Department of Social & Policy Sciences

Johnson/Coastal Rural Support Programme, Tanzania

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Our theoretically and methodologically innovative research brings together insights and approaches from social policy, sociology, and international development studies. It has involved empirical work in many different settings, including rich and poor countries, and involves academic colleagues across other departments of the University, including Economics, Education, Psychology and Health.

The quality of the research has been recognised by:

  • Policy-makers in the UK and in other countries, who have drawn on our research evidence and policy advice.
  • A wide range of international funders.
  • Our peers, giving SPS consistently high ratings in UK Research Assessment Exercises.
  • Research Councils, in project funding and recognition for graduate training.

Our department is also a member of the European Consortium for Sociological Research.

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

Research centres

Child playing

Centre for the Analysis of Social Policy (CASP)

An interdisciplinary research centre undertaking critical analysis of the conceptualisation, design and evaluation of international policies across a range of major social issues.

Women lighting candles by a river

Centre for Death & Society (CDAS)

The UK's only centre devoted to the study and research of social aspects of death, dying and bereavement.

Woman picking tea leaves

Centre for Development Studies (CDS)

An interdisciplinary collaborative research centre critically engaging with international development policy and practice.

Institute for Policy Research

In Spring 2013 the University established an Institute for Policy Research (IPR), with the Department playing a major role in this development.

Institute for Policy ResearchThe Institute encompasses a wider vision of policy sciences and is already affecting how we think about social policy and international development – and their links with wider processes of economic, social and environmental change and the risks they entail.