Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
Edinburgh: Extraordinary futures await.

Subject area: Social Policy

Why choose Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We are ranked in Europe's top 4 and in the world's top 10 universities for social policy in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024.

  • You can combine social policy with another subject area in a joint honours programme, or with a specialisation in quantitative methods. Or you can study our interdisciplinary single honours degree Government, Policy and Society. In your first two years you can switch between these different options.

  • We have close relationships with the Scottish and UK governments, as well as European and global institutions. You will have the opportunity to be immersed in a diverse range of contemporary policy developments.

Study abroad

Edinburgh is home to Scotland's devolved parliament, countless influential think tanks, and third sector organisations. This allows students to witness agenda setting, policy formulation, implementation and evaluation first-hand.

Kevin Forrest MA (Hons) Government, Policy and Society graduate
Kevin Forrest MA (Hons) Government, Policy and Society graduate

Introducing Social Policy

Social policy at the University of Edinburgh will enable you to engage with confidence in many of the political debates of our time.

We cover a wide array of policy areas, for example:

  • health
  • welfare
  • labour markets
  • education
  • family and childhood

We also discuss how policies affect our civic culture through studying political engagement and citizen participation.

Our programme will equip you with the knowledge to understand how policies affect society and the economy. It will also enable you to critically assess how policies are made and what actors and processes influence the policy-making process.

Our degrees are for students who are interested in how political actions affect the real lives of people. Our programmes are designed to foster critical thinking about policy to ensure you are able to look beyond news headlines and understand in detail why certain political decisions are taken and what their impact may be.

You will be taught by staff members who are passionate about conducting research that has strong applications to the world outside of academia.

We work closely with:

  • governments
  • non-government organisations (NGOs)
  • third sector organisations
  • interest representation groups
  • international organisations
  • other external actors

International comparative analyses are one of our main strengths and we place a strong emphasis on providing you with empirical research skills, so that you can become a critical researcher yourself.

Take a social policy degree at the University of Edinburgh and you will be challenged to re-evaluate how you look at politics, society and the economy with the ability to improve others’ understanding as well.