MA in Policy and Social Research

Why choose this course?

  • Learn to analyse, evaluate and manage public policy in the context of social change
  • Develop strong quantitative and qualitative research skills and apply these to ‘real life’ public policy problems and issues
  • Gain the knowledge and skills required to pursue your research interests further through doctoral-level research, or to work in a variety of sectors.

Duration: Full time 1 year. Part time 2 years.
Start date(s): October 

Distance learning available: No

Entry requirements:
2.1 Degree in any discipline (or equivalent).
Mathematics - C or above at  GCSE (or equivalent).

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements.

Fees for 2017/18*: 
UK/ EU: £5,450 
Non-EU: £14,100 
*These figures have not been confirmed, but they are expected to be approximately as stated. Part-time students pay a pro-rata version of full-time fees.  

Application: We recommend that overseas students apply before the end of June due to visa requirements as these can take a few weeks to process.

Apply for this course online

We are witnessing a period of considerable policy reform in the wake of the financial crisis, and the need for public policy research has never been greater. This MA programme equips students with the tools and knowledge to understand how and why public policy problems occur, and how these are affected by the social, cultural and political context, both in the UK and internationally. It offers students a sound training in research methods and equips them with the cutting-edge in theoretical and methodological approaches. The MA is suitable both for those wishing to hone their skills and knowledge to pursue further academic research opportunities, and for those seeking a relevant and rigorous course which will prepare them for employment in the private, public or not-for-profit sectors.
Sample module options: The following module descriptions are indications only - the modules on offer and the content of the modules is subject to change.

Core Modules: 

  Choose from the following elective modules to the value of 40 credits: 

You will take part in interactive small seminars, presentations and group work. There are also opportunities for individual research and guided study. You will be allocated a personal tutor to whom you can turn for help and advice. Assessment occurs through essays and reports (for example, on the practical application of research methods), and a dissertation.
Chrissie Rogers

Dr Chrissie Rogers, Senior Lecturer in Sociology

BA (Hons), MA, PhD (ESRC), Essex; PG Cert (Teaching and Learning), Keele

''The small size of this Masters programme means that we can be flexible and respond to the interests of our students. Learning in this Masters occurs in small groups, facilitating a high degree of contact between students and staff. We cover a range of essential topics within the fields of public policy and social change, and bring students right up-to-date with contemporary developments, in Britain and abroad.’'

This new MA programme opens the way vocationally to both research at doctoral level and to work in the private, voluntary and public sectors.

You will have access to:

  • Our Virtual Learning Environment – Blackboard – to support your studies, including Blackboard discussion groups
  • The University Library, including over 25,000 books and a wide range of electronic journals.  The library has special provision in place to help part time and distance learning students access their resources: www.aston.ac.uk/lis/studentinfo/parttime
  • University wide facilities such as the Careers Service, Students’ Advice Centre, Students’ Jobshop, Counselling Service, Sports Facilities, and Chaplaincy.

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Keep In Touch

Student Profile

Student Profile

Sophia Todd

MA Public Policy and Social Change

The quality of teaching has been brilliant. All of my tutors are passionate and highly supportive.The course has given me an excellent grounding in the major sociological theories, as well as in basic public policy issues. I also had the opportunity to take a 3 week work placement with the WM Labour Party.


Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and bursaries


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