SP400      Half Unit
International Social and Public Policy

This information is for the 2021/22 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 (LSE and Fudan), 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.


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.

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.

The course will be delivered in Michaelmas term.

Formative coursework

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

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.


Online assessment (100%) in the ST.

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: 167

Average class size 2020/21: 8

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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