University of Oxford logo
  • Tuition Fee:
  • Local: $ 21.8k / Year
  • Foreign: $ 31.8k / Year
  • Languages of instruction:
  • English
  • StudyQA ranking:
  • 957pts.
  • Duration:
  • 1 years

    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.


    UK requirements for international applications

    Universities in the United Kingdom use a centralized system of undergraduate application: University and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It is used by both domestic and international students. Students have to register on the UCAS website before applying to the university. They will find all the necessary information about the application process on this website. Some graduate courses also require registration on this website, but in most cases students have to apply directly to the university. Some universities also accept undergraduate application through Common App (the information about it could be found on universities' websites).

    Both undergraduate and graduate students may receive three types of responses from the university. The first one, “unconditional offer” means that you already reached all requirements and may be admitted to the university. The second one, “conditional offer” makes your admission possible if you fulfill some criteria – for example, have good grades on final exams. The third one, “unsuccessful application” means that you, unfortunately, could not be admitted to the university of you choice.

    All universities require personal statement, which should include the reasons to study in the UK and the information about personal and professional goals of the student and a transcript, which includes grades received in high school or in the previous university.


    Program requirements

    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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