SP411      Half Unit
Social Policy and Development

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sunil Kumar OLD.2.55


This course is compulsory on the MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Development). This course is available on the MSc in International Social and Public Policy, MSc in International Social and Public Policy (LSE and Fudan), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Migration), MSc in International Social and Public Policy (Non-Governmental Organisations) and 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 provides the analytical tools needed to understand and critically evaluate the key practical challenges of social development. A wide range of development contexts will be discussed using empirical research and case studies.

Key themes include: linking social policy theory, implementation and practice; race and development; intersectionality and gender; policy actors, regulation and decentralisation, civil society, markets and development, participation; informality; and conflict and development.  Some of these themes are treated as cross-cutting issues as appropriate.


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 required to submit, as their formative, a detailed 750-word outline of their summative essay, later in the Michaelmas Term.  Feedback will be provided but no grade given because the formative will be developed into the summative essay.

Indicative reading

  • Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2014) Epistemologies of the South: Justice Against Epistemicide. London and New York: Routledge.
  • Mignolo, W. D. and Walsh, C. E. (2018) On De-Coloniality: Concepts, Analytics and Praxis.  Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Barrientos, A. and D. Hulme, eds. (2008) Social Protection for the Poor and the Poorest: Concepts, Policies and Politics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Green, D. (2008) From Poverty To Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change The World. Oxford: Oxfam International.
  • Willis, K. (2005) Theories and Practices of Development. London: Routledge.
  • Dale, R (2004) Development Planning: Concepts and Tools for Planners, Managers and Facilitators, London: Zed Books.
  • Hickey, S. and Mohan, G. (2004) Participation: From Tyranny to Transformation? Exploring New Approaches to Participation in Development. London: Zed Books.
  • Thin, N. (2002) Social Progress and Sustainable Development. London: ITDG.
  • Midgley, J. (1995) Social Development: The Developmental Perspective in Social Welfare. London: Sage.


Essay (100%, 3500 words) in the LT.

A 3,500 words essay relating to social policy and development.

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: 63

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
  • Communication