Page Navigation

Module Descriptors

This page displays the selected Module Descriptor.

Printer friendly version Printer friendly version

Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 15/12/2022 14:03:23

Title of Module: Social Policy & Social Change

Code: SOCY08002 SCQF Level: 8
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:TBC 

Summary of Module

What is the aim of social policy? How is policy made and by whom? Why are so many different policy racticies aroud the world? What is the impact of social policy and why we should care? 

These are some of the questions that this module addresses. We explore the policy process (e.i policy making, implenetation, evaluation), the various actors (e.g. politicians, civil servats, interest groups, social movements) and levels (e.g. national, local, global) that influence policy, and the perspectives on policy evaluation (e.g. impact, outcome, process evaluation). We explore some of these issues in a cross-country comparative manner, by looking at spacific social policy areas (e.g. education, health, transport). We conclude the module by discussing the current challenges that social policy faces. 

This module builds on the L7 module: Development of Social Policy. The module will commence with a reminder and a summary of L7 module's main focus: the development of social policy in the UK. The contents of the module focuses on: 1) Development of social policy in the UK, 2) Perspectives in social policy: equality, social justice, social needs; 3) Comparative social policy: governance approaches; 4) The policy process: path dependency, convergence and divergence; 5)  Policy-making: interest groups and social mvements; 6) Policy implementation: top down and buttom-up approaches; 7) Policy evaluation: outcome, process and impact evaluaiton; 8 -10) Case studies e.g citizenship, austerity; 11) Future of Social Policy: current challenges.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
check mark

Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
check mark



check mark




Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


[Top of Page]

Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Understand the policy process, actors, perspectives, and mechanisms that influence policy formulation, policy-making and implementation.

L2. Critically evaluate policy sources and produce analyses on policy issues

L3. Critically apply key concepts and theories from the policy analysis literature to real world scenarios.

L4. Demonstrate policy analysis and policy writing skills including developing policy solutions and recommendations

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 8.

The module will provide students with the necessary knowledge to understand social policy including:policy process (i.e. policy making, implementation, evaluation), the various actors (e.g. politicians, civil servants, interest groups, social movements) and level (e.g. national, local, global) that influence policy, and the perspectives on policy evaluation (e.g.impact, outcome, process evaluation)

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 8.

By examining policy examples from a variety of international context, this module develops students understanding of influence of globalisation in social policy

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 8.

Evaluating and developing a critical understanding of competing beliefs, ideas, concepts and issues relevant to the study of global society;

Evaluation of arguments, assessing competing perspectives, analysing concepts, critical thinking, comparing models.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 8.

Identifying key points, summarising and presenting arguments, written and verbal communication, drawing appropriately on IT sources to obtain and present material.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 8.

Taking responsibility for planning time and meeting deadlines for coursework
Exercising autonomy and individual learning through seminar and coursework preparation.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

[Top of Page]

Learning and Teaching
The pedagogical approach in this module is consistent with that of the programme as a whole. Specifically it:

• takes a student centred approach
• provides a supportive structure for the promotion of inquiry based learning
• supports active learning through both seminar and workshop discussion and interaction in lectures
• encourages student autonomy and responsibility
• Involves group work and peer group production of knowledge

The learning activities for the module consists of lectures and seminars.

The lectures are interactive with content material being interspersed with question and answer sessions, giving the students the opportunity to reflect on the content material being provided and to raise issues that are of interest to them. Concrete policy examples are provided throughout to support the students in making links between the content material and the employability competencies that they are developing. In addition, the students are supported in developing their critical thinking skills, by allowing them to reflect on competing claims and perspectives. Mid way through the module, students are offered the opportunity to provide informal critical feedback on the module, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the module and reflecting on their understanding of it and how that can be improved.

The seminars focus on supporting the students to explore the issues raised in the lectures, to work collaboratively with their fellow students in order to develop their:

• understanding of the content
• ability to reflect on others' opinions and perspectives
• active learning
• critical thinking.

Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery24
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity10
Independent Study166
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Alcock, P. et al (eds) (2016) The Student’s Companion to Social Policy, Oxford:Wiley Blackwell.

Bochel, C and Bochel, H (2003) The UK Social Policy Process

Dean, H. (2019) Social Policy, Cambridge: Polity Press

Dwyer, P. (2010) Understanding social citizenship, themes and perspectives for policy and practice (2nd edn), Bristol: The Policy Press

Farnsworth, K. & Irving , Z. (eds) (2015) Social policy in times of austerity: global economic crisis and the new politics of welfare. Bristol: The Policy Press.

Hill, M. J. and, Irving, Z. (2009) Understanding Social Policy. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

Hudson, J and Lowe, S (2009) Understanding the Policy Process: Analysing Welfare Policy & Practice.

Lavalette, M. and Pratt, A. (2005) Social Policy: Theories, Concepts and Issues. Third Edition. London: Sage

Parsons, W (1996) Public Policy: An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Policy Analysis

Spicker, P (2006) Policy Analysis for Practice: Applying Social Policy

Spicker, P. (2014) Social Policy: Theory and Practice, Bristol: Policy Press

Spicker, P. (2017) Arguments for Welfare: The Welfare State and Social Policy, Rowman and Wetherfield International

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

[Top of Page]

Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelUG Social Sciences
External ExaminerA Tresidder
Accreditation DetailsN/A
Version Number


[Top of Page]

Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Group Vlog/Podcast 30%
Individual Written Portfolio - 70%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Workbook/ Laboratory notebook/ Diary/ Training log/ Learning logcheck markcheck markcheck mark 300

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Portfolio of written workcheck mark check markcheck mark700
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

[Top of Page]

  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity
Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.