SA4J9      Half Unit
States, Social Policy and Development

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

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


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Social Policy and Development. This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in Social Policy (Research) and MSc in Social Policy and Development: Non-Governmental Organisations. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Lectures and seminars draw on both conceptual literature and discussion of the practical challenges of social policy interventions and projects in the developing world.

Course content

This course provides the analytical tools needed to understand and critically evaluate the key practical challenges of social development.  A wide range of development contexts will be discussed using empirical research and case studies. Key themes include: linking social policy theory, implementation and practice; making social protection effective; managing sector reform processes; projects and programmes, including design and evaluation; participation and community development; gender analysis; the impact of corporate social responsibility and social enterprises on poverty reduction.  Students have the option to write an assessed ‘project essay’ that will form the basis of their summative assessment for this course. Alternatively they may choose an essay topic from the predetermined list.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the Lent Term. 

Formative coursework

The formative work on this course is a mock exam held in the Lent Term.  Students will receive feedback on their mock exam from their academic advisers.

Indicative reading

Barrientos, A. and D. Hulme, eds. (2008) Social Protection for the Poor and the Poorest: Concepts, Policies and Politics. London: Palgrave Macmillan; Dale, R (2004) Development Planning: Concepts and Tools for Planners, Managers and Facilitators, Zed Books; Green, D. (2008) From Poverty To Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change The World. Oxford: Oxfam International; Hickey, S. and Mohan, G. (2004) Participation, from tyranny to transformation? : exploring new approaches to participation in development. London: Zed Books; Midgley, J. (1995) Social development: the developmental perspective in social welfare. London: Sage; Rondinelli, D. (1983) Development Projects as Policy Experiments: An Adaptive Approach to Development Administration. London: Methuen; Thin, N. (2002) Social progress and sustainable development. London: ITDG; Willis, K. (2005) Theories and Practices of Development. London: Routledge.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours).

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 11
Merit 55.2
Pass 30.2
Fail 3.5

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2015/16: 48

Average class size 2015/16: 12

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: 87%



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)