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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Programme Overview

Social Policy at the Graduate School of Social and Political Science is a well established research programme hosted by the top Social Policy unit in Scotland. Usually undertaken full-time over three years, or part-time over six years, the PhD in Social Policy is a research degree in which students make an original contribution to our knowledge by pursuing an extended and focused piece of research on a topic of interest to them.

The programme caters for a diverse range of students including: those with a background in research and/or social and political studies; students from other backgrounds seeking to convert in order to access positions in the public, private and voluntary sectors; part-time students in employment in a range of public and voluntary bodies; and international students seeking a comparative academic perspective on policy issues.

Supervision and Support

We have a vibrant, welcoming and cosmopolitan community of over 40 MSc by Research and PhD students. Supervision is provided by social policy members of staff and, where appropriate, joint supervision with other subject areas (e.g. Politics, Sociology, and Law) and research centres (e.g. the Centre for Research in Families and Relationships).

All our postgraduate students are encouraged to take an active role and a cornerstone of our thriving research environment is the opportunity for discussion and debate. To support this ethos we run a wide ranging programme of seminars and events, as well as weekly coffee breaks and trips to the pub with staff and students.


Postgraduate degrees in Social Policy can be used as a gateway to a range of employment opportunities and further study. Previous graduates in Social Policy have secured internships and permanent positions at governmental, non-governmental, educational and commercial institutions across the globe.

Edinburgh University Careers Service offers support to all students and graduates of up to two years and has specific advice and information for postgraduate students. Whether you want to research a specific occupation or employer, explore further study options, get help with a CV, application form or interview, find out about current vacancies, or talk to someone in greater depth about your ideas, you can access the service by dropping in to 33 Buccleuch Place, calling 0131 650 4670, or having a look at their website.

Contact Us

Professor Richard Freeman

Postgraduate Advisor in Social Policy


Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4680

For application queries contact the Graduate School.