Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation

We offer two Masters courses in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation (EBSIPE):

  • MSc in EBSIPE (1 year)
  • MPhil in EBSIPE (2 year)

In all societies, policies are developed and professionals from a range of disciplines and backgrounds intervene to ameliorate social problems in areas as diverse as mental health, child protection and support for parents, education, social security, housing, refugees, care for increasing numbers of vulnerable elders, substance misusers, delinquent young people or those affected by HIV and AIDS. The practical imperative of ensuring effective use of finite resources, together with an ethical imperative to demonstrate that intervention is doing more good than harm, require that practice be based on sound evidence.

The courses in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation emphasises research methods for evaluating interventions and policies, as well as the advanced study of evidence-based practice, with, for example, children and families, people with mental health problems, refugees, drug users, HIV prevention and young offenders. The course has an interdisciplinary and international prospective.

There are two distinct pathways structured around a shared core that enable students to focus on the evaluation of micro level social interventions or macro level social policies.

The shared core comprises courses on research design, statistics, qualitative analysis and critical appraisal.  The courses prepare students to be critical consumers of research, and to design and implement their own research projects. It covers key research designs as well as quantitative and qualitative techniques for measuring process and outcome. There is a particular emphasis on appraisal and design of randomised controlled trials, quasi-random experimentation and systematic reviews, and their application to social interventions and policy evaluation.

Students will then select one of the following pathways:

  • The Evidence-Based Social Intervention pathway covers theories underlying intervention (e.g. cognitive behavioural, ecological); ethical issues; major applications of evidence based approaches; and challenges in applying and disseminating research into practice and policy. There is also a specialist systematic reviewing course in term two, which helps students to develop their own review, as part of their degree.

  • The Policy Evaluation pathway introduces students to social policy analysis and to advanced methods of policy evaluation.  Policy analysis examines the process of policy making, the setting of objectives, the choice and design of policy and the mechanisms of implementation, while the advanced methods component provides students with the methodological tools to determine how effective policies are in practice or prospect.

In addition, students take one or two specialist courses (depending on whether you are studying the MSc or MPhil) from a list of options focusing on a particular social policy area or the application of evidence-based intervention with specific client groups, including Children and Families; Prevention of HIV and AIDS; Community Analysis and Intervention; plus options offered by the Comparative Social Policy course. Teaching in some options may not be available every year.

Students on both pathways will write a thesis on a topic agreed with their supervisor.  Assessment of the taught courses is based on project work and two three hour written examination papers.

For an overview of the courses and more information about studying with us and to hear from students on our courses please visit the e-brochure.

Structure of the Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation Masters courses

Course element

MSc

MPhil

Core papers in either Evidence-Based Social Intervention or Policy Evaluation taught via a series of lectures and classes.

Examined through a written exam

Examined through a written exam

Research Design and Methods taught via classes, seminars and workshops.

Examined through written submissions

Examined through written submissions

Option papers provide the opportunity to explore a particular social policy area or the application of evidence-based intervention with specific client groups, including Children and Families; Prevention of HIV and AIDS; Community Analysis and Intervention and the options available to students on the Comparative Social Policy courses.

One option taken, examined through a written exam.

Two options taken, examined through a written exam.

Thesis on a topic agreed with your supervisor

Design and write a 10,000 word thesis

Design and write a 30,000 word thesis

Oxford 1+1 MBA programme

This course is offered as part of the Oxford 1+1 MBA programme. High calibre candidates have the opportunity to apply to both the Comparative Social Policy MSc course and the MBA course offered by the Saïd Business School. For more information, visit the SBS website.

These courses can be part of a 1+3 ESRC University Doctoral Training Centre scholarship. Find out more on the Social Sciences DTC website.

The TrygFonden Scholarship is available for students resident in Denmark studying the MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation.