MSc Wellbeing in Public Policy and International Development

Qualifications and durations
  • Full-time MSc 1 year
  • Full-time PG Diploma 9 months
  • Full-time PG Certificate 4 months
  • Part-time MSc 2 to 5 years
  • Part-time PG Diploma 21 months


This MSc has been developed to reflect the increasing interest in ‘wellbeing’ from academic and policy circles in both developed and developing countries. The programme moves the debate on international development from a debate about ‘development’ to a debate on wellbeing and social justice. The programme provides students with the theoretical underpinnings of the concept of wellbeing and its policy implications and develops conceptual tools for the critical analysis of contemporary development debates from a wellbeing perspective.

The MSc Wellbeing in Public Policy and International Development is therefore distinctive from existing degrees in that:

  • it deals explicitly with conceptual and normative aspects of international development and social policy arising from the wellbeing discourse
  • it approaches international development with perspectives from psychology and ethics
  • it enables insights from ‘development studies’ to be brought to the context of developed countries as a means of addressing the analytical divide that has existed between the study of ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ nations
  • it analyses the specific aspects of ‘globalisation’ which relate to social justice and the struggle of each human being to attain a decent level of wellbeing.

Programme structure

Core Units:

  • Wellbeing: concepts, measures & policy
  • Wellbeing assessment in public policy and development practice
  • Academic research skills and dissertation preparation
  • Ethics and public policy
  • Wellbeing & human development: masters dissertation

Optional Units:

  • Advanced policy analysis
  • The politics of policy in international perspective: actors, arenas and conflict
  • Foundations of international development
  • Comparative European social policy
  • Economics for international development
  • Sociology & social anthropology of development
  • Policy & politics of developing countries
  • Critical skills for international development and policy research
  • International corporate social responsibility: principles and practice
  • The politics of sustainability: environmental security and international relations
  • Critical issues in social development
  • Comparative research methods
  • Governing contemporary societies
  • Management of development (MID)
  • Political economy of globalisation
  • World politics: conflict, security & development
  • Natural resources and sustainability
  • Wellbeing in public policy and international development: extended essay
  • Wellbeing assessment research project
  • Policy evaluation: methods and techniques
  • South Asia regional research specialism
  • Africa regional research specialism
  • Latin America regional research specialism

Students can also study other units offered by the Department of Social & Policy Sciences or other Departments subject to Director of Studies approval.

View Programme & Unit Catalogue for further information.

Some of these units can be taken independently as part of our Continuing Professional Development programme.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • First or 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate subject, from a recognised university. or
  • an equivalent degree in another subject, together with substantial relevant work experience.

Underlying these conditions is a belief that students must bring a minimum combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience to the programme.

English Language requirements

Certificates must be dated to within two years of the start of the programme of study.

  • IELTS 7.0 (with not less than 6.5 in each of the four components)
  • TOEFL 100 (internet-based test) with not less than 24 in each of the components.

If you wish to improve your English proficiency before commencing your studies, pre-sessional language training can be arranged through the English Language Centre.


  • Two references are required. At least one of these must be an academic reference.

Read details for how to apply to study.

Financial information


Potential sources of funding


We suggest you apply before the following dates if you wish to study this programme:

  • 30 June 2014 for International Students (who need to apply for a UK Visa).
  • 31 August 2014 for Home/EU students.
  • Funding deadlines for Studentships and Scholarships


Tel: +44 (0)1225 38 6634

Related links


Main areas of research

We are an internationally-recognised research-intensive department with a strong focus on policy and practice and a commitment to contribute to social wellbeing and social justice.

We draw together academic staff with backgrounds in Social Policy, Sociology, Social Work and International Development and work closely with colleagues in Psychology, Economics, and Health.

We also have an active and vibrant community of research students undertaking their own research alongside our academic staff.

Research Centres

Research themes

Our five research themes are:

Departmental Staff

Find out more about our staff and their research interests.


The Department of Social & Policy Sciences includes academics from social policy, sociology, social work and international development.

The international excellence of our research was recognised by the award of the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011. We were also graded 2nd in the country for Social Work and Social Policy and Administration in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). The 2008 RAE exercise recognised the Department for its top 4*(star) research - 'quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour'.

International Development staff were part of the submission to the Development Studies research panel that was ranked 4th in the country.

We are committed to advancing learning and knowledge through teaching and research. Our Department collaborates with a wide range of users at the local, national, European and global levels.

Postgraduate programmes

We offer a wide range of postgraduate programmes. Our postgraduate teaching strongly reflects our research and our links to policy-makers and development institutions at the national, European and global level.

Our Department also has an active MPhil/PhD research programme. We take great pride in fostering a friendly and supportive learning environment.

Seminar series

We run a lively and well attended postgraduate research seminar series. Each of the Research Centres run seminar series and conferences associated with their research activities. The University of Bath also has a Research in the World public lecture series where key national and international academics are invited to speak.

Careers information

We are committed to ensuring that postgraduate students acquire a range of subject-specific and generic skills during their training. Our graduates generally go on to work in a wide variety of organisations, for example:

  • social research in universities and research institutes, government, business, voluntary organisations and international organisations
  • public policy analysis at local, national and international levels
  • public information and campaigning within organisations concerned with wellbeing, sustainability and social justice.