Postgraduate MSc

Social Policy

School of Health and Society





One year

Two year

Next enrolment

September 2021


In a nutshell

Social policy is the lively and engaging study of the way in which social issues and policies impact on the well-being of individuals, families and groups in society.

This course will enable you to develop your critical abilities, linking theory and ideologies to policy and practice.

MSc: one year full-time or two years part-time

PgDip: one year full-time or two years part-time

PgCert: one semester full-time or two semesters part-time

You will:
  • Gain the knowledge and skills to research and evaluate key issues in Social Policy
  • Undertake a community placement enabling you to integrate theory and practice, and enhance your personal career profile
  • Develop contemporary knowledge of Social Policy issues, and draw on the research expertise of the Social Policy team

students accepted

This is for you if...


You have an active interest in social issues and welfare interventions


You want to explore the way policies impact on well-being nationally and globally


You are open to new ideas and developing new skills

Course details

All about the course

On this programme, you will explore the drivers and brakes of social change and the factors which influence the development of social policy and the provision of welfare.

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 undertaking the full Master's.

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

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.


  • Semester 1: October - February
  • Semester 2: February - June
  • Semester 3: June - September
Year one, semester one

Social Policy: ideology, theory and practice

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.

Research Methodologies and Approaches

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.

Year one, semester two

Contemporary Global Issues in Social Policy

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.

Social Policy Community Placement

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.

Year one, semester three


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 Master's dissertation.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?

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 including 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.

The School of Health and Society

The School of Health and Society is a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a commitment to lifelong learning and real world impact.

We live in a rapidly changing world, and we’re keen to leave a productive legacy of helping people at all stages of their lives, improving their physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

Teacher Profiles


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.


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.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

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.


What you need to know

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.

Please note: Due to the structure of this programme, it is not available to applicants who require a Tier 4 visa.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

  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.
Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

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).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home/EU 2020/21 £7,920per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £14,670per year
Part-time 2020/21 Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Additional costs

You should consider additional costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our international scholarships worth up to £5,000. Our international scholarships include the Salford International Excellence Scholarship. For information, go to International Scholarships.

Apply now

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Enrolment dates

September 2021

September 2022