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Leading Social Change MA


Making complex change

Increasingly, leaders in the field of social change are finding that traditional approaches are insufficient to meet social need in a highly-connected world. The generators of need are now complex and interrelated. Leaders are finding themselves in a new world of peer-based collaboration and interdependency.

MA Leading Social Change

This is a part-time, 2 year course equipping leaders in health, social care, criminal justice, third sector, clergy/faith leaders, community development, and education sectors to lead social change in an age of increasing disruption. You'll work as collaborators and partners, leading highly autonomous teams that develop emergent responses to complex environments.

Why Leading Social Change at LSBU?

This innovative degree offers both face–to-face and blended learning experiences.
Delivered using a mixture of workshops, online seminars, group discussions, including a regular learning circle co-consulting group, and learning journey visits and immersions.
The highly participative nature of workshops and groups enables students to experience collaborative leadership and peer learning.

MA Leading Social Change 2019-20
Download the brochure (PDF File 590 KB) or for more information, email

Key course information - ordered by mode
Mode Duration Start date Location
2 years
Start Date
Southwark Campus


Year 1

  • PCCert Leadership in Health (Darzi)
  • PGCert Systems Change: Collaborative Communities
  • or an equivalent qualification/prior learning.

Year 2

There are three compulsory 20 credit modules in Year 2:

  • Advanced Systems Leadership Principles
    This module aims to develop your ability to critically appraise the emergent approaches to Leading Social Change from a human and complex systems perspective, to understand the critical conditions which support the development and sustainability of social change in communities, and the applicability of these ideas to your local Grand Challenge.
  • Advanced Systems Leadership Practice
    This module aims to develop your ability to critically appraise the emergent approaches to the practice of Leading Social Change, and to equip you with key insights into developing systemic community and personal resilience, alongside securing the relational conditions from which effective social change can emerge, and to apply these ideas to your local Grand Challenge.
  • Social Research and Evaluation Methods
    This module introduces students to core concepts in social research and shows how they can be used to address social scientific questions and practical issues in policy evaluation. Students are introduced to central topics in the philosophy of social sciences and the effect they have on research choices.  They are then introduced to different ways research can be designed and the ways design affects permissible inferences. Students are then introduced to the theory of measurement and sampling. The final third of the module focuses on acquiring data ranging from survey methods through qualitative data collection methods to secondary data.

Year 3

  • The Social Change Grand Challenge
    Will provide you with an opportunity to conceive, plan and bring to completion an applied research programme that addresses a social change issue that matters to you and your local system/community. The purpose of the dissertation module is to develop your ability to apply your knowledge and skills effectively in a system/community. Alongside 9 hours of 1:1 supervision the module also provides for 5 co-consulting peer review sessions and 6 x 3 hour taught sessions/seminars.


The context for leading social change is rapidly changing. The world of leadership is moving from a rational, deterministic approach, with expertise at the top and market-driven solutions, to a collaborative and networked future, where knowledge is distrusted and progress requires a relational approach.

In this emerging context, leaders focus on the collective rather than the individual, using evidence to inform decision-making, securing collective responsibility against a shared purpose, and taking an asset-based approach to emergent change. These leaders work as collaborators and partners, leading highly autonomous accountable teams that develop emergent responses to complex environments.

This Masters prepares leaders from across the public service field to lead the next generation of organisation. It is the first of its kind in the UK, and comes from our experience working within health and social care environments, where we are finding the need for collaborative leadership is not matched by educational provision.

Employability Service

We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment for the second year in a row - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, 2019.

At LSBU, we want to set you up for a successful career. During your studies – and for two years after you graduate – you’ll have access to our Employability Service, which includes:

  • An online board where you can see a wide range of placements: part-time, full-time or voluntary. You can also drop in to see our Job Shop advisers, who are always available to help you take the next step in your search.
  • Our Careers Gym offering group workshops on CVs, interview techniques and finding work experience, as well as regular presentations from employers across a range of sectors.

Our Student Enterprise team can also help you start your own business and develop valuable entrepreneurial skills.



Prof. Becky Malby

School/Division: Health and Social Care /
Job title: Professor of Health Systems Innovation

Becky is the Professor of Health Systems Innovation. Previously she managed and lead innovation programmes and services in health and social care. Becky is an expert in clinical leadership, systems leadership and user voice.


Teaching and learning

This innovative degree offers both face–to-face and blended learning experiences. It is delivered using a mixture of workshops, online seminars, group discussions, including a regular learning circle co-consulting group, and learning journey visits and immersions. The highly participative nature of workshops and groups enables students to experience collaborative leadership and peer learning.

The course is assessed through assignments and the dissertation.

The tutors provide a 1:1 session at the outset of the course to agree the learning objectives and are then are available to support the students throughout the course.

In the final year, students are offered 9 hours of 1:1 supervision.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:2 first degree/Bachelor degree equivalent
  • Relevant previous professional experience will also be considered

If applicants apply to be admitted at Year 2 and do not have the prior or equivalent PGCert, then they must demonstrate at least 5 years experiential learning in a relevant leadership role through the University’s Accreditation of Experiential Learning (APEL) process. Applicants applying through APEL must be able to complete either a challenge assessment or produce a portfolio of evidence.

Find out more about the APEL process (PDF File 430 KB).

Applicants will be assessed on their personal statement as well as the entry qualifications.

We welcome equivalent qualifications from around the world. English language qualifications for international students: IELTS score of 6.5, Cambridge Proficiency or Advanced Grade C.

How to apply

International students

International (non Home/EU) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.

Instructions for Home/EU applicants
Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
2 years
Start date
Application code
Application method

Postgraduate students and research students should apply through our dedicated application system. Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply section for postgraduate students and our How to apply section for research students.

See our admissions policy (PDF File 298 KB) and complaints policy (PDF File 127 KB).


Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses. Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.


It's a good idea to think about how you'll pay university tuition and maintenance costs while you're still applying for a place to study. Remember – you don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as a postgraduate student.

Postgraduate Application Service

Book a session with one of our specialist Postgraduate Advisors. Over a one on one Advice Session they'll advise you on postgraduate degrees at LSBU that match your interests and experience. Book an Advice Session.

Fees and funding

For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for postgraduate students.

See our Tuition Fees Regulations (PDF File 149 KB) and Refund Policy (PDF File 102 KB).

Possible fee changes

The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any government guidance or decisions.

The fees for international students are reviewed annually and the University reserves the right to increase the tuition fees in line with the RPIX measure of inflation up to 4 per cent.

Postgraduate loan (PGL) for Masters study

If you are starting a Masters course, studying either full- or part-time, you may be entitled to apply for a postgraduate study loan. Find out more at our postgraduate fees and funding section.


We offer several types of fee reduction through our scholarships and bursaries. Find the full list and other useful information on funding your studies on the scholarships and fee discounts page.

Fee status

Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a Home, EU or International student for fee-paying purposes and for our regulatory returns, by reading the UKCISA regulations.


Select a story and read about practical project work, students' placement experiences, research projects, alumni career achievements and what it’s really like to study here from the student perspective.

Prepare to start

We help our students prepare for university even before the semester starts. To find out when you should apply for your LSBU accommodation or student finance read the How to apply tab for this course.

Welcome Week

Before you start your course we’ll send you information on what you’ll need to do before you arrive and during your first few days on campus. You can read about the process on our Welcome Week pages.

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Contact information

Course Enquiries - UK

Tel: 0800 923 8888

Get in touch

Course Enquiries - EU/International

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6189

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