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Study social policy abroad

An in-depth guide to studying social policy as an international student.

Social policy degrees abroad

Social policy is the study of social issues and government actions taken to manage them. It’s a broad field that includes elements of sociology, ethics, philosophy, psychology and economics.

As well as learning about the social inequalities that have existed throughout history, you’ll consider the contemporary challenges faced by communities today. You’ll use key concepts and theories to explore the causes and consequences of problems like poverty, unemployment, crime, homelessness and education. You’ll then evaluate how effective government policies have been at tackling such injustices.

By earning your degree abroad, you’ll see how social structures and government systems operate around the world. You’ll observe how social difficulties vary between countries and cultures, giving you a valuable international perspective.

Social policy program structure

Bachelor’s degrees in social policy are normally studied over three years, but some courses will integrate an additional 12-month placement. Although BA and BSc programs cover similar ground, BSc courses will focus more on statistical techniques and data analysis.

Social policy can be combined with another subject and studied as a joint honors course. This is a great way of tailoring your education to reflect your interests and ambitions. Common pairings include politics, economics, sociology and international relations.

Most US universities follow the liberal arts model of education, meaning undergraduate courses last four years. You’ll take general education classes for the first half of your program, before declaring a major in social policy at the end of your second year.

Once you’ve finished your bachelor’s degree, you might decide to enroll in a postgraduate program. Master’s degrees can be studied over one or two years, whereas research-based PhDs take several additional years.

Your timetable will mainly be made up of lectures, seminars, tutorials and discussion-based workshops. Assessment methods will depend on the modules you take, but you’ll probably complete exams, essays and presentations.

The content of your program will largely depend on where you choose to study and the social issues present in that location. However, most courses will introduce you to the following fundamentals:

  • Introduction to social policy
  • Social policy and control
  • Health, care and wellbeing
  • Policy analysis
  • Poverty, class and inequality
  • Education, policy and social justice
  • Crime and society
  • Social research
Social policy program structure

Bachelor’s degrees in social policy are normally studied over three years, but some courses will integrate an additional 12-month placement. Although BA and BSc programs cover similar ground, BSc courses will focus more on statistical techniques and data analysis.

Social policy can be combined with another subject and studied as a joint honors course. This is a great way of tailoring your education to reflect your interests and ambitions. Common pairings include politics, economics, sociology and international relations.

Most US universities follow the liberal arts model of education, meaning undergraduate courses last four years. You’ll take general education classes for the first half of your program, before declaring a major in social policy at the end of your second year.

Once you’ve finished your bachelor’s degree, you might decide to enroll in a postgraduate program. Master’s degrees can be studied over one or two years, whereas research-based PhDs take several additional years.

Your timetable will mainly be made up of lectures, seminars, tutorials and discussion-based workshops. Assessment methods will depend on the modules you take, but you’ll probably complete exams, essays and presentations.

The content of your program will largely depend on where you choose to study and the social issues present in that location. However, most courses will introduce you to the following fundamentals:

  • Introduction to social policy
  • Social policy and control
  • Health, care and wellbeing
  • Policy analysis
  • Poverty, class and inequality
  • Education, policy and social justice
  • Crime and society
  • Social research

How to study social policy abroad

  1. University & program search

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Our team of advisors is ready to support you at every step of your study abroad journey.
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Social policy study abroad programs

Social policy undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in social policy

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    Agricultural Economics: Public Policy - BSc University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    27,000 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 27,000 USD

    Start date
    August, June, January
    Show program overview about Agricultural Economics: Public Policy
  • false

    Public Service and Public Policy (Parks and Recreation Management) - BSc Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    29,834 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 29,834 USD

    Start date
    May, January, August
    Show program overview about Public Service and Public Policy (Parks and Recreation Management)
  • false

    Political Science: Public Policy and Law Track - BA Seattle Pacific University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    44,604 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 44,604 USD

    Start date
    January, September, March
    Show program overview about Political Science: Public Policy and Law Track
  • false

    Canadian Public Policy - BA Mount Allison University, Canada

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    14,552 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,200 CAD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Canadian Public Policy
  • false

    Communications and Public Policy - BA St. Thomas University, Canada

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Annual tuition fee
    13,104 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 16,389 CAD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Communications and Public Policy
See all bachelor's degrees in social policy

Associate in social policy

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    Law, Public Policy, and Society (for Transfer) - AA San Jose City College, USA
    • Blended learning

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    8,138 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 8,138 USD

    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about Law, Public Policy, and Society (for Transfer)
  • false

    Liberal Arts & Sciences: Public Policy - ASc Mohawk Valley Community College, USA

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    6,892 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 6,892 USD

    Start date
    September, January
    Show program overview about Liberal Arts & Sciences: Public Policy
See all associate degrees in social policy

Social policy graduate programs

Master's in social policy

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    Commerce (16 subjects) with Social Impact - MComm Charles Sturt University, Melbourne, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    18 months
    Annual tuition fee
    24,699 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 31,936 AUD

    Start date
    March, November, July
    Show program overview about Commerce (16 subjects) with Social Impact
  • false

    Commerce with Social Impact (16 subjects) - MComm Charles Sturt University, Sydney, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    18 months
    Annual tuition fee
    24,699 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 31,936 AUD

    Start date
    March, November, July
    Show program overview about Commerce with Social Impact (16 subjects)
  • false

    Drug Regulatory Affairs - MSc Long Island University Brooklyn, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Annual tuition fee
    21,618 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 21,618 USD

    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about Drug Regulatory Affairs
  • false

    Drug Regulatory Affairs - MSc University of Nicosia, Cyprus
    • Online

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    18 months
    Annual tuition fee
    7,225 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 6,030 EUR

    Start date
    September, February
    Show program overview about Drug Regulatory Affairs
  • false

    Economic Analysis for Public Policy - MCert University of Regina, Canada

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    7,505 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 9,386 CAD

    Start date
    May
    Show program overview about Economic Analysis for Public Policy
See all master's degrees in social policy

Doctorate in social policy

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    Public Policy - PhD University of Regina, Canada

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    11,241 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 14,058 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Public Policy
  • false

    Public Policy - Evaluation and analytic methods - PhD University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    26 months
    Annual tuition fee
    22,896 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 22,896 USD

    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about Public Policy - Evaluation and analytic methods
  • false

    Social Policy - PhD University of Chichester, UK

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Annual tuition fee
    19,298 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 13,950 GBP

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Social Policy
See all doctorates in social policy

Diploma in social policy

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    Public Policy and International Relations - PGDip University of California, Riverside Extension, USA

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    9 months
    Annual tuition fee
    18,200 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 18,200 USD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Public Policy and International Relations
  • false

    Social Policy and Practice - PGDip Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
    • Online

    Program type
    Postgraduate diploma
    Duration
    1 year
    Annual tuition fee
    14,867 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 12,408 EUR

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Social Policy and Practice
See all postgraduate diplomas in social policy

Certificate in social policy

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    Regulatory Affairs - PGCert Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, Canada

    Program type
    Postgraduate certificate
    Duration
    18 months
    Annual tuition fee
    19,660 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 24,588 CAD

    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about Regulatory Affairs
See all postgraduate certificates in social policy

Pathway in social policy

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    Regulatory Affairs for Drugs, Biologics, and Medical Devices (Global Pathways) - PGP Northeastern University, USA

    Program type
    Postgraduate pathway
    Duration
    4 months
    Annual tuition fee
    15,200 USD

    Fee in university's local currency 15,200 USD

    Start date
    March, July, November
    Show program overview about Regulatory Affairs for Drugs, Biologics, and Medical Devices (Global Pathways)
See all postgraduate pathways in social policy

Future social policy careers

As a social policy graduate, you’ll be ready to make a real difference to people’s lives through your daily work.

Your problem solving, critical thinking and analytical skills will be in high demand across a range of sectors, including healthcare, social services, government, education, and charity. Some of the roles you could pursue include:

  • Policy advisor
  • Civil service administrator
  • Social worker
  • Charity officer
  • Housing manager
  • Local government officer
  • Politician
  • International aid worker

If you’re unsure of what to do after graduation, contact your university’s careers service. They’ll help you figure out your interests, land some work experience, and sharpen your resume.