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Postgraduate Diploma/MSc in Social Policy and Practice

To learn about the course, review the slides below from a recent Social Policy and Practice webinar.


This level 9 academic postgraduate course, delivered online, aims to provide graduates from all disciplines with the opportunity to develop their understanding of the role that social policies play in developing functioning and just societies. A second year leading to a M.Sc. in Social Policy and Practice is available to eligible candidates who have completed the Postgraduate Diploma.

Students will consider the role of social policy in addressing some of the ‘wicked problems’ that contemporary societies face.  Wicked problems are complex interdependent problems such as crime and poverty, which are often resistant to the policy solutions put in place by governments. Students will be exposed to the arguments for developing policy interventions in areas such as social security, health and housing, and the challenges of implementing and changing policy in these areas at a national and global level.

Whether you are interested in social work, social policy, social care, or social change this course will provide you with new knowledge and perspectives. The programme attracts individuals from the public, private and community and voluntary sectors who want a sound grasp of the principles that underpin social policy and social service provision.  This includes those:

  • delivering and managing social service provision  e.g. housing, health, child and family and disability services
  • designing, developing or funding social policy
  • advocating for social policy change
  • who require an understanding of social problems and social policy responses to fulfil their organisation’s corporate social responsibility commitments
  • seeking career change or career development
  • interested in further study

The programme has particular appeal to graduates who wish to pursue a Masters programme in social work, social studies and social policy but who do not have an undergraduate qualification in these fields. This online Postgraduate Diploma can act as a conversion course for such graduates and enhance their application for specialised programme such as a Master in Social Work. The programme will also appeal to applicants from outside Ireland, in particular North America, who wish to study in Ireland’s leading university with expertise in Irish, EU and global social policy.

This course provides students with a stimulating online learning experience by creating a structured yet flexible learning approach. The place of study is flexible as online delivery allows students to engage in learning activities at home or in the workplace and there is no requirement to attend at the Trinity campus in Dublin. Students get weekly online access to learning materials and must study these materials and complete activities set each week by the lecturer. At the end of the week, all students log in at the same time to an online tutorial where they have the opportunity to engage with their fellow students and lecturers.

To find out whether online study is right for you please take our online readiness survey.

Please read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.