Welfare states, and other institutions seeking to meet human need, everywhere face enormous challenges from population ageing, changes in family life and work-patterns, migration and the economic crisis. In a globalised and interdependent world, these issues can only be understood from an international perspective which accounts for these common pressures and processes, but which also recognises and engages with the diversity of national traditions and institutions for delivering welfare.
The International Social Policy programme takes a policy analytic approach to provide you with an advanced understanding of current debates, theories and concepts relevant to international social policy. You learn about the common features of social policy arrangements internationally and the variety and differences that characterise welfare across the countries and regions of the world. Drawing on the research-based expertise available at the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research which relates to countries ranging from China, South Korea and Singapore in South East Asia to the UK, Germany and Sweden in Western Europe, you are equipped to understand how national and global forces interact to shape trajectories of welfare system development.
The programme enables you to apply theories and methods of social policy in exploring enduring cross cutting themes in social policy, including the prioritisation of equality and capabilities, as well as to drill down to how and why policy unfolds in key welfare fields. You develop policy analytic skills in relation to such areas as health, migration, pensions, education, social care, and children & family related policy. You acquire expertise in the use of primary and secondary data collection in areas pertaining to all these aspects of social policy, and are thus equipped to think critically about the development of social welfare systems in a global age across the full range of national contexts and policy situations.
Knowledge and understanding
You will gain knowledge and understanding of:
- comparative approaches to social policy
- research design and methodologies for studies of social policy
- theories and ideologies of welfare provision in a global world
- the impact of post-industrialisation and globalisation to the study and understanding of social policy
- an understanding of social policy developments in Europe and across the world
- implications and challenges of social policy programmes for gender, class, age, ethnicity and race
- an understanding of the relationship of international actors to national social policy systems
- the use of qualitative and quantitative research methods and their critical application in the scholarly literature and in policy papers.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- the ability to develop reasoned arguments, synthesise relevant information and exercise critical judgement
- the ability to use theoretical concepts and frameworks to gain a sophisticated understanding of the challenges and dilemmas of international social policy
- the ability to reflect on and manage your own learning and seek to make use of constructive feedback from your peers and staff to enhance your performance and personal skills
- general research skills: how to gather data from secondary sources, especially large international data sets and web-based resources
- seminar presentations and discussions will encourage you to present information verbally.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- the ability to identify and understand key issues in theory and research on international social policy from a multidisciplinary perspective.
- the ability to identify current debates and challenges for specific policy fields using a comparative framework
- the ability to research and access the main sources of information relevant to international social policy
- the ability to understand the logic behind applied research, from research design to data collection and data analysis
- the ability to present results in a meaningful way to international academic forums, as well as to more varied audiences.
You will gain the following transferable skills:
- the ability to undertake research from a diverse range of sources, including data compiled by international and national policymakers, transnational agencies and governmental data, as well as existing survey and interview data
- the ability to summarise detailed and complex bodies of information concisely and accurately
- the ability to formulate arguments in verbal presentations, using social science language and terminology, and defend these against opposing views
- the ability to present information and arguments in written form, in accordance with academic conventions, and appropriately to the intended readership
- the ability to evaluate personal performance.
This programme aims to:
- provide you with an advanced understanding of current debates, theories and concepts relevant to international social policy
- impart country-specific as well as cross-national empirical and theoretical knowledge of current challenges and processes of transformation of welfare systems
- enable you to apply theories and methods of social policy in exploring specific policy fields such as health, migration, pensions, education, social care, poverty and social exclusion, urban development, and family policy
- develop your skills in research design and data collection in areas pertaining to social policy
- familiarise you with using primary and secondary data to develop cutting-edge research in the field of international social policy.