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Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses 2019/20>Social Policy, Children and Young People (BA)

BA (Hons) Social Policy, Children and Young People

Real-world social science with a focus on child and adolescent development

Year of entry: 2019
Show year of entry: 2020

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time

Typical offer

BBB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2019/20)

International fees

£17,120 per year (2019/20)

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Do you want to explore how different social, cultural and family circumstances impact upon child development and youth transitions? How and why things go wrong for young people? What policies can best support them?

This degree enables you to consider such questions in depth and explore how the lives of children and young people at home and abroad can be improved. You will receive a broad and balanced introduction to a range of social sciences and apply these perspectives to our understanding of the lives of children and young people.

A fundamental part of the degree is the work placement, offering you a chance to learn from professionals working with children and young people.

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Our academics explain how their research influences social policy at a national and global level.
There's good support from lecturers and great facilities on campus. It's a great city to move to from home: not too big but not too small.

REF 2014

In the Times Higher Education's ranking of the 2014 Research Excellence Framework assessment which compares the research activity of all Social Policy and Social Work departments in the UK, York was ranked equal first in the UK for the impact of our research and third overall.

Module choice

Our wide range of modules allows you to tailor the degree to your interests

Course content

You will receive a thorough grounding in social sciences, including sociology, social policy, economics and politics. You'll also study the development of policies for children and young people and the welfare state.

You'll study core modules designed specifically for this course and choose from a selection of over 20 option modules developed specially by the Department, or choose from a wider range offered by other departments such as Politics or Sociology.

Between Years 2 and 3 you will undertake a placement, shadowing a professional working in a field relating to children and young people.

Study abroad

Spend a few weeks or a whole summer on a short course, volunteering programme, or career-related summer school with one of our international partners.

Year 1

In your first year you are introduced to a broad range of social sciences and undertake training in key academic skills essential to your degree-level study.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In your second year you'll study three core modules as well as choosing one of our other second year modules.

Core modules

Our core modules cover key aspects of exploring children and young people's lives alongside a broader look at the process of policy development and social research methods:

Optional modules

Module options change on a regular basis to reflect the teaching and research interests of staff, as well as to ensure the degree is up-to-date. Examples of past modules for the second year include:

Year 3


In the summer holiday before the third year starts you will undertake a work-shadowing placement (20 credits) that lasts around 80 hours. This will allow you to learn from professionals in a field related to children and young people. Examples of previous placements include:

  • working in Special Educational Needs units in mainstream schools,
  • working with youth offending teams,
  • shadowing a local authority worker helping vulnerable teenagers,
  • working in a residential home in Uganda,
  • working in a pupil referral unit.

Watching professionals at work is a completely different learning experience which many students find useful in developing their dissertation and follow in the development of their own careers.

To undertake a placement, you may be required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. Having a criminal conviction is not an automatic bar to entry but failure to disclose relevant information may result subsequently in termination of the placement.


You'll choose three modules from our third year modules, these change regularly to reflect the teaching and research interests of our staff. Previous modules include:

Dissertation (40 credits)

The third year dissertation is a great opportunity to apply your knowledge and understanding in independent supervised research on a topic of your interest that relates to children and young people. Previous dissertation titles include:

  • Approaches to ‘inclusion’ of children with special educational needs: a contrast between mainstream and special schools
  • A qualitative study of teenage pregnancy and parenthood
  • Media Images of ‘youth’ and young people’s responses to these
  • Parents perceptions of ‘Positive Parenting’ techniques
  • Combining work and childcare: factors affecting parents decisions and choices
  • Child health issues in debt reduction programmes in Uganda and Tanzania
  • A qualitative study of professional perceptions of child sexual exploitation

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Analyse and evaluate policy to develop informed judgements through a critical understanding of the ways in which social, political, economic and institutional interests shape social problems and societal responses.
  • Design policy for effective delivery and outcome, drawing on understanding of the policy making process and applying theories and concepts from the social sciences to real world problems.
  • Retrieve, generate, interpret and critically assess qualitative and quantitative data using appropriate research methods, digital resources and policy-relevant analytical techniques to investigate social questions, assess evidence and produce reasoned written accounts of social policy enquiry.
  • Engage with policy debate at local, national and global level, synthesising complex material and communicating ideas effectively to peers, policy actors, practitioners and client groups across a range of professional settings, both in writing and verbally, using up-to-date visual presentation techniques.
  • Work effectively in multidisciplinary teams by acknowledging competing interpretations of social issues, and by recognising the value of collaborative and participatory approaches to problem-solving and the shaping of policy solutions.
  • Recognise the drivers of social inequalities and the differential impact of policies on social groups and contribute to the pursuit of social progress through sensitivity to the diversity of human needs.

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2019 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year.

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £17,120

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

  • Academic Excellence scholarships: up to £10,000 for the first year of study
  • Vice-Chancellor's scholarships for high-achieving students: £5,000 for each year of study
  • Equal Access Scholarships for students who are seeking refuge in the UK
  • US loans
  • Albukhary Scholarship: up to £20,000 over three years

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Another good part of studying at York is that the people leading our modules are also doing research in the kind of subjects that I want to work in after graduating. My tutor in particular has been great and helped to guide my direction of study and how it might relate to work outside of university.
Becky, BA Applied Social Science (Children and Young People)
Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

We emphasise small-group working: you'll mainly be taught in lectures of 50-100 students and take part in seminars of 12-15 people. In the second and third years the lecture groups will be smaller as you begin to specialise.

You'll also take part in group-based workshops and hear from external speakers about the latest issues in policy and practice.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars168 hours144 hours96 hours
Placement0 hours0 hours84 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1,200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work which is on Campus West. Your teaching will take place at various locations on Campus West including Derwent and Alcuin.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed in a variety of ways, with emphasis on continuous assessment. The most common form of assessment is by essay, and you'll be supported with seminar sessions on writing academic essays. You may also be assessed by presentation, group workshop reports, data analysis exercises and portfolios of work. There is minimal use of closed examinations.

Your dissertation will be 10,000 words long and you'll be supported by a supervisor who specialises in the subject you're interested in.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Practical exams5%13%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

York is a great student city with lots of activities to take part in on and off campus. The teaching is very engaging and there’s an overall friendly atmosphere.
Lindsey (2016)

Careers and skills

A high proportion of our graduates are employed within six months. The nature of our degree means you can pursue career-related interests throughout your study and the work-based placement is a useful opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to future employers.

We also offer an optional series of workshops at the end of the Summer Term where you can undertake a group multimedia project, using social media to promote awareness of a social policy issue or campaign. This gives you a chance to use creative and communication skills that will be relevant to a number of socially-orientated organisations.

Career opportunities

  • Graduate trainee with a national children's charity
  • Work for a local authority
  • Child protection coordinator
  • Children's outreach family work
  • Applications officer to a fund for families with disabled and seriously ill children
  • Resource worker to a multi-agency partnership
  • Curriculum enrichment coordinator for a college
  • Housing management trainee with a housing association

Transferable skills

  • Communications skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Data analysis
  • Time management
  • Project management
  • Independent study and research
  • Teamwork skills.

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

BBB. We accept General Studies and Critical Thinking.

Access to Higher Education Diploma Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 21 credits at Distinction and 24 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma (QCF): DDM
Cambridge Pre-U M2, M2, M2
European Baccalaureate 75 percent overall
International Baccalaureate 31 points overall
Irish leaving Certificate H3, H3, H3, H3, H3, H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AABBB at Higher level

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

  • IELTS: score of 6.5 overall, with 5.5 or better in each section
  • PTE Academic: 61 overall with no less than 51 in all components
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): grade A

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

All applications must be made through UCAS.

We pay particular attention to your personal statement and we look for students who have an academic interest in society. This could come through family circumstances, employment or other contribution to society such as school clubs or volunteering.

You will not be invited to interview, but we invite you to attend a visit day in Spring term to give you an opportunity to learn more about us.

Next steps

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Social Policy and Social Work

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