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Social Policy

BSc (Hons)

School - School of Health and Society

Subject area - Social Policy and Social Work

UCAS Code: L400, L402 part-time

Start Date(s): September


Three years full-time
Part-time study during the day by arrangement


UK - £9,250 per year

Part-time - Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.

International - £12,660 per year

In Brief:

  • Ideal preparation for many employment opportunities including careers in the caring and welfare services, local government, housing or voluntary sector
  • A placement in the third year provides experiential learning that may boost employment opportunities
  • Part-time study option
  • Work/industrial placement opportunity
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

Social policy is the lively and engaging study of the way in which social issues and policies impact on the well-being of individuals, families and groups in society. Our programme will enable you to understand the causes of social problems and how societies attempt to solve them.

Our social policy degree is ideal for students who want to challenge the status quo – those with a keen interest in current affairs and tackling contemporary issues which cause injustice. Take today’s headlines - food banks, the ‘crisis’ in the NHS, unaffordable housing. We see these terms in the news, but what do they actually mean? Social policy explores these societal problems, and more. Our programme introduces you to the ways in which governments seek to improve the welfare of their citizens, but also the political debate of what this actually means – the values and ideas which underpin action. From poverty to homelessness, and from health care to welfare reform, social policy engages in a range of contemporary social problems to find new ways of securing people’s welfare.

We also offer this degree with an additional Foundation Year, making it a four year degree. Please see our Social Sciences Foundation Year webpage for more details on this.

“The support of the lecturers is amazing. They’re all so brilliant and knowledgeable, and really care about their students. It makes me believe I can succeed.

Claire Carey, 2nd year student

Awards and Accreditation

Course Details

Our programme is about social change. We explore the drivers and brakes of social change, the relationship between history and progress and the ideals which different governments bring to the policy making process. We consider how gender, race, ethnicity, age and class influence people’s everyday experience of social policy as it is lived in diverse communities across Britain. You will explore the factors which influence the development of social policy and the provision of welfare. The programme is wide-ranging and research-informed – considering poverty, housing, health, disability, community care, family policy and ageing. You will be supported at each turn by committed educators and research-active staff.

Year 1

In your first year you will take a series of modules which will offer a general introduction to the study of social policy.

Students explore the history of British social policy and the forces and pressures which have shaped its development.
This module builds upon Social Policy 1, taking a more contemporary perspective. For example, it looks at the way ‘fatherhood’ has become an increasingly significant issue in the making of social policy.
In this module we use sociological concepts and theories to explore the changing nature of British society. You will examine issues such as ‘race’, gender, social class, childhood, the family.
This module shows how policy is shaped, influenced and translated and enacted in a range of organisations, professions, and contexts, and how this can enhance employability and employment opportunities for Social Policy graduates.
This module will help you develop and fine tune a range of study skills, including essay writing, time management, presentations, and critical thinking.
Understanding the integration between health, wellbeing, social care and policy.

Year 2

With a wide range of optional modules you will have the opportunity to tailor your degree to suit your particular interests and career aspirations.

This module explores key concepts and ideological and theoretical debates about welfare in Britain.
You will gain an understanding of the concept of citizenship in relation to the UK, EU, and global welfare institutions. Issues examined include disability and citizenship; poverty and citizenship; immigration and asylum.
An introduction to the basic principles of research, including report writing and data presentation.
Here you will compare the development of social policy globally, including personal social services, health, and housing.

Choose two from these optional modules:

Issues explored include ‘race’ and mental illness; chronic illness; attention deficit disorder; ageism and health care.
You will be introduced to the growing literature on gender relations and explore key areas of contemporary debate, including the changing position and status of women and masculinity today.
This module ‘unpacks’ the meaning of ‘disability’ assessing its impact on the individual and society. Among the themes examined is the rise of the disability rights movement.
This module examines social policies directed at young people and explores issues such as teenage parents; sexuality; youth crime and the transition to adulthood.
This module explores the development of social policy and the ways in which this development has been influenced by ideas and beliefs about ‘race’, gender, disability and sexuality. There is a particular focus on education policy.

Year 3

In your final year, a distinctive feature of this degree is the option to undertake a traditional undergraduate dissertation or a Community Placement instead.

The term ‘social exclusion’ is a relatively new arrival in terms of social policy. We explore the origins and value of this concept. The experience of a number of excluded groups will be examined, including sexual minorities, travellers and gypsies and people with mental health problems.
This module will examine in depth the changing policies and structures in the delivery of health and community care. It will allow you to analyse and evaluate alternative systems of provision.
Today the family is very much at the centre of the political and social policy agenda. This module explores the connection between families, politics and social policies. You will look at issues such as poverty, child support, domestic violence and divorce.
This module explores the ways that housing is organized and delivered in the UK. Assessing housing need, access to housing, homelessness and tenure are focused on and you will be able to integrate theoretical knowledge of housing policy and practice and relate this to changing societal contexts.

Choose one from these optional modules:

A supervised research project of 10,000 words.
The placement will offer you an opportunity to gain first-hand experience working in a social policy related setting, and to develop key work based skills such as team work, time management and communication skills.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
Access to HE 96 UCAS points
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
GCSE English and Mathematics at grade C or above. Level 2 Equivalents accepted - Key Skills level 2 English and Key Skills level 2 Mathematics
UCAS tariff points 96 points
BTEC National Diploma MMM
Scottish Highers 96 points
Irish Leaving Certificate 96 points
International Baccalaureate Minimum of 28 points
Access to HE 96 ucas points from Access to HE Dip

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

We recruit a very diverse range of students - diverse in terms of age, sexuality, ethnicity, socio-economic background and ability. We welcome applications from students who, although they may not possess the traditional qualifications for entry, can demonstrate a desire to learn new skills, who are open to new ideas and who have a developing interest in welfare issues and social policy.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2019-20

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £12,660 per year

Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £12,300 per year

Students should expect to incur travel costs during community placements. 

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.


The course is taught using the following modes of delivery:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • One-to-one tutorials
  • Directed study
  • Field Trips
  • Presentations
  • Group work


  • Written exams (seen and unseen) - 10%
  • Presentations - 10%
  • Group tasks - 5%
  • Reports - 5%
  • Essays - 70%


Career Prospects

Our graduates use their Social Policy degree in different ways. Some enter careers which have a direct relationship to their degree and work within the public services or voluntary sector – for example in social care, housing and public health. Some use their degree as a ‘gateway’ into further training/qualifications including a PGCE (teaching).

Here we don’t just look at yesterday – but tomorrow too. By studying social policy at the University of Salford, students are equipped with theoretical, practical and research skills necessary to tackle social problems and to take these into the world of work.

Our graduates use their Social Policy degree in different ways. You will be taught the skills that will prepare you for employment in an expanding health and social care environment as well as for roles in local government, the civil service, the voluntary sector, the criminal justice system, education and housing. Previous graduates of this course have gone on to work for organisations including Manchester City Council, NACRO and North Manchester Healthcare NHS Trust, Connexions and Sure Start.

Watch our video

Find out how the Social Policy course at Salford has helped Angela Ricketts in her role in Safeguarding Children.

Alumni Profile

Jennifer James

Jennifer James, who is deaf and dyslexic, left school at 16 without any qualifications. She felt let down by a system that did not give her the support that she needed to succeed. However, Jennifer refused to give up and started an Access to Higher Education course when she was 23. She passed with flying colours and in 2008 graduated from Salford University with a BSc (Hons) Social Policy. After graduating Jennifer won an internship with the Department of Children, Schools and Families. In September 2009 Jennifer was offered a post as a personal advisor for new job seeker claims at Job Centre Plus in South London. She has also trained as a disability advisor and is very active in the disability movement, using her experience to champion the rights of disabled people.

Jennifer says “With the University’s support and understanding I have been able to begin to reach my true potential. They supported me every step of the way.”

Bernard Melling, one of Jennifer’s tutors says “Jennifer has really blossomed since she came to Salford. She may not have had the best start at school but her determination, ability and positive attitude have helped her to overcome this.”

Jude Bradley
Graduate 2009

Jude Bradley, 26, graduated from the University of Salford with a BSc in Social Policy in 2009. Originally from Derry in Northern Ireland, Jude now lives in London where she works as a policy officer at the College of Emergency Medicine. Her job takes her around the country, and she frequently has high-level policy meetings with government dignitaries including the secretary of state for health, Jeremy Hunt.

Jude explains how her degree in Social Policy helped to shape her career and get her where she is today.

“I came to Salford in the second year of my degree,” she explains. “I’d started my degree in Belfast, but I wasn’t happy with the content. I did some research, and the modules on offer at the University of Salford were much more suited to my interests, and the university had a great reputation in health and social care.” Read more...

Links with Industry

If you undertake a community placement you will be placed in one of our partnering organisations ranging from local government to private social care providers. We have a wide of placements to suit your goals and aspirations. We maintain these strong links with industry so you get the best possible chance to apply what you have learned academically in a real-world setting.

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