Understanding International Social and Public Policy

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Isabel Shutes OLD.2.58


This course is compulsory on the BSc in International Social and Public Policy, BSc in International Social and Public Policy and Economics and BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Course content

The course introduces students to the study and practice of international social and public policy. It considers how societies organise to address social needs, with reference to academic and policy debates across the so-called global North and South.

In the first half of the course (Michaelmas Term), you will develop your understanding of how welfare systems have developed and of the institutions and actors involved in different contexts across the world, including the state, market, civil society and families.

In the second half (Lent Term), you will consider the challenge of inequality and how different approaches in social policy, involving those institutions and actors, can redress or reinforce inequalities.



Courses in Social Policy will follow the Teaching Model which has been adopted by the Department of Social Policy during the period of the pandemic. This is outlined HERE: https://www.lse.ac.uk/social-policy/Current-Students/teaching-in-the-department-of-social-policy

This course will be taught through a combination of either a recorded lecture plus a follow-up Q and A session or a ‘live’ on-line lecture; and classes/seminars of 1-1.5 hours (with size and length of classes/seminars depending on social distancing requirements).

Further information will be provided by the Course Convenor in the first lecture of the course.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to participate actively in course activities and to complete two formative assignments. 

Indicative reading

Artaraz, K. and Hill, M. (2016) Global Social Policy: Themes, Issues and Actors. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Daly, M. (2011) Welfare. Cambridge: Polity.

Garland, D. (2016) The Welfare State: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kabeer, N., Cook, S. (2000) ‘Revisioning social policy in the South: challenges and concepts’, IDS Bulletin, 31: 4, 1-18.

Lewis, D. (2017) ‘Should we pay more attention to South-North learning?’, Human Service Organisations: Management, Leadership and Governance, 41: 4, 327-331.


Online assessment (80%) in the ST.
Group assignment (10%) in the MT.
Blog post (10%) in the LT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2020/21: 77

Average class size 2020/21: 8

Capped 2020/21: Yes (60)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Specialist skills