Sociology and Social Policy

This information is for the 2022/23 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 follow the Teaching Model outlined on the following page: https://www.lse.ac.uk/social-policy/Current-Students/teaching-in-the-department-of-social-policy


All teaching will be in accordance with the LSE Academic Code (https://info.lse.ac.uk/current-students/lse-academic-code) which specifies a "minimum of two hours taught contact time per week when the course is running in the Michaelmas and/or Lent terms". Social Policy courses are predominantly taught through a combination of in-person Lectures and In person classes/seminars. Further information will be provided by the Course Convenor in the first lecture of the course.


This course is taught in both MT and LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT and 1 piece of coursework in the MT and LT.

One essay in MT

Two worksheets (one in MT, one in 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.


Essay (40%, 1500 words) in the LT.
Online assessment (60%) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
First 39.1
2:1 41.3
2:2 17.4
Third 2.2
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2021/22: 16

Average class size 2021/22: 8

Capped 2021/22: Yes (12)

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (MT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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