University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Policy

Undergraduate Course: Politics of the Welfare State (SCPL08005)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course looks at the politics of the welfare state in the UK in the light of the dramatic economic events since 2008, including from an international perspective, and in the context of Brexit. The role of ideology, public opinion, political actors, interest groups and the media will be considered in understanding the directions that the British welfare state took in recent years. Specific social policy areas, for example: health, housing or unemployment (note that the policy areas vary depending on availability of teaching staff), will be discussed in detail and current reforms will be scrutinised.
Course description The course analyses the ideological and political factors which have shaped the development of the British welfare state in the past and are shaping it in the present. Pivotal is the context of the financial and economic crisis that unfolded in 2008 and has important repercussions on social policy making until today. Students will be introduced to key welfare benefits and services, how they are delivered, funded and who benefits from them. The role of public opinion, key political actors, the media and their interplay are critically analysed. While the focus is on the British welfare state, an international and comparative perspective is taken with regards to the role of welfare ideologies, key institutional features, the impact of the crisis and other common contemporary challenges to the welfare state in Europe.
Together with the courses Social Policy and Society, European Social Policy and/or Evidence, Politics and Policy this course will form a coherent introduction to Social Policy, but it can also be taken as a topical outside subject on a stand-alone basis.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  248
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 165 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1 essay of 2000 words = 30%; tutorial participation = 10%, degree timed assignment = 60%
Feedback Students will receive two key pieces of individual feedback prior to writing their final timed assignment, namely comments on the 2000-word essay they submit around Week 6 and comments on their tutorial participation.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. analyse the ideological and political factors which have shaped the development of the welfare state in the past and are shaping it in the present.
  2. to understand how the welfare state works, how it is delivered, how it is paid for and who benefits from it.
  3. identify the current political debate and developments in four key policy areas: health, employment and social security, public services and housing.
  4. understand the politics of the British welfare state from an international perspective and in the context of the current economic crisis.
Reading List
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Plus tutorials.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Elke Heins
Tel: (0131 6)50 4049
Course secretaryMr Euan Morse
Tel: 0131 (6)51 1137
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information