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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Policy

Undergraduate Course: Social Policy and Society (SCPL08004)

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
SummaryThe course explores how welfare issues are constructed and debated in contemporary society. It revolves around three main themes: social needs, social problems and social rights, and how different debates about welfare have been influenced by these themes. It focuses on the implications of social change for debates about welfare, considering some of the major contemporary issues in social policy. This half course is complementary to Politics of the Welfare State.
Course description The course is split into five parts. The first part of the course introduces students to some of the basics of public policy decision-making in the UK, including how different government departments work, how budgets are set, and how the UK's welfare state has evolved historically (especially since 1945). It then gives students a firm grounding in the key concepts of needs, rights, and responsibilities.
The following three parts of the course each focus on a specific area of/issue in UK public policy. Illustrative examples include: disability and employment; lone parents and employment; poverty; drugs policy in the UK, pensions and the impact of Covid19. The final part of the course brings the threads together, considering once again the relationship between needs, rights, and responsibilities, and preparing students for the final component of assessment.

The course will be taught through a combination of lectures and tutorials based on Discussion Board activities. Each week there will be up four 25 minute lectures and a set of moderated and facilitated discussions taking place asynchronously. Discussions are very interactive and students will be encouraged to develop their debating and critical thinking skills. Each week, you will be able to ask your lecturer questions and to gain a greater understanding of the material and to give students the opportunity to question, debate and discuss pertinent contemporary issues. Furthermore, each week you will have a specific study skill component helping students to develop broader skills such as: how to interpret data graphically and in tables; how to construct an argument; how to read critically; how to evaluate evidence; and how to interpret written documents and discourse. The course is very suitable for students looking for a multi-disciplinary experience. It is historically informed and will complement other courses in sociology, politics, economics, law, and social policy.
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 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  250
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 22, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 163 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 1500-word Essay 40%. Timed Assignment 60%
Feedback Assessment is via a 1500-word essay (40%) and a take home assignment (60%). Each tutorial features a study skill component, which will allow students to gain feedback from their tutors about how well they construct arguments, evaluate evidence, and interpret data. Students can also submit an essay plan to their tutor for comment.
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S1 (December)Take-Home Exam9:00
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. have an understanding of the main social issues and problems facing societies
  2. have an understanding of how social policy issues are constructed and contested in contemporary society
  3. have an understanding of some key concepts in social policy debates, such as needs, rights and responsibilities
  4. have an understanding of these concepts contrasted with utility-driven approaches in classical economic analyses of policy
  5. be aware of different perspectives in relation to debates on these concepts
Reading List
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Additional Class Delivery Information Plus tutorials.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMr Richard Brodie
Tel: (0131 6)50 4278
Course secretaryMs Ieva Rascikaite
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