Taught course

Sociology and Social Policy

University of Southampton · Social Sciences

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Entry requirements

We welcome applications from students with a first- or upper second-class honours degree or equivalent in a relevant discipline (such as sociology, social policy, social administration or criminology).

Months of entry


Course content

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.

Information for international students

For applicants whose first language is not English, the IELTS requirement will be an overall score of 6.5 with no individual score below 6.0.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Please see the funding page.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate Admissions Enquiries
44(0)23 8059 5395