3 years full-time
A BA in Social Policy will enable you to understand the causes of social problems and how societies attempt to solve them, both nationally and internationally. You'll receive a thorough grounding in core social sciences, including sociology, social psychology, politics and economics and use what you learn to explore why making successful policies is so complex, why patterns of inequality persist and what more can be done to address social problems.
Social Policy is concerned with promoting the welfare of citizens. Traditionally the subject focused on the ‘big five’ areas of: poverty, health, housing, education and unemployment, but has expanded in recent years to broader social issues and international contexts. Often Social Policy questions the ways in which services do or do not meet the needs of specific groups, such as children, people with disabilities, women, older people, or members of minority ethnic groups.
On our BA Social Policy course you will receive a broad and balanced introduction to a range of social sciences and training in social research methods. This degree is suited to you if you are interested in the welfare state, the impact of globalisation, social inequalities, the complexities of making successful policies, and what more can be done to solve social problems at home and abroad.
You'll start your study of Social Policy by studying core modules that give you a thorough grounding in social sciences and research methods. As you progress you'll take optional modules that will allow you to focus on issues and policies that interest you.
In your first year you'll study four core modules that will introduce Social Policy and the social sciences.
In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.
This module will:
In your second year you'll study three core modules, which build upon your previous work.
You'll also chose an elective module that will allow you to focus on a topic that interests you. Modules change on a regular basis to reflect the latest teaching and research. Examples of options in the second year are:
In your third year you can choose to study four optional modules or three optional modules with a work-shadowing placement. Modules change on a regular basis to reflect the latest teaching and research. Examples of options in the third year are:
If you undertake a work-shadowing placement you will get a valuable experience which will enable you to examine the policy-practice relationship at first-hand.
You will also work on a dissertation which gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding through independent research on a topic that interests you.
Examples of previous dissertation titles:
There are many international opportunities for Social Policy students to get involved with, including Worldwide Exchange at partner universities, Erasmus+ study placements in Europe, International Study Centres, Summer Schools and Travel Awards for independent projects.
In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework the Department of Social Policy and Social Work was placed third in the UK for research activity, with 100 percent of its research impact rated at the highest rank of 4*.
You'll have a lecture series for each module. Some lectures may be delivered by guest speakers, drawing on expertise from other departments and outside the University. Modules normally have an accompanying seminar series. These will be meetings of around 15 to 25 people and may take the form of workshops, conferences or debates. You'll challenge what academics have written and form your own understanding about the topic. You may also take part in workshops that provide hands-on experience in social research methods.
You will be allocated a personal supervisor who will support you through your study. Usually your supervisor will be one of the team responsible for the Social Policy degree and teaching on some of the core modules.
The most common form of assessment is by essays. You'll be supported in the first year with advice and seminars on writing an academic essay. You may also be assessed with a mixture of report writing, data analysis exercises, critical reviews and presentations. There is minimal use of closed exams.
At the end of the degree you will submit a dissertation of 10,000 words. You'll be supported by a dissertation supervisor as you specialise in a topic that interests you.
There is a really diverse mix of students within the department all from different economic, social and political backgrounds. This certainly enhances our learning experience because you can learn so much from the people around you and their opinions, as well from those teaching you.Tu Yuqi, BA Social Policy - April 2016
Our research influences national and international agendas and can be directly applied to real life. Our work on benefit fraud and welfare reform has been presented to parliamentary committees.
Take a look at some of our research:
As well as preparing you for a career using social policy this degree will also be good preparation if you would like to continue your studies at postgraduate level.
Many of our students use the expertise they gain from their degree to develop careers in the social policy field. Recent examples include:
Others go on to develop their skills through:
I always felt the Social Policy degree course at York achieved an interesting balance between exploring the theoretical design and development of policy and its practical application. My degree course is directly relevant to what I do now.Rory Palmer, BA Social Policy, 2003. Deputy City Mayor, Leicester City Council.
All applications must be made through UCAS.
We will pay particular attention to your personal statement. We're looking for students with an academic interest in society and who have made a contribution to society, perhaps through volunteering or school clubs.
You will not be expected to attend an interview, but once accepted you will be invited on a visit day to give you the chance to learn more about the subject, our department and the University.
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers
AABBB at Higher level
M2, M2, M2
Access to Higher Education
30 credits achieved from units awarded Merit or higher
31 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate
75% overall average
Applicants whose first language is not English are normally asked to provide evidence of English language ability. Exceptions may be made where an applicant's other qualifications provide sufficient evidence of ability to use English in an academic setting at degree level.