Study Social Research & Policy

Learn the Science of Policymaking & How it Impacts our Society

At UNSW, Social Research and Policy is a broad area of study concerned with both the methods used to study social issues and the policy interests of our community. Academics in this field are concerned with research methods and the analysis of social policy to develop deeper insights into the decisions and forces of influence that shape action within specific policy fields.

UNSW researchers in Social Research and Policy are motivated to better understand broader governance processes and how we may effectively advocate for change. Research might include disability policy, housing policy, development policy, economic policy and regulatory policy within specific industrial or social sectors.

Policymaking plays a vital role in the management of change across society, offering a set of tools and mechanisms for coordinating complex environments. Policy structures the interests of stakeholders throughout civil society and is an area of contest and debate in democratic societies.

Policy informs every field of practice, and with rising expectations of sophisticated, evidence-based policy, there is a need for well-trained policy analysts and researchers in government, business, and social and political organisations. Research and teaching in Social Research and Policy appeals to professionals:

  • in government developing public policy and delivering public services
  • in the NGO sector advocating for change, representing community interests and sharing in the delivery of services that meet a public policy objective
  • who contribute to policy frameworks that shape regulatory governance in industry

Study with Us

The Bachelor of Social Research and Policy is your gateway to researching, analysing and advocating for progress in government and the community. This degree will give you knowledge and skills in research and analysis that are needed to understand complex social, environmental and economic problems.

Sample Courses 

Vocational Placements

We offer third-year students with structured and supported vocational placement to develop their professional skills and gain an understanding of organisational contexts. These placements provide strategic linkages to UNSW Research Centres and Institutes, plus contexts beyond the university.

Major Social Research Project

This project draws together the research and analytical skills necessary for research and policy-related work. Major social research includes preparation of a research proposal, literature review and the completion of a research project embodying the results of the study.

Studying Honours in the School of Social Science offers the chance to develop your research and professional skills. Students are guided by staff who are passionate about research and the development of new researchers.

Honours indicates to employers, selection committees and postgraduate training institutions that graduates were at the top of their year. The research produced by an Honours student can set them apart from other graduates because of the skills developed, and the extended engagement in a relevant field of study.

Master of Public Policy & Governance 

The Master of Public Policy and Governance at UNSW provides specialist studies in public policy and management; public administration and public governance of services at the local, national and international level. 

Professional Doctorate in Public Policy & Governance

The new Professional Doctorate in Public Policy and Governance at UNSW is designed for policymakers seeking leadership roles in public policy development. This postgraduate degree combines postgraduate research study in advanced policy work with doctoral research. 

UNSW Arts & Social Sciences offer our Postgraduate Research candidates research through supervision with leading academics to produce an original body of work.

Organisational units