What will I learn?

About the course

The MSc in Comparative Social Policy explores welfare systems and policy developments across a range of countries with an OECD focus. The comparative element is a key part of the course, and is one feature that makes the course at Oxford unique.

For the purposes of comparison the course focuses especially on the most highly-developed countries, broadly those in the OECD area.

The central aim of the course is to provide high quality graduate level research training in social policy, taking a comparative perspective, concentrating primarily on industrialised/developed countries. More specific aims are to develop your capacity to.

  • analyse, interpret and review the major concepts, theoretical approaches and historical and contemporary issues in social policy and welfare state development in a range of OECD countries or systems;
  • analyse and compare specific areas of social policy (for example health or education) in different countries or systems, drawing on both empirical data and broader theoretical literature; and
  • undertake both quantitative and qualitative research studies, and to understand the major issues involved in research design and technical analysis in social policy related research.

Assessment

Your performance will be assessed through formative and summative assignments/papers. Knowledge of the substantive areas of social policy is assessed by one three hour paper at the end of the third term, and one summative assignment during the second term. The exam will cover comparative social policy and social policy analysis in general; the summative assignment will focus on your chosen area of specialism as represented in the option paper in which you choose to be assessed. The research method skills are assessed by means of formal course assignments and two 'critical methods essays’ on published research papers. In addition, you will be required to provide a 10,000-word dissertation.

Graduate destinations

Recent graduates from the master’s programme have gone on to study for doctorates in a range of high quality universities. Many graduates go on to pursue academic careers in world-leading research universities, while others hold influential positions in government, non-governmental and international organisations, such as the World Bank, the World Health Organisation and the UN.

Which department am I in?

University of Oxford

Study options

Full Time (1 year)

Tuition fees
£27,460.00 (US$ 36,613) per year
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually.

This is a fixed fee
Start date

Expected October 2022

Venue

University of Oxford

University Offices,

Wellington Square,

Oxford,

Oxfordshire,

OX1 2JD, England

Entry requirements

For international students

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications. a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in any discipline. There is no requirement on subject area and students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds are considered. However, entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent. For applicants with a degree from the USA, a bachelor’s degree with a minimum overall GPA of 3.5 out of 4.0, or 4.0 out of 5.0 is sought. Applicants need to have an IELTS score of 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 per component; TOEFL iBT score of 110 with a minimum component score of 22 in listening, 24 in reading, 24 in writing and 25 in speaking.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

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