SP400      Half Unit
International Social and Public Policy

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sonia Exley

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 (Education), 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.


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 Autumn Term (AT) and/or Winter Term (WT)". 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 AT.

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

  • Beland, D., Shoyama, J. and Mahon, R. 2016. Advanced Introduction to Social Policy. Edward Elgar.
  • 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. 2021. The Public Policy Process. Eighth Edition. Routledge.
  • Hoppe, R. 2011. The Governance of Problems: Puzzling, Powering and Participation. Policy Press.
  • Hudson, J.R. and Lowe, S.G. 2009. Understanding the Policy Process: Analysing Welfare Policy & Practice. Second Edition. Policy Press.
  • Yeates, N. and Holden, C. (eds.) 2022. Understanding Global Social Policy. Third Edition. Policy Press.


Online assessment (100%) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 26
Merit 63.8
Pass 9.3
Fail 0.8

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2022/23: 178

Average class size 2022/23: 18

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half 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