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MSc Sociology and Social Policy

Key information

Qualification type

MSc - Master of Science

Subject areas

Sociology Social Policy / Administration

Course type


Course Summary

Do you want to explore the structure of human society?
Our students study sociological concepts, such as interest, modernity, inequality, globalisation, class and gender and link them to concepts such as social risk and the welfare state. Throughout, our perspective on these topics will be global; we use social theory and concepts to understand societies around the globe, comparing richer and poorer regions.

Choose from three pathways
• Substantive pathway - Focussing on fundamental concepts of sociology and social policy and on how these relate to contemporary policy issues
• International Social Policy - Focussing on understanding global social inequality and policy responses should choose the International Social Policy pathway which will also give them a grounding in governance.
• Research methods pathway - Students who wish to obtain thorough quantitative and qualitative methods training should enrol in the Research methods pathway.
Our students gain advanced knowledge in the social theories on which sociology and social policy are based with an understanding of how to use quantitative and qualitative methods.
• Understand of classical and contemporary themes and debates in sociology
• Understand of key conceptual debates in social policy and the capacity to evaluate competing explanatory frameworks
• Learn about key issues in the philosophy of social science and the ability to apply this knowledge in the design and practice of social research
• Explore the principal methods of qualitative or quantitative research utilised in the social sciences and an understanding of their application in different contexts
• Understand the techniques of data analysis utilised in the social sciences and their applications
• Design and conduct independent research utilising appropriate research methodologies
• Present ideas, arguments and research findings
Students from this programme are well placed to pursue careers in social research, public administration or public policy in the public, private or voluntary sector. It is also the first step towards a PhD in sociology and/or social policy.


Most modules are assessed, at least in part, by essays. Some modules are also assessed using oral presentations and group projects.

Different course options

Full time | Main Site - Highfield Campus | 1 year | SEP-20

Study mode

Full time


1 year

Start date



Understanding Modernity
International Social Policy
Understanding Social Change
Philosophy of Social Science Research
Research Design and Practice
Quantitative Methods
Qualitative Methods

Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

First- or upper second-class degree or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University in a relevant discipline. In some circumstances, professional qualifications are considered.

University information

The University of Southampton has a long history of tradition, prestige and success, having just celebrated 100 years of its Highfield Campus. A founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities, the University is ranked in the Top 20 UK universities in the Complete University Guide, 2020 and is also a three-times winner of the Queen's Anniversary Prize. The University is spread across five campuses in Southampton,...more

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