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SP10002: Social problems & social policy

[Page last updated: 04 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Social & Policy Sciences
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Certificate (FHEQ level 4)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 20%, OT 80%
Assessment Detail:
  • Assessment Group N: CW 20% (asst grp N) (CW 20%)
  • Assessment Group N: PF 80% (asst grp N) (OT 80%)
  • Assessment Group S: CW 20% Social Work (ES 20% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
  • Assessment Group S: PF 80% Social Work (OT 80% - Qualifying Mark: 40)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: i. to introduce students to theoretical and empirical resources used in the analysis of social problems;
ii. to introduce students to an understanding of the framework, operation and financing of social policy;
iii. to apply these resources and this understanding to an analysis of the connections between social problems and social policies.

Learning Outcomes: By the end of this unit students should be able to:
* seek out and use empirical evidence for analysing social problems and social policies;
* understand a range of theories and concepts used to analyse social problems and social policies;
* understand the distinction between normative and empirical questions;
* communicate and discuss ideas in writing and in discussion, including giving a brief presentation.

* To think creatively and analytically.
* To communicate an argument.
* To evaluate others' arguments and research.
* To learn independently and be able to assess own learning needs (i.e. identify strengths and improve weaknesses in methods of learning and studying).
* To critically evaluate and assess research and evidence as well as a variety of other information.
* To synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding.
* Study & learning skills (note taking, avoiding plagarism, using the library, gathering and using information, constructing a bibliography, referencing).
* Basic ICT skills (word processing, email, using the web, use of VLEs).
* Interpersonal and communication skills.
* Essay research, preparation and writing skills.
* To construct a bibliography of varying complexity.
* Essay writing skills.
* Presentation skills.
* Team and group working skills.
* To manage time effectively and respond to changing demands.

Content: Lectures
* the social construction of social problems (examples used may change, but could include poverty, social exclusion, disability, crime and anti-social behaviour, health inequalities, teenage pregnancy, unemployment, homelessness).
* social differences and social problems.
* theories of human need and wellbeing.
* social problems, power and the policy process (to include questions of funding, government, management, profession and administration).
* Key themes of power, need and the role of the state.

Programme availability:

SP10002 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB16 : BSc(Hons) Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB15 : BSc(Hons) Social Work and Applied Social Studies (Year 1)

SP10002 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences
  • UHSP-AFB14 : BSc(Hons) Applied Social Studies (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB05 : BSc(Hons) Social Sciences with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB04 : BSc(Hons) Sociology with Year long work placement (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AFB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy (Year 1)
  • UHSP-AKB10 : BSc(Hons) Sociology and Social Policy with Year long work placement (Year 1)

SP10002 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Psychology


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.