SA4J8      Half Unit
Social Policy and Development: Core Concepts

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Armine Ishkanian OLD1.13, Dr Timothy Hildebrandt OLD2.55, Dr Muzafferettin Seckinelgin, Prof Anthony Hall and Prof David Lewis


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Social Policy and Development and MSc in Social Policy and Development: Non-Governmental Organisations. This course is not available as an outside option.

This core course is compulsory for the students registered for the MSc in Social Policy and Development and MSc in Social Policy and Development (Non-governmental Organisations) programmes. It is not available for students on other MSc programmes. 


Students are expected to have a background in the social sciences and some practical work experience in developing countries.

Students will be required to take part in a three-day residential workshop  at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park, during the Lent term. The cost is included in MSc SPD & NGOs student fees. 

Course content

The course is designed to give students  knowledge of core concepts within the theory and implementation of social policy in developing countries. Such an overview is essential for those focusing on mainstream social policy and development issues, and those choosing to specialise on non-governmental organisations. Main topics will include: Comparative social policy in north and south; social development and human development; conceptualizing the state, market and civil society as policy actors; citizenship, social justice, and rights; comparative approaches to the understanding of poverty, wellbeing and exclusion; welfare regime theory; concepts of sustainable livelihoods; global institutions and the international aid system; conceptualizing the policy process.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT.

The course consists of 10 lectures (90 minutes each) and 10 seminars (90 minutes each) held during the MT.  There is also a compulsory residential workshop held in Cumberland Lodge, Windsor during a weekend in January (Lent Term). 

Formative coursework

All students will write and receive feedback on two  formative essays. The first formative essay consists of an article review (1000 words) and the second essay is based on a set question (1500 words). Also, the student-led weekly seminars will require all students to come prepared to discuss the required readings and link these to the learning outcomes.  This process is designed to help students develop critical thinking, reading, and analytical skills.  

Indicative reading

De Haan, A. (2007) Reclaiming Social Policy: Globalization, Social Exclusion and New Poverty Reduction Strategies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; Deacon, B (2007) Global Social Policy and Governance, London: Sage; Gough, I. and G. Wood et al. (eds, 2004) Insecurity and Welfare Regimes in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Hall, A. and J. Midgley (2004) Social Policy for Development. London: Sage; Houtzager, P and Moore, M. (eds, 2005) Changing Paths: International Development and the New Politics of Inclusion. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press; Mkandawire, T. (ed, 2004) Social Policy in a Development Context. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan; Riddell, R. (2007) Does Foreign Aid Really Work? Oxford: Oxford University Press; Turner, M. and Hulme, D. (1997) Governance, Development and Administration: Making the State Work. Houndsmill: Macmillan.


Essay (100%, 3500 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 8.8
Merit 41.4
Pass 46
Fail 3.7

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2015/16: 68

Average class size 2015/16: 17

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)


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Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


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Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)