Guide to Studying Social Policy

What is Social Policy?

  • Social Policy is a study which looks at various areas of policy, usually within a governmental or political setting. It looks at everything from the welfare state to social services.
  • Social Policy as an academic subject is a study of theory rather than of current policies – that is more the realm of a politics degree. It draws on Economics, Sociology, Psychology and Philosophy.

Why study Social Policy?

  • Social Policy is a degree for a polymath. You can gain high levels of expertise in Sociology, Politics, and Economics, both in theory, history and the modern day.
  • Unlike a straight up Politics or History degree, Social Policy gives more room for creativity, as you actively seek solutions to policy problems, rather than just learning the content of the policies themselves.
  • Social Policy teaches skills which are very useful for a wide range of future careers. Doing a degree in this will give you theoretical and analytical capabilities that employers find very desirable.
  • Theory may sound remote, but once you get a grasp on it you will find it incredibly useful. You will gain an appreciation of modern British poverty, inequality, unemployment and racism.
  • Do you like answering questions? For example, do you want to solve our welfare state issues, or understand child poverty from a sufferer's perspective? If you answered yes, Social Policy could be right for you.

Coursework, assessment and exams

  • Learning is assessed through a wide range of methods, with a strong emphasis on continuous assessment. Mostly you will be assessed through long academic essays, the topic changing depending on the offered module. A final year dissertation of c.10,000 words is generally accepted.

What degree can I get? 

  • BSc Social Policy and Politics
  • BSc Social Policy and Sociology
  • BSc Social Policy and Economics
  • BSc Social Policy and International Relations

What qualifications do I need?

  • Every university tends to ask for different entry requirements, so ensure you check with the institution before applying.

Use the CUG Course Chooser to search through Social Policy courses.

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  • There is an exciting range of taught MAs and research degrees at postgraduate level.
  • Examples include straight MAs in Social Policy, as well as masters in Applied Social Development, Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organisation and Non-Profit Studies, Comparative Policy, and International Policy.

Graduate job prospects



*Professional employment refers to a job or occupation which normally requires a degree.
**Non-professional employment refers to a job or occupation which doesn't normally require a degree.

What are the job opportunities?

  • Social Policy degrees teach students transferable skills, such as presentation, research and communication, as well as how to properly examine and hold to account modern government, as well as academic writing.
  • Particular job areas include clerical and secretarial work, management and administration, sales, PR, research, manufacturing, social work, hotel management, retail, and teaching and lecturing.
  • Numerous companies offer graduate schemes in this subject, including Asda.