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IMPALLA - International MSc in Social Policy Analysis by Leuven, Luxembourg and Associate Institutes

launched 2002-2003 - phased out 2015-2016

launched 2002-2003 - phased out 2015-2016
Launched in 2002, the International Master of Science in Social Policy Analysis was a one-year advanced master program, run by an academically as well as professionally strongly embedded international consortium of KULeuven (Belgium) and LISER (Belval, G.D.Luxembourg) as host institutions, with Tilburg University (the Netherlands), Université de Lorraine (France) and University of Luxembourg (G.D.Luxembourg) as associate institutes. The language of instruction was English. Courses took place at LISER and at KULeuven.

IMPALLA was an advanced academic degree of 60 ECTS in international comparative social policy research. The program focused on research methodology, social policy expertise and combined both into policy evaluation. This implied (1) defining social problems and issues, and reformulating them into social policy research questions, (2) understanding the rationale and range of various research methods, being familiar with data sources, and applying both into social policy research projects, and (3) presenting research findings and opinions in a critical, reflective and policy relevant way. 

The main cornerstone of the educational process was the explicit link between the content, the teaching methods, and the learning outcomes of the IMPALLA curriculum. To ensure the quality of its diploma, the program combined high academic requirements in the selection of candidates with quality control measures regarding the educational process. For both, the program relied on a relatively large team of internationally renowned professors, on a unique team of well qualified and every day available Assistant Professors and researchers, and on a motivated and very efficient supportive administrative team.

Without exception, the internal and external teams that assessed IMPALLA's quality praised the program for its excellence, on numerous aspects. When IMPALLA was evaluated for external assessment purposes by the VLIR (Flemish Interuniversity Council) for the first time in 2007, the committee stated that "the programme is lifting the domain of social policy research to a higher level", and "if the programme did not exist, it would have to be invented" [VLIR report on IMPALLA, p. 237].

The program attracted ambitious international students and handed them over to the job market as skilled experts in social policy theory, in advanced social science statistics and (quantitative) research methods, in policy analysis, and in communication techniques. In total 13 cohorts of international students - about 180 students - graduated from the program.


Despite the academic excellence established by external evaluation committees, IMPALLA will end per 1 October 2015 for considerations of cost. This website is meant to present the most important information about IMPALLA for alumni and the vocational field, so that its legacy be preserved.