Study abroad in Edinburgh

Course finder

Semester 1

Social Policy and Society (SCPL08004)


Social Policy





Normal Year Taken


Delivery Session Year



Course Summary

The course explores how welfare issues are constructed and debated in contemporary society. It revolves around a number of main themes including equality, social needs, social problems and social rights, and how different debates about welfare have been influenced by these themes. It focuses on the implications of social change for debates about welfare, considering some of the major contemporary issues in social policy. This half course is complementary to Politics of the Welfare State.

Course Description

The course is based around a series of case studies that are linked to the concepts of equality, power, needs, rights and responsibilities. Each week, we examine a specific area or issue in Social policy. Illustrative examples include access to higher education, health inequalities, poverty, social security, city deals and local government. We examine these policies in order to gain a deeper understanding of how social policy is made and how these policies are able to offer a deeper understanding of the concepts within the course. The course will be taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials. Each week there will be at least two and up to four 25 minute lectures together with a set of moderated and facilitated discussions taking place live on campus. Discussions are very interactive and students will be encouraged to develop their debating and critical thinking skills. Additionally, each week, you will be able to ask your course organiser or lecturer questions to gain a greater understanding of the material and to give students the opportunity to question, debate and discuss pertinent contemporary issues. Furthermore, each week you will have a specific study skill component helping students to develop broader skills such as: how to interpret data graphically and in tables; how to construct an argument; how to read critically; how to evaluate evidence; and how to interpret written documents and discourse. The course is very suitable for students looking for a multi-disciplinary experience. It is historically informed and will complement other courses in sociology, politics, economics, law, and social policy.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 60%, Coursework 40%, Practical Exam 0%

view the timetable and further details for this course


All course information obtained from this visiting student course finder should be regarded as provisional. We cannot guarantee that places will be available for any particular course. For more information, please see the visiting student disclaimer:

Visiting student disclaimer