Utrecht University

Social Policy and Public Health, M.Sc.

  • Application Deadline
  • 12 months
  • English
This Social Policy and Public Health Master's programme will be the successor of the former Social Policy and Social Interventions at the Utrecht University. Do you ever wonder why mothers are more likely than fathers to work part-time and care for their children? Or why some countries oblige unemployment benefit recipients to follow strict activation requirements while others do not? 


Maybe you’ve thought about what the expected and real-life benefits and challenges of the decentralization of care are? Or how societies are changing as a result of increasing cultural diversity and social inequality?

If you are interested in studying such issues, this one-year Social Policy and Public Health Master's programme offered by Utrecht University is for you. You will develop knowledge about interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives on social policy and interventions, which will help you gain in-depth insight into the methodology and skills needed to research social policy and intervention issues in the domain of health and wellbeing, in particular related to work, care and participation. 

More specifically, you will look into problems such as:

  • Combining work and care
  • (Youth) unemployment
  • Social and cultural diversity
  • Social inequality and exclusion
  • Social care and participation

At the Utrecht University you will also study people's strategies for dealing with social risks, including:

  • Life-long learning
  • Labour market mobility
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Innovative care networks
  • Multicultural collaborative efforts
  • Cultural diversity and integration
  • Neighborhood initiatives

This will be done by combining knowledge from the behavioural and social sciences.

Research-led teaching

The academic staff in our faculty participate in a wide variety of research projects into the problems that are central to this Master's programme, including themes as diverse as:

  • Social justice and social wellbeing
  • Capabilities for combining work and care
  • Youth and parenting in risk societies
  • Social innovation in social care
  • Social influence in health behaviours
  • Social diversity, health and wellbeing
  • Interethnic relations, cultural diversity and integration
  • Health communication and health promotion

International programme

Our Master’s programme is truly an international programme, in both its teaching and its orientation. Many of the problems focused on in this Master's programme have a strong European or global dimension, such as: ageing and care, migration and ethnic relationships, individualization and solidarity, gender and sexual diversity, and social environments and health. The same goes for the policy and intervention approaches that are used to tackle these issues. You will find that this international perspective is a key feature of the programme. You will learn to take this international perspective in a global teaching environment, with staff and students from the Netherlands, Europe and beyond.


In addition to its international, comparative perspective, the programme is also characterized by its interdisciplinary and multi-method approach. This international, interdisciplinary and multi-method focus also applies to the research you will undertake for your master’s thesis, as well as in the exploration of professional practices. In your research, you will draw on a combination of scientific perspectives from the behavioural and social sciences, in particular psychology, sociology, and cultural anthropology. In exploring professional practices, you will also draw on a combination of scientific perspectives, through a focus on social policies, mostly informed by social science, and interventions, mostly grounded in behavioural sciences.

Programme objective

This Master's programme is intended to enable you to become an academic professional. As a graduate of the Social Policy and Public Health programme, you will be able to study social problems from an interdisciplinary and comparative perspective. You will also have acquired the professional and academic skills necessary to design, implement, and evaluate social policies and interventions. These skills will allow you to pursue a career as a social scientist, working with government agencies, social service organizations, civil society organizations, or private sector companies.



  • Policymaker at the municipal, provincial or national level
  • Researcher (e.g., evaluation researcher, applied researcher)
  • Quality assurance expert
  • Consultant

Where will you work?

  • Governmental authority (national, provincial or municipal)
  • Companies
  • Social welfare institutions, NGOs
  • Private or not-for-profit organisations in the social sector
  • Care organisations
  • Institutes for research, knowledge development, or the application and implementation of scientific knowledge of issues with regard to labour, care, and participation

(Such institutions and organisations include Movisie Netherlands Centre for Social Development, Trimbos Netherlands Institute for Mental Health and Addiction, SCP Netherlands Institute for Social Research, Verwey-Jonker Institute for Social Scientific Research, and (research groups of) universities (of applied sciences) focused on the social sector.

What will your work entail? Some examples include:

  • As a policymaker at a municipal council, you will, for instance, be in charge of supervising the transition in youth care.
  • As a consultant in a renowned commercial bureau, you will advise governmental agencies on social policy.
  • As an HRM staff member, you will contribute to the staff policy of a major bank.
  • As an evaluation researcher at a social organization, you oversee evaluations of recently implemented policies and interventions across diverse welfare topics.


 Accredited by the NVAO - Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders

Programme Structure

Courses Included

  • Interventions and Policies I: Practice Orientation  
  • Social Risks in Europe: Protection, Activation and Diversity 
  • Interventions and Policies II: Research Orientation  
  • Key Issues in Social Policy 
  • Academic Professional SPSI
  • Elective Course
  • Master Project SPSI: Practical Internship and Thesis
For more information, please check the programme website.

                  Detailed Programme Facts

                  • More details:

                    For non-EU applicants only: if you need an early admissions decision in order to apply for scholarships, you should submit your application before February 1.

                  • Programme intensity Full-time
                    • Full-time duration 12 months
                  • Credits
                    60 ECTS
                  • Languages
                    • English
                  • Delivery mode
                    On Campus
                  • More information Go to the programme website

                  English Language Requirements

                  You only need to take one of these language tests:

                  • Minimum required score:


                    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

                    Book IELTS
                  • Minimum required score (Grade B):


                    The CAE test – or the Cambridge Advanced English – is an exam for applicants who wish to get a Certificate in Advanced English. To receive the Advanced certificate, test-takers must score between 142 and 210 on the Cambridge English: Advanced test. Read more about CAE.

                    Note: degree programmes and applications may require a more specific minimum score for admission.

                  • Minimum required score:


                    The TOEFL – or Test Of English as a Foreign Language – offers an internet-based test (iBT). The final, overall iBT score ranges between 0 and 120, and includes a scaled average from the four components (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). Read more about TOEFL (iBT).

                  Academic Requirements

                  Besides TOEFL, IELTS and CAE, also Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE - at least Grade C) is accepted as a proof of English Proficiency.

                  In order to be accepted to this Master’s programme, you need to have acquired these competencies:

                  • Social science theories
                  • Social issues, social policy and social interventions in public health
                  • Research methods, statistics and analytical techniques

                  Requested previous education

                  Effectively, this means that students with a Bachelor’s degree within the social sciences from a non-Dutch university that fulfils the above requirements in terms of level, orientation and scope may be admissible. Final admission will be decided on by the Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee will determine your competencies based on the documentation you provide.

                  You are able to express yourself in proficient English, both orally and in written text, as evidenced by your motivation letter and/or writing sample, and the interview that is part of the selection procedure.

                  Tuition Fee

                  • International Applies to you

                    15575 EUR/year
                    Tuition Fee
                    Based on the original amount of 15575 EUR for the full programme and a duration of 12 months.
                  • EU/EEA Applies to you

                    2060 EUR/year
                    Tuition Fee
                    Based on the original amount of 2060 EUR for the full programme and a duration of 12 months.
                  We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

                  For more information about tuition fees and exemptions have a look at the programme website.

                  Living costs for Utrecht

                  • 900 - 1450 EUR/month
                    Living Costs

                  The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


                  Scholarships, fellowships, and grants offered by Utrecht University, the Dutch government, and other organisations can help fund your studies at the university.  You can begin your search for funding by reviewing the list below, which contains some of the scholarships and loans available to international students:

                  • Utrecht Excellence Scholarships
                  • Holland Scholarships
                  • Orange Tulip Scholarships
                  • Canadian student loans
                  • Fulbright / NAF
                  • US Federal Loans
                  • Erasmus+ Master loans

                  StudyPortals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

                  The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

                  Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, StudyPortals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.