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2022/23 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP5306M Social Policy Debates

15 creditsClass Size: 75

Module manager: Dr Roxana Barbulescu

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

Module replaces

SLSP5117M Issues in Social Policy Analysis and Research

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module introduces contemporary debates in the design, provision and politics of social policy in the UK and internationally. It introduces students to substantive areas of contemporary policy and enables them to engage with and challenge the prevailing agendas and approaches that configure the current policy landscape. In so doing, it encourages students to engage closely with, and to draw upon, evidence from social policy research. It seeks to develop the capacity of students as critical policy thinkers and to enhance their intellectual engagement with real world policy debates in their future careers.


On completion of this module, students should be able to engage critically with real-world social policy debates, drawing on social policy research evidence.
In developing an advanced understanding of contemporary social policy challenges, students will be able to apply theoretical and empirical insights to the dynamic nature of policy debates in social context.
They will have shown an awareness of selected key topics that are currently active in scholarly or popular discussion in Social Policy, or that relate to students' present, planned or recent work experience or research in Social Policy fields, and will be able to explain the relevance of research approaches and evidence for these topics.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module students should be able to:

b) demonstrate a knowledge of substantive areas of social policy through an understanding of social policy research
d) show a deep understanding of the morally contested nature of social policy debates
a) show an ability to engage critically in the social policy debates shaping the design and provision of contemporary social policy;
c) deploy evidence from social policy research to frame and articulate sophisticated policy arguments;
e) take a proactive and self-reflective role in working and to develop professional working relationships with peers, staff and others


An overview of social policy provides a foundation from which students can consider and actively debate specific Social Policy topics. A range of specific topics are chosen for their salience to an understanding of key conceptual issues and research prospects in contemporary contexts.
The content enables to students to engage with real world social policy challenges and problems, using concrete examples to raise conceptual challenges concerning, for example, the (re)distribution of resources, the social divisions of welfare, social justice, fairness, deservedness, and citizenship. Examples are introduced by using evidence from social policy research, including that carried out by members of the School, to engage students in active and evidence-informed debates about the substantive and wider social policy issues that they raise.
In relation to relevant areas of social policy, students will look in detail at the applicability of approaches to analysis and research, including the evidence base, available indicators, and problems with findings or 'proof'. The selection of social policy debates may include, for example, issues of: poverty, social security, education or youth policy, health policy, housing, urbanisation, disability, migration or ageing. The development of individual assignments may also take account of particular student profiles, academic needs or career plans.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours128.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

This module requires extensive preparatory reading of texts. Students will be expected to come to class have read, minimally, two key readings and be able to discuss them in detail during seminars. In addition, students will be required to prepare class presentations, and for an assessed essay. This is broadly equivalent to 2 hours per week preparation tasks, 8 hours preparation of an assignment plan and presentations, and 100 hours personal research for the assignment.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Attendance at seminars will be closely monitored.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay or Dissertation3000 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/07/2022


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