SP400      Half Unit
International Social and Public Policy

This information is for the 2019/20 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.


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

All Social Policy Courses are ‘Controlled Access’. Please see the link below for further details on the allocation process.


Course content

This course engages with the social and 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 and 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 seminars 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 will be a 1500 word essay. 

Indicative reading

Beland, D., Shoyama, J., Mahon, R. 2016. Advanced Introduction to Social Policy. Edward Elgar.

Deacon. B. 2007. Global Social Policy and Governance. Sage.

Ferguson, J.  2016. Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution. Duke University Press.

Fraser, N. 2008. Scales of Justice: Reframing Political Space in a Globalizing World. Polity.

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

The exam will test students' knowledge and understanding of topics from across the course. 

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2018/19: Unavailable

Average class size 2018/19: Unavailable

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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