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Social Policy at York

We are proud to be one of the leading UK centres for teaching and research. 

We offer a stimulating teaching and research environment in an open, informal and friendly setting and warmly welcome students and researchers from all over the world, as well as the UK.

The city of York itself was the site of one of the world’s first scientific studies of poverty, Seebohm Rowntree’s Poverty: A study of Town Life (1901). This groundbreaking work was reprinted with a preface by Professor of Social Policy, Jonathan Bradshaw in 2001.

Professor John Hudson - Head of Department

Our reputation

5th in the UK and 22nd in the world for Social Policy
QS World University Rankings by subject 2021

REF 2014 Results

3rd in the UK for overall research and equal 1st for research impact
Times Higher Education's ranking of REF 2014 results


World class teaching and research staff

About Social Policy

Social Policy

Understand the causes of social problems and how societies attempt to address them, both nationally and internationally.

Applied Social Science

Multi-disciplinary degree programmes going beyond the welfare state and looking at applied issues, allowing for specialisms in other area of interest.

Public Policy and Management

Online professional development programmes at postgraduate level, designed for those working in or with public services and non-governmental organisations.

Related disciplines

Study one of our cross-departmental degrees in Criminology, Law and Criminology or Social and Political Sciences to understand how social policy affects all aspects of society.

Our teaching

We have a world class teaching community, and consistently achieve high rankings in national and international university league tables.

Our multi-disciplinary degree programmes feature flexible modules which allow students to choose specialisms within the course or maintain a broad approach.

Undergraduate study

Our academics carefully design our courses so that you get the most from your time working with teaching staff or studying on your own. You’ll understand what you’re aiming for and why at every stage of study.

You’ll also feel confident about applying the skills and knowledge you learn throughout your course to new situations, such as placements or jobs.

Discover our courses

Postgraduate study

Join us and learn how we are working to tackle the big issues that affect society at a local, national and global level.

Our research informs our teaching and covers a broad range of subjects including child welfare, poverty, health and social care, global policy, mental health, housing policy and crime.

One of our key strengths is our collaborative approach working with a wide range of stakeholders such as governments, campaigning organisations, public sector and businesses. As part of this approach we engage with citizens, service users and carers.

Discover our postgraduate courses

89% of our leavers were in employment and/or further study 15 months after their course

Graduate Outcomes 2017/18 (HESA)

Your career

Our degrees are recognised by employers worldwide. Alongside academic knowledge you’ll gain employability skills and have the opportunity to gain work experience on placements.

Explore SPSW Graduate profiles

We hold a Bronze Athena Swan Award

"Receiving an award means a huge amount of analysis and self-reflection has taken place in these departments to understand where they can make changes to tackle the everyday barriers that still exist in the pursuit of true gender equality."

Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Partnerships and Engagement, and Chair of the Athena Swan Steering Group.

Read more about the Athena Swan Charter and our SPSW A Swan submission (PDF , 2,946kb) and action plan.