Civil Society and Public Affairs is one of the areas of specialisation offered under the Applied Social Science MSc programme. Key features of the programme:


  • Focus on undertaking social science research at an advanced level within an area of specialism
  • Research underpins all modules across the programme
  • Learning is couched within an international context
  • Students have the opportunity to work with academics and external partners on research projects
  • Skills development and employability are embedded throughout assessments


The programme equips students for employment in a number of sectors in the public and private sectors including social research roles, advocacy,  programme management, policy analysis, and evaluation (to name a few). The programme supports students to develop links with future employers. Students may also seek to undertake doctoral studies after completing the Masters programme.


Academics who teach on the programme draw on their research networks for the benefit of the student experience through a combination of field trips to external organisations and the use of guest speakers from external bodies. The programme team support students to develop their own networks and to explore the potential for placement activities and the co-production of Masters projects with external organisations (where appropriate).


The pathway structure of the programme and academic support available to students allows for personalised curriculum and experience.  The programme is flexible allowing for part-time and full-time study, while also blending on campus, and on-line delivery techniques. On-campus teaching will be grouped around one day per week (where possible) so that students have time to undertake research and knowledge exchange activities throughout a typical week.


A range of transferable skills are enhanced by studying this programme. These include the ability to:

  • Gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources.
  • Identify, investigate, analyse, formulate and advocate solutions to problems.
  • Construct reasoned argument, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement.
  • Reflect on their own learning and seek and make use of constructive feedback.
  • Manage their own learning self-critically.
  • Recognise the importance of explicit referencing and the ethical requirements of study which requires critical and reflective use of information and communications technology in the learning process.
  • Communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing.
  • Use communication and information technology, including audio-visual

technology, for the retrieval and presentation of information, including, where appropriate, statistical or numerical information.

  • Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time

management, progressing through the degree programme to become an independent learner.

  • Collaborate with others to achieve common goals through, for example,

group work, group projects, group presentations.

Specialism in Civil Society and Public Affairs develops students’ knowledge, understanding and critical engagement with key issues, trends, processes and developments in civil society and public affairs, locally and internationally. The relationship between civil society and public affairs are explored in theory and practice across a range of countries in comparative perspective. Emphasis is placed on understanding the linkages between different levels of governance – from local to global. Processes of governance, democracy, policy-making and delivery, and social movements will be covered in-depth. The degree is ideal for students with a social science background in politics, public policy, sociology and social policy, or those interested in studying, or working in, civil society campaigning and advocacy organisations.

Student learning journey

Mode of study: Full-time (1 year) or Part-time (2 years)

Other potential exit awards: PgCert (60 credits); Pg Dip (120 credits)

The typical full-time student journey through the MSc in Civil Society & Public Affairs:


Trimester 1               Trimester 2             Trimester 3
Social Research Today

(20 credits  - core)

Contemporary Social Issues

(20 credits  - core)

Research Methods

(20 credits  - core)

Power, Politics and Civil Society or Civil Society and Peacebuilding

(20 credits)


(60 credits  - core for full MSc)

Theories of State and Civil Society

(20 credits)

Policy Analysis & Practice

(20 credits)