Social Policy courses for 2022
- BSc International Social and Public Policy (L410)
- BSc International Social and Public Policy with Study Abroad (L411)
- BSc Social Policy (L400)
- BSc Social Policy with Criminology (LM49)
- MSci Social Policy with Innovation (L405)
- BSc Social Policy with Management (LN42)
- BSc Social Policy with Quantitative Research Methods (L402)
- MSci Social Policy with Quantitative Research Methods (L403)
- BSc Social Policy with Study Abroad (L404)
Social policy is a multidisciplinary subject focusing on key social issues and the ways in which societies respond to them. At its heart is an interest in the social processes and institutions that promote wellbeing. As an academic discipline it draws on social, political and economic theory to analyse and explore these issues in a global context.
Why study Social Policy at Bristol?
Social policy is an interdisciplinary subject and we have internationally recognised expertise in sociology, political science, economics, human geography, development studies and migration. We take a global and comparative perspective in many of our units to ensure you receive a broad appreciation of the international dimensions to social policy.
You will be taught by academics who are leaders in their respective fields and whose research informs their teaching.
You will have an opportunity to gain real-world experience working in organisations that promote individual and community wellbeing via our work placement unit.
You can study social policy on its own as a single honours degree or in combination with sociology, politics or criminology. Social policy is a partner in Bristol Q-Step, which is part of a national initiative offering enhanced skills training in the social sciences.
There are opportunities to spend time studying abroad in your second year. Alternatively, our four-year Study Abroad degree includes a year of study at one of our partner institutions overseas. For more information about where you can study abroad, visit Global Opportunities.
What kind of student would this course suit?
Social policy suits those who want to explore and develop frameworks for understanding the forces that shape contemporary societies and the institutions within them.
Social policy involves everything from considering evidence and showing whether a government scheme has worked or not, to examining high-level theories and how they apply to wellbeing. If you are interested in the social sciences, using evidence and logic, applying creativity in problem solving and, above all, making a difference, then social policy could be for you.
How is this course taught and assessed?
Teaching is a mixture of lectures and small-group seminars where you discuss and explore material and produce presentations. You will also undertake independent research with the support of your personal tutor.
You will be expected to read widely, for example academic texts, government publications and reports from think tanks, to gain a full understanding of the links between theory and practice.
Assessment is varied across the programme and includes portfolios, policy briefs, presentations, critical review of literature, timed essays, essays, and unseen examinations.
Final-year single honours students and those studying social policy with management, quantitative research methods, or criminology also write a research-based dissertation. Students on other joint honours courses may choose a dissertation as an optional unit.
What are my career prospects?
A degree in social policy gives you the best of both worlds. The degree can be vocational, leading to careers in a range of public, private and voluntary sector services. About one third of our graduates enter the public sector, including the national management training schemes for the NHS, local government and the civil service.
Social Policy is also a non-vocational degree and our graduates achieve opportunities that do not require specific subject knowledge but rather skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving, in careers such as journalism, development, advertising, housing, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), finance and PR.
Our graduates also pursue further study and professional vocations such as law, teaching and social work.
Find out more about what our students do after graduating.
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