SA4J9      Half Unit
States, Social Policy and Development

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

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

and Dr Tim Hildebrandt OLD2.45


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 must have completed Social Policy and Development: Core Concepts (SA4J8).

Lectures and seminars draw on both conceptual literature and discussion of the practical challenges of social policy interventions and projects in the developing world. Students should provide themselves with background information on their own countries, or ones on which they intend to focus.

Course content

This course provides the analytical tools needed to understand and critically evaluate the key practical challenges of social development. It will apply concepts discussed earlier in the Social Policy and Development: Core Concepts half unit. 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 will also be equipped with a working knowledge of the principles and tool of project design, through the project planning workshop. 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. Students must complete a two-day residential workshop in the Lent Term.

Formative coursework

Following the project planning workshop, students will write and receive feedback on a 1500 word project proposal essay setting out a basic project idea.

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 (60%, duration: 2 hours).
Essay (40%, 3000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 8
Merit 64.3
Pass 25
Fail 2.7

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2014/15: 58

Average class size 2014/15: 14

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: 86.1%



Reading list (Q2.1)


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Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)