MSc Policy Research


This programme builds on the links between research and policy in developing the particular skills and capacities needed by policy-oriented researchers, professionals, and postgraduate students interested in carrying out public policy, social policy and social welfare research.

Researchers, research managers and policy advisers, as well as service planners, are all faced with a growing need for top quality research which is timely and relevant. We believe this is vital if researchers are to maximise the impact of their work in addressing real issues of concern to policy makers.

In addition to providing core research training in philosophy and research design in the social sciences and introductions to and advanced approaches in quantitative and qualitative methods in the social sciences, the programme offers elective courses in areas of the school's particular research expertise, notably child and family welfare, gender and violence, health and social care, poverty and social exclusion, and policy-oriented evaluation.

We recognise that students will be joining with relevant, albeit varied, experience. There will, therefore, be opportunities for students not only to draw on their own experiences as researchers, managers and policy advisors but also to share these with other participants on the programme. Those who have recently embarked upon a career in policy research or who hope to do so, will find the programme offers a unique combination of academic rigour, up-to-date policy content and relevant skills development.

This programme is designed to build on the links between research and practice in a range of settings in developing the particular skills and capacities needed by practice-based professionals and postgraduate students interested in carrying out social work and social care research.

Who is the programme designed for?

The programme is aimed at UK/EU students and international students who:

  • wish to develop a career in policy-oriented research, with particular relevance to public policy, social policy or social welfare;
  • conduct research and who want to develop their skills in policy-oriented research;
  • are research commissioners and managers in local authorities, charitable and voluntary organisations;
  • are funded by local, national and international governments and organisations and who wish to move on to doctoral studies in social policy and teaching and research positions which require a PhD;
  • are ESRC-funded, through SWDTC PhD Studentships in Social Policy.

For further information please contact the postgraduate teaching administrator Margaret Thompson.

Apply online

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Contact us

Programme director:
Dr Demi Patsios,
+44 (0117) 331 0971

School admissions:
sps-pgadmissions@bristol.ac.uk,
+44 (0)117 954 6785

School for Policy Studies
University of Bristol
8 Priory Road
Bristol, BS8 1TZ