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Undergraduate degrees in social and public policy, and criminal justice

Study with us and lead the way in the fight for policy reform. Challenge yourself and explore the pressing social, political and economic issues of our time.

Why study social and public policy and criminal justice at York?

At York, one of our key strengths is our collaborative approach, working with a wide range of stakeholders such as governments, campaigning organisations, public service providers, charities, and businesses. Our teaching combines the theoretical study of social issues and how they affect society with a practical focus on developing the policy advisers and change makers of tomorrow.

You'll learn to effect positive change from researchers analysing some of today’s biggest social issues including child welfare, health and social care, mental health, housing policy, employment, ageing, and crime.

Our courses

Course options

There are opportunities for you to undertake placements or spend a year abroad as part of your course.

If you're studying at a university outside the UK, you may be able to spend up to a year in York as a visiting student. 

Scholarships and funding

Find out about scholarships and studentships that are available to students in the School for Business and Society.

World Top 40

39th for Social Policy & Administration in the QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2024

Committed to equality

We are proud to hold an Athena Swan Bronze award in recognition of the work we do to support gender equality.

Highly regarded

We're ranked 13th in the UK for Social Policy according to the Complete University Guide 2025.

Gold-standard education

Our teaching, learning and student experience is outstanding, recognised by a Gold rating from the Office for Students in their latest national assessment (2023 Teaching Excellence Framework).

Social and Public Policy facilities

Study with us in our brand new Church Lane Building, which offers bespoke learning spaces. With state-of-the-art teaching facilities and dedicated social spaces, Church Lane is an interdisciplinary hub for the leaders of tomorrow.

Find out more about our facilities


  • We believe in an active approach to the social sciences, giving students a hands-on experience in social and public policy through placements and collaboration with experienced practitioners.
  • The nature of our degrees means you can pursue career-related interests throughout your study, offering useful opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to future employers.
  • Our graduates have developed careers as policy researchers and analysts, holding offices and managerial roles in governments, campaigning organisations, public sector and businesses.

Discover our careers support

Student and graduate stories

Hear what our students and graduates have to say about studying with us.

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