Social Policy and Applied Social Science at the University of York

Heslington Hall in the Summer

An international reputation for excellence at a World Top 100 University

Student sitting in the Seebohm Rowntree Building courtyard

A safe and supportive living and study environment

Two SPSW students talking in a small group work session

Small group teaching to encourage discussion of international perspectives

Student infront of Borthwick Institute, part of the University Library and Archives

Modern facilities and extensive online resources to support your study

The Shambles, old street in York. Photo (c) John Houlihan

Part of a city steeped in rich culture and English charm

Our programmes reflect the latest thinking in the field of social policy. They draw on ideas from across the social sciences and adopt a critical perspective to encourage you to understand what welfare states seek to achieve but to critique them when they fail to deliver.

The field of international and comparative social science is one of our specialist areas in the Department. We look closely at the way society, politics, economics, the environment and the well-being of populations are influenced by actions on a global stage. On our degree programmes your understanding of how theory relates to real-world situations will be enriched as we explore the national and international agendas on our Applied Social Science and Social Policy courses.

Our undergraduate degree programmes

Develop your knowledge of social research methods and policy analysis to shape policy of the future.

Explore how social, economic and political decision making affects people’s lives. Apply what you learn to address contemporary social issues.

How to apply

To apply to our Undergraduate programmes you will need to register and apply through UCAS, the UK University and Colleges Admissions Service.

You will need the UCAS code appropriate for your chosen degree programme.

Please ensure you have read the English Language Requirements before applying. You may also wish to read the accepted International Entry Requirements, or contact the Department for further advice.

More about the subject

If you have not have studied social policy or applied social science before, feel free to read through these pages to get a better sense of the importance of this subject and how it affects our everyday lives.

If you have an interest in history, politics, sociology, psychology and social geography, you may find social policy and applied social science interesting subjects to study.


If you have questions about the application process or about living in York, you can meet our International Office team or call them on +44 1904 323534.

If you have questions about the degree programmes, you can email us at or call the Department reception on +44 1904 321231.

You can also make contact with current York students from your country and find out more information specific to your country.