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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

SLSP2650 Key Debates in Social Policy

20 creditsClass Size: 30

Module manager: Dr Albert Varela

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Normally, 40 credits of social policy modules at Level 1 (or equivalent).


SLSP1190Identities, Inequalities and Policy in Contemporary Society

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module will engage students in an exploration of key areas of social policy concern, encompassing ideological debates, comparative questions and the policy making process. Students will be able to apply theoretical and ideological ideas with approaches to qualitative and quantitative data to better understand how social policies operate in the real world, both in the UK and internationally.


By exploring key debates and perspectives relating to social policy, on completion of the modules students should be able to:

- better understand how social policies are formulated and developed

- think about social policies in comparative perspective, showing a critical understanding of welfare models and theory

- understand the social policy landscape across key areas both in the UK and internationally

- use data (both quantitative and qualitative) to examine how far and in what ways social policies are being designed and implemented to address particular social problems

- think critically about how these social problems are framed, and use a social policy understanding to consider whether the policy approaches are proving effective

- understand the strengths and weaknesses of various data sets in illuminating the extent and dynamics of particular social issues

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module, students should be better able to:

- Demonstrate a familiarity with and critically assess key ideological and theoretical concepts in Social Policy, encompassing perspectives on welfare from the UK and internationally

- Systematically explore and analyse social policy problems and processes in practice

- Apply newly acquired conceptual and methodological skills to research social policy issues, and make use of international data sources to explore and demonstrate cross-national comparisons

- Apply theoretical social policy concepts to particular case studies from a range of social policy approaches, in different parts of the world.

- Understand and deploy the different forms of data available to social policy researchers

- Work independently as social researchers, applying concepts, theories and evidence to understand social policies.


Learning Units:

What is social policy?: ideology and organisation
Social democracy and liberalism
Cross-cutting issues: gender and nation
Agenda setting and policy formation
Policy implementation and evaluation
Comparing welfare states: inputs
Comparing welfare states: outcomes
Welfare regimes
Globalisation, markets and welfare states
Politics and attitudes to the welfare state
Module review and assignment briefing

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
On-line Learning111.0011.00
Interactive Lecture221.0022.00
Private study hours157.00
Total Contact hours43.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

100 hours preparation for online learning units and tutorials
57 hours preparation for assessment

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Contribution at tutorials
Progress in developing a personal learning log/wiki
Ongoing feedback, encouraged and facilitated through open door meetings

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Reflective logNot more than 4,000 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: 28/04/2023 14:51:52


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