SP411      Half Unit
Social Policy and Development

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sunil Kumar


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 (Education), 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.


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 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 WT.

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

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 32.2
Merit 56.7
Pass 9.9
Fail 1.2

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2022/23: 67

Average class size 2022/23: 17

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
  • Communication