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Gain a thorough understanding of the applied and theoretical aspects of social justice and apply your knowledge through a practical service-learning project integrated into the degree. In this unique Master’s degree you will:

  • Undertake work in the service of the community with a charity - this can be volunteering or paid work. If you are already working or volunteering for a charity, this service will count as part of your degree.
  • Choose modules from multiple disciplines related to applied social justice including in areas such as international development, education, human trafficking, applied politics, business, charity management, bio-ethics and Catholic social teaching.

Why study Social Justice and Public Service?

This course the first Master's degree in the UK devoted to service-learning that integrates a practical volunteering and/or paid experience at the service of the community with theoretical and applied understanding of social justice.

This degree suits anyone aspiring to work in - or already working in - the ever increasing NGO, voluntary and charity sectors.

Why St Mary's?

St Mary’s is a welcoming university of around 6000 students from over 90 different countries and is ranked in the top 10 in the UK for Teaching Quality and top 5 for Student Experience (2022 Good University Guide). The University has a proud history of teaching and research in public policy, humanitarian action, and managing charitable organisations.

Established in 1850 and with a distinctive Catholic identity, St Mary’s welcomes students of all faiths and no faith. However, our teaching and research is founded on our Catholic values, particularly social justice and the common good, and this course builds on our tradition of preparing our students to be agents of change in their community.

This multidisciplinary postgraduate degree allows students to explore a wide range of topics in the social sciences and development studies, however, all students will take the Social Justice from Theory to Practice module which will be taught across both semesters, helping students to apply their skills on placement, and to prepare for future leadership roles.

Course lead

Marianne Rozario headshotMarianne Rozario
Project Manager of Catholic Mission

Entry requirements

2:2 Previous degree

Candidates must satisfy the general admissions requirements for St Mary’s University and abide by the University Admissions Policy. Candidates would be expected to have a minimum of a 2:2 in a BA/BSc from any discipline. Alternatively, accredited prior learning or previous work experience will be considered at the discretion of the Programme Director.

International requirements

International students should check our country-specific pages for equivalents. If English is not your first language you will need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in any section (or equivalent).

We now accept IELTS Indicator test results as proof of your English language level.

Further information

For more information about entry requirements please email

Course content

You will take the core modules Social Justice from Theory to Practice and Service Learning Based Research. In addition, you can choose any of the optional modules from the list below, depending on your interests or career aspirations. By way of example, we suggest four possible pathways through the optional modules: 

Social Justice and Politics

  • Issues in Education and International Development
  • Global Governance
  • Human Rights and Migration
  • Religious Bioethics and Faith in the Public Square
  • Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking: Policing, Policy and Practice

Social Justice and Catholic Social Teaching:

  • Global Development, the Environment and the Market
  • Catholic Charities and Ecumenism
  • Ethical issues at the beginning of life
  • Ethical issues at the end of life

Social Justice and Charity Management:

  • Responsible and Ethical Leadership in Management and Finance
  • Charity Finance and Investment
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • International Non-Governmental Organisations
  • Governance and Statutory Accounting

The optional modules will run in accordance with their own timetables and assessments. Clashes in timetable may prevent some optional module combinations from being taken. Students will be expected to consider the balance between semester 1 and semester 2 modules in terms of workload and assignments when choosing optional modules.

Programme structures can be subject to change each academic year following feedback from a variety of sources. Not all optional modules may run in a given academic year.


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  •  Optional
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Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Career opportunities

This qualification will be a good starting point for further postgraduate programmes in studies related to social justice. It will be particularly valuable for students hoping to work in charities and the voluntary sector.

It will also be appropriate for people working in business and the statutory sector (e.g., in relation to housing, welfare, development aid and non-governmental agencies). It is suitable for those desiring to combine a practical volunteering experience with academic research project and qualification.

The Careers Service has more information on graduate careers and part-time work available during your course.

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How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

The core modules will take place face-to-face on our beautiful and historic campus located in Twickenham, London on a small number of evenings and Saturdays throughout the year.

The optional modules will be taught in accordance with their own schedules. The delivery of optional modules will be a mix of face-to-face, blended learning and distance learning, the delivery of which may be during a weekday. Modules can be chosen to minimise attendance on campus (maximise remote learning) or, alternatively, students can choose module paths for which on-campus attendance will be very much part of the experience

Assessment methods

Assessments on the core modules include essays a portfolio which includes a reflective journal, a review of academic/think-tank articles and a report or paper.

The optional modules will run in accordance with their own assessments.

Modes of study

  • MA in Social Justice and Public Service: All students will study two core modules (totalling 80 credits) and four or five optional modules from a list of fourteen modules (totalling 100 credits).
  • PGDip in Social Justice: 120 credits from optional module list including core 20 credit module on ‘Social Justice from theory to practice’. This will be the exit award if the Service-Learning based Research module is not completed.
  • PGCert in Social Justice: 60 credits from optional module list including core 20 credit module on ‘Social Justice from theory to practice’, and excluding the ‘Service-learning based Research’ module. 


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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

September 2023

  • Home: £9,300
  • International: £16,350

The tuition fees listed are for the duration of the course. Students will be charged for the modules undertaken per academic year. Module prices are calculated as a percentage of credits against the total credits and cost of the degree. Please see clause 5.15.2 of the Tuition Fee Regulations for further information.

Tuition fees are subject to an inflationary increase each year, meaning if your course runs over more than one academic year you may pay an increased fee per module for each subsequent year of study. Tuition fee increases for returning students will be capped at the higher of 5% per annum or the rate of Consumer Price Index inflation in the United Kingdom.

Alumni discount

A 20% tuition fee discount is available for our alumni (undergraduate and PGCE) planning to study this Master's degree. Those studying for a PGDip of PGCert are not eligible for the discount.


We are excited to offer one full tuition fee waiver for this course for a student enrolling in September 2022. The priority application deadline is 7th June 2022. Please see the application form for full details and selection criteria.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme. Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken.

For further information about additional costs please see our additional costs webpage

Further information