SA4AA      Half Unit
International Social & Public Policy

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sonia Exley OLD 2.64

The course will be taught by a team of faculty members with complementary areas of expertise, and specialisation in both the global north and south who have all contributed to the development of the core course.


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Social and Public Policy, MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Development), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Migration) and MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course engages with the social & public policy challenges facing states and citizens across the world. It introduces students to core issues, concepts, actors and debates shaping our understanding of social & public policy, its drivers and impacts. It outlines the questions raised by efforts to ensure a healthy, educated and productive population, to protect those without other means of support, and to reduce inequalities of e.g. gender, class, and ethnicity. It discusses diverse policy approaches to these issues, their ideological underpinnings, and the varying configurations of actors involved in the policy process - the state, the market, civil society, the family, and international organisations.  The course explores applications to a range of policy domains, such as education, urbanisation, health, family, social care, migration, inequality and redistribution, and to varied country contexts. The course is informed by an international and comparative approach that considers both rich and poor country contexts and international dimensions and locates these within a historical understanding of both national and global processes.


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

One of the lectures in the MT will be a Study Skills session at the start of term.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.

The formative coursework in the form of 1500 word essay to be submitted before the end of the MT will require the students to apply the principles covered in the course, to a specified case. This will prepare them for the summative coursework which will require them to select and develop their own case study application.

Indicative reading

Daniel Béland, Johnson Shoyama and Rianne Mahon. 2016. Advanced Introduction to Social Policy. Edward Elgar; Deacon. B. 2007. Global Social Policy and Governance. Sage: London; Esping-Andersen, G. (ed.). 1996. Welfare States in Transition: National Adaptation in Global Economies. Sage; Ferguson, J.  2016. Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution. Duke University Press; Gonzalez-Ricoy, I. and Gosseries, A. (eds.) 2016. Institutions for Future Generations. Oxford University Press; Hill, M. and Varone F. 2017. The Public Policy Process. Seventh Edition. Routledge; Hoppe, R. 2011. The Governance of Problems: Puzzling, Powering and Participation. The Policy Press; Hudson, J.R. and Lowe, S.G. 2009. Understanding the Policy Process: Analysing Welfare Policy & Practice. Second Edition. The Policy Press; Yeates, N. (ed.) 2014. Understanding Global Social Policy. Second Edition. The Policy Press.


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (50%, 2000 words) in the LT.

The essay provides students with the opportunity to apply their learning from the course to a specific case that they select.

The exam enables students to demonstrate that they have synthesised their understanding of the topics covered across the course.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2017/18: Unavailable

Average class size 2017/18: Unavailable

Controlled access 2017/18: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication