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What Can You Do with a Master's Degree in Social Policy?

by Alison Green

Pursing a master’s degree in social policy shapes your theoretical and practical understanding of social issues, such as health, welfare and employment reforms. Besides developing your logical thinking and critical-evaluation skills, this degree program affords you an opportunity to secure a job in a variety of sectors, including public administration, education, research, health and social work. You can work as a university instructor, social researcher, housing adviser or human resources manager.

Researching Social Issues

Social researchers develop and test theories on a wide range of topics, including gender, crime, migration and transport. For example, a social researcher working in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can investigate causes of disparities in accessing quality education and identify ways to address the issue. This might involve applying research techniques such as document analysis, case studies, face-to-face and questionnaire interviews and surveys to gather information crucial to compiling a conclusive research report. Social researchers can also work in for-profit research firms.

Providing Housing Solutions

Adequate and affordable housing is vital to the well-being of individuals. Local authorities and housing associations hire housing managers to develop housing solutions for minority groups and people with disabilities. If a natural disaster displaces a community, for example, a housing adviser uses her problem-solving skills and knowledge of welfare reforms to assess the needs of homeless families and recommend appropriate solutions, such as establishing cheap housing schemes. Housing managers also work for commercial accommodation providers where they set rents, interview tenants and interpret leasehold agreements.

Managing Human Labor

Given that social policy encompasses disciplines such as labor economics, poverty and human welfare, professionals with a postgraduate degree in this field can qualify for human resource management jobs. Typical HR areas that require application of social policy include labor conditions, working hours and compensation, social insurance and benefits packages. A human resource manager working in a residential care facility, for example, ensures the elderly can access government-sponsored social insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare for health care or monetary compensation.

Advising Boards

Arts administration involves facilitating daily operations of organizations like museums, theaters and art galleries. With a master’s degree in social policy, you can be hired as a senior-level arts administrator to advise company boards and senior managers on issues relating to federal and state public policy, community welfare and public relations, according to the American Planning Association. For example, an arts administrator working in a museum may advise the management on beneficial community initiatives, such as establishing an arts school to educate students on historical and cultural practices of the community.

About the Author

Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.

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