Programmes

BSc Social Policy with Government

  • Undergraduate
  • Department of Social Policy
  • UCAS code LL42
  • 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. The subject is diverse and exciting, and plays a crucial role in contemporary politics. The study of government involves analysing the ways in which individuals and groups define and interpret political issues and seek to shape government decisions.  

These two subjects are closely linked. The social policies you see around you were not created in a vacuum but reflect an accumulation of decisions in which political behaviour by citizens and their representatives, and governments and other organisations at local, national and international levels, have all played key roles. 

BSc Social Policy and Government has social policy as its major subject and government as its minor subject; and the study of social policy will make up approximately 75 per cent of the degree. The programme is designed to provide you with the skills to understand how voters, political parties and politicians, civil servants, different governmental departments and agencies interact, whether proposing, modifying, blocking or implementing policies across the world. You will discuss current and past social policies and the analytical principles underlying them. For example, levels of social security benefits and their eligibility conditions, the nature of private-public partnerships in health service provision, or the mix of local authority schools and academies.

BSc Social Policy with Government 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.

Students will also be able to benefit from studying in one of the largest political science departments in the UK. The Department brings together staff from many parts of the world, covers almost all areas of political studies, and represents a comprehensive range of academic approaches and expertise.  

Programme details

Key facts

BSc Social Policy with Government
Start date 21 September 2017
Application deadline 15 January 2017
Duration Three years full-time
Applications 2016 91
First year students 2016 17
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
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 political science and political theory. 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)

There are four compulsory courses in the first year and you will also take LSE100 in the Lent term. 

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. 

Introduction to Political Science
Provides an introduction politics in a globalised world, with a focus on how political science tries to understand and explain cross-country and cross-time differences. 

Introduction to Political Theory
Offers an introduction to the study of politics and political theory through the thought and texts of some of the most important western political theorists. 

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 two compulsory courses in the second year and students also select one sociology and one government option. 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 

One social policy option 

One government option 

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

In the third year, you will complete a Dissertation on an Approved Topic and select one social policy option, one government option and a further social policy or government or an outside option from a choice of LSE departments.  

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

One social policy option 

One government option 

One social policy or government 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 always notify the affected parties as early as practicably possible and propose any viable and relevant alternative options.  Note that that 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 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)

Government

The general character of politics:

J Colomer The Science of Politics: an introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011)

R Goodin The Oxford Handbook of Political Science (Oxford University Press, 2009)

I Katznelson and H Milner (eds.) Political Science: state of the discipline (New York: Wiley, 2002)

Political thought

Many classic texts of political thought are readily available in a variety of editions:

Machiavelli The Prince

J S Mill Considerations on Representative Government

M Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Women

Political analysis and political institutions

W R Clark, M Golder and S Nadenichek Golder Principles of Comparative Politics (CQ Press, 2009)

P Dunleavy and J Dryzek Theories of the Democratic State (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

R Morton Analyzing Elections (Norton, 2006)

E Ostrom, Governing the Commons: the evolution of institutions for collective action (Cambridge University Press, 1990/2015)

Careers

The skills you will develop by studying social policy and government 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. 

Emily Murrell

BSc Social Policy with Government, 2011
EU Policy Advisor, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)

Emily-Murrell170x230

I took every opportunity while I was a student at LSE and after graduation to try different internships and voluntary roles to test what type of jobs I enjoyed and excelled in. Having LSE on your CV makes it much easier to get interesting internships and I highly recommend getting a few internships under your belt before graduating, as sadly a degree alone is not enough for graduates these days.

My degree taught me to think independently and critically, challenging both my personal views and values as much as any particular political theory or government. I was inspired by global experts who made many of the decisions and implemented many of the policies which have changed the way we address social issues today, both at the UK and international level.

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

Tasnim Ara Begum

BSc Social Policy with Government
London, UK

Tasnim-Begum170x230

I applied to LSE because it has the best social policy programme in the country and possibly the world. I wanted to come to an institution where I would be taught by world class academics, leaders in their field, discussing a variety of issues from economics to social exclusion.
 

Adam Connell

BSc Social Policy with Government
Wokingham, UK

Adam-Connell170x230

I chose to study social policy because of its  relevance to the worlds of politics and economics. The theories, concepts and ideas, which I study in social policy influence the decisions taken daily by policymakers and politicians in governments across the world and have a massive impact upon people's lives. From healthcare and education to population change and even the economics of road congestion, social policy offers a fresh perspective on the things we take for granted.

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 BSc Social Policy with Government

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 (or 37 and above International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB) points, with 6 6 6 at Higher level) 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.

There is no one ideal subject combination, although successful applicants in the past have tended to study mainly 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 government
- an interest in contemporary social problems and their alleviation
- an interest in current political issues
- 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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