University of Sheffield

Department of Sociological Studies

MA Global and International Social Policy


The University of Sheffield

Western Bank

Sheffield, England S10 2TN

United Kingdom

Program Information

Degrees Offered:

MA Global and International Social Policy

Format: Campus

Program Description:

The MA in Global and International Social Policy addresses the big issues facing the world, from poverty to power, from crime to justice. The programme focuses on the requirement to act upon and engage with these topics through the use of global social policy. Established by Professor Bob Deacon, a world-leading scholar of global social policy, this MA course is one of the top social policy programmes in the United Kingdom.

The course addresses the need to act and engage in social policy at a global level. It examines pressing global social problems such as: poverty, inequality, the spread of disease, ageing, as well as international crime. It analyses how the world has responded in terms of global social policies.

The course draws upon different disciplinary traditions: international relations, sociology, political economy, and development studies. It does so in order to further students’ understanding of the origins of global social problems as well as the adequacy and effectiveness of global social policy responses. It also emphasises the ways in which national social policy is shaped by global actors. Through intellectually stimulating and relevant course content, the MA aims to equip students with a critical mindset geared towards in depth analysis and creative problem solving skills when assessing global social policy.

The full-time MA in Global and International Social Policy is a 12 month programme, running from September to September. Teaching consists of two 15-week semesters, from late September to the following June. Students will then write their dissertation and finish in mid-September. Students will take compulsory courses in, for example, Global Social Policy Analysis, Qualitative and Quantitative Methods, Global Social Policy and Governance, and Political Economy of Global Social Policy. Optional modules include, among others: Children, Families and Welfare States, The Internationalisation of Crime, Social Research for the Digital Age, and Doing Gendered Research.

The modules provided are driven by the leading research of our academics. This means that the content is informed by the current debates and concerns surrounding global social policy issues. Teaching is conducted through a combination of lectures, tutorials, seminars, small-group work, and problem solving. A great deal of importance is placed on the individual aspects of learning, with the MA course expected to develop students’ abilities to research and engage with the area of study.

Who Is This Course Ideal For?

The programme is an excellent choice for those looking for careers in global social policy analysis or those already following similar professional routes. For those already in, or aspiring towards, a career in global social policy analysis, or a related job role working for development agencies, policy advocacy agencies, or non-governmental organisations, this course provides in depth understanding and knowledge of the subject area.


Assessment can vary across modules between a combination of coursework (essays and portfolio work) and formal examination. Students will also complete a dissertation of 15,000 words which makes up a third of the course. This provides the opportunity, under one-to-one supervision, to focus in depth on a topic of individual choice.

As part of their dissertation project, students will have the opportunity to do placements in international agencies. The placement is intended to provide experience working in global policy research and the data necessary to write a dissertation. Students will also become familiar with the operations of international organisations and international non-governmental organisations and make valuable contacts in the field. The placement takes the format of an internship, which can be away from Sheffield, and will last approximately 3 months. The course team will assist students in finding placements. Students are also encouraged to negotiate their own placements.

180 credits are required for graduation. 105 of these are compulsory modules, 15 are optional modules, and 60 credits are allocated to the dissertation.

Tuition Fees:

Tuition fees for full-time students in 2013-14: £4,990 per annum for Home/EU students and £12,760 for overseas students.


We are pleased to offer the Sheffield Scholarship 2016 to all US students commencing a Taught Masters programme in September 2016. The scholarships are: • £2,000 if your tuition fees are between £14,500 and £16,500 • £2,500 for each student paying fees of £16,501 and upwards We also offer scholarships of 50% of the course fee which will be offered on the basis of academic merit.

International Student Requirements:

IELTS 7.0 (with a minimum of 6 in each component), TOEFL 600 (paper based) or TOEFL 250 (computer based) or TOEFL 100 (iBT) or equivalent.

Facts & Figures

Financial Aid: No

International Financial Aid: No

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