Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Student and lecturers

About us


Joe Devine

We strive to confront some of the most pressing issues facing our world today by combining academic expertise and innovation with genuine impact.

Dr Joe Devine
Head of Department


The Department of Social & Policy Sciences is one of the leading centres for social sciences in the UK. We have an excellent reputation for cutting edge research and innovative teaching.

We have been ranked exceptionally in the following league tables:

Our staff and students are involved in the study of the major challenges that we face as a society:

  • poverty
  • inequality
  • disadvantage
  • work and worklessness
  • violence
  • the welfare state
  • community cohesion
  • family life and parenting
  • health, illness and death.

Our achievements have been recognised most recently by the award of the prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2011.


Our 45 academic staff, approximately 350 undergraduates, 80 Master’s students and 85 MPhil/PhD students are part of a vibrant and welcoming academic community.

Our academic staff are highly committed teachers. We provide a range of teaching and learning experiences including one-to-one tutorials, informal debates, seminars, guided reading, online discussion groups, placements and lectures.

We have very successful three year undergraduate courses that can be extended to four years (except social work) with a placement year.

We also offer a range of postgraduate study options, including research degrees.


Our world-leading research has influenced policy and practice at both national and international levels. It has also made major contributions to the development of theory, sensitive research methods and community engagement.

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF2014) an impressive 80% of our publications were judged as world-leading or internationally excellent (3* or 4*).

Our research themes are: