Programmes

BSc Social Policy and Economics

  • Undergraduate
  • Department of Social Policy
  • UCAS code LLK1
  • Starting 2017

Social policy is concerned with real world issues such as poverty, social exclusion and global population change. It is about understanding and addressing social problems in society and examines the formation and implementation of policy, and how this affects people’s wellbeing. Economics tackles a broad range of problems, from barriers to economic development to international finance.

This programme enables students to study a joint honours degree in the closely linked fields of social policy and economics. You will learn how to apply economic concepts to policy issues and about the connections between them. For example, it is prosperous economies that can most easily introduce and support generous social policies; but the nature of social policy provision can have substantial impacts on how an economy performs. You will learn about issues facing societies around the world today such as how best to finance and provide cash benefits, health and social care, education, housing and social services, and how the issues have been addressed in the past and in different countries. You will be taught about economic success at a national and international level (macroeconomics) and about the interactions of firms, governments and individuals within countries (mircoeconomics).

BSc Social Policy and Economics is based in the Department of Social Policy, which was ranked second in the world for the subject in the QS World University Rankings. The Department prides itself in being able to offer teaching based on the highest quality empirical research in the field. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework , (the UK's nationwide assessment of research quality, impact and environment, which is undertaken every six to seven years), the Department was ranked first in the UK for world leading and internationally excellent research and was also awarded the joint highest marks for the non-academic impacts of its work.

The Department of Economics is regularly ranked number one outside of the USA for its published research in economics and econometrics and as an undergraduate student you will have the chance to learn from economists at the cutting-edge of their field.

Programme details

Key facts

 BSc Social Policy and Economics
Start date 21 September 2017
Application deadline 15 January 2017
Duration Three years full-time
Applications 2016 121
First year students 2016 7
Availability Closed
Tuition fee UK/EU fee: £9,250 for the first year (provisional)
Overseas fee: £18,408 for the first year
Usual standard offer A level: grades A A B, with A in Mathematics
International Baccalaureate: Diploma with 37 points including 6 6 6 at Higher level 
English language requirements Proof of your English language proficiency may be required
Location  Houghton Street, London

For more information about tuition fees, usual standard offers and entry requirements, see the fees and funding and assessing your application sections below.

Programme structure and courses

This programme involves studying courses to the value of 12 units over three years, plus LSE100. The programme introduces students to social policy and the fundamentals of economics. The degree then progresses to more advanced topics and more detailed examination of specialist areas within the respective disciplines. It culminates in the third year with a long essay in which students use what they have learned through their first and second year courses and specialist options, to conduct independent research in a relevant area. 

First year 

(* denotes a half unit course)

You will take compulsory courses to the value of four units in the first year, plus LSE100 in the Lent term. You will also take either Economics A or Economics B, depending on your economics background. Economics B is only for students with A level Economics or equivalent.

Foundations of Social Policy
Gives you a framework for understanding how and why societies have developed a variety of institutional arrangements to provide for their social welfare needs, focusing on key developments in different areas of social policy, such as social security, education, housing, health and social care. 

Social Economics, Politics and Policy 
Provides an introduction to theories and concepts of social economics; it considers how the market economy affects people’s lives and looks at the arguments for and against government intervention in different social policy areas. 

Quantitative Methods (Mathematics)*
Develops the basic mathematical tools necessary for further study in economics and related disciplines. 

Quantitative Methods (Statistics)*
Develops elementary statistical tools necessary for further study in management and economics. 

Either
Economics A
Provides a foundation in economics, primarily to those without significant background in the subject. 
Or
Economics B
Provides an introductory course in microeconomics and macroeconomics. 

LSE100
Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Second year 

There are four compulsory courses in the second year. You will also take LSE100 in the Michaelmas term.

Comparative and International Social Policy
Examines the distinct challenges of welfare provision faced by mature welfare states and the developing world. 

Research Methods for Social Policy
Offers a comprehensive introduction to methods of social research in social policy. 

Microeconomic Principles I
An intermediate course in microeconomic analysis. 

Either
Macroeconomic Principles
An intermediate course in macroeconomic analysis.
Or
Introduction to Econometrics
Aims to present the theory and practice of empirical research in economics.

LSE100
Beginning in the Lent term of the first year and running through the Michaelmas term of the second year, LSE100 is compulsory for all LSE undergraduate students, and introduces you to the fundamental elements of thinking like a social scientist.

Third year

You will take two third year compulsory courses, including completing a dissertation. You choose your final two courses from the options available throughout social policy, economics or an outside option. 

Dissertation on an Approved Topic
Students independently research a relevant topic of their own choice and design. 

Public Economics
Develops theoretical and applied public economics using intermediate economic theory. 

One social policy or economics option 

One social policy or economics or outside option

You can find the most up-to-date list of optional courses in the Programme Regulations section of the current School Calendar.  

You must note however that while care has been taken to ensure that this information is up-to-date and correct, a change of circumstances since publication may cause the School to change, suspend or withdraw a course or programme of study, or change the fees that apply to it. The School will neither be liable for information that after publication becomes inaccurate or irrelevant, nor for changing, suspending or withdrawing a course or programme of study due to exceptional circumstances or events outside of its control, which includes but is not limited to a lack of demand for a course or programme of study, industrial action, fire, flood or other environmental or physical damage to premises.
 

You must also note that places are limited on some courses and/or subject to specific entry requirements. The School cannot therefore guarantee you a place. Please note that changes to programmes and courses can sometimes occur after you have accepted your offer of a place.  These changes are normally made in light of developments in the discipline or path-breaking research, or on the basis of student feedback.  Changes can take the form of altered course content, teaching formats or assessment modes. Any such changes are intended to enhance the student learning experience. You should visit the School’s Calendar, or contact the relevant academic department, for information on the availability and/or content of courses and programmes of study. Certain substantive changes will be listed on the updated undergraduate course and programme information page.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

Lectures provide a broad overview of a topic, while classes allow you to explore key themes in greater detail in a small group setting. You will have weekly lectures and classes for each course component which in total amounts to a minimum of eight contact hours per week. Hours vary according to courses and you can view indicative details in the Calendar within the Teaching section of each course guide. LSE100 teaching is in addition to this. 

Learning independently through reading, preparing for classes and completing assignments is an important element of the programme. You will be expected to do four to six hours of independent study per course.

You will be taught by academic staff and Graduate Teaching Assistants. You can view indicative details for the teacher responsible for each course in the relevant course guide.

You will be allocated an academic adviser who will guide and assist your learning. They keep a record of progress and monitor your attendance. You are advised to meet your academic adviser at least once a term. There are many opportunities to extend your learning outside the classroom and complement your academic studies at LSE. LSE LIFE is the School’s centre for academic, personal and professional development. Some of the services on offer include: guidance and hands-on practice of the key skills you will need to do well at LSE: effective reading, academic writing and critical thinking; workshops related to how to adapt to new or difficult situations, including development of skills for leadership, study/work/life balance and preparing for the world of work; and advice and practice on working in study groups and on cross-cultural communication and teamwork.

LSE is committed to enabling all students to achieve their full potential and the School’s Disability and Wellbeing Service provides a free, confidential service to all LSE students and is a first point of contact for all disabled students.

Your timetable

The lecture and seminar timetable is published in mid-August and the full academic timetable (lectures/seminars and undergraduate classes) is published by mid-September and is accessible via the LSE Timetables webpages.

Undergraduate student personal timetables are published in LSE for You (LFY). For personal timetables to appear, students must be registered at LSE, have successfully signed up for courses in LFY and ensured that their course selection does not contain unauthorised clashes.

Every effort is made to minimise changes after publication, once personal timetables have been published any changes are notified via email.

The standard teaching day runs from 09:00-18:00; Monday to Friday. Teaching for undergraduate students will not usually be scheduled after 12:00 on Wednesdays to allow for sports, volunteering and other extra-curricular events. 

Assessment

All taught courses are required to include formative coursework which is unassessed. It is designed to help prepare you for summative assessment which counts towards the course mark and to the degree award. LSE uses a range of formative assessment, such as essays, problem sets, case studies, reports, quizzes, mock exams and many others. The summative assessment for our courses are examinations at the end of the year. The exception to this is your Long Essay (Dissertation). Additionally, some courses include an assessed coursework component. An indication of the formative coursework and summative assessment for each course can be found in the relevant course guide.

Feedback on coursework is an essential part of the teaching and learning experience at the School. Class teachers must mark formative coursework and return it with feedback to you normally within two weeks of submission (when the work is submitted on time). You will also receive feedback in the form of written comments on the essays that you write. You will also receive feedback on any summative coursework you are required to submit as part of the assessment for individual courses (except on the final version of submitted dissertations). You will normally receive this feedback before the examination period. You will also receive feedback in the form of written comments on the essays that you write. 

Find out more about LSE’s teaching and assessment methods

Preliminary reading

Social policy

P Alcock, M May and S Wright (eds) The Student's Companion to Social Policy (4th edition, Oxford: Blackwell, 2012)

J Baldock, N Manning, S Vickerstaff and L Mitton (eds) Social Policy (4th edition, Oxford University Press, 2011)

M Daly Welfare (Polity, 2011) 

H Dean Social Policy (2nd edition, Polity, 2012)

D Garland The Welfare State: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2016)

Economics

A V Banerjee and E Duflo Poor Economics: barefoot hedge-fund managers, DIY doctors and the surprising truth about life on less than $1 a day (Penguin, 2012)

D Coyle, GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History (Princeton University Press, 2014)

T Harford The Undercover Economist (Abacus, 2007) and The Logic of Life (Little Brown, 2009)

P Krugman End This Depression Now! (W W Norton, 2012)

S D Levitt and S J Dubner Freakonomics (Penguin, 2007) and Superfreakonomics(Penguin, 2010)

Some of these books were launched at the LSE. Listen to the podcasts of these launches (and many other talks).

It is also a very good idea to have a look at one or more economics textbooks, to have a clear idea of what the serious university study of the subject involves, which will differ from these popular presentations. Although the texts and editions listed below are currently recommended for the first year, other editions of these books and other university-level textbooks are also entirely valid for this first investigation.

N G Mankiw Macroeconomics (7th edition, Worth Publishers, 2010)

W Morgan, M L Katz and H Rosen Microeconomics (2nd edition, McGraw-Hill, 2009)

Careers

The skills you will develop by studying social policy are attractive to a range of employers. Our graduates have found work in a variety of industries including; politics and government, education and teaching, banking and finance, NGOs, charities and international development, as well as journalism, media and publishing, advertising marketing and PR, and accounting and auditing. 

Further information on graduate destinations for this programme 

Support for your career

Many leading organisations give careers presentations at the School during the year, and LSE Careers has a wide range of resources available to assist students in their job search. Find out more about the support available to students through LSE Careers.

Student stories

Simone Lim

BSc Social Policy and Economics
Singapore

Simone-Lim170x230

I love the holistic nature of my programme which allows me to pick up quantitative and qualitative skills. From analysing health policies in Africa to learning how to use stata for regression analysis, I had an intensive and intellectually stimulating time. I particularly enjoyed the comparative social policy module in year three as it showed me how to apply the foundations I have learned and was tested on in the first two years. It was fulfilling and exciting to be able to use these lenses to look, discuss and critique the policies and compare social policies between the global North and South.

Assessing your application

We welcome applications from all suitably qualified prospective students and want to recruit students with the very best academic merit, potential and motivation, irrespective of their background. The programme guidance below should be read alongside our general entrance requirements information.

We carefully consider each application on an individual basis, taking into account all the information presented on the UCAS application form, including your:

- academic achievement (including predicted and achieved grades)
- subject combinations
- personal statement
- teacher’s reference
- educational circumstances

You may also have to provide evidence of your English proficiency, although you do not need to provide this at the time of your application to LSE. See our English language requirements.

What we are looking for in an application for Social Policy and Economics

Academic achievement 

Successful applicants for this programme are usually predicted to achieve or have already achieved a minimum of A A B in their A levels, with an A in Mathematics (or 37 and above International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) points, with 6 6 6 at Higher level, including Mathematics) and will have already achieved a strong set of GCSE grades including some at A and A*, and GCSE (or equivalent) English Language and Mathematics no lower than B. We also consider your overall GCSE subject profile, and your AS grades, if available.

Competition for places at the School is high. This means that even if you are predicted or if you achieve the grades that meet our usual standard offer, this will not guarantee you an offer of admission. Usual standard offers are intended only as a guide, and in some cases applicants will be asked for grades which differ from this. 

We express our standard offers and where applicable, programme requirement, in terms of A levels and the IB, but we consider applications from students with a range of qualifications including BTECs, Foundation Courses and Access to HE Diplomas as well as a wide range of international qualifications.  

Information about accepted international qualifications
Information about other accepted UK qualifications

Subject combinations

We consider the combination of subjects you have taken, as well as the individual scores. We believe a broad mix of traditional academic subjects to be the best preparation for studying at LSE and expect applicants to have at least two full A levels or equivalent in these subjects.

For the BSc Social Policy and Economics we are looking for students with a strong mathematical ability, and A level Mathematics at grade A or equivalent is therefore required. Successful applicants in the past have also studied subjects such as Sociology, Psychology, History, Government and Politics, Religious Studies, Economics, Mathematics and English.

If you have taken Mathematics, Further Mathematics and one other subject at A level, this may be considered less competitive for this programme. 

Personal characteristics, skills and attributes

For this programme, we are looking for students who demonstrate the following characteristics, skills and attributes:

- genuine interest in both social policy and economics
- an interest in contemporary social problems and their alleviation
- comfortable in using and applying mathematics
- ability to ask incisive questions
- ability to think and work independently
- ability to read widely
- ability to show initiative
- communicate with clarity 
- adopt a creative and flexible approach to study
- intellectual curiosity
- motivation and capacity for hard work

Personal statement

In addition to demonstrating the above personal characteristics, skills and attributes, your statement should be original, interesting and well-written and should outline your enthusiasm and motivation for the programme.

You should explain whether there are any aspects of particular interest to you, how this relates to your current academic studies and what additional reading or relevant experiences you have had which have led you to apply. We are interested to hear your own thoughts or ideas on the topics you have encountered through your exploration of the subject at school or through other activities. Some suggestions for preliminary reading can be found below, but there is no set list of activities we look for; instead we look for students who have made the most of the opportunities available to them to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their intended programme of study.

You can also mention extra-curricular activities such as sport, the arts or volunteering or any work experience you have undertaken. However, the main focus of an undergraduate degree at LSE is the in-depth academic study of a subject and we expect the majority of your personal statement to be spent discussing your academic interests.

Please also see our general guidance about writing personal statements.

Fees and funding

Every undergraduate student is charged a fee for each year of their programme.

The fee covers registration and examination fees payable to the School, lectures, classes and individual supervision, lectures given at other colleges under intercollegiate arrangements and, under current arrangements, membership of the Students' Union. It does not cover living costs or travel or fieldwork.

Tuition fees 2017/18

UK/EU* students: £9,250 for the first year (provisional pending final approval by Parliament)
Overseas students £18,408 for the first year

UK/EU undergraduate fees may rise in line with inflation in subsequent years and the overseas fee usually rises by between 2.5 per cent and 4 per cent each year.

*The UK Government confirmed in October 2016 that the fee level listed for EU undergraduate new entrants in 2017/18 will be the same as Home UK for the subsequent years of their undergraduate degree programme.

The amount of tuition fees you will need to pay, and any financial support you are eligible for, will depend on whether you are classified as a home (UK/EU) or overseas student, otherwise known as your fee status. LSE assesses your fee status based on guidelines provided by the Department of Education.

Further information about fee status classification
Further information about tuition fees

Scholarships, bursaries and loans

The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country. LSE provides generous financial support, in the form of bursaries and scholarships to UK, EU and overseas students. 

In addition, Government support, in the form of loans, is available to UK and some EU students.

Find out more about tuition fee loans.

Key Information Set

From September 2012, every undergraduate programme of more than one year's duration will have a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS allows you to compare 17 pieces of information about individual programmes at different higher education institutions.

Please note that programmes offered by different institutions with similar names can vary quite significantly. We recommend researching the programmes you are interested in and taking into account the programme structure, teaching and assessment methods, and support services available.

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