[UCC] Masters of Social Science (Social Policy)-Evening Programme

Masters of Social Science (Social Policy)-Evening Programme

School of Applied Social Studies

University College Cork


Applications are now invited for the newly reconfigured Masters in Social Policy programme. This is a full-time, one-year course which provides students with an opportunity to engage critically in social policy analysis of contemporary issues confronting Ireland, Europe and the wider world. This is particularly relevant in the context of the current economic crisis. As recently highlighted by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, it is time for Irish universities to offer an intellectual response to the current crisis:

‘The economic crisis is not abstract in its form, or its consequences, as expectations are shattered, exclusions from real citizenship created, through poverty, unemployment and all of the insecurity that flows from fear of losing one’s home, loss of loved ones to unanticipated emigration and a bewildering confusion as to self-worth… Intellectuals are challenged to a moral choice, to drift into, to be part of, a consensus that accepts a failed paradigm of life and economy, or to offer, or seek to recover, the possibility of alternative futures… Universities have a great challenge in the questions that are posed now, questions that are beyond ones of narrow utility’ (The Irish Times, 26/01/12).


The M.Soc.Sc. (Social Policy) equips students with the theoretical and practical skills to engage in critical social research and policy analysis. As part of this course, students can now specialize in a particular social policy area of their choice. The specialist pathways include:


  • ·         Mental Health and Disability: This module aims to provide a critical understanding of key perspectives in the areas of mental health and disability, and their implications for policy, research and practice. Particular consideration will be given to innovative approaches grounded in the principles of human rights and citizenship.


  • ·         Children and Young People: Children and Young People: This specialist pathway encourages critical reflection on policy in relation to children and young people and facilitates research relevant to student’s own interests. Topics covered include: children and young people in society; children’s rights, participation and democratic engagement; and theorising and researching childhood & youth.


  • ·         Critical Social Policy: This pathway provides students with advanced knowledge in critical social policy theory and skills to engage in the analysis of key contemporary social policy issues.  As part of this course, students will theorize and critically examine key current social policy developments, and consider the implications of recent trends for social policy and welfare states.


  • ·         Conflict, Transformation and Peace Building: This specialist pathway aims to explore the causes and dynamics of conflict in society and grass-roots and governmental approaches to conflict transformation and peace-building internationally. Conflict in Ireland and the peace process in the North will act as a focus.  However, the course will also explore peace-building interventions globally and the concepts of ‘dealing with the past’, ‘transitional justice’ and ‘nation-building’ in post-conflict societies.


Programme requirements

The students take taught modules to the value of 50 credits. Core modules include ‘Contemporary Social Policy Issues’ (15 credits) and ‘Social research: methodology and ethics’ (15 credits). Elective modules include ‘Mental health and disability’, ‘Children and young people’, ‘Critical social policy’ and  ‘Conflict transformation and peace building. In addition, students must submit a 25,000 word dissertation.


Structure of the year

Lectures will take place on Tuesday & Wednesdays 5.30-7.30 pm. The core modules ‘Contemporary Social Policy Issues’ and ‘Social Research: Methodology and Ethics’ take place on Term 1, while the specialist modules take place on Term 2.


You will love this programme, if

o    You are curious about how society is organized and how this impacts on people’s lives.

o    You are interested in current debates in Irish social policy and the politics that surround contemporary societal change.

o    You are passionate about social justice and committed to human rights.

o    You are interested in linking practice with theoretical and conceptual debates.

o    You are interested in engaging in primary research and becoming an autonomous researcher.

o    You want to take part in evaluating policy and having an impact on policy agendas.

o    You are interested in forms of learning that encourage participative and collaborative processes.


Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally have taken social policy as a subject at undergraduate level and have a degree at Second Class Honours level or equivalent. Applicants with other relevant degrees (e.g. Sociology, Social Work, Politics and Government, Social Care, Early Childhood Studies, Public Health) and/or relevant experience (e.g. community activism, youth work, trade union activism) will also be considered.


Contact Details

For further information on the course, please contact Ms. Eluska Fernandez by phoning +353 21 4903765 or by emailing e.fernandez@ucc.ie.

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