Why study social policy?
Social policy is concerned with the promotion of human wellbeing. This includes understanding all those things that enhance our lives and make them worth living like education, good health and fulfilling jobs as well as the systems societies use to maximise wellbeing, including governments, businesses, charities and unofficial groups of families and friends.
In 2008 the UK spent roughly a quarter of its Gross Domestic Product on what would typically be classed as social spending. Although the social policies and systems devised by governments are just one aspect of social policy, this level of spending highlights its importance within our society.
Social policy draws on theories and approaches from a wide range of academic subjects including social psychology, politics, economics, social history and philosophy to provide answers to the questions of what is required to achieve human wellbeing.
Undergraduate courses in social policy
At undergraduate level social policy is offered alongside other subject areas to form a number of joint honours degrees.
- Criminology and Social Policy BA(Hons)
- Sociology and Social Policy BA(Hons)
- Politics and Social Policy BA(Hons)
You begin your studies with an introduction to the basic concepts and ideas underpinning the study of social policy, moving on to look at key concepts drawn from different social sciences such as poverty, inequality, social justice and social exclusion.
Our teaching of social policy is based on research expertise and interests developed over the years by the teaching team. You will explore aspects of social policy such as social policy analysis, the historical development of the welfare state in the UK, and the comparative and international study of social policy. In addition, there is an opportunity to examine specific areas of policy such as transport, the environment, health and others.
The joint degree combinations allow you to engage with two subject areas. Links between social policy and the other joint degree subject are explored during independent study, and through research projects and literature analysis and review.
There are also opportunities for international study on our exchange programme, and a community-based placement in year 2 or 3.
Masters courses in social policy
At postgraduate level we offer the following masters degrees in social policy:
The Masters in Public Administration (MPA) examines the rapidly changing context of public work, including the pressures of globalisation, and international examples of how local communities can maintain public value and traditions. Core elements of this masters degree include managing public and voluntary organisations, partnerships and networks, participation and democracy, and strategy and planning in the public services.