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Unit information: Comparative and International Policy Studies in 2021/22

Unit name Comparative and International Policy Studies
Unit code SPOL10035
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Janenova
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will begin by considering the relevance of comparative, cross-national social policy analysis in a globalizing world. It will also address key conceptual and methodological concerns, and consider various explanations for the development of welfare systems cross-nationally. The next section of the unit will focus on welfare systems in specific parts of the world: USA, East Asia and India. These country and region -specific sections will adopt a common framework and will: provide a general introduction to the social, political and economic contexts of the countries concerned; outline and examine the welfare systems; consider the nature of social division; and consider future policy challenges and possible responses. The unit will conclude by integrating the initial discussion on concepts, methods and theories with the empirically grounded, country- and region- specific case studies. Aims: This unit will introduce students to the challenges and opportunities of exploring and understanding social policy in more than one country. It will familiarize students with welfare systems in different national contexts, the nature of social division and the challenges facing these specific welfare systems. This unit will critically assess the strengths and weaknesses of the various explanatory frameworks applied to comparative welfare systems and will highlight some general issues associated with carrying out comparative cross-national analysis.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of the unit students should:

  • Have an understanding of the relationship between globalization and comparative, cross national social policy analysis
  • Be familiar with different perspectives for understanding the developments of welfare systems cross-nationally
  • Be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of undertaking comparative analysis
  • Be familiar with the welfare systems of at least three countries
  • Be able to interpret and analyse social policy drawing on a comparative, cross-national framework

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through blended learning involving a combination of syncronic and asyncronic sessions, including lectures, study group sessions and self-directed exercises

Assessment Information

Poster (25%)

2000 word essay (75%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

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How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.