SA4J8      Half Unit
Social Policy and Development: Core Concepts

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Anthony Hall OLD2.28, Prof David Lewis OLD2.25, Dr Armine Ishkanian OLD2.42 and Dr Timothy Hildebrandt OLD2.55


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 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 and MSc in Social Policy (Research). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


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 on applied social planning at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park, during the Lent term. The cost is included in MSc SPD & NGOs student fees. The cost of this three-day workshop for students taking the course as an option is £200.

Course content

The course is designed to give students a 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 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.


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

An unassessed study and research skills for social policy and development is also provided. This comprises five additional one hour sessions in MT. It includes an introduction to 'Conceptualising the Research Process', a self-learning web-based course, a review of research methods, use of evidence, ethics in research, basic study skills and dissertation guidance.

Formative coursework

All students will write and receive feedback on a formative essay (1500 words). Also, the student-led weekly seminars will require all students to make at least one joint seminar presentation on a question, a process designed to students plan an exam answer based on their reading.

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 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 6.4
Merit 49.3
Pass 42.9
Fail 1.4

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2014/15: 75

Average class size 2014/15: 15

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2012/13 - 2013/14 combined)

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

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 94.2%



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