Social Policy (with Foundation Year)
UCAS Code: Combined Honours only – see combinations tab|Duration: 4 years|Full Time|Hope Park
UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
Social Policy explores the ways in which welfare provision is delivered in society, exploring who is eligible for support and who provides it. Our Social Policy degree is multidisciplinary in its approach and draws on ideas from sociology, economics, politics and geography. It explores issues such as inequality, ill health and wellbeing, child welfare, employment and unemployment, educational opportunities, disability, homelessness, family policies, mental health, globalisation, crime and immigration.
Studying Social Policy at Liverpool Hope University allows you to explore the answers to questions such as; should the state be the main provider of welfare and what roles should the private profit making or voluntary sectors have? How should scarce resources be allocated in society? How can we understand different approaches to welfare delivery across different historical periods in British society? Why do women and minority ethnic groups experience greater levels of disadvantage? How have welfare systems developed in different countries?
The degree draws on an experienced team of lecturers who are published in the social sciences and are experts in social policy. The School is also a member of the national network of Social Policy course providers and benefits from engagement with national subject debates. There are fieldtrips to enhance your learning, and we also have annual research days where leading academics, civil servants and politicians come to talk about various social problems and social issues.
Teaching on this degree is structured into lectures, where all students are taught together, seminars of smaller groups of around 15-20 students, and tutorials which typically have no more than 10 students. There are a number of compulsory and optional fieldtrips, as well as guest lectures throughout your studies. You also have the opportunity to have a one-to-one meeting with your tutor each week.
For the Social Policy part of your Combined Honours degree, in your first year of study there are approximately 6 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 5 teaching hours in your second and third years. On top of teaching hours, you are also expected to spend a number of hours studying independently each week, as well as studying in groups to prepare for any group assessments that you may have.
Assessment and feedback
Throughout your three years of study, you will have a number of assessments, including essays, tutorial portfolios, presentations and written exams.
You will be given written feedback on your assessments, and you will have the opportunity to discuss this with your tutor in more detail.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
Introduction to Social Policy
Your first year provides you with introductory knowledge of the historical development of social policies and the contemporary politics of welfare with a focus on the United Kingdom.
The History of Welfare in the UK
This introduces the history of welfare provision in the UK, which has often emphasised dealing with the problem of ‘poor people’, rather than the problem of poverty. Key concepts such as deserving and undeserving poor are explored in an historical overview from the earliest, and most important, pieces of social policy legislation in the 19th Century to the post-war welfare state to today.
Contemporary Social Policy
Study then progresses onto the contemporary politics of welfare provision with a focus on the dynamics of neoliberal and ‘third way’ influences on social policy. Key contemporary issues around health care, education, poverty, austerity, the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, intergenerational justice and inequality are explored here.
Contemporary Social Problems
This block of study investigates contemporary social problems and questions the ‘common sense’ interpretations of mental ill health, addiction, homelessness, obesity, food poverty. In reframing these contemporary problems, we explore the surprising reasons why they are so common in society.
Exploration in Social Policy
In your second year, the focus shifts to the concepts and perspectives used to analyse social policies and their impact on society.
Theories and Methods in Social Policy
This explores the key thinkers and the theoretical ideas that have underpinned and changed the post-war welfare state, including social democratic, neoliberal and ‘third way’ thinkers. This block also introduces the skills necessary for social policy analysis and research. These are taught through applying the techniques of analysis to real world issues and problems.
This block explores the key social divisions in society and their impact on people’s lives. These include social divisions of class, gender, race, disability, age, and sexuality. The focus here is on exploring these concepts, the ideas behind these divisions and critically examining the social policies that attempt to address these inequalities.
Advanced Studies in Social Policy
In your third year, we move the focus to social policy at the international and global level and analyse the major challenges that human societies face in the 21st century.
Comparative Social Policy
The UK is one among many different welfare systems. This block compares the different ways in which social policies are delivered in different countries. We will look at Germany, Sweden and the USA to analyse how different power dynamics, political histories and responses to crises have shaped diverse ‘worlds of welfare’. Here we compare and contrast how different welfare states address problems of health care, education, long-term social care, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global Social Issues
The focus of this topic is on understanding and analysing the way in which globalisation processes have presented huge challenges for social policies that have typically been implemented at the national level. Here we examine the impact of climate change, the global division of labour, the role of women in welfare provision, the COVID-19 pandemic, migration and national borders, transnational crime and global inequality.
In addition to the above, in your third year, you will also choose two Advanced Research Courses from a range of options across the School of Social Sciences, allowing you to shape your learning to your own developing interests. The third year also includes a dissertation/research project.
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
Social policy equips you with combinations of personal and general skills that are often highly transferable and valued by potential employers. Career paths for Social Policy graduates are wide-ranging in both the private and the public sector. Graduates often gain employment in the housing, health or educational sector as researchers, administrators or managers, as well as attaining posts in local government. They are also recruited to positions within the criminal justice and legal system. Some go on to study for higher degrees that give them a specific expertise in a field of social policy. Social policy graduates will also be particularly well qualified to apply for MA programmes in Social Work and Social Policy.
The School of Social Sciences has a partnership with Person Shaped Support (PSS), one of the largest voluntary sector organisations in Merseyside. This creates opportunities for you to hear directly from frontline practitioners and, if you wish, to undertake voluntary placements in relevant work areas.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2024/25 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
On top of tuition fees, you need approximately £100 to purchase core textbooks.
You will also need to consider the cost of your accommodation each year whilst you study at university. Visit our accommodation pages for further details about our Halls of Residence.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2024/25 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
This course is only available with Foundation Year as a Combined Honours degree with the following subjects: