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Why does gender inequality in work and private lives continue to exist, despite advancements in work-family policies? How do people’s attitudes towards climate change and sustainability affect their behaviour? Why does society seem to be polarising on a large amount of issues? How can we explain unexpected effects of existing social policies on people’s lives and well-being? If you are interested in these kinds of questions, the Master’s programme in Social Challenges, Policies and Interventions is a great choice for you.

From September 2023: revised Master’s programme

The content of the Master’s programme in Social Challenges, Policies and Interventions (previously named ‘Social Policy and Public Health’) has been revised. The revised Master’s programme will be taught from the academic year 2023–2024. The information on this website concerns this revised Master’s programme and is aimed at all students starting in September 2023.

With regard to health promotion, we focus all too often on a single idea. Like with childhood obesity: does smoking cause it? I’m all for science that looks beyond a single factor. I’d like to convert knowledge into approaches that have social impact, so that people actually become healthier.

To understand individuals in their contexts (e.g., social, physical, institutional), we need to look beyond the limits of individual study fields


This Master’s programme is offered by the Department of Interdisciplinary Social Science. You will learn to study a broad range of contemporary social challenges in the realms of:

  • differences in health and well-being;
  • combining work and care;
  • climate change and sustainable behaviour;
  • social cohesion and diversity.

Many, if not all, of these social challenges transcend disciplinary boundaries. We will equip you with the necessary mixed-method and participatory methodological skills to gain an in-depth understanding of the challenge at hand.

Study programme

Why study Social Challenges, Policies and Interventions?


You will:

  • take interdisciplinarity as a starting point for understanding social challenges;
  • learn to intervene in social challenges through policies and interventions;
  • work with relevant societal partners;
  • study in an international teaching environment.


After graduation

Our Master’s programme equips you to take on roles that involve building bridges between different stakeholders in a wide range of social challenges. Upon graduation, you will have acquired the skills to move around in different work environments flexibly, from research and policymaking to consultancy and training. You will be capable of liaising with professionals from different fields of research and practice. These are indispensable skills when designing, implementing and evaluating social policies and interventions. You will be able to pursue a career as a social scientist, working with government agencies, social-service organisations, civil-society organisations or private-sector companies.

Poverty, education, living conditions, social and digital skills, parenting issues, health: these issues are all related. The primarily monodisciplinary approach in policy and practice does not lead to the changes that society is crying out for. That is why this new Master’s programme is so important. I cannot wait for the first students and alumni to contribute to our work at the Council of Public Health & Society

Aletta Winsemius (alumna, senior adviser at the Council of Public Health & Society)

Alumni experiences

The content of the Master’s programme in Social Challenges, Policies and Interventions (previously named ‘Social Policy and Public Health’) has been revised. Lina and Tim were enrolled in Social Policy and Public Health.

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Located in the middle of the Netherlands, Utrecht is a medieval city with a centre small enough to explore on foot, yet large enough to host world-class festivals, fashionable shops, modern architecture and fascinating museums. Find more about what student life is like in Utrecht! 

Key facts

Degree: 
Interdisciplinary Social Science (MSc)
Language of instruction: 
English
Mode of study: 
Full-time
Study duration: 
1 year
Start: 
September
Deadline: 

Check the deadline that applies to you

Tuition fees: 
Dutch and other EU/EEA students (statutory fee, full-time) 2022-2023: € 2,209

Non-EU/EEA students (institutional fee) 2022-2023: € 17,500

More information about fees
Croho code: 
60746
Accreditation: 
Accredited by the NVAO
Faculty: 
Social and Behavioural Sciences
Graduate school: 
Social and Behavioural Sciences