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Open Eye: New Masters courses

Getting to grips with two decades of change in social policy is the aim of new higher degrees from the OU's Applied Social Sciences department.

Social movements like feminism and disability rights, radical shifts in government thinking, and academic movements - all have played a part in transforming the study of social policy.

The MA in Social Policy and MA in Social Policy and Criminology are aimed at anyone interested in developing a deeper understanding of those developments, and in thinking creatively about the future of welfare.

Sharon Gewirtz, Lecturer in Social Sciences, pinpointed public attitudes to "experts" as one of the areas where change has been most evident, for example in framing social policy relating to people with disabilities who were traditionally seen as dependants.

"These new approaches to social policy lead you constantly to question and unpack, which has implications for how we view our work, and how we relate to the people for whom we are providing a service," she said.

Aimed particularly at anyone working in health, welfare or education, the Masters core module Rethinking Social Policy, available in May next year, exposes the role of texts in generating our reality and will therefore "help people read policy documents with a different set of lenses", Sharon added.