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.
For Social Policy in the Times Good University Guide 2018
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.
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.
You'll start your study of social policy by undertaking 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.
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.
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 module 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 one option module that will allow you to focus on a topic that interests you. Some example of option modules you'll be able to choose from are:
In your third year you can choose to study four optional modules or three optional modules with a work-shadowing placement (20 credits). 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 (40 credits) 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:
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
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.
The fees and funding figures below are based on data from 2018 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year.
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.
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.
You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers accommodation costs and estimated social costs.
“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.
You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. 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.
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.
As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
|Lectures and seminars||168 hours||168 hours||108 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 1200 hours a year learning.
You will be based in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work which is based on Campus West. The majority of your teaching will take place in Derwent and Alcuin.
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.
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.
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3|
The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.
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
This course will prepare you for a career which uses social policy. The course is also 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.
BBB. We accept General Studies and Critical Thinking.
|Access to Higher Education Diploma||21 credits at Distinction and 24 credits at Merit or higher|
|BTEC||BTEC National Extended Diploma: DDM, BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma: DDM|
|Cambridge Pre-U||M2, M2, M2|
|European Baccalaureate||75% overall average|
|International Baccalaureate||31 points overall|
|Irish leaving Certificate||H3, H3, H3, H3, H3, H3|
|Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers||AABBB at Higher level|
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.
To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).
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.
Get in touch if you have any questions
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