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Our MSc Applied Social Science is a framework of awards and offers you applied social science training either in a generic nature or in a number of specialisms:

  • MSc Applied Social Science 
  • MSc Applied Social Science (Civil Society & Public Affairs)
  • MSc Applied Social Science (Criminal Justice & Community Practice)
  • MSc Applied Social Science (Global Social Work & Social Policy)

The Masters prepare you to make a difference in policy communities and, as a research-informed suite of Masters awards, they also provides you with the transferable social science research skills and discipline-specific expertise you need to better understand the:

  • Complexities of society
  • Role of multiple organisations in governance systems

The courses are informed by adopting global perspectives and are designed to connect you with policy-makers and influencers.

Masters Awards & Specialisms

MSc Applied Social Science (Civil Society & Public Affairs)

  • Explores the differences between civil society and public affairs (theory and practice) across a range of countries in a comparative perspective

MSc Applied Social Science (Criminal Justice & Community Practice)

  • Explores theoretical and practical criminology at an advanced level from a contemporary perpscetive

MSc Applied Social Science (Global Social Work & Social Policy)

  • Explores current issues and developments in welfare and social work in a global context (eg war, assylum, immigration, trafficking)

MSc Applied Social Science 

  • Build your own of programme of study to suit your development needs and career aspirations
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Real World Focus

Our Masters courses are designed for a range of students: those seeking a qualification for employment; those already pursuing careers who seek to gain further personal development; and those wishing to pursue academic or research-orientated careers in the social sciences.

Our academics will use their research knolwedge, and practical skills and expertise to ensure that you are exposed to the perfect blend of theory and practice. You will even have the oppprtunity to enhance your CV by undertaking a work-based project as part of your dissertation.

Career Prospects

Our graduates have gone on to take up employment within the public and private sectors including (but not restricted to) social research roles, advocacy, programme management, policy analysis, and evaluation. There are also opportunities for graduates to commence PhD research.

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Don't take our word for it

Completing the MSc in Applied Social Science (Criminal Justice) at UWS has given me the skills and experience to develop, immensely, both academically and personally, and to pursue a career in research. In particular, being given the opportunity to complete a practice-based dissertation in collaboration with Police Scotland was a fantastic and unique opportunity to conduct meaningful ‘real-world’ research and has helped transform me into a more confident researcher. The course offered me the flexibility to pursue my own academic interests in greater depth alongside expert, helpful staff. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the course to anyone looking to further explore their interests within the social sciences, or to those building a career in policy, practice or research.

Conor Wilson, 2018 graduate

Entry Requirements

What qualifications do you need?

We welcome Scottish, UK and international students and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Don’t worry if your qualifications are not listed here, we take a range of factors into account when assessing your application and are happy to consider other alternative combinations of qualifications and experience

If you are applying with an EU or non-EU qualification, please check our Postgraduate Entry Requirements page which gives more information about country-specific entry requirements.

Academic Requirements

You should hold a relevant Honours degree at 2:2 or above in any of the subjects below: 

  • Any social science 
  • Medicine 
  • Health 
  • Law
  • Social work

You will also be considered if you have a degree in another discipline or other professional training or experience relevant to course specialisms. In order to demonstrate your academic ability you will be required to complete written work and may be invited to attend an interview prior to acceptance.

If you are an overseas student then you must also meet UWS English language requirements.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for most courses

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level. The qualifications below must have been gained within two years of the start of your course.

General English language requirements at UWS: International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training)

  • overall score 6.0
  • no sub-test less than 5.5

Common equivalent English language qualifications

All stated English tests are acceptable for admission for both home/EU and international students for this programme:

  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall; no sub-test less than 169
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII with the minimum of a Pass in all sub-tests
  • PTE Pearson Academic English: An overall score of 54 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5). An overall score 61 with no element below 51 (for programmes that require IELTS 6.5 with no element below 6.0)


IELTS Score Exceptions (DBA, Certificate of Higher Education, PhD, etc.)

For our research degrees (MRes, MPhil, PhD, DBA, DProf), applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0

For Health, Nursing & Midwifery courses that lead to professional registration with the Nursing & Midwifery Council, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 7.0
  • no sub-test less than 7.0

For our Certificate of Higher Education courses, applicants are required to have an IELTS score as follows:

  • overall score of 5.0
  • no sub-test less than 4.5



TOEFL IBT*: 78; no sub-test less than:

  • Reading: 17;
  • Listening: 17;
  • Speaking: 17;
  • Writing: 17

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.


West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE)

West African Senior School Certificate of Education (WASSCE) including acceptance of WAEC Scratchcard*

  • C6 or above in English

*UWS will accept a WAEC scratchcard confirming that an applicant has achieved C6 or above as evidence of meeting English language requirement from Nigeria if the student graduated within the last 5 years. After 5 years applicants would be required to provide the WAEC Certificate.


Pre-sessional courses

Applicants who do not meet the minimum English language requirements have the option to study one of our preparatory and pre-sessional English courses. The UWS courses available are:

  • 10 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.0 with no element below 4.5.
  • 5 week pre-sessional - entry criteria UKVI IELTS 5.5 with no element below 5.5.
  • English Language for University Study - entry criteria UKVI IELTS with score of 4.0 in all elements (10 month course), or 4.5 with no score below 4.0 (7 month course).

Course details

You can study for the MSc in Applied Social Science or opt for a specialist named degree. 

Core modules

Core modules include:

  • Social Research Today 
  • Contemporary Social Issues 
  • Research Methods 
  • Dissertation

Students of the generic Applied Social Science course can also study three specialist electives. You can also specialise within a particular pathway by virtue of the topic/supervision related to the Master's dissertation.

Core modules of specialist named degrees

For students studying for the various named degrees, specialist modules offered include:

Civil Society and Public Affairs: 

  • Theories of State and Civil Society 
  • Politics, Power and Civil Society 
  • Policy Analysis and Practice


Criminal Justice and Community Practice: 

  • Comparative Penology 
  • Applied Criminal Justice
  • Policy Analysis and Practice


Global Social Work and Social Policy: 

  • Comparative Social Policy 
  • Social Work in a Global Context 
  • Policy Analysis and Practice

Teaching & Assessment

Learning is within an international context and research underpins all modules across the course. You have the opportunity to work with academics and external partners on research projects.

Your skills development and employability are embedded throughout assessments. Academics who teach on the course draw on their research networks for the benefit of your experience through a combination of field trips to external organisations and the use of guest speakers from external bodies.

Content Structure

Find out more about the structure, learning outcomes, compulsory and optional modules in this course.

MSc Applied Social Science Course Structure

UWS Postgraduate Student

Career Prospects

Graduates find careers in various specialist roles particularly related to research, campaigning and advocacy across public, private, voluntary and charity sectors.

Part-time students may already be working in roles related to the specialist study areas and use the MSc for career advancement.

Postgraduate Tuition Fees

Scottish campuses non-lab-based 2018/19

Scottish & EU

£5,500 per year of study

English, Northern Irish & Welsh

£5,500 per year of study

Channel Islands & Isle of Man

£5,500 per year of study

International (Non-EU)

£10,600 per year of study

More on current & future tuition fees

Additional Costs & Sources of Funding

The cost of attending university is an investment in your future career.

In addition to tuition fees and living expenses, some courses involve extra costs like study materials, field trips, equipment and uniforms.

Fortunately, there is a great deal of financial support available to help students meet the cost of their study. This ranges from:

  • statutory government loans to pay for tuition fees
  • scholarships for Scottish, EU and International (non-EU) students
  • bursaries to help towards living expenses

The sections below provide details of additional costs that your course may involve along with any financial support that may be available.

You can also find additional information in our Postgraduate Money, Fees & Funding section.

Additional Costs

Students on certain degrees will incur some additional costs not covered by their tuition fees. These could be for things like specialist equipment, study materials, work placements, graduation, membership of relevant organisations or costs related to carrying out fieldwork.

For students on course with an element of fieldwork, there may also be extra costs for travel and accommodation.

Please contact the course leader for details of the additional costs associated with this course.

Tuition Fees & Living Cost Support

Tuition Fees & Additional Costs

Tuition fees are calculated based on where you are from and what you are studying. Some courses also involve additional costs, such as mandatory field trips, equipment or studying abroad.

Find out how much it will cost you to study at UWS as a postgraduate student.

Funding for Scottish Students

Scottish students studying at postgraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for English, Welsh & Norther Irish Students

English, Welsh and Northern Irish students studying at postgraduate level at UWS are entitled to various funds and support towards tuition fees and living costs.

Find out more.

Funding for EU Students

EU students studying at postgraduate level of UWS may be eligible for SAAS funding, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find our more.

Funding for International Students

There are several scholarship and incentive schemes available to international students studying at postgraduate level at UWS, as well as support to meet the costs of childcare and various sources of additional funding.

Find out more.

Other Financial Support

Discretionary & Childcare Funds

UWS administer a range of discretionary and childcare funds. These are designed to support students who are experiencing financial difficulty or struggling to meet the costs of childcare.

Find out more.

Benefits & Tax Credits

Becoming a student can have an impact on your entitlement to certain benefits. It may mean you are no longer eligible to claim a benefit you have been receiving, or your new income from student funding may affect the amount you are able to receive.

Find out more.

Additional Financial Support

If there isn’t a statutory source of funding for you or your course, or you are in need of additional financial support, you may wish to consider more alternative sources of funding such as trust funds and scholarships.

Find out more.

Money & Debt Advice

Choosing to become a student can have a big impact on your budget and you may need to reassess your spending to account for a reduced income. We’ve put together some guidance to help you manage your money and make the right financial choices for you and your family.

Find out more.

How to apply

Postgraduate courses (MA, MSc, MEd, MBA, DBA, PG Cert, PG Dip, etc.) & some Post-experience courses (CertHE, BA, Grad Cert, Grad Dip, etc.)

All students should apply directly to the University through our online application system. Before you apply, you should check that you meet our entry requirements and you should have all your supporting documents ready.

The first stage of the process is to create a profile; you don't have to complete the application in one session - you can complete it in stages by saving each section and return to complete it at a later date.

You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.

Most courses don't have a formal closing date, but they will close when they are full; apply early to avoid disappointment. There may also be funding deadlines that apply to you.

Before you begin your application, it is important to read the Postgraduate & Post-Experience application step-by-step guide for a smooth process.


An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

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Research at UWS

With cutting edge facilities, specialist knowledge and world-leading and internationally excellent expertise, we aim to develop research outputs that have a tangible, early and positive impact on society across the globe.


We will always try to make sure that we publish accurate course information but we do not accept responsibility for any mistakes or omissions. We will also try to make sure that we deliver our courses in line with our published information. However, we may not always be able to do so and you can find further information about this in our enrolment terms and conditions.