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MA in Policy and Social Research

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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."

Entry requirements

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

 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.
Check our scholarships page for information about postgraduate funding options. And did you know Aston graduates are eligible for a 20% discount on PG fees?


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Learn to analyse, evaluate and manage public policy in the context of social change
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Develop strong quantitative and qualitative research skills and apply these to 'real life' public policy problems and issues
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Gain the knowledge and skills required to pursue your research interests further through doctoral-level research, or to work in a variety of sectors
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Opens the way vocationally to both research at doctoral level and to work in the private, voluntary and public 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/4 or above at  GCSE (or equivalent).

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

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: 

  • Public Policy, Public Management and Governance (LBM001)
  • Research Methods (LPM003)
  • Social Theory and Social Change (LYM005)
  • Dissertation (LYM007)

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

  • Health Care Organisation and Policies (LBM007)
  • Social Policy: Contemporary Themes and Challenges (LBM005)
  • Work Placement (LYM010)
  • Being Human: Disability and the Social World (LYM011)
  • Globalization and Social Change (LYM002)
  • Social Divisions (LYM001)

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.

Interested? We'd love to hear from you. 


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