Undergraduate 

Social & Public Policy MA(SocSci)/LLB/MA

Students on campus

Social and public policy focuses on finding ways to address global and societal challenges such as poverty and inequality, housing, health, technology, and sustainability. The programme applies ideas from political science, sociology and economics to understand how governments shape their responses to address people’s needs, welfare and wellbeing.

The Social & Public Policy Teaching Team was awarded the prestigious Social Policy Association/Policy Press Outstanding Teaching Award 2020, in recognition of UofG’s excellence and innovation in teaching in social policy in the UK (SPA 2020).

Social Policy at Glasgow was ranked joint top in the UK for student satisfaction in the NSS 2019.

You’ll have the valuable opportunity of a work placement with a voluntary or public sector organisation.

 

  • September start
  • Session dates
  • Social & Public Policy MA(SocSci) (Hons): L430 4 year degree
  • Social & Public Policy with Quantitative Methods MA(SocSci) (Hons): LG43 4 year degree

What our students say

Student on campus

‘I can say honestly that I enjoyed learning about every course and module that I undertook as part of this dynamic, interesting and relevant degree. The MA degree in Social & Public Policy equips you with an understanding and knowledge of social and public policy, both in theory and practice. In particular, I apply the research, writing and critical thinking skills I have developed from this degree into my work as a caseworker in a very busy London MP’s office, where issues relating to welfare, immigration and housing policy are felt acutely by residents and the wider community. Finally, I would recommend this degree to students who are interested in working in politics, public policy and academia, both nationally and internationally.’

Sanketa, MA Honours Public Policy

Programme structure

Year 1

You will examine the early development of policies and services such as healthcare and social security, through a focus on the Beveridge Report of 1942, identifying the “Five Giants” of want, disease, squalor, ignorance and idleness. Then, using contemporary policies and practices in Glasgow as a lens, you will have the opportunity to study current responses to globalisation and social problems such as housing, excess mortality, youth, substance abuse, and urban deprivation. Overall, you will gain an understanding of how social and public policies impact on people and society, and you’ll examine how policies can improve people’s welfare and wellbeing.

Year 2

You will study ideas and major perspectives on welfare and public policy across the world and examine different assumptions on the aims and functions of welfare systems. This includes exploring differences in ideological, political, and social agendas in an international context. You will study the politics and power dynamics of policymaking, considering how social problems, such as welfare reform, inequality and the impact of technology and data, are constructed and why some are higher on the political agenda than others. You will learn to critically evaluate the effectiveness of different policies in addressing people’s needs, why certain policies fail and to whom they affect the most, and explore the complexity of the policymaking process.

You will also study other subjects in years 1 and 2: see Flexible degrees.

Years 3 and 4

If you progress to Honours (years 3 and 4) you will choose subjects from a diverse range of topics to suit your interests, including:

  • work, welfare and the politics of reform
  • disability and society
  • health and health inequalities
  • housing policy, welfare and markets
  • remaking cities: dilemmas of 21st-century urban policy
  • education for citizenship
  • making public policy in the real world
  • active citizenship (includes a placement in a voluntary or public sector organisation)
  • ideological concepts and values
  • utopias: welfare theory and social policies for a “good society”
  • big data, policy and power
  • youth policy and welfare: cross cultural perspectives.

Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Special Glasgow feature

Glasgow Q-Step Degrees

The University of Glasgow's Q-Step Centre offers programmes which develop your quantitative skills, or in other words, your ability to handle data and use numerical evidence.

Developing quantitative skills and your confidence in using them, will really enhance your insight and understanding of the key issues you encounter in your chosen field of study.

The University of Glasgow Q-Step Centre offers five degree programmes that integrate quantitative skills training within the School of Social and Political Sciences. All of these programmes aim to engage you with meaningful ways of understanding the social world.

We will teach you how to understand and analyse quantitative results, as well as how to present your own, and how to discuss their substantive implications. These are essential skills for understanding quantitative evidence presented in academic literature, but also for interrogating data in public media and government reports.

Around one quarter of your study time will be devoted to quantitative methods. And our degrees also offer you the possibility to gain valuable experience by participating in internships with selected high-profile employers.

MA (SocSci) Social & Public Policy with Quantitative Methods

Social and Public Policy focuses on social problems such as poverty, homelessness and ill-health. The programme applies ideas from political science, sociology and economics to explore how governments shape their responses, and to understand the impacts of public policy on society.

Our international links

You will have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner universities as part of your degree. This won’t add any extra time to your studies: see Study abroad.

Entry requirements

for entry in 2023

Applicants to subject-combinations with Psychology must meet the Psychology degree programme entry requirements.

Applicants to subject-combinations with Law must meet the Law degree programmes entry requirements.

Summary of entry requirements for Social & Public Policy

SQA Higher Entry Requirements (by end of S6)

  • AAAAAA Higher or AAAA + BB Advanced Higher (AAABB S5 minimum for consideration)
  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject or Mathematics.

SQA Higher Adjusted Entry Requirements* (by end of S5 or S6)

  • MD20: ABBBB (also other target groups*)
  • MD40: AAABB* (ABB S5 minimum for consideration)
  • Additional requirements: Higher English and a Higher Humanities subject or Mathematics. Successful completion of Top-Up or one of our Summer Schools.

* See Access Glasgow for eligibility.

Widening Participation Articulation Programmes

The University has bespoke HNC Articulation Programmes running at various colleges, offering direct entry to Year 2 of this degree.

A-level Standard Entry Requirements

  • AAB – BBB
  • Additional requirements: A-level English or Humanities subject.

IB Standard Entry Requirements

  • 38 (6,6,6 HL) – 32 (6,5,5 HL)
  • Additional requirements: HL English or Humanities subject.

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • 6.5 with no sub-test under 6.0.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:

TOEFL (ib, my best or athome)

  • 90 with minimum R 20, L 19, S 19, W 23.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

PTE (Academic)

  • 60 with minimum 59 in all sub-tests.
  • Tests must have been taken within 4 years 5 months of start date. Combined scores from two tests taken within 6 months of each other can be considered.

Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)

  • 65%.
  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses

  • Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.

Cambridge English Qualifications

  • Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): 176 overall, no subtest less than 169
  • Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE): 176 overall, no subtest less than 169

School Qualifications

  • iGCSE English or ESOL 0522/0500, grade C
  • International Baccalaureate English A SL5 or HL5
  • International Baccalaureate English B SL6 or HL5
  • SQA National 5 English or ESOL, grade B
  • SQA Higher English or ESOL, grade C
  • Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education, English Language grade 4
  • West African Examination Council, Senior Secondary School Certificate, English grade C6

Alternatives to English Language qualification

  • Undergraduate degree from English speaking country (including Canada if taught in English)
  • Undergraduate 2+2 degree from English speaking country
  • Undergraduate 2+2 TNE degree taught in English in non-English speaking country
  • Masters degree from English speaking country
  • Masters degree (equivalent on NARIC to UK masters degree) taught in English in non-English speaking country.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses

The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:

FAQs

What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-sessional courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact External Relations

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:


Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.


Career prospects

This degree provides many of the analytical, literary and teamwork skills that employers are looking for. Our graduates pursue careers as managers, professionals and policy analysts in the private, voluntary and public sectors including central and local government, in the UK and internationally. They work in diverse fields including housing, health, social services, advocacy, city planning, education, media and commerce.

Degrees and UCAS codes

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:

MA(SocSci) (Hons)

Social & Public Policy: L430 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy with Quantitative Methods: LG43 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Business & Management: LN42 (4 years)
Social & Public Policy/Business Economics: LLC4 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Central & East European Studies: RL84 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Classics: LQK8 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Economic & Social History: LV43 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Economics: LL14 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Geography: LL47 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/International Relations: L254 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Politics: LL42 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Psychology: LC48 (4 years)
KIS
Apply via UCAS
Applicants must meet the Psychology requirements
Social & Public Policy/Sociology: LL64 (4 years)
KIS

LLB (Hons)

Social & Public Policy/Scots Law: ML14 (4 years)
KIS

MA (Hons)

Social & Public Policy/Celtic Civilisation: LQK5 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Classics: LQ48 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Digital Media & Information Studies: GL54 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/English Language & Linguistics: QL3L (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/English Literature: LQ4H (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Film & Television Studies: LW46 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Gaelic: QL54 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Greek: LQ47 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/History of Art: LVK3 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Latin: LQ46 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Music: LW43 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Portuguese: 6Y5X (5 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Spanish: RL44 (5 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Theatre Studies: LW44 (4 years)
KIS
Social & Public Policy/Theology & Religious Studies: VL64 (4 years)
KIS

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.

Scholarships

The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That's why we've invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding in recent years.

College of Social Sciences Deans' Award

The College of Social Sciences is offering two scholarships worth £10,000 each towards tuition fees for academically excellent students wishing to study an Undergraduate programme within the College’s programme portfolio.

The scholarships will be awarded to applicants from Malaysia, India, Pakistan, South Africa and Italy.  

EU Welcome Award

The University of Glasgow continues to be committed to ensuring a strong relationship with our existing and future EU students, and supporting EU talent to make their home at the University of Glasgow. 

We appreciate the challenging financial implications that have arisen as a result of Brexit, and are therefore delighted to offer the EU Welcome Award to new incoming EU students starting an undergraduate programme for Academic Session 2022-23. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount of £5,000 for every year of study and is subject to satisfactory progress for consecutive years of study. This discount cannot be combined with another University scholarship.

Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has a number of Undergraduate Excellence Scholarships available to new International and EU students for 2022 entry. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount of £7,000 per year of study and is subject to satisfactory progress for consecutive years of study. This scholarship cannot be combined with another University scholarship.

RUK Excellence Scholarship

The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent). 

RUK Access Bursary

The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship. It is available to new entrant full-time, undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2022/23, as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.

James McCune Smith Undergraduate Scholarship

The University of Glasgow has up to 30 undergraduate scholarships available for students of African/African-Caribbean backgrounds. The scholarship supports students who could face financial difficulties taking up their place to study at the university. The value of the scholarship is £2,000, paid in instalments for year one of undergraduate study. The scholarship is open to new applicants to the university. Current students who have previously been in receipt of the award may reapply, however, preference will be given to applicants entering their first year of study.

Beaconhouse Schools

The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.

Republic of Ireland (RoI) Access Bursary

Glasgow has a long and proud tradition of providing financial support to talented students who, for reasons of financial hardship, might not be able to take a place at university. Our RoI Access Bursary is part of our commitment to continue to attract and support students from a diverse range of backgrounds. The RoI bursary will be up to £2,000 for your first year of study and £1,000 for continuing years.

Payments of the RoI Access Bursary will be detailed in your Award Letter.

  • The RoI Access Bursary will be awarded as a cash payment.
  • The RoI Access Bursary will be paid in 10 instalments from October until July; this award is based on household income
  • The RoI Access Bursary will only be awarded in years where tuition fees of £9,250 apply (i.e. Normally Years 1,2 and 3. Bursary is not paid in Year 4 where no tuition fees are due).

Republic of Ireland (RoI) Excellence Scholarship

The RoI Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained at Irish Higher grades A1, A1, A1, A1 from the Irish Leaving Certificate.  Dentistry, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine applicants are not eligible for this award.

Payments

  • The RoI Excellence Scholarship will be processed as a cash payment.
  • The RoI Excellence Scholarship will be paid in 2 instalments.
  • The first payment will be in October and the second payment will be in February.

These payments will be credited to the UK bank account held on your MyCampus profile; therefore, it is vital that this is up to date at the start of the session. By submitting your bank details on the MyCampus system, you are confirming that you agree with the terms and conditions of the award.

Undergraduate Talent Scholarships

The University of Glasgow awards c.50 undergraduate Talent Scholarships each academic year to support students who could face financial difficulties in taking up their place to study at the University. The value of each scholarship is typically £1,500 p.a. for each year of the degree programme, subject to satisfactory progress. Talent Scholarships are available to students entering any of the University's Colleges.

Dental School students are eligible for a Talent Scholarship in their first year of study only. They are eligible for the NHS Dental Student Support Grant in the following years.

 

Sanctuary Scholarships

The University of Glasgow is offering up to 20 Sanctuary Scholarships for applicants to the University who are in the UK on humanitarian grounds and are facing challenges in progressing onto Higher Education. The scholarship is open to prospective undergraduate and postgraduate taught students at the University of Glasgow applying for entry in September 2022/23.

The scholarship will meet the cost of tuition fees for the duration of your programme, for those applicants who are unable to cover full tuition fees through access to public funds by applying to SAAS or Student Finance. The Sanctuary Scholarship also provides a £5,000 per year stipend, to assist with study costs. In addition, if the eligibility criteria for university accommodation is met, this will also be provided for the duration of your degree, if required. For more information on the accommodation criteria, please see the Accommodation Services section on the website.

The Clan Gregor Society Prize

The Clan Gregor Society is offering an award to new entrants to the University of Glasgow who descend from Clan Gregor. Prospective students will be asked to submit an application highlighting areas of consideration such as academic excellence and financial need. The award is open to both Undergraduate and Postgraduate applicants.

The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database

How to apply

Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). 

SQA applicants who are eligible for our Widening Participation programmes are encouraged to participate in one or more of these programmes, including Summer School, to support your application and the transition to higher education.

International students to Arts, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS. Applications to Dentistry, Education, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine must be made through UCAS.

Application deadlines

  • 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 26 January: all other UK applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
  • 30 June: international students.

We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.

It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

Apply via UCAS

More information about this programme

Times Good university guide

5th in UK

Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide [Social Policy]