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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

How to study social policy abroad

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  2. Application assistance

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  3. Visa & embassy guidance

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Social policy study abroad programs

Social policy undergraduate programs

Bachelor's in social policy

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    Economics (Public Policy) - BSc St. Francis College, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    26,688 USD
    Start date
    January, May, September
    Show program overview about
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    Public Service and Public Policy (Science and Technology Policy) - BSc Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    29,834 USD
    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about
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    Social Policy - BA University of Birmingham, UK

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    18,420 GBP
    Start date
    September
    Show program overview about
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    Public Policy - BA University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    29,800 USD
    Start date
    January, May, August
    Show program overview about
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    Agricultural Economics: Public Policy - BSc University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

    Program type
    Bachelor's
    Duration
    4 years
    Tuition fees per year
    27,000 USD
    Start date
    January, June, August
    Show program overview about
See all bachelor's degrees in social policy

Associate in social policy

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

    Program type
    Associate
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    6,892 USD
    Start date
    January, September
    Show program overview about
See all associate degrees in social policy

Social policy graduate programs

Master's in social policy

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    Public Policy (Policy Informatics) - MPP Arizona State University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    28,534 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about
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    Regulatory Affairs for Drugs, Biologics, & Medical Devices (Boston Campus) - MSc Northeastern University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    16,155 USD
    Start date
    January
    Show program overview about
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    Public Policy, by coursework - MPP RMIT University, Australia

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    30,720 AUD
    Start date
    February, July
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    Public Policy - Urban policy - MPP University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    22,896 USD
    Start date
    January, August
    Show program overview about
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    Public Policy - MA American University, USA

    Program type
    Master's
    Duration
    2 years
    Tuition fees per year
    44,600 USD
    Start date
    January, August
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See all master's degrees in social policy

Doctorate in social policy

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    Public Policy - Education policy - PhD University of Maryland, Baltimore County, USA

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    22,899 USD
    Start date
    August
    Show program overview about
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    Social Policy - PhD University of Chichester, UK

    Program type
    Doctorate
    Duration
    3 years
    Tuition fees per year
    13,950 GBP
    Start date
    September
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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
    Tuition fees per year
    18,200 USD
    Start date
    September
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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
    Tuition fees per year
    24,588 CAD
    Start date
    September
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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
    Tuition fees per year
    15,200 USD
    Start date
    March, July, November
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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.