Global Labour and Social Change


Full and Part Time Options

One Year (FT) or Two Years (PT)

Contact us: 01865 759600

The MA in Global Labour and Social Change (MA GLSC) updates and replaces the MA in International labour and trade union studies (ILTUS).

Whilst the MA GLSC retains a central focus on the future of trade unions and organised labour to represent the interests of workers globally, the new programme explores also the role of allied social movements in providing alternative and/or supplementary means to organise and represent the wide, diverse interests of those engaged in work. As such the MA GLASC welcomes applicants from trade union activists and officials and those from social movements and/or those active outside of organised labour and with an interest in the political economy of work and the future representation of worker’s interests.

The MA philosophy and approach is centred on the role and place of labour movements internationally in the ongoing debate about labour movement crisis and renewal. This philosophy recognises also that gender and internationalism have a significant confluence with the study of labour and allied social movements. Thus students benefit from an inter-disciplinary curriculum delivered through a pedagogical approach predicated on radical and critical teaching and learning methodologies.

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 Post-Graduate Certificate (PPGC) stage of the MA. Similarly, reflexivity and positionality are required to be addressed in the dissertation.

The MA GLSC has five modules. The five modules are structured to allow you to complete the MA flexibly. This means you can exit the MA at the postgraduate certificate (PGCert) stage or postgraduate diploma (PGDip) stage. This may suit students with limited time to complete the MA in entirety or who wish just to refresh certain subject knowledge. If students wish to acquire the award of MA they will need to complete the final stage of the programme.

Part One Modules: PGCert

  • Power and Inequality
  • Praxis

Part Two Modules: PGDip

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

Part Three Module: MA

  • Radical research methodologies 

Part-time study:

Parts 1 + 2 of the MA (year 1 for part-time students) consists of 4 modules, each taught through two 3-day residential workshops – except for the Praxis module which is one weekend. These modules provide the groundwork for Part 3 (year 2 for part-time students), comprise one module and the undertaking of research activity, analysis and writing up of a 10-12,000 word dissertation.

Full time study:

Parts 1 and 3 of the MA educational programme are delivered in parallel. Full-time students attend weekly classes during term time. Full-time students also attend all residential workshops (7 in total) provided during their year of study as this is an opportunity also to meet with part-time students. Full-time students are expected to complete and submit their 10-12,000 word dissertation at the end of their academic year. Full-time students also receive fortnightly tutorials and dissertation supervision session to complement learning undertaken at residential workshops. Full-time students are expected to achieve a significant degree of independent, self-directed study also.

Residential workshops combine individual tutorial supervision sessions which provide support to sustain student’s own independent study. Peer group support is also a feature of the MA educational programme.

Assessment for the MA is through course work, including 3-5,000 word essays, a portfolio of praxis and a 10-12,000 word dissertation.

Support systems between workshops include tutors, the programme coordinator, and student colleagues in Student Study Groups (SSGs) using a range of communications methods; principally e-communications. If students are sponsored by/working with or for a union or other organisation, we expect that they will be given support such as access to data, relevant policies and strategies, conferences, meetings with key people. This is especially important since assignments are oriented mainly towards labour movement current issues.

Members of staff involved with the delivery, teaching and assessment of the course have a range of industry experience and academic skills, and are actively involved with their own research.

Tutor's for this course:

Dr Peter Dwyer, Pete Martin and Dr Lee Humber.

Currently the following fees apply 

MA = £7,850

The PG Cert award = £2,800

The PG Dip = £5,600

Should you require accommodation for the duration of this course please contact us for full details. 

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.

Historically, the majority of all MA ILTUS students received some form of financial assistance for MA study from their trade union and/or employer.

Funding is available from Student Finance England if you live in England ( 0845 300 5090). If you live in other parts of the UK please contact Student Finance Wales, Student Finance Northern Ireland or the Student Award Agency for Scotland. International students will be responsible for the payment of their own tuition fees. Further information on funding can be found in our fees and funding support sections on the website:

Please see the Ruskin website for up-to-date information on fees.

Students are not required to purchase any course books, but it is advisable to buy some core texts as these are often in high demand from the 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 courses, in organisations such as trade unions, community, voluntary or political groups.

• You have knowledge and academic skills commensurate with degree level work.

• 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 complete an academic case study analysis exercise and background reading set by the MA to the equivalent standard of a first degree

• 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. You can apply for courses online via the Ruskin College website or you can download a pdf of our application form. Send printed application forms to: Academic Registrar, Ruskin College, Ruskin Hall, Dunstan Road, Old Headington, Oxford, OX3 9BZ

You can request a hard copy of the application form to be sent to you by contacting Reception at Ruskin Hall on 01865 759600 or email

You should submit your application with:

• Evidence of your formal qualifications, and for those applying on the basis of equivalence, examples of recent written work and previous study etc.

• 2,000 words on Why You Want to Apply for the MA GLSC at Ruskin College

The MA aims to provide a higher education level qualification for labour movement and associated practitioners in order to enhance their strategic skills and knowledge and provide the basis for career progression in the field, including movement between union policy development and practice and academic research and education.

As evidenced by the 2005 TUC Union Officer Training Review, which notes that following changes in union officer roles and entry routes, the level of educational qualifications has increased and now among officers, degree/HND and professional qualifications dominate (2005:9). The MA is equally useful for those seeking to develop research and academic careers in the field.