Undergraduate BSc (Hons)

Social Policy

School of Health and Society





Three year

Six year

Next enrolment

September 2023


In a nutshell

Our programme will enable you to understand the causes of social problems and how societies attempt to solve them through the design and implementation of policy and welfare. 

Take today’s headlines - food banks, the ‘crisis’ in the NHS, unaffordable housing, problems with Universal Credit - we see these terms in the news, but what do they actually mean? Why are some members of society faced with these issues whilst others thrive? We explore how these inequalities come to exist and the influences of political and social factors on the development of social policies to maintain the wellbeing of citizens. On this course you will develop an awareness and understanding of key social issues and develop the skills and tools to develop effective policy in order to address them.

Social policy has never been so important to protect the wellbeing of citizens and reduce the social impact of the virus. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a unique time of social struggle. We saw expounded poverty levels as the economic impact of the crisis took root. Our already overstretched NHS was being pushed to the limit caring for patients and providing continuing care to patients with existing conditions. Care home and hospices were in crisis as charitable funding is cut and staff shortages increase due. We are likely on the cusp of a mental health crisis, as people struggle to cope with isolation and key workers face burnout. We will experience the impact of this pandemic in our society for years to come. Undoubtedly, it has been those already vulnerable in society that suffered most from the impact.

We are extremely proud that our course is ranked in the Complete University Guide as number one in the country for student satisfaction and number one within the North West for Social Policy courses (2023).

You will:

  • Learn about the ways in which governments seek to improve the welfare of their citizens
  • Explore the factors which influence the development of social policy and the provision of welfare
  • Understand the root causes of social problems and identify how to solve them
  • Develop the skills to develop social policy to protect the most vulnerable in society
  • Be supported by passionate and committed educators and research-active staff

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You want to challenge the status quo


You are interested in tackling injustice


You are interested in current affairs

Course details

All about the course

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 one

The Policy Making Process

You will explore the history of British social policy and the forces and pressures which have shaped its development.

Policy into Practice

This module builds upon the module 'The Policy Making Process', 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.

Sociology; Theories and Concepts

The module aims to provide you with a firm grounding in sociological substantive and factual knowledge, help build interpretive capacity, and encourage the development of evaluative thought. You will also be encouraged to develop a range of allied transferable skills. Teaching will include formal delivery of material via lectures, supported by online materials, alongside seminars, for which you will be expected to prepare and in which you will be expected to actively participate. Tutorials will give you the opportunity to speak one-to-one to members of the teaching team to discuss any issues, questions or queries they have pertaining to aspects of their learning and development.

Shaping, Making and Doing Social Policy

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 graduates of this course.

Academic Skills

This module will help you develop and fine tune a range of study skills, including essay writing, time management, presentations, and critical thinking.

Health and Wellbeing

This module will develop your understanding of the integration between health, wellbeing, social care and policy.

Year two

Ideological Approaches to Welfare

This module explores key concepts and ideological and theoretical debates about welfare in Britain.

Social Security and Welfare

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.

Research Problems and Methods: Making it Count

You will gain an understanding of the survey research process, including forming a suitable research question, operationalisation, and types of sampling strategy. You will gain knowledge of key concepts in quantitative research, including statistical significance and probability and practical experience of alternative methods of analysing qualitative data.

Research Problems and Methods: Qualitatively Better

You will develop an understanding of competing methodological approaches to social research. The focus throughout this module will be on learning and experiencing applied methods to address “real world” research social problems. You will gain a working knowledge, and practical experience of, alternative methods of collecting, reporting and presenting qualitative data.

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

Sociology of Health and Illness

Issues explored include race and mental illness, chronic illness, attention deficit disorder, ageism and health care.

Gender Issues

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.

Disability Studies (Critical Perspectives)

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.

Young People and Social Policies

This module examines social policies directed at young people and explores issues such as teenage parents, sexuality, youth crime and the transition to adulthood.

Social Policy and Differentiation

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 three

Precarity and Insecure Lives

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.

Constructions of Childhood and Family

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.

Housing Policy and Society

This module explores the ways that housing is organised 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.

Comparative and Global Social Policy

Here you will compare the development of social policy globally, including personal social services, health, and housing.

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

Dissertation - SP

A supervised research project of 10,000 words.

Community placement - SP

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.

What will I be doing?


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%

Our Social Policy Community

We are proud of our growing and successful community of Social Policy students and graduates. Our cohorts are close-knit, and our students often say that the sense of community and support are the best things about Salford. 

You can hear about their experiences below.

School of Health and Society

The School of Health and Society is a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a commitment to lifelong learning and real-world impact.

Our courses are informed by the latest research and we work closely with organisations from both the public and private sector to ensure our teaching is at the forefront of practice.

We are focused on enhancing the health and wellbeing of patients, service users and athletes and our commitment to public involvement help us retain our strong focus on real-world issues.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

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.

A taste of what you could become

A charity officer

A health service manager

A housing manager

A social researcher

A local government officer

and much more...

Career Links

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.


What you need to know


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.


If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.5. We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take the Pre-Sessional English course to gain entry onto this degree.

Standard entry requirements


English Language and Maths at Grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent).

You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below

UCAS tariff points

112 UCAS points 

A levels

112 UCAS points 

BTEC National Diploma



If applying to start from September 2024, you will need T Level - Merit

Access to HE

112 points

Scottish Highers

112 points 

Irish Leaving Certificate

112 points 

International Baccalaureate

Minimum of 28 points 

European Baccalaureate

Pass in Diploma of at least 65%

International Students

We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

Alternative entry requirements

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.

The University offers two routes for entry under the scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course.  As this course is part of the School of Health and Society you will only be considered under Entry Route 1.  

To be considered for the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme you must have already achieved or be working towards GCSE Maths and English Grade C/4 (or equivalent).

How Much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2023/24 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2023/24 £15,120per year
Full-time home 2024/25 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2024/25 £15,720per year

Additional costs

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.

Scholarships for international students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
Explore our International Scholarships.


Apply now


Enrolment dates

September 2023

September 2024

UCAS information

Course ID L400

Institution S03