Social Policy

How societies care for older people, single motherhood, poverty and unemployment are among a long list of matters of national concern. Studying social policy is all about how we as a society decide who receives support, what shape it takes, and who provides it to those who are deemed in need. Who should provide services and support: the state, the market, charities or families?

These kinds of questions inform the study of the distribution and organisation of welfare and well-being within societies, and provide an exciting in-road into studying Social Policy with us. Social Policy focuses on the ways in which different societies understand and meet the needs of their populations. Studying within our department provides a readiness to engage with the nature of social problems through a range of intellectual traditions and social perspectives, and the opportunity to work directly with organisations involved in this field.


Social Policy 50

If you are thinking of a career in the social services or public administration, combining Social Policy with another subject allows you to build the ideal degree. This Social Policy route will explore the ways in which governments seek to provide services and to change conditions in fields such as health, education and welfare support.

You will study current political issues relevant to social policy today, aspects of social change and social divisions that underpin the context of social policy intervention and examine the nature of contemporary welfare services and the dynamics of social inclusion and exclusion.

In Year One, you are introduced to some of the current political issues relevant to social policy today. Here you will study aspects of social change and social divisions that underpin the context of social policy interventions. You may take up to 30 credits of optional modules.

Having established your knowledge of Social Policy in the first year, in Year Two you go on to deepen that knowledge, examining the outcomes of Social Policy between the broad social groupings of social class, gender and race. For up-to-date entry requirements and full module details see our courses pages.

You will also explore modules that examine the nature of contemporary welfare services as well as a module that covers the dynamics of social inclusion and exclusion. You can also choose other modules in social policy adding up to 30 credits.

In Year Three, you study specialist subjects in-depth and develop your independent learning. If you opt for a dissertation, having taken the research methods modules as part of your module choices in Year Two, you are given freedom to pursue a topic of your own interest, whilst if you opt for our Applied Social Research or Social Policy Project, you can combine work experience with academic rigour. Alternatively, you may opt for a range of option modules at Year Three.

These include:

  • Health, Lifecourse and Society
  • Social Control and the City
  • Gender, the Body and Identity
  • Politics, Social Policy and the State
  • Bodies and Society
  • Criminal Victimisation, and Policy
  • The Risk Society: Crime, Security and Public Policy
  • Youth, Crime, Youth Justice and Social Control
  • Politics Society and the State: Classic and Contemporary Ethnographies
  • Race, Community and Identity

Social Policy 25

If you are thinking of a career in the social services or public administration, combining Social Policy with another subject allows you to build the ideal degree. This Social Policy route will explore the ways in which governments seek to provide services and to change conditions in fields such as health, education and welfare support.

You will study current political issues relevant to social policy today, aspects of social change and social divisions that underpin the context of social policy intervention and examine the nature of contemporary welfare services and the dynamics of social inclusion and exclusion.

In Year One, you will study aspects of relationships between social change, social policy and the key organising features of modern society (age, ‘race’, class, gender and sexuality).

Having established your knowledge of Social Policy in the first year, in Year Two you go on to deepen that knowledge, examining the outcomes of Social Policy between the broad social groupings of social class, gender and race. You will study the nature of welfare provision between and across different national contexts as well critically explore the nature of social exclusion.

In Year Three, you study specialist subjects in-depth and develop your independent learning.