Sociology and Social Policy

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Thomas Biegert OLD.2.54


This course is available on the BSc in International Social and Public Policy, BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics, BSc in Politics and BSc in Politics and International Relations. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

Places on this course are limited and priority is given to Social Policy students in the first instance. If places remain available once Social Policy students have been accommodated, they will be offered on a first come first served basis to students from outside the Department.

This course is not available to third year students.



Course content

This course introduces students to sociological ideas and thinking and how they link to key social policy issues. 

The course is organised around six major social policy concerns : gender inequalities; ethnic and racial inequalities; class mobility and stratification; educational opportunity and inequality; social networks and social segregation; neighbourhood deprivation and housing.

These are related to key classical and contemporary theoretical perspectives and concepts that have been used to describe and explain them, such as occupational segregation, discrimination, cultural and social capital, institutions, socialisation, identity and belonging, and intergenerational transmission of status, values and resources.

The sociological understanding of the underlying reasons for the various dimensions of social inequality inform the critical analysis of social policies that aim to tackle them.



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 will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT and 1 presentation in the MT and LT.

One essay in MT

One group presentation in either MT or LT

Indicative reading

The course will draw on three core texts, as well as academic journal articles:

David Grusky, D. and Szelenyi, S. (eds.) 2011 The Inequality Reader: Contemporary and Foundational Readings in Race, Class, and Gender. 2nd Edition. Westview Press Oxford University Press

Payne, G. (ed.) 2013 Social Divisions. Third Edition.Palgrave Macmillan

Platt, L. 2019 Understanding Inequalities: Stratification and Difference. 2nd Edition. Polity Press.

For those unfamiliar or without a background in Sociology, the following text provides useful background: Fulcher, J. and Scott, J. (2011) Sociology, 4th Edition.


Exam (60%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Essay (40%, 1500 words) 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: 35

Average class size 2020/21: 7

Capped 2020/21: Yes (30)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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