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University of Edinburgh Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :15 Jan 
International :30 Jun 
EU :15 Jan 

MA Social Policy and Politics

 Course Level
Bachelors / UG
Full Time

4 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

15850 GBP
9000 GBP
1820 GBP

Application fee

International 20 GBP
National 20 GBP
Humanities and Social Science
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)6.5
SAT (avg)1290
ACT (avg)27

World University Ranking

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About this course

Social Policy
Social policies influence many aspects of our lives, from education, health, housing and employment to family support and child protection. In all these areas, social issues are hotly contested with regard to the role of the state and the kind of policies it should pursue.

At the University of Edinburgh we work closely with the Scottish Government and other policy making institutions influencing and advising at both local, national and European levels. As a student, you'll develop an in-depth understanding of contemporary societal concerns by looking at how social policies are constructed and contested. You'll consider the aims of welfare and its history and you'll compare different models of welfare states around the world, examining the changing agendas in employment, social security and health.

Social Policy is ideally suited to students who are interested in contemporary social and political issues and who enjoy thinking critically about the structures, institutions and problems that shape our lives. It offers ideal training for a career in central or local government, the voluntary sector or pressure groups amongst others. 

Check further details on University website

Eligibility Criteria

Entry requirements:

Typical offer
The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: AABB.
  • A Levels: AAB.
  • IB: 36 points overall and grades 665 at HL.

Minimum entry requirements

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or ABBBB/AABB from S4-S6. National 5: English at Grade C and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C.
  • A Levels: ABB. GCSEs: English at Grade C and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C.
  • IB: Award of Diploma with 34 points overall and grades 655 in HL subjects. SL: English at 4 and Mathematics or an approved science at 4.

English language requirements
You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests
If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
  • Cambridge English: Advanced & Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section

For SQA and GCSE students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE Grade C
  • IB Standard Level Grade 4

Check further details on University website

Course Modules

What you will study:

Year 1
You will take Social Policy & Society, which debates needs, rights and responsibilities, with a focus on the needs and rights of children and the responsibilities of parents.

You will study Politics of the Welfare State, which examines social policy as a political issue in the UK, especially in the fields of health, employment and education.

You can also choose option courses from other academic areas. You will also take the course Fundamentals of Social Policy, which provides the key subject-specific learning skills you’ll use in your further years of study.

Year 2
You will take European Social Policy, which compares different approaches to social policy in various European countries.

You will also take Social and Policy Enquiry as well as further Fundamentals courses, which will equip you with analytical skills needed to engage with controversial policy issues in public debate.

You will also study other compulsory courses appropriate to your programme and will select an option subject.

Year 3
You can study option courses that cover areas such as children's rights, labour market policies, family policy, social inequalities, criminal justice and health policy. You will also take at least one course on research methods.

Year 4
You will continue to take social policy courses and will complete an individual research project. This will involve collecting and analysing data and information from sources such as the European Commission, Scottish Government, local authorities and voluntary organisations.

Check further details on University website

How to Apply

To apply for a full-time undergraduate degree programme at the University, you must apply through UCAS.

Check further details on University website

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