Not available in 2022/23
Poverty, Inequality, and Social Policy

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Amanda Sheely OLD.2.52


This course is available on the BSc in Economic History and Geography, BSc in Environment and Development, 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 available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available with permission to General Course students.

Course content

This course aims to introduce students to issues surrounding the ways that social policy understands, measures, and seeks to ameliorate poverty and other forms of social disadvantage throughout the life course. Specific policies include: redistribution, basic income guarantees, early childhood education, education, work activiation policies, and social care. This course draws primarily on examples from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Western Europe.


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.

Formative coursework

As preparation for the first summative essay, which is a book review, students will be asked to write a film review following the same format as the summative.

For the second summative essay, students will prepare and present a one-page outline of their policy critique.

Indicative reading

A detailed list will be provided at the start of the session.

H Dean & L Platt (2016) Social Advantage and Disadvantage Oxford University Press

J Hills (2014). Good Times, Bad Times: The Welfare Myth of Them and Us Policy Press

AB Atkinson (2015) Inequality: What Can Be Done? Harvard University Press

S.P. Jenkins (2011) Changing Fortunes: Income Mobility and Poverty Dynamics in Britain Oxford University Press

T. Shildrick, R. MacDonald, C. Webster, & K Garthwaite (2010). The Low-Pay, No-Pay Cycle: Understanding Recurrent Poverty Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


Essay (60%, 2000 words) in the ST.
Essay (40%, 1500 words) in the LT.

Summative assessment for this course comprises two essays.

The first essay, which takes the format of a book critique is worth 40% of the mark and is due in Lent Term.

The second essay is a policy evaluation. This essay is worth 60% of the mark and is due in Summer Term. 

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Capped 2021/22: No

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
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills