Course details

Study options

Full-time: 1 year, Part-time: 2 years

UK/EU fee

£710 per 20 credits* (2019/20)

International fee

£14,250 for the full programme (2019/20)

Course level




Start date



One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus

Course description

The Social and Political Studies MA Programme at the University of Derby is an exciting new development for those wishing to explore vital connections between the political and the social world.

Available full-time and part time, you will gain advanced specialised knowledge of overarching political and social concepts such as social justice, financialisation and neoliberalism, globalisation and power. By exploring real world issues and contemporary theories you will form an awareness of multilevel actors and the societal challenges we face in a complex and mediated world.

The programme will appeal to candidates who have already studied a social science subject at undergraduate level, or who are seeking to study politics or social studies for the first time, or considering a research degree. Teaching will be through face to face lectures, seminars and tutorials. Assignments include essays and also more ‘real-world’ tasks such as designing a policy proposal.

There are a total of four core modules and a dissertation – all five elements are compulsory.

In Politics and Society, the boundaries of Sociology and Politics disciplines are explored. An emphasis is placed on concepts and interests, and sites of contested power or knowledge.

Power in all its forms (from national movements to personal experiences of disempowerment ie ‘mental health’) is further explored in Power and Politics.

Social Theory and Social Justice harnesses the contemporary phenomenon of justice (NB a Social Justice Hub is resourced at the University of Derby) as a fascinating insight into social relations and the many practical constraints facing political actors.

Social Research Methods responds to the critical issue of data and policy analysis skills which are in demand in the current job market. Students are free to undertaken an assignment that directly reflects their social and/or political interests.

The remainder of the modules on offer are drawn from the MA in Social Policy and have been designed to offer complementary knowledge and skills. These modules provide a critical overview of the relationship between social research, policy making and government

In Comparative Social Policy you will be exposed to a core area of social and political analysis, and understand how political contexts alter social outcomes.

The modules Policy and Politics or Advanced Policy Analysis are firmly linked to analysing comparative political contexts or fostering the analytical skills required of policy analysis around social policy.


What you will study

The course is made up of three stages - Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma and MA. You will study modules such as:

  • Research Methodologies (core module)
  • Two optional modules
  • Three optional modules
  • Dissertation (core module)

Examples of optional modules available include:

  • Comparative Social Policy
  • Policy Evaluation.


Please note: modules are subject to availability, and may change to suit the needs of industry.

How you will learn

You will learn through a mixture of lectures, seminars, group tutorials and blended learning.

How you'll be assessed

The assessment methods used will be standard open-question exams and essays.

Who you'll meet

You will be taught by experienced academics who are specialists in their field and whose research is opening up debates about some of today’s most important social and political issues. They include:

Dr Sung-Hee Lee, Programme Leader who has particular research interests in social policy in Europe and East Asia, social policy and gender, comparative social policy, and social care services. She also specialises in qualitative research methods and organises our Sociology Research Seminar Series.

Dr Baris Cayli, has an interdisciplinary research agenda that covers the sub-fields of sociology, anthropology, history, criminology, politics, law and philosophy.

Dr Simon Speck, research interests are grounded in an engagement with classical and contemporary social theory as it is rooted in the 'continental' tradition of modern philosophy and as it enables an understanding of the social, cultural and political challenges of the present. 

Dr Tasmin Bowers-Brown 

Dr David Patton, quantitative and qualitative researcher and has worked for clients such as Cambridge University, Home Office, Manchester University. He has published work and delivered conference papers on the topics of illegal drugs, the external validity of self-report when reporting illegal behavior, the policy implications of normalised drug prevalence rates in the UK, as well as the science behind surveillance techniques in the criminal justice field such as urinalysis.

Dr Thomas Dodsley, teaching and research expertise lie in the fields of youth justice, cultural criminology and qualitative research methods. 

Entry requirements

A good honours degree (2:2 or above) in a relevant subject.

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will need to hold IELTS 6 with a minimum of 6.0 in each module

Fees and funding

2019/20 Fees (August 2019 - July 2020)


£710 per 20 credits*

£710 per 20 credits*


£14,250 for the full programme


*Note – at postgraduate level, you’ll need to gain the following number of credits in total to obtain the awards below.

Postgraduate Certificate60 Credits
Postgraduate Diploma120 Credits
MA or MSc180 Credits

This means you will gain 180 credits in total to complete the full MA or MSc. If you are studying part time you will normally complete your studies over two or three years, depending on the course structure.

Please note that all fees may be subject to annual increase.

Students chatting to each other

International student scholarship

We're offering a £2,000 scholarship for all eligible international students studying a full-time postgraduate taught programme (PGT). Terms and conditions apply.

Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship Find out if you're eligible for an international scholarship

How to apply


This MA nurtures your analytical, evaluative, critical and creative thinking, together with your ability to synthesise new ideas and present complex issues in accessible ways. You will also develop an international outlook which will take you far in our increasingly globalised society.   

Such transferable skills are invaluable across many sectors and you could discover career opportunities in international institutions like the United Nations, central government, local authorities, think tanks, pressure groups, NGOs, social enterprises, charities and educational institutions.

Because the MA helps you develop and refine your capacity to conduct independent research, it could also be your first step towards an academic research career.

If you are already working, you can select optional modules which are aligned to your current role and career aspirations, paving the way for you to progress to more senior or specialist positions.

Opportunities for further study

The MA Social and Political Studies could be the springboard for taking your studies to MPhil or PhD level. You will be well prepared for the challenge: the range of assessment methods and the way modules are delivered on this course enhance your independent learning skills. In addition, the dissertation improves your abilities in research and communication. 

Ongoing careers support

Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with help, guidance and support from day one of your course – and for up to three years after you’ve completed your studies.

Contact us

Course: Dr Sung-Hee Lee (Programme Leader) +44 (0)1332 593351

If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.

Contact us Contact us

† Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.

Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.

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