Postgraduate study

Social Policy PhD, MScR

Awards: PhD, MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Social Policy

Social Policy has been taught in Edinburgh since 1918 and is well established within the School of Social & Political Science. Edinburgh is the leading centre for social policy research in Scotland and one of the leading centres of postgraduate education and training in social policy in the UK.

Our Social Policy group is one of the most respected in the UK and among the best for the quality of its teaching and research.

We offer postgraduate supervision across the whole subject range, with particular expertise in comparative social policy, welfare reform, labour market policy, health policy, childhood studies, family policy and education policy.

MScR option

We’ve updated our portfolio of programmes. Individual MSc by Research programmes have been replaced with MSc by Research Social & Political Science.

Our approach is research-led but student-focused teaching. There is an active programme of seminars and workshops for research students and staff.

Edinburgh’s excellent library facilities and the presence of the headquarters of many public, voluntary and private organisations, including the Scottish Parliament, make the city the perfect place to undertake research on social and public policy.

A UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent, and a UK masters degree with an overall mark of 65% or its international equivalent.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.*

(*Revised 8/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 22/03/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Programme Advisor, Richard Brodie
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4278
  • Contact: r.brodie@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD

We encourage PhD applicants in particular to contact potential supervisors before applying to discuss their research proposal so we can ensure there is adequate supervision.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Programme Advisor, Richard Brodie
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4278
  • Contact: r.brodie@ed.ac.uk
  • Graduate School of Social & Political Science
  • Chrystal Macmillan Building
  • 15A George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9LD