Comparative Social Policy

Study mode:Full-time Languages: English Duration:1 years
Local:$ 21.1k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 30.8k / Academic year(s) Deadline: Jan 20, 2022
StudyQA ranking:1308

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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. 

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.

You will study a core paper in comparative social policy and social policy analysis. This paper covers the theories, principles, history and institutions of social policy, and is taught via a closely-linked package of lectures, seminars, small working seminars and individual tutorials. You will also engage in detailed work on social policy analysis through lectures, seminars and presentations.

The research methods skills, covering both quantitative and qualitative methods, are taught in a mix of lectures, classes, workshops and ‘hands-on’ computer lab based weekly training sessions. In addition, there is a course on the principles of comparative research design.

You will also have the opportunity to take at least one specialist course from a list of options focusing on a particular social policy area or the application of evidence-based intervention. You are examined in one of these option courses. Recent options offered include education policies, family policies, healthcare, labour market policies and poverty.

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

1. Academic ability

Proven and potential academic excellence

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, 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, the minimum GPA sought is 3.7 out of 4.0.

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

2. English language requirement

Higher level

Test

Standard level scores

Higher level scores

IELTS Academic 
Institution code: 0713

7.0 Minimum 6.5 per component  7.5  Minimum 7.0 per component 

TOEFL iBT 
Institution code: 0490

100

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
110

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) 185

Minimum 176 per component

191 

Minimum 185 per component

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) 185

Minimum 176 per component

191 

Minimum 185 per component

3. SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS

  • Three references (letters of recommendation)
  • Official transcript(s) of previous university-level degrees
  • CV/résumé
  • Statement of purpose/personal statement: Up to 1,000 words
  • Written work: Two essays of 2,500 words each
  • Clarendon Scholarships. This unique scheme offers around 140 new, fully-funded scholarships each year to academically outstanding graduate students, as well as providing a lively and stimulating community of scholars.
  • Hill Foundation Scholarships. The Hill Foundation Scholarships fund Russian students to study for full-time graduate courses in any subject at Oxford. The Hill Foundation is a charity which aims to create a community of Oxford scholars and alumni who will work to improve Russian life and culture.The scholarship will cover 100% of University and college fees and a grant for living costs (of at least £14,296). Awards are made for the full duration of your fee liability for the agreed course.
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