Sociology and Social Policy

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Lucinda Platt OLD 2.25


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Social Policy and BSc in Social Policy and Sociology. This course is available on the BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and International Relations and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.

Course content

This course introduces students to sociological ideas and thinking and how they link to key social policy issues. The course is organised around six major social policy concerns : gender inequalities; educational opportunity and inequality; class mobility and stratification; social networks and social segregation; neighbourhood deprivation and housing; ethnic and racial inequalities. These are related to key classical and contemporary theoretical perspectives and concepts that have been used to describe and explain them, such as occupational segregation, discrimination, cultural and social capital, institutions, socialisation, identity and belonging, and intergenerational transmission of status, values and resources.


10 hours of lectures and 13 hours and 30 minutes of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

One essay in the Michaelmas term.

An optional additional essay in the Lent term. 

Indicative reading

The course will draw on three core texts, as well as academic journal articles: David Grusky, D. and Szelenyi, S. (Eds.) 2011 The Inequality Reader: Contemporary and Foundational Readings in Race, Class, and Gender. 2nd Edition. Westview Press; Oxford University Press; Payne, G. (ed.) Social Divisions. Third Edition. Palgrave Macmillan; and Platt, L. 2011 Understanding Inequalities: Stratification and Difference. Polity Press. For those unfamiliar without a background in Sociology, the following text provides useful background: Fulcher, J. and Scott, J. (2011) Sociology, 4th Edition.


Exam (75%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Essay (25%, 1500 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
First 40.8
2:1 40.8
2:2 12.7
Third 1.4
Fail 4.2

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2017/18: 25

Average class size 2017/18: 13

Capped 2017/18: Yes (30)

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills