SA4D5      Half Unit
Social Rights and Human Welfare

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Hartley Dean OLD2.30


This course is available on the MSc in Human Rights, MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy), MSc in Social Policy (Research), MSc in Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning), MSc in Social Policy and Development and MSc in Social Policy and Development: Non-Governmental Organisations. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The course is currently capped at 30 places. Offers of places will be made on the basis of applicants' statements. Initial priority for places is given to students on Social Policy MSc programmes and students on the MSc Human Rights. Other students may be accepted onto a waiting list. Places remaining available three days before the start of the course will not be held back for late applicants from the Department of Social Policy or the Human Rights programmes but offered to students from the waiting list.



Course content

The course will examine the basis of social or welfare rights as a component of human rights. It will situate social/welfare rights in an historical and comparative context and explore a range of debates concerning the relevance and effectiveness of a rights based approach to poverty alleviation and social welfare provision, both in the developed and the developing world. It will address the practical limitations of and the constraints upon social/welfare rights. Specifically, it will address: concepts of social rights and welfare citizenship; human needs and human rights; social/welfare rights in global context; critiques of social/welfare rights as human rights; the scope and substance of social/welfare rights; social/welfare rights and mechanisms of redress; rights based approaches to poverty alleviation; social development and social/welfare rights; constitutional instruments and social/welfare rights; human rights and the ethics of welfare.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students have the option of submitting a formative essay.

Indicative reading

H Dean, Social Rights and Human Welfare, Routledge, 2015. Other relevant readings include: H Dean, Understanding Human Need, The Policy Press, 2010; A Eide, et al (Eds), Economic, Cultural and Social Rights: A textbook, Martinas Nijhaff, 2001; B Turner, Vulnerability and Human Rights, Pennsylvania State University Press, 2006; T Pogge (Ed), Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right, Oxford University Press, 2007 A Nevile (Ed.), Human Rights and Social Policy, Edward Elgar, 2010; C Gearty & V Mantouvalou, Debating Social Rights, Hart Publishing, 2011.


Exam (75%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 1500 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 5.2
Merit 77.6
Pass 17.2
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2015/16: 31

Average class size 2015/16: 16

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 93%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)