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Global Labour and Social Change



1 year | October 2019 – June 2020


2 years | October 2019 – June 2021

Placements can extend beyond the stated course end date.

Course validation

Open University

Ruskin College Oxford is approved by The Open University as an appropriate organisation to offer higher education programmes leading to Open University validated awards.

Delivered at Ruskin College

Dunstan Road
Old Headington
Oxford, OX3 9BZ


In an era of radical potential in which the 40 year commonsense acceptance of globalisation and neoliberalism is increasingly rejected, labour and allied movements need to be equipped with the ideas, strategy and skills to meet the opportunities that are emerging.

Programme details

The MA Global Labour and Social Change will be of use to anybody who wants to develop their ideas and practical skills for use in social change both in the UK or elsewhere. It will be specifically of interest to labour movement officers, organisers, activists and those working in the allied third sector in NGOs and community based organisations.

Whilst the MA retains a central focus on the future of organised labour to represent the interests of workers globally, the new programme explores the role of allied social movements in providing alternative and/or supplementary means to organise and represent the wide, diverse interests of labour and citizens.

Embedded throughout the MA is a recognition that in a rapidly changing networked and digital world, gender and other overlapping identities exercise a powerful influence on our individual and collective behaviours. Consequently, students will benefit from an interdisciplinary approach based on labour and development studies, global political economy and sociology delivered through radical and critical teaching and learning. This is rooted in the commitment of Ruskin College to self-development and the empowerment through education and learning, and is built into the MA as part of the learner journey. Students are required to reflect on this systematically and critically throughout the programme. A self-reflexive commentary, based on students’ personal journals forms part of a practice-based portfolio which concludes the assessment for the Professional Postgraduate Certificate stage of the MA.

The MA Global Labour and Social Change has five modules, they are structured to allow you to complete the MA flexibly. The programme also allows you to exit the at the postgraduate certificate (PGCert)  stage, which may suit students with limited time to complete the programme, or those who wish to obtain or refresh certain subject knowledge and skills. If students wish to acquire the full award of MA they will need to complete the whole programme.

Part One Modules: Postgraduate Certificate

  • Power and Inequality
  • Praxis

Part Two Modules

  • Theoretical approaches to organising and resistance
  • Rethinking the world of work and globalisation

Part Three Module: MA

  • Radical research methodologies 

Full time study:

You will attend weekly classes and all day schools which will take place on a Saturday (6 in total). The day schools are an opportunity for you to study and share experiences with part-time students. Although the aim is to facilitate you becoming an independent learner, you will also receive tutorials and dissertation supervision sessions to support your learning journey.

Part-time study:

The course consists of a blended learning approach complemented by day schools which focus upon module assignments. There will be 6 day schools in the first year (3 per semester) and 3 in the second year. Outside of the day schools you will be fully supported by online tutorials and focussed discussion forums. Although the aim is to facilitate you becoming an independent learner, you will be able to flexibly book 1-1 telephone tutorials as needed with your personal tutor.

We encourage students to actively make use of a peer support group. The Teaching team are all highly qualified. They are research active and have a broad range of academic and real-life experiences in the areas we cover in the programme.

Student support
We understand that life isn’t always a straight road. Sometimes, financial, personal or social obstacles make it difficult for individuals to take advantage of educational opportunities early on in life. We help those people overcome barriers to learning and provide quality educational experiences to those looking to step onto to a better path.                       

Find out more on our student support.

Please visit our staff webpage to learn about our course tutors.


MA = £7,850

The Postgraduate Certificate = £2,800

Fees are payable to Ruskin College on enrolment. Please note that these fees may be subject to change.

Students are responsible for the payment of their own tuition fees on this course and there will be an additional residence and catering charge for the residential workshops (approximately £150.00 per workshop).

Some individual unions provide scholarships for study at Ruskin.

Students are able to meet with our Student Money Adviser before enrolling on the course to discuss any fees or funding issues. For more information, contact

Vist the Fees for Higher Education webpage for more information.


Once offered a place, full-time students can apply for a single study bedroom for the entire academic year. Student accommodation costs are: Study Bedroom (standard) £115/week; Study Bedroom (en-suite) £135/week.

Students who are not resident in College need to budget for transport to the College. All students will need to consider the additional costs of books and stationery items – although much of the reading material that you need will be available in the College library.


Entry Requirements & How to Apply MORE INFORMATION

Students will normally be graduates with an honours degree, or equivalent qualifications in a relevant area of study. Instead of a degree, you may be admitted if:

  • You have relevant paid or unpaid experience including training/education programmes, in organisations such as trade unions, community, voluntary or political groups.
  •  You have knowledge and academic skills equal to degree level.
  • You complete an academic case study analysis exercise and background reading set by the MA tutor to the equivalent standard of a first degree.
  •  You can show evidence of capacity for post-graduate study through providing a portfolio of recent written work; for example reports, policy papers, funding applications, essays, etc.
  • You have qualifications in the relevant area of study and have completed the equivalent of year 1 elsewhere; you may apply for entry to part 2 of the MA programme.

There is a two yearly intake for this course, but applications are accepted online, on a rolling basis.

To apply for this course please click Apply Now and we will get in touch. Alternatively you can ring us on 01865 759600. You can also email us at

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The MA aims to provide you with a portfolio of widely transferable skills sought by the third sector, labour and allied movements. This programme will enable you to enhance your strategic skills and knowledge, which will provide the basis for career progression in a number of areas such as research, policy development and practice and education.