Course information


Provider: School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin

Address: School of Social Work and Social Policy, Room 3063, Arts Building, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 2


Contact: Dr Louise Caffrey

Title: Course Director


Telephone: 01 8963708

Category F : Distance learning or online courses

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.


This programme will give students an understanding of the role of social policy in engaging with some of the ‘wicked problems’ that contemporary societies face. These are complex interdependent problems such as responses to crime and poverty, policy issues which are often resistant to the 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.

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 will have access to weekly materials using a virtual learning environment and the opportunity to engage with other students and lecturers using discussion boards.

Students will take seven core modules totalling 60 ECTS. Modules cover subjects such as contemporary debates in social policy, the family and society, criminology, disability studies and social work.

Target Group

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.

Entry Requirement

The programme is open to graduates from all disciplines who are interested in converting to the field of applied social studies. Successful applicants will hold a level 8 degree in any subject at a minimum of Upper Second Class Honours degree (2.2).

Selection Procedure

For information about the course, see

The Postgraduate Diploma in Social Policy and Practice is a level 9 postgraduate diploma offered as a one year online programme.
As per course syllabus.
Trinity College Dublin

This course was run for the first time in 2014

Dates / Availability
For further information contact: Laura Cusack, Course Administrator,, 01-896 2001
EU students: €6,502, Non-EU students: €12,408, Application fee: €35 (to be paid online)