding

Fees 2016-17

Type of StudyFee
Full-timeHome/EU: £5,300; International: £13,300
Part-timeHome/EU: £1,900 (year one)
Full-time PgDipHome/EU: £3,800; International: £8,870
Full-time PgCertHome/EU: £1,900; International: £4,435