module specification

SS6P03 - Social Policy Dissertation (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Social Policy Dissertation
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 300
54 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
246 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 10%   Dissertation Plan
Coursework 20%   2500 Word, Literature Review Draft
Dissertation 70%   Final Project
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

This Dissertation module is an opportunity for students to identify and evaluate the theoretical and practical policy issues involved in investigating a welfare topic of their choice. The social policy dissertation centres on ain depth policy analysis.

Prior learning requirements

All core modules at level 4 & 5

Module aims

  • To provide an opportunity for students to identify through a policy analysis the historical, theoretical and methodological issues in their chosen topic.
  • To encourage students to apply the conceptual understanding gained in their programme of study to a substantive issue/theme.
  • To present an evaluation of existing policy relating to the topic of their choice.


Attend workshops on:

  • Research Question formation
  • Theory and Methods in Social Policy
  • Literature Reviews
  • Policy Analysis
  • Writing UP

Independent work leading to a 10,000 words dissertation

Learning and teaching

The dissertation supervisor will be responsible for advising and guiding the student in the selection of a project title and the organisation and development of the material. They will ensure that sufficient material is available and guide students on its use. In collaboration with the student supervisors will set a work and tutorial timetable. The on-going process of receiving and scrutinising drafts – with at least ten supervisory sessions – is integral to the completion of the project.

There will also be timetabled classes for all dissertation students to induct them in academic skills and the criteria that is to be met.

Learning outcomes

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

(1)  Identify an area or theme of social policy inquiry.
(2)  Use theoretical and empirical knowledge, research and analytical skills gained in their programme of study to investigate the area and formulate a project.
(3) Undertake a literature search and review. This will include a library search and other data sources relating to a general field in which the theme is located.
(4) Undertake a critical social policy analysis of the area under investigation, underpinned by sound theory and methodology.
(5) Draw conclusions from this analysis and made possible policy recommendations where appropriate.
(6) Write a well-presented piece of work in the conventional academic format with well-documented sources.
(7) Maintain an agreed schedule of work.

Assessment strategy

The dissertation plan will assess the student’s ability to identify an inquiry theme and to formulate a project (learning outcomes 1 & 2) The literature review will assess the student’s ability to locate and evaluate appropriate data sources (learning outcome 3).  The written project itself will assess learning outcomes 4-7.  The final written submission should include the literature review, and the total word count should be about 10,000 words.


Alcock, P., Erskine, A. and May, M. (eds.) (2003) The Student’s Companion to Social Policy, 2nd edition, London: Blackwell, Parts I and II
Deacon, A. (2002) Perspectives on Welfare, Buckingham: Open University Press, Pierson, C. (2006) Beyond the Welfare State? 3rd edition, Cambridge: Polity Press
Pierson, C. and Castles, F. (eds.) (2006) The Welfare State Reader, 2nd edition, Cambridge: Polity Press