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Social policy is a diverse subject which examines the making and implementing of policy across a broad range of fields, including health care, education, housing, criminal justice, international development, social security and personal social services (such as child protection and care for the elderly and people with disabilities). It also covers issues that affect society in more general ways, including race and diversity, social exclusion, families, crime and deviance and urban regeneration. As part of the programme you will study social policy from an international and comparative perspective, looking at the influence of globalisation as well as national and local context.
The skills you will develop by studying social policy are attractive to a range of employers, though they do not prepare you for a specific career. Many students go on to take our higher level MSc programmes including Social Policy and Planning, Health Policy, NGOs and Development and Criminal Justice Policy. Others have entered professional fields such as law, accountancy and personnel management or gone into the civil service, local government, health policy and planning, education, the voluntary sector as well as the international community, journalism, politics and pressure group activities.
Features of LSE courses
Social policy is a vibrant subject at LSE, taught by many leading experts in the field. People in the Department are broadly interested in what we should do to ensure the wellbeing of ourselves and others. How far do we have a responsibility as individuals to provide for ourselves? What should governments, employers, voluntary organisations and families do? Who gets what in our society and in other societies, why and what issues does it raise?
You will study policies and measures at many different levels: local, national and international, and in many different kinds of organisation: central government agencies; international organisations; local authorities and health authorities; non-profit bodies like housing associations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and charities; private businesses which have contracts to supply services; and informal networks of mutual aid such as those based on families and neighbourhoods.
We examine the making of legislation, such as Acts of Parliament, European Union Directives and international instruments, and the taking of public expenditure decisions, for example, in UK central government and local authorities. Another concern is how members of different groups within society - such as those defined by gender, social class and ethnicity - are affected by policies and measures.
There is a strong critical and evaluative component in the degree, and you will examine ethical considerations and the effectiveness of social provision.
The programme includes a comparative dimension, which includes, but moves beyond, the traditional focus on Europe and other industrialised societies to consider developing and transitional contexts.
Detailed Course FactsApplication deadline January 15 Tuition fee
- EUR 3847 Year (EEA)
- EUR 16632 Year (Non-EEA)
Home UK/EU £3,375 for the first year. Non-UK/EU £14,592 for the first year.Start date October 2015 Credits (ECTS) 180 ECTS
Duration full-time 36 months Languages Take an IELTS test
- Foundations of Social Policy
- Crime and Society
- One social policy option
- One outside option
- LSE100 (Lent Term only)
- Criminological Perspectives
- Principles of Social Policies
- Research Methods for Social Policy
- Either one outside option or one social policy option
- LSE100 (Michaelmas Term only)
- Comparative and International Social Policy
- Crime Control: Ideas and Controversies
- One social policy option
- Either a long essay on an approved topic or one outside option
There are two compulsory courses. Foundations of Social Policy provides a framework for understanding the policy making process by examining changes in social welfare provision in response to particular social issues over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in comparison with other developed countries. Crime and Society offers an introduction to the main institutions of the criminal justice system and the policy context within which they operate.
You choose your third course from the range of options offered in social policy and your fourth option from the wide range available in other departments.
There are three compulsory courses. Criminological Perspectives examines the major theoretical perspectives that inform our understanding of crime and the research that contributes to their formation and testing. Principles of Social Policy examines the ends and means of social policies with reference to statutory and non statutory forms of provision within a comparative framework. Research Methods for Social Policy provides a comprehensive introduction to methods of social research in social policy.
You may choose your fourth course either from the range of options offered in social policy, including Psychology of Crime and Criminal Justice, or from the available courses in other departments.
There are two compulsory courses. Comparative and International Social Policy examines the distinct challenges of welfare provision faced by countries at different stages of economic development. Criminal Justice Policy provides a critical understanding of criminal justice policy and its implementation, with particular attention to current debates.
The third course will be an option from the range offered in the social policy options list. The fourth course may be an approved paper selected from the range available in other departments, or alternatively a long essay on an approved relevant topic, providing the opportunity to explore an area that interests you in some depth.
This list shows the range of social policy options available in the second and third years. Some will be taught every year, some in alternate years, depending on demand.
- Sociology and Social Policy
- Population, Economy and Society
- Social Economics and Policy
- Education Policy
- European Social Policy
- Poverty, Social Exclusion and Social Change
- Psychology of Crime and Criminal Justice
- Demographic Description and Analysis
- A long essay on an approved topic
If not already taken
English Language Requirements
IELTS band : 7 CAE score : 80(Grade A) TOEFL paper-based test score : 627 TOEFL iBT® test : 107
To study at this university, you have to speak English. We advice you totake an IELTS test. More About IELTS
Course requirement: GCSE Mathematics, grade C or above
Usual standard offer: A level: grades A B BInternational Baccalaureate: Diploma with 37 points including 6 6 6 at Higher level
Other qualifications are considered.
English language requirements
Although it is not necessary to have the required grade in an acceptable English Language qualification when you make your application to LSE, if you are made an offer of a place and English is not your mother tongue, it is likely that you would be asked to obtain an acceptable English Language qualification as a condition of your offer.
The following qualifications are acceptable to LSE:
- GCSE English Language with a grade B or better.
- International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) English as a First Language with a grade B or better including the Speaking and Listening coursework component (Edexcel) or grade 2 in the optional speaking test (CIE).
- International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) academic test with a score of 7.0 in all four components.
- Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 627 in the paper test including 5.5 in writing and 50 in TSE, or 107 in the internet based test with a minimum of 25 out of 30 in each of the four skills.
- Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with grade B or better.
- Cambridge Advanced Certificate of English (CACE) with a grade A.
- Cambridge English Language (1119) conducted overseas by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate: B4 or better.
- O level (1120 Brunei, 1125 Mauritius A, 1127 Singapore) grade B or better.
- Singapore Integrated Programme (IP) Secondary 4 English Language grade B or better.
- Pearson Test of English (General) with a distinction at level 5 in both the written and the oral test.
If students offer the IGCSE in English as a First Language or O level (other than those specified above) and have been educated in the medium of English during their five most recent years of study (prior to 1 September 2011), then we will accept the qualification as sufficient evidence of English Language proficiency.
Please note that test scores must be achieved from one sitting of the relevant qualification. We will not accept individual component scores from multiple tests
No work experience is required.
- Academic Excellence Scholarship
"The Academic Excellence Scholarship can provide up to a 50 % reduction in tuition per semester. These scholarships will be renewed if the student maintains superior academic performance during each semester of their 3-year Bachelor programme. The scholarship will be directly applied to the student’s tuition fees."
- Access Bursary
Bursary for UK students all subjects where the variable tuition fee rate is payable.
- Alumni Bursary
Alumni Bursary for UK Undergraduate students
* The scholarships shown on this page are suggestions first and foremost. They could be offered by other organisations than London School of Economics and Political Science.
Financial support for 2011 entry
The School recognises that the cost of living in London may be higher than in your home town or country. Government support, in the form of loans and grants, is available to UK and some EU students, while LSE provides generous financial support, in the form of bursaries and scholarships to UK, EU and overseas students.
for students from England
Student loan for maintenance
The student loan for maintenance helps students pay living costs during term times and holidays. The maximum loan available for students studying in London and living away from their parents' home is currently £6,928.
The means-tested maintenance grant (currently worth up to £2,906) also helps students with living expenses during their time at university. The amount a student is eligible to receive is assessed by Student Finance England. The grant does not have to be repaid.
Special Support Grant
The special support grant replaces the maintenance grant for some students who during the course of the academic year, meet the conditions for being a 'prescribed person' under the income support or housing benefit regulations. Students who are likely to qualify include:
- Single parents
- Other student parents if they have a partner who is also a student
- Students with certain disabilities
Other students may be eligible for the Special Support Grant. You don't necessarily have to receive or even have applied for Income Support or Housing Benefit.
for students from elsewhere in the UK
Different financial support packages are available for students from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Students from these countries should refer to one of the following websites:
Student Finance Wales
Student Awards Agency Scotland
Student Finance Northern Ireland
for EU students
Students from the EU are not usually eligible for UK Government financial support. However, EU nationals (or children of EU nationals) who have lived in the UK or islands for three years before the start of their course (ie, since 1 September 2008 for a course starting on 1 September 2011) may now qualify for a student loan and grants.
for overseas students
Students from outside the EU are not eligible to apply for UK Government funds. However, there is a range of funding available for overseas students from external agencies, bodies or your home government, details of which are available from your home government or nearest British Council office (www.britishcouncil.org/learning), or UKCISA (www.ukcisa.org.uk).
LSE financial support
for UK students
The LSE Bursary is available for students from low-income backgrounds (from England and Wales) and is worth up to £7,500 over a three-year programme. The value of the LSE Bursary is linked to students' (or their family's) income levels, which will be assessed when calculating the maintenance grant. The maximum LSE Bursary of £2,500 per year is awarded to those students with the lowest residual income. These Bursaries do not have to be repaid.
LSE Discretionary Bursary
The LSE Discretionary Bursary is available for new LSE students (from the UK and the EU) who face exceptional financial needs, including, for example, caring responsibilities, financial need related to disability or an unavoidable requirement to live at home. The value of the award may vary according to need. These Bursaries do not have to be repaid.
Each year LSE awards a number of scholarships - funded by private or corporate donation - to UK applicants to the School. The number, value, eligibility criteria and type of awards vary from year to year. Awards are made on the basis of financial need and academic merit.
Four Stelios scholarships, currently worth £5,444 per year, are available for UK students applying for business subjects at LSE.
Access to Learning funds
Registered UK students from low-income households can apply directly to LSE for Access to Learning funds. These funds are designed for students who may need extra financial support for their course, and are provided by the Government to assist with living expenses.
for EU students
LSE Discretionary Bursary
The LSE discretionary bursary is available to EU students. For information about this bursary and how to apply, please see the section on LSE financial support for UK students.
LSE offers a number of undergraduate scholarships of varying amounts each year to EU students.
Six Stelios scholarships, currently worth £5,444 per year, are available for EU students applying for business subjects at LSE.
for overseas students
LSE undergraduate support scheme
The LSE undergraduate support scheme (USS) is designed to help overseas students who do not have the necessary funds to meet all their costs of study. In 2008, the School disbursed nearly £1 million in entrance awards available to self-financing students of all nationalities. This financial aid is available only for study at LSE. If you are made an offer of admission, we will advise you on how to apply to the USS online. This system is able to provide an immediate indication of an applicant's eligibility for assistance. In the first instance, you will be assessed on the basis of your financial circumstances. Awards are renewable for each year of your course. Applications will be considered between the end of February and the middle of August.
The School offers a limited number of undergraduate scholarships of varying amounts each year for overseas students.