SA488      Half Unit
Social Policy Goals and Issues

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sonia Exley OLD2.65


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy) and MSc in Social Policy (Social Policy and Planning). This course is available on the MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Criminal Justice Policy, MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities, MSc in Health, Population and Society, MSc in Public Management and Governance and MSc in Social Policy (Research). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The nature of social policy and policy making: key approaches and issues. The goals of social policy in relation to policy formation and the policymaking process. Issues including: the political economy of social policy; social justice and social policy; human needs; the mixed economy of welfare; the governance of social policy; gender and social policy; poverty, inequality and social exclusion; globalisation and the future of social policy.


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

Formative coursework

One 1500 word essay due in MT

Indicative reading

Some introductory texts are:

  • R Lister, Understanding Theories and Concepts in Social Policy, The Policy Press, 2010;
  • H Dean, Social Policy, 2nd edition, Polity, 2012;
  • P Alcock et al. (eds) The Student's Companion to Social Policy, 4th edition, Blackwell, 2011; 
  • C Pierson et al. (eds) The Welfare State Reader, 3rd edition, Polity, 2014.
  • H Glennerster, British Social Policy since 1945, Blackwell, 3rd Edition, 2007;
  • M Hill, Social Policy in the Modern World: A comparative text, Blackwell, 2006;
  • M Daly, Welfare, Polity, 2011;

A full bibliography will be handed out with the programme of seminar topics at the start of the course.


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 8.2
Merit 61
Pass 26.8
Fail 3.9

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2014/15: 60

Average class size 2014/15: 13

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 83%



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)