module specification

SS4006 - Social Policy and Society (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Social Policy and Society
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
219 hours Guided independent study
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 20%   4 short answers 1000 words total
Coursework 20%   Essay 1500 words
Coursework 30%   4 short answers 1500 words total
Seen Examination 30%   Seen exam 2 answers in 2hrs
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Friday Morning

Module summary

The module introduces students to the academic field of social policy: The study of the sociology, politics and economics of the welfare state, covering the origins, implementation and impact of policy in key areas of basic needs and injustices.

Module aims

To explain the development and functioning of different models of social policy in the West and to explore key themes and issues in social policy in the UK over recent decades, mapping the ascendance of the neoliberal model and the decline of the classic welfare state.


1. Social Policy and the Welfare State  
2. Needs, Rights, Outcomes   
3. Policy Making and Government  
4. Economic Policy and Resources  
5. Production, Provision, Delivery, Implementation
6. Benefits and Pensions    
7. Healthcare     
8. Social Care     
9. School Education    
10. Housing     
11. Social Policy before 1900    
12. 1890s to 1930s    
13. 1940s to 1970s     
14. 1980s to the present: The Neoliberal Era
15. Welfare States Beyond the UK   
16. Social Policy and ‘Developing Societies’ 
17. Race Equality     
18. Disability     
19. Gender Equality     
20. Childcare, Child Protection

Learning and teaching

Teaching: weekly lectures followed by exercises and reflexive discussion in seminars,  based on data and key texts
Learning: Learning is supported by the WebLearn site for the module which includes lecture notes, seminar exercises, newspaper articles and longer articles and links to relevant web sites.
The lecture notes and seminar exercises are used as the initial basis for tackling a topic, but  students are encouraged to go beyond  these in preparing coursework and examination answers

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. analyse reflectively the concepts of  ‘social policy’ and the ‘welfare state’
2. identify and describe origins and features of different welfare regimes in the West
3. identify and describe the impact of social movements and ideologies on social policy outcomes in addressing inequalities and injustices
4. describe and analyse the shift from a public service model of delivery towards a quasi privatised model

Assessment strategy

  1. Coursework addressing learning outcome 1 due in week 7: four short answers, 250 words each
  2. 1500-word essay due week 14 addressing learning outcome 2
  3. Coursework addressing learning outcome 3  due week 22: four short answers, 250 words each
  4. Seen examination in week 28 addressing learning outcome 4: two answers in two hours

The examination will assess students’ ability to think quickly without resort to copying from other material. The exam will be designed to rely less on memorising empirical data and more on theoretical content.


Alcock, P. et al (2016) Student’s Companion to Social Policy, 5th edition, Wiley 
Alcock, P. (2014) Social Policy in Britain, 4th edition, Palgrave Macmillan
Bochel, H. et al (2009) Social Policy: Themes, Issues & Debates, 2nd edition, Pearson
Bochel, H and G. Daly (2014) Social Policy, 3rd edition, Routledge