This programme explores issues, concepts, and debates in social and public policy research to gain an insight into policymaking and its social impacts on individuals and communities.
Core modules explore social theories, issues and research methods relevant to social policy and welfare. You will develop core skills in critical policy analysis and policy evaluation. There are also opportunities to study and debate current policy issues, such as work and welfare, child and family policy or the challenges of ageing populations, with a focus on real-life examples.
Supported by our well-known research centres and taught by expert tutors, you’ll tailor the programme to suit your own interests and career aspirations. With a range of optional modules to choose from, you could pursue further advanced research skills or study complementary social topics such as disability studies, gender studies, racism and ethnicity studies, or globalisation.
You’ll gain an insight into some of the most sensitive and complex social issues affecting governments worldwide.
You’ll learn in a research-intensive, stimulating environment. As well as the Leeds Social Sciences Institute which fosters collaboration, you’ll benefit from the interdisciplinary expertise hosted by the Centre for Disability Studies, Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies, Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies and many others. All of these centres run their own calendars of events such as workshops and seminars.
From the start of the programme, you’ll study core modules that introduce you to the social contexts and social problems that challenge policymakers, understanding society and social research. As the course develops you will focus more specifically on the welfare state, the process of social policy formation, and the kinds of evidence on which new policies and programmes are founded, and against which their effectiveness is evaluated.
You’ll gain a thorough understanding of research methods, the theoretical assumptions which underpin them and how these affect the way the findings are interpreted. You’ll also focus on specific examples such as welfare reform or employment activation policies.
With this foundation, you’ll choose from optional modules to specialise in topics that suit you. You could study contemporary social thought to contextualise your work or look at issues such as labour mobility, care, healthcare, disability or ‘race’ and ethnicity. You could study further data analysis and research methods to prepare for future research.
At the end of the programme, you’ll submit your dissertation – an independent piece of research on a related topic of your choice, which allows you to demonstrate and apply the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired during the year.
The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time.
- Researching Society and Culture
- Social Policy Analysis
- Policy and Programme Evaluation
- Understanding Society and Culture
Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)
You will choose 30 credits from the below:
- Environmental Assessment
- European Human Rights
- Human Resource Management: An International Perspective
- Understanding and Managing Effective Groups and Teams
- Social Media Marketing
- Contested Bodies
- Que(e)rying Sexualities
- Social Policy Debates
- Quantitative Research Methods
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Disability and Development
- Power, Critique & Global Transformations
- Climate Change Mitigation
- System Dynamics: Modelling Policy
Buro Millennial / Pexels
Learning and teaching
We use a range of teaching and learning methods including presentations, seminars, workshops, tutorials and lectures. Optional modules may also use other methods such as online learning. However, independent study is crucial to this degree – it allows you to prepare for taught sessions, develop your research interests and build a range of skills.
Your core modules will be assessed using essays. Optional modules may use other forms of assessment that reflect the diversity of the topics you can study, including presentations, book and literature reviews, research proposals and reports among others.
A bachelor degree (Hons) with a 2:1 or non-UK equivalent in social sciences, humanities or related discipline.
English language requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.
Improve your English
International students who do not meet the English language requirements for this programme may be able to study our postgraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.
This pre-sessional course is designed with a progression route to your degree programme and you’ll learn academic English in the context of your subject area.
How to apply
- International – 31 July
- UK/EU – 31 July
If you intend to apply for funding, you should submit an application for a place on your chosen course at least one month before any specific scholarship deadline.
See our website for the latest fee information.
Additional cost information
There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds.
Scholarships and financial support
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There may be help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government.
You’ll gain a wide range of knowledge and skills throughout this programme, including sophisticated skills in research, communication and analysis that will be useful in a variety of careers.
Social and Public Policy graduates have gone on to a wide range of posts across the third-sector, public services, government and business. These have included central and local government departments, community bodies, housing and health organisations, research consultancies and advocacy or campaigning.
We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.
The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate.
About the School
Our wide range of research-informed courses encompass undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research degree programmes, as well as online and professional development courses.