Award Type and NFQ level : TAUGHT MASTERS (9)

CAO/PAC code : MHB57

CAO Points :

Closing Date : 31 July 2024

View FETAC details

The MSocSc (Rights & Social Policy) provides advanced study in key and often challenging issues facingsocial policy today. It provides an opportunity for critical study in the application of social policy theory and methodology to policy and practice.

The programme aims to provide students with advanced critical, analytical and research skills in selected substantive areas of social policy, and in the shaping of policy, in contemporary Ireland and more widely. In particular the emphasis is on the interconnections between the themes of rights, recognition and redistribution. Currently, the programme includes taught modules on governance, equality, ageing and criminal justice.

The MSocSc (Rights & Social Policy) will provide graduates with: advanced knowledge in critical social policy theory, studies and perspectives; advanced skills in relation to social policy analysis; high levels of competence in social policy research methods; and a thorough grounded understanding in areas of rights, governance, equality, ageing and criminal justice issues. Graduates will develop and demonstrate proficiency by completing a supervised research dissertation in a chosen area of interest.


Candidates are required to have: a Bachelor of Social Science (Honours) degree with an overall mark of at least 55% or a Bachelor of Arts (Applied Social Studies) (Honours) degree with an overall mark of at least 55% or an honours degree in a related discipline with an overall mark of at least 55%. Candidates meeting the above criteria will be interviewed. Applicants must have a recognised primary degree which is considered equivalent to Irish university primary degree level.

Minimum English language requirements:

Applicants for whom English is not their first language are required to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study. For information about English language tests accepted and required scores, please see here. The requirements specified are applicable for both EU and International applicants.

Maynooth University's TOEFL code is 8850

Applied Social Studies - Seamus Taylor - Maynooth University

Head of Department

Department of Applied Social Studies

Department of ALL Institute

The course is offered on a full-time (1 year) and part-time (2 year) basis. The primary difference between the Full-time and Part-time options is that the dissertation is undertaken in Year 2 of the Part-time option.

Students start semester 1 with a module in equality and inclusion, concepts which underpin all aspects of the programme. Following this students develop policy skills, learning about critical social policy theories, political economy of the welfare state, how to write and influence policy and advanced policy analysis. Using these policy skills students choose from a range of optional modules which allow them to apply the social policy skills to topics of interest to them. Indicative optional modules include 

  • housing inequalities and rights
  • children's rights (from international conventions to local level programmes)
  • gerontological polices and provision for older people
  • gender rights and social policy
  • education inequalities and rights in Ireland
  • criminal justice studies
  • health and mental health policy
  • environmental justice and the impact on citizens
  • human trafficking - a cross-departmental module in which lecturers and learners from policy, criminology and law come together to learn about policies. perspective and debates

Please note: This is an indicative list of optional modules. Every modules may not run every year and you may be asked to select an alternative module from the list.

Course Duration: 2 years part-time

Future career prospects include pursuits in policy analysis and social research organisations, employment in policy development in relevant branches of government, research and policy support roles in third sector organisations that seek to shape policy by engaging with policy-making processes. Former graduates currently hold positions in Government Departments working in policy capacities; in policy advisory positions in the NGO sector, working for both large and small voluntary sector organisations; graduates work in the statutory sector in state agencies and independent advisory bodies. Former students have also joined the programme from a wide range of professions in order to gain policy knowledge which they can take back to their professional role and expand that role in a policy direction.

Online application only

PAC Code
MHB57 Part-time 

The following information should be forwarded to PAC, 1 Courthouse Square, Galway or uploaded to your online application form:

Certified copies of all official transcripts of results for all non-Maynooth University qualifications listed MUST accompany the application. Failure to do so will delay your application being processed. Non-Maynooth University students are asked to provide two academic references and a copy of their birth certificate or valid passport. Applicants will be required to attend for interview as part of the admissions process.

Back to top