MSc Policy Research

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Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law
Awards available MSc
Programme length One year full-time;
two to five years part-time
Location of programme Clifton campus
Part-time study available Yes
Start date September 2020

Programme overview

Researchers, research managers, policy advisers and service planners are all faced with a growing need for research that is timely and relevant. 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 who are interested in carrying out public policy, social policy and social welfare research. We believe this is vital if researchers are to maximise the impact of their work in addressing issues of real concern to policymakers.

The programme provides core research training in philosophy and research design in the social sciences, along with introductions to and further approaches in quantitative and qualitative methods in the social sciences. It also offers optional units in our particular areas of research expertise, such as 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. Therefore, there will be opportunities for you to draw on your own experiences as researchers, managers and policy advisers and share insights with other students working towards research degrees in disability studies, social work research and health and wellbeing.

Those who have recently embarked on a career in policy research, or who hope to do so, will find the programme offers a combination of academic rigour, up-to-date policy content and relevant skills development.

Core units are taught in collaboration with other postgraduate programmes, providing a co-learning environment and giving you the opportunity to interact and share insights with other students.

Fees for 2020/21

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2020/21 are as follows:

UK/EU: full-time (MSc)
£8,400
UK/EU: two-year part-time (MSc)
£4,200
Overseas: full-time (MSc)
£19,200
Channel Islands/IoM: full-time (MSc)
£8,400

Fees are subject to an annual review. For programmes that last longer than one year, please budget for up to a five per cent increase in fees each year. Find out more about tuition fees.

Alumni scholarship

University of Bristol students and graduates can benefit from a ten per cent reduction in tuition fees for postgraduate study. Check your eligibility for an alumni scholarship.

Funding for 2020/21

The Faculty of Social Sciences and Law has an allocation of 1+3 and +3 ESRC scholarships.

Further information on funding for prospective UK, EU and international postgraduate students.

Programme structure

The programme is delivered through a combination of intensive block teaching and weekly delivery to ensure it is as accessible as possible to postgraduate students, busy policy professionals and practitioners. The way units are delivered means you can accumulate credits flexibly and organise your patterns of attendance to suit your needs and circumstances.

The MSc consists of four core units and two optional units, along with a dissertation of 10,000 to 15,000 words. 

Visit our programme catalogue for full details of the structure of our MSc in Policy Research.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class honours degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant social sciences discipline, such as sociology, social work, psychology, economics, political science, management, history, philosophy or law. Other qualifications (including those awarded by professional bodies) and relevant professional experience will also be considered.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you need to meet this profile level:
Profile E
Further information about English language requirements and profile levels.

Admissions statement

Read the programme admissions statement for important information on entry requirements, the application process and supporting documents required.

Admissions statement

Careers

The MSc in Policy Research stresses the development of policy research and analysis methods, as well as substantive knowledge. Graduates from our MSc Policy Research can go on to work as policy researchers and analysts, or research commissioners/managers in public or private agencies, both in the UK and internationally.

Potential employers include local or central government departments, voluntary or charitable organisations, national or international non-governmental organisations, or global institutions such as the United Nations.

Alternatively, our MSc provides students with the core training to further their career in academic research with a PhD in Social Policy.

How to apply
Application deadline:

1 October 2020. We welcome applications at any time of year. Early application is advised as places may fill quickly.

The closing date for ESRC studentship applications is 12 noon on Tuesday 21st January 2020. For further details on applying for ESRC funding, please visit the SWDTP website.

International students

Find out more about becoming a student at Bristol, applying for a visa and the support we offer to international students.

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I chose Bristol because of its outstanding academic reputation. It's reassuring to be taught by people who truly love their subject - their passion becomes contagious.

Joyce

REF 2014 results

  • Social Work and Social Policy:
  • 38% of research is world-leading (4*)
  • 42% of research is internationally excellent (3*)
  • 18% of research is recognised internationally (2*)
  • 2% of research is recognised nationally (1*)

Results are from the most recent UK-wide assessment of research quality, conducted by HEFCE. More about REF 2014 results.

Open days and visits

Find out about opportunities to visit Bristol.

Get in touch

Senior Postgraduate Admissions Administrator Phone: +44 (0) 117 954 6785 Email: sps-pgadmissions@bristol.ac.uk

Demi Patsios Programme Director Email: demi.patsios@bristol.ac.uk

School for Policy Studies
University of Bristol
8 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TZ http://www.bristol.ac.uk/sps/

Disclaimer

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