1 year full time
Starts September 2017


Ageing, cultural and collective sources of wellbeing, children, migration, spirituality, place, health and mental health in relation to wellbeing – you have the opportunity to explore diverse topics on this course.

This MRes provides a strong grounding in theory and methodology, drawing on disciplines such as social work, psychology, economics, anthropology, medicine and sociology.

You’ll learn from leading scholars working in a range of innovative and interdisciplinary projects. This means you’ll be able to apply your knowledge to projects that are shaping policy and practice.

Key facts

  • Social Work at Sussex is ranked 5th in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2018).
  • Research links: the innovative and interdisciplinary course complements the work of our recently established Centre for Innovation and Research in Wellbeing.
  • Career prospects: this course gives you the skills to work in a range of health and social care organisations where the ‘wellbeing agenda’ is key.

How will I study?

You learn through a combination of seminars, lectures, tutorials and individual supervision. You also have the opportunity to carry out fieldwork as part of your dissertation.

Assessment methods include essays, a concept note and a research portfolio. You also complete a 20,000-word dissertation.

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Academic and Research Skills

      60 credits
      All Year Teaching, Year 1

      This module provides a structured induction into a wide range of essential academic and research skills. You will gain conceptual and practical experience in reading, analysing, designing and undertaking research throughout the module, culminating in the major project undertaken at the end of the course. Theory and practice are linked throughout, with sessions covering topics such as:

      • the conventions of academic referencing
      • approaches to reviewing the academic literature
      • writing a research proposal
      • different methodological positions
      • specific research methods and research ethics. 

      The module aims to ensure a thorough understanding of the academic and research skills needed to undertake all aspects of the MA in International Education and Development and there are opportunities to discuss the requirements of each assignment in depth.

      Throughout the year there is an emphasis on collaborative group work, exchanging ideas, presenting work in progress and supporting each other through the different phases of writing and reading. The course therefore provides a supportive framework within which you are encouraged to develop critical and reflexive understandings of your roles as both consumers and producers of research. 

    • Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Perspectives on Wellbeing Research

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

    • Policy and Practice in Wellbeing

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

    • Theories of Wellbeing

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

    • Migration and Wellbeing

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Our contemporary world has been characterised as living through an age of migration, with an unprecedented number and diversity of people on the move around the world.

      We introduce you to the dynamics of migration in the contemporary world, and to its implications for migrants' wellbeing and the development of health and welfare receiving societies. We begin by introducing salient theories of migration – push-pull, historical structural theories, transnational theories and migration systems theories – and explore their implications for research.

      The term migrant does scant justice to the range of people leaving their home countries to make new lives elsewhere, and the challenes they face. The wellbeing of migrants is crucially influenced by the circumstances in which they leave their home countries and try to resettle. You will be presented with a categorisation of contemporary migration, including forms of voluntary and forced migration, and the specific implications of these for migrants' wellbeing. You examne these further through a range of case studies, drawing on first-hand research of migrant reception in the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, USA, Brazil, Malta and across Scandinavia.

      The first part of the module examines migrants' needs and circumstances, the particular health and social care issues affecting them and the challenges they face in resettlement. The second part focuses primarily on how receiving countries have responded to the perceived needs of migrants (e.g. the development of ‘culturally appropriate’ health and social care services, special projects and a range of health and welfare interventions). The third part looks at evidence of ‘good practice’ in relation to services aimed at enhancing migrants’ wellbeing, and examines the potential for transferring good practice from one country to another.  

      We structure our assessments to incorporate formative feedback.

    • Researching Wellbeing: skills,methods and design

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

    • Dissertation - MRes

      90 credits
      Summer Teaching, Year 1


    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Childhood and Youth in Global Perspective; Rights, Protection and Justice

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module will explore legal and rights frameworks relating to children and young people with a particular emphasis on international conventions and perspectives. The first part of the module will involve an exploration of three areas of law: children's rights, child protection/welfare and youth justice/offending. 
      Explorations of these topics will include an examination of ideas of globalisation and post-colonial critiques where relevant. In the second part of the module case studies will be used to critically explore these issues in relation to practice with children and young people drawing upon examples from the developed and developing world.

      An indicative list of practice topics for exploration includes: 

      • Children/young people and work
      • Children and poverty
      • Children and homelessness
      • Children and criminal justice
      • Children and refugee status
      • Children and the family 

      The module will make connections between policy and practice approaches to children and youth in majority and minority worlds as well as linking themes such as migration, adoption and child trafficking. We will, however, pay particular attention to the specificities of work within a development context including an exploration of the practice issues asssociated with work in refugee camps and with street children.

    • Medical Anthropology: Cultural Understandings of Health and Healing

      30 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Medical knowledge, related practices and health-seeking are shaped by the social, political and cultural contexts in which they occur. This module draws upon theories, concepts, and approaches in medical anthropology to interrogate the concept of 'health' in its diverse formulations. The module considers how people integrate different types of medicine in their everyday lives. It examines 'health-seeking' in different medical traditions. 'The body' is used as an alternative framework for understanding medical pluralism, and the connections between experience, efficacy, and knowledge.

Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in a social science is normally required, though other backgrounds may be considered. Applications are also welcome from those who have significant experience in well-being related programmes.

English language requirements

Standard level (IELTS 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £7,700 per year

EU: £7,700 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £7,700 per year

Overseas: £15,100 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor’s Masters Scholarship

PGCE First-Generation Scholars Award (2017)

£600 maintenance award to PGCE students with a household income below £42,875

Find out more about the PGCE First-Generation Scholars Award

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


Meet the people teaching and supervising on your course.

  • Faculty profiles

    Dr Henglien Chen
    Lecturer in Social Work

    Research interests: ageing care policy and practice: cross country comparison, ageing care service provisions, ageing care workforce, family carer for older people, gerontology social work

    View profile

    Dr Kristine Hickle
    Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Social Care

    Research interests: childhood and youth, Groups, groupwork, human trafficking, sexual violence, Social work, Trauma

    View profile

    Ms Sharon Lambley
    Lecturer in Social Work

    Research interests: Social work

    View profile

    Prof Michelle Lefevre
    Professor of Social Work

    Research interests: child protection, child well-being, Communication, psychoanalysis, Social work

    View profile

    Mr Barry Luckock
    Senior Lecturer in Social Work & SocialPolicy

    Research interests: Social work

    View profile

    Dr Reima Ana Maglajlic
    Senior Lecturer In Social Work And Social Care

    Research interests: Mental Health, Participatory Design, participatory methods, radical social work, Social rights and social justice, social welfare reform, social work and political conflict, social work and social development

    View profile

    Dr Tish Marrable
    Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Social Care

    Research interests: Autism and Social Care, Bereavement, disability, Emotion in professional practice, Social work, Supervision

    View profile

    Dr Sevasti-Melissa Nolas
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: action research, childhood and youth, children's participation, children's social policy, children's welfare, public life, qualitative research methods, social action, Social work, youth inclusion, youth policy

    View profile

    Dr David Orr
    Senior Lecturer in Social Work

    Research interests: adult protection, adult safeguarding, Andean studies, anthropology of the Andes, cinema and dementia, Dementia, ethnography, Global Mental Health, medical anthropology, Mental Health

    View profile

    Prof Gillian Ruch
    Professor of Social Work

    View profile

    Prof Elaine Sharland
    Professor of Social Work Research

    Research interests: Knowledge generation - Co-Creation, Research design and methodology, Responsibilities to children, Social work, Youth

    View profile

    Prof Rachel Thomson
    Professor of Childhood & Youth Studies

    Research interests: Social behaviour, Sociology

    View profile

    Prof Charles Watters
    Professor of Wellbeing and Social Care

    Research interests: Asylum seeking, Children and migration, medical anthropology, Mental Health and Well-Being, Refugees and asylum, Social work, well-being

    View profile

    Dr Russell Whiting
    Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Care

    Research interests: Alternative Spiritualities/New Religious Movements, Church History & History Of Theology, Modern British history, Social work

    View profile


You’ll be equipped to work in a variety of ways in the growing and dynamic field of wellbeing. This will include playing leading roles in a diverse range of health and social care organisations where the ‘wellbeing agenda’ is key.

The course will also open prospects for research careers in the increasingly wide range of research projects on wellbeing in the UK and internationally.

You’ll specialise in your chosen aspects of wellbeing, for example:

  • services for ageing populations
  • children
  • migrants
  • those with health and mental health problems.

Graduate destinations

100% of students from the Department of Social Work and Social Care were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent graduates have gone on to roles such as:

  • manager, East Sussex Council
  • special assistant, Ningchi Health and Wellness Association
  • social worker, Brighton & Hove Council.

(EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015 for postgraduates)

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work