Why this course?
Social Policy examines the ways in which societies distribute resources and develop services to meet individual and social needs. Key social policy issues examined include poverty; economic, race, age and gender inequality; social justice health; education; criminal justice and housing.
It utilises a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to improve our understanding of how societies organise their resources to meet individual and social needs and how they measure progress in these areas.
This programme gives you the opportunity to learn more about the social and economic challenges facing Scottish society and place these in a broader international perspective. It draws on disciplines such as history, sociology, anthropology, economics, law, psychology, social anthropology and politics.
Following the recent global economic crisis, economics is more important and relevant than ever. Decisions on money, banking, interest rates, taxation and government spending affect us all, with global consequences.
Our degree will give you the ability to explain complex data in simple terms to different audiences. You’ll also develop excellent mathematical, statistical and problem-solving skills.
What you’ll study
Our semester 1 module provides a wide-ranging introduction to some of the key challenges facing Scottish society in areas such as health, housing, education and social security. The semester 2 module asks how different issues come to be recognised and defined as ‘social problems.
You'll begin by deepening your knowledge and understanding of the historical development of social policy in Scotland since 1845. You'll also discover more about some key concepts in social policy. This includes issues such as human needs, citizenship, and social exclusion, and about how social policy is made nationally and internationally, and the consequences of this for the services people receive.
You'll choose one optional class based on the specialism of a member of staff. The list of available classes changes each year, but has included welfare reform and criminology. You'll also take a class in research methodology which will help you to prepare for your final-year dissertation, and a module exploring the differences and similarities in social policies between countries. An optional placement module allowing you to apply your subject knowledge in a relevant workplace will also be available in either this year, or Year 4.
You'll take a core module on the global challenges facing Social Policy, focusing on issues such as inclusive growth; migration and climate change. You can take further optional specialist classes. The list of available classes changes each year, but has included disability and gender-based violence. The Honours dissertation will be your chance to undertake some original research of your own in a key area of Social Policy.
All honours students will have the opportunity to complete a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. The dissertation gives you the opportunity to undertake independent research into an issue which is particularly important to you.
It might be based on a detailed analysis of original sources, such as policy documents or statistical records, or you might choose to generate your own data, using interviews or focus groups. The opportunity to undertake original research into a topic of particular interest means that the dissertation is often the most satisfying part of any student’s degree.
You’ll study an Introduction to Economics and take core classes in microeconomics and macroeconomics. You’ll build upon this knowledge in later years.
In your final year, in addition to classes that complement macroeconomics and microeconomics studied in previous years, you’ll also undertake a dissertation.
Strathclyde Business School blog
One of the most important resources available to you is being part of the Strathclyde Business School community. One example of this is the Strathclyde Business School Blog, used extensively by staff and students to showcase our activities.
Prizes for best overall performance are awarded to students in all years of study. We also offer a prize for the best final dissertation in economics in the final Honours year of study. All prize recipients will be invited to attend the Graduation Reception for our final year students.
Single & joint Honours information
English, English and Creative Writing, History, Politics and International Relations and Psychology may be studied to Single or Joint Honours level.
Education, French, Spanish, Law, Journalism, Media and Communication and Social Policy are available only as Joint Honours Programmes. Economics, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Mathematics and Tourism can also be studied alongside a Humanities and Social Sciences subject.
The available subject combinations may change each year. Once accepted on the programme you'll be allocated an advisor of studies who will be able to let you know which subjects can be combined, in first year, and beyond.
Social Policy & Society in Contemporary Scotland
This class is designed to introduce you to some of the major issues confronting Scottish society and to provide an accessible introduction to some of the key concerns of Social Policy. It will examine a range of issues, including questions of poverty and inequality, social divisions, health, housing, education, and criminal justice.
Private Issues & Public Problems
In this module we'll ask why and how certain issues become defined as 'social problems' and what impact this has on the social policy that we make in response.
Why do societies change the way they understand 'social problems' over time, and how does this impact policy change? Can we understand social policy differences between countries in terms of how they conceptualise 'social problems' differently? What role does political ideology and the media have in framing how societies understand the 'social problems' they face and how to resolve them?
Are some groups unfairly targeted as being a source of social problems?
Do the ways that we understand issues around the benefits system, crime, disability, migration, and families and young people really reflect their empirical reality and what can we do to begin tackling these issues differently?
These are some of the key questions this module seeks to ask and to answer.
Management Development Programme 1
First Year aims to help you make the transition to the university context. Semester 1 is the Thematic Semester: The World of Business Today and covers topics such as:
- Social-Ethical-Environmental Governance (SEEG)
- Business Ethics
- Disruptive Technologies
Semester 2: Functional Semester: Organisations Today covers topics such as:
- Creativity & Responsibility
- Marketing & Sustainability across Domains
The first year of the programme is centred on the construction of knowledge in classroom setting with theoretical constructs developed. For each topic we’ve recorded a video by a Strathclyde academic who is a leading expert in the field.
You’ll watch these lectures in advance of each session and complete a pre-sessional activity. The pre-sessional work then forms the basis of team based activities work in the classroom (groups of 50 and teams of six-seven) where you develop an agreed understanding of the topic and present this to the group.
The feedback gained from this activity then feeds directly into the assessment for the block. You’ll complete 16 assignments in the two semesters of the class.
Introduction to Economics
The purpose of this class is to provide you with a balanced introduction to economics which will be at once self-contained and lay the foundation for further study in economics and more generally. The work of the class will be based on a programme of systematic directed reading, supplemented by tutorials, using group projects and in-class short answer tests as cumulative assessment.
Scottish Social Policy since 1845
This class explores some of the different ways in which social policy has evolved in Scotland in response to a variety of social problems since the introduction of the Scottish Poor Law Act in 1845. It covers all the main areas of social policy, including health, housing, education and poverty, and also explores the changing boundaries between individuals, families, communities, voluntary organisations, commercial welfare and state over the course of this period.
Key Concepts in Social Welfare
This class explores some of the most important concepts in the academic study of Social Policy, including such concepts as equality, justice, need, happiness, poverty and wellbeing. It also examines a number of different ideological perspectives on these issues, such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, social democracy, Marxism, feminism and the New Right.
The Making of Social Policy
This class examines the ways in which social policies are ‘made’ at both a national and international level. It examines the roles played by different actors, institutions and ideas. It also looks at the ways in which evidence is used to inform policy-making, and at the ways in which we are all involved, as citizens, in the policy process. These themes are explored with the aid of a series of case-studies.
This is the core Microeconomics class in Year 2. It aims to develop your understanding of: the concepts of consumer choice; the motives of the firm and profit maximisation; the market and its role in achieving equilibrium prices and quantities; and the implications of market power. It introduces you to mathematical techniques commonplace in Economics, giving you the ability to apply these in a wider economic context.
The class builds upon the macroeconomic foundations established in the first year Economics class and both extends and deepens analysis. This class will develop your ability to use key macroeconomic models and will also provide an introduction to the analysis of economic data.
Research Methods in Social Policy
This class will help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of some of the key methods used by researchers in the field of social policy. It will introduce you to a number of different qualitative and quantitative methods, and to some of the basic principles of research design. It will provide an essential foundation for your final-year dissertation.
Comparative Social Policy: Theories, Methods & Analysis
Why are some societies more unequal than others? Why do many women participate in the labour market in some countries, and less in others? Why do health care, education and housing policies differ across developed societies?
The answers to these questions are all related to the study of Comparative Social Policy.
In this third-year module in the Social Policy programme you'll be introduced to the key theories, methods and data sources employed in comparative and international social policy research.
Interest in comparative analysis continues to grow in the social sciences and this module is designed to give you a deeper understanding of the comparative nature of social policy and the development of different welfare systems. CSP will introduce you to a range of new key concepts and theories, and will help you to understand new methodological and analytical approaches for thinking about social policy comparatively.
Teaching on CSP is research-led and the use of case-studies from the literature will help you to understand how researchers conduct research on welfare systems in the real world, and apply social theory.
Optional specialist modules
You'll choose at least one optional class based on the specialism of a member of staff. The list of available classes changes each year, but in the past has included welfare reform and criminology. A placement module will also be on offer in either Year 3 or Year 4, which will give you opportunities to use your research skills and subject knowledge in a relevant organisation such as a charity, think tank or government organisation.
Management Development Programme 3
The third year of centres on individualised experience in an organisational context through one of the following pathways:
- Internship/Charities - gain practical experience in a private or third sector organisation. You need to negotiate and locate your own organisation and experience – this is one of the key learning points of the pathway.
- Research and consultancy - a facility for local small businesses to gain from the experience and expertise of those within SBS. You work on two live business consultancy projects (one in each semester) and, as a team of 6, develop solutions and strategic initiatives for the local SME economy.
- International experience – only available for students who are undertaking an international exchange for either one semester or full year.
- Vertically Integrated Projects - working on a cross-faculty basis to research longitudinal projects (including the ‘Bill Gates Toilet Challenge, Solar Panels for Gambia and Enterprise in Schools) you work with a team of students from all levels of study (first year undergraduate to final year PhD) to further the work of the project.
In addition, you’re required to undertake a social responsibility element (this accounts for one quarter of the overall workload).
These have been designed to provide support to the Curriculum for Excellence and the Widening Access to Higher Education programme. There are no formal classes for MDP3 although there is pathway support with the pathway leads and tutor support.
Topics in Microeconomics with Cross Section Econometrics
Adam Smith's hidden hand - markets result in efficient outcomes - doesn't always work. We seek to understand why by using the tool of game theory to analyse how agents interact and discuss market power and externalities. We then consider other issues in public economics including cost-benefit analysis, fiscal federalism, taxation and crime. You will also learn more about how to analyse microeconomic data.
This class builds on the Macroeconomics you studied in second year by covering four topics in detail:
- models of economic growth
- the effects of macroeconomic policy in an open economy
- the interrelationships between money growth, output, unemployment and inflation
- the implications of high government debt.
You will also learn more about how to analyse macroeconomic data.
Global Social Policy is all about the global challenges of the 21st Century and about how we can think differently for building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for all.
A global perspective encourages you to think critically about the global causes of poverty and inequality and climate change, for example, and the possibilities of global social policy, global social governance and the role of international organisations play in shaping the GSP agenda. Here, you're encouraged to reflect on the meaning and impacts of social policy from a holistic global perspective.
Many students find that the dissertation is the most fulfilling part of their degree. It will provide you with the opportunity to undertake your own in-depth investigation into a topic of your choice, and to develop skills as an independent researcher.
Optional specialist modules
You'll choose at least one optional class based on the specialism of a member of staff. The list of available classes changes each year, but in the past has included disability policy and gender-based violence. A placement module will also be on offer in either Year 3 or Year 4, which will give you opportunities to use your research skills and subject knowledge in a relevant organisation such as a charity, think tank or government organisation.
The dissertation is an important part of the fourth year programme. Single Honours Economics BA students are required to submit a dissertation in Economics while Joint Honours BA students may submit a dissertation in Economics or in their other Honours subject.
Information Economics, the topic of this class, considers market failure resulting from uncertainty and information asymmetry. The course looks at two specific examples of market failures: moral hazard and adverse selection. We will discuss policy solutions to reduce the negative impacts of these market failures on society. We will also apply uncertainty to game theory and learn how to find Bayesian Nash Equilibria. Furthermore, we will examine the impact of externalities on social welfare and learn about the optimal provision of public goods.
This class aims to provide you with the required tools to understand current macroeconomic issues, such as the interactions between the banking sector and monetary policy or the policy responses to the global financial crisis. Throughout the class, the analytical usefulness of the theoretical models taught is illustrated with real-world examples.
Introduction to Econometrics
Economics of Firms & Industries
This course investigates the actions that firms in an industry might take to preserve their profit in that industry, and the implications that this has for competition policy and regulation. We take an analytical approach to the issues which will be supported by examining case studies and current events.
In third year, you will have learned about regression in both a cross-sectional data and time series data context. This class extends that knowledge to two core topics: causal inference and forecasting. Both are highly relevant topics to real-word economics. Understanding the effects of economic policies and decision-making requires careful empirical analysis and understanding of what the data can and cannot tell us. Topics on causal inference build skill in this area. Furthermore, policymakers and economist often want to know something about what to expect, for example of unemployment, given what has happened recently and in the past. Topics in forecasting build skills in this area.
In causal inference, we begin with foundations on how to think about correlation vs. causation and threats to interpreting regression model coefficients as causal effects. We then introduce two methodological approaches. These are instrumental variables and difference-in-differences. Under both we develop the intuition and key assumptions that will allow interpreting statistical results from a regression model as a causal effect from a variable or policy change of interest. We further work with example cases in labs and learn how to implement the methods with data in R, and we use tutorials to think about these methods in action and continue developing the intuition.
In forecasting, we will introduce you to basic tools needed to become a forecaster, such as understanding what a loss function and forecast horizon is. In addition, you will learn various forecasting evaluation techniques to compare competing models.
Financial Development & Economic Growth
This class gives a balanced view of the role of finance in promoting long-run economic growth, but also booms and busts. The nature and role of financial intermediaries will be introduced, and, afterwards, formally addressed in a simple aggregate growth model. Empirical evidence will be examined, before turning to the specifics of micro-finance. The importance of financial globalisation will also be investigated. Finally, the rest of the class will be devoted to deciphering the causes and consequences of the current financial crisis.
Behavioural Economics offers alternative theories that merge psychological insights with economic theory and are based on experimental and other evidence, that attempt to provide a better explanation of real-world behaviour.
This class is concerned with exploring these behavioural theories with the aim of providing you with an expanded toolkit with which to approach ‘real-world Economics’ that is based on the burgeoning Behavioural Economics literature that has emerged over the past two or three decades.
After studying this, you should be able to extend much of your previously-learned knowledge in Microeconomics in various directions that take into account more realistic ways of modelling how individuals behave.
Natural Resource, Environmental & Energy Economics
The class provides you with an introduction to Natural Resource Economics, Environmental Economics and Energy Economics, establishing connections between the economics and the policy aspects of the class topics. It focuses on the contributions of Economics to understanding environmental, energy and natural resource problems, their causes, and the design of effective public policies to counteract them.
Triple-accredited business school
Learning & teaching
Teaching is over two semesters in blocks of 12 weeks. Classes are taught through lectures, tutorials and seminars, alongside team-based projects, online materials, practical labs, online wikis, problem-based learning and interactive sessions using personal response systems.
External contributors from partnership corporate organisations are involved in teaching and/or assessment of student presentations.
Throughout the degree programme, there will be guest lectures from industry and our international partners.
The innovative and highly acclaimed Management Development Programme (MDP) is at the core of our undergraduate degrees in the Business School and comprises a series of classes which you take throughout Years 1 to 3.
You develop knowledge and skills in key areas of management, and team-working, communication and decision-making skills, all of which are highly sought-after by employers.
Major employers and alumni from all sectors are involved in the MDP, participating in group sessions, observing student presentations, and providing feedback. Organisations involved include Barclays, Deloitte, Procter & Gamble and Ernst & Young. In first year the best teams are selected to present to senior staff in one of the sponsoring organisations, and there are prizes for the best projects.
The programme builds your confidence and entrepreneurial capabilities and promotes awareness of globalisation and ethical issues in personal and business decision-making. In Year 3, you develop your own pathway from internships, involvement with business projects, engagement in interdisciplinary activities and business clinics.
You'll be assessed using a variety of methods, including not only traditional essays and exams, but also oral presentations, group work and other forms of assessment.
The majority of classes involve a final unseen exam which is normally at the end of the semester. This is usually supplemented by individual and/or group coursework.
In some cases, you can get exemption from the final exam if you achieve a specific mark for your coursework (and satisfy attendance requirements). You’ll normally have one opportunity to be re-assessed for a failed class. For exams, this usually takes place during the summer.
Assessment methods are varied and include class tests, essays, practical reports, dissertations, individual presentations, group presentations and degree exams.
Individual classes often use more than one form of assessment.
Required subjects are shown in brackets.
(Higher English, Maths/ Applications of Mathematics National 5 B-C, or equivalent)
(Higher English B and Maths/ Applications of Mathematics National 5 C)
Year 1 entry: ABB-BBB
(GCSE English Language 6/B or Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)
Year 1 entry
Social Sciences: A in Graded Unit; Maths National 5 B, or equivalent
View the entry requirements for your country.
Not normally accepted
Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.
Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.
In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.
We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.
Degree preparation course for international students
We offer international students (non-EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.
We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.Visit our international students' section
Fees & funding
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.
All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.
Annual revision of fees
Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.
Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. Scottish undergraduate students undertaking an exchange for a semester/year will continue to pay their normal tuition fees at Strathclyde and will not be charged fees by the overseas institution.
|England, Wales & Northern Ireland|
Assuming no change in RUK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2023/24, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes). MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.
|University preparation programme fees|
International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
UG & Hons materials comprise both textbooks and course handbooks. All of the compulsory handbooks are available to students free on the VLE. Some classes may have a recommended core textbook which you may wish to purchase but copies will be available in the University Library.
Graduation gown hire.
Typically, the cost of one semester abroad could be between £6,500 to £8,500 depending on the destination, currency exchange rates and lifestyle choices. Tuition fees are not paid to the exchange institution but continue to be paid to Strathclyde University in the usual way, however students are responsible for their own travel and living expenses i.e. flights, insurance, visa application, vaccinations/associated medical costs, accommodation, food, textbooks etc.
Students are eligible to apply for a student loan as usual but must let the award agency (e.g. SAAS) know that they will be studying or working overseas on a compulsory exchange.
Students may be eligible for external funding however this is not guaranteed; the University of Strathclyde will continue to participate in the Erasmus programme until May 2023 however are also participating in UK’S Turing Scheme. The Turing Scheme offer contribution towards living costs for students undertaking work or study abroad as part of their degree and is calculated based on length of placement and living costs at destination.
Students with an exchange place outside Europe are eligible to apply to the Neil Hood Memorial Fund for a scholarship. Full details of the application process are provided to all eligible students. Other scholarship opportunities may be available through the Alumni & Development department.
Visa & immigration
International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.
Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my studies?
Students from Scotland
Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.
Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland
We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales:
You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.
We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.
The most common employment destinations for social policy graduates include:
- local & national government policy development and research
- regional & urban development
- business administration & management
- third sector/charity research & policy development
- children’s services
- health & social welfare
- protective services
Economists can work across many different industries and often go on to specialise in individual areas, such as agriculture and manufacturing.
Our Economics graduates find work in accountancy and business services, retail and investment banking, insurance, government and industry. Job titles include:
- management accountant
- business analyst
- investment analyst
- risk consultant
- commercial manager
Please note that you only need to apply once for our BA degree programme.
For instance, if you have applied for BA Honours English and are considering your options for a Joint Honours degree, e.g. a BA Joint Honours in English and French you only need to apply for one or the other on UCAS.
If accepted on to the BA programme, you can study one of the many available subject combinations.
Start date: Sep 2023
Social Policy & Economics (1 year entry)
Find out more about the programme
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak our team are working from home and can be contacted via our online enquiry form.
Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city
Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.Life in Glasgow