MSc by Research Social Policy

  1. Course Variations
    Nomenclature Duration Mode Of Attendance
    MSc by Research 1Yr FT
    MSc by Research 2Yr PT

Course Overview

Develop skills that are essential to a career in academia, senior professional roles or further postgraduate study with the MSc by Research in Social Policy. Blending independent research with expert academic supervision, this course provides an advanced understanding of contemporary social issues and policies in today’s society. Offering flexibility through a wholly research-based mode of study, our MSc by Research in Social Policy course is perfect for those looking to balance work, life and study commitments.

Key Features

  • An environment in which you can develop and enhance transferable skills such as problem-solving, independent thinking, project management, and critical thinking.
  • The support of two academic supervisors throughout your studies.
  • The availability of structured training, interdisciplinary seminars, dedicated research facilities and software from both the College and University.
  • Support from a dynamic community of research staff and students each pursuing their own lines of research.


Upon choosing a research area in which to conduct your independent research project, you will be supervised throughout by an academic expert in that field. Using innovative thinking, critical analysis of current research trends and issues in Social Policy, as well as advanced qualitative and quantitative research methods, you will develop the necessary skills to challenge previously held opinions and develop effective solutions within your chosen research area. Current focal points of student research in this field include older people, social care, children, disability, housing, advocacy, social justice, inclusion and well-being – but there is potential to range across the full range of key issues in contemporary social policy in Wales, the UK and beyond. 

Entry Requirements

Students should have a first or a 2:1 (or equivalent) in an undergraduate degree from a UK or other approved university.

Non-native English speakers must achieve an IELTS score of a minimum of 6.5 in each component and overall.  A list of equivalent English language tests are provided here.

Applicants to this programme would normally be expected to meet the minimum entry requirements indicated above. The College/School reserves the right to ask for higher academic grades and qualifications. Admissions decisions take into account not only prior academic qualifications, but also factors including the standard of the research synopsis/proposal submitted by the applicant, their performance at interview (if required), intensity of competition for limited places and relevant professional experience (where appropriate).

How To Apply

Details of the application process for research degrees are available here.

Make an application and track your application status.

If you're an international student, find out more about applying for this course at

Tuition Fees

Annual tuition fees for entry in the academic year 2019/20 are as follows:

UK/EU International
MSc by Research Full-time
MSc by Research Part-time

Tuition fees for years of study after your first year are subject to an increase of 3%.

You can find further information on fees and how to pay on our tuition fees page.

Note: The UK/EU fee is indicative pending confirmation from UKRI

If your course starts in January, April or July 2019 please refer to the 2018/19 fee costs on our tuition fees page.

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit the University's scholarships and bursaries page.

International students and part-time study: It is now possible for some students to study part-time under the Tier 4 visa route. This is dependent on factors relating to the course and your individual situation. It may also be possible to study with us if you are already in the UK under a different visa category. Please visit the University information on Visas and Immigration for further guidance and support.

Current students: You can find further information of your fee costs on our tuition fees page.

Additional Costs

The tuition fees do not cover the costs of purchasing books or stationery, printing, thesis binding or photocopying costs.

There are no mandatory additional costs for this course, but in addition to tuition fees and living expenses, most studies will also incur a further element of cost throughout your research. This could take the form of travel costs, hospitality to run a focus group, conference fees, etc. You should spend some time considering what other costs you may need to fund when designing your research proposal.


Typically one year in duration (full-time) or two years (part-time).


A thesis of no more than 40,000 words is submitted, which demonstrates original research that contributes significantly to the subject area. This is then followed by an oral examination of the thesis (viva).


The College of Human and Health Sciences has state-of-the-art facilities including an excellent, well-equipped postgraduate student environment. We also have strong research links with organisations that we work closely with, such as the NHS and Welsh Government.

Other resources include:

  • Service Users and Carers Group which can help in providing essential advice or improving engagement between your research project and the user community.
  • Structured training programmes, interdisciplinary seminars from worldwide speakers, dedicated research/study facilities and specialist analytical software.

As well as being immersed in the vibrant research community of the College and its research groups, you will also be able to access wider support and advice through the research networks staff are involved in, such as:

Wales School for Social Care Research

The WSSCR aims to facilitate the development of social care research across Wales, both among academics and practitioners, identifying knowledge gaps and assisting the sector to address those areas.

Older Person and Ageing Network Cymru (OPAN)

OPAN Cymru aims to improve the lives of older people through the integration of research, policy and practice across Wales.

Welsh Health Economic Support Service (WHESS)

WHESS provides health economic support at the early conceptual stages of proposal planning, in research funding applications, in research practice and in the dissemination of information.


Delivering high quality research is a key step in enhancing the health, social and economic well-being of all sections of society. It is essential that decisions on policy and practice are informed by the latest research findings and evidence available if we hope to improve organisational effectiveness and sustainability, social welfare and cohesion, and quality of life.

Through our cutting edge research, the College of Human and Health Sciences is bringing about real-life benefits for the health care, social care, voluntary and private sectors, ultimately leading to improvements for patients, users, practitioners, managers and policy makers.

As a forerunner in the field, the College is well-placed to respond rapidly to changes in the delivery of care, whilst also establishing links with the main service providers in Wales, such as the NHS and Local Authorities.

Our research is delivered through discipline focussed research centres and we have secured funding from a number of prestigious collaborators and funding bodies in recent years such as: Age Cymru;  ESRC; Older People’s Commissioner; National Institute for Social Care and Health Research; AHRC; Leverhulme Trust and the Welsh Government. These collaborations have been crucial in ensuring research informs, and is informed by, the wider healthcare environment.

Find out how our research has impacted health and social care services.