Education and Social Policy (BSc Econ)

Social Policy and Education BScEcon (Joint Honours) gives students the opportunity to study the educational institutions within wider society, combining with an element of social and governmental policy.

The Education and Social Policy BScEcon (joint honours) draws together complementary fields of study. It
allows students the opportunity to explore educational institutions within wider society and social and
governmental policy more generally. The degree is concerned with the critical analysis of education policy
and practice in local, national and international contexts and combines this with the study of the impacts of
globalisation on social policy and policy making, as well as the relations between politics and public and
social policy, and the processes and structures of contemporary governance.

Key facts

Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration3 years
Typical places availableThe School typically has 280 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 1250 applications
Typical A level offerABB-BBB, excluding General Studies
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core, plus grades BB at A level
Typical International Baccalaureate offer32 points
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark

Education Studies

Social Policy

Admissions tutor(s)

Mr Stephen Davies, Admissions Tutor

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published in July 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

Social Policy is the study of how societies respond to human need and seek to promote the well-being of their members. It examines policies in a wide variety of areas, including social security, education, health, housing and personal social services, as well as policies seeking to address new challenges such as tackling global warming and promoting environmental sustainability.

Studying Social Policy provides students with a critical understanding of the challenges of responding to human need and managing the provision of social services. This includes debates about the goals of policy: how we decide what human needs are, whose responsibility it is to meet human needs, and what we mean by ‘social justice’. Social Policy provides students with a thorough grounding in key debates and theories regarding the state, society and well-being. Students will learn how to evaluate and interpret evidence, apply theories and examine policies in an objective fashion.

Education is an exciting social science subject increasingly being presented as a principal means of fostering economic growth, social cohesion and personal well-being. The BA Education will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of contemporary developments and challenges in education. It will enable you to explore underpinning assumptions and to investigate the research basis of contemporary policy and practice.

Year one

Year two

There are four core modules in year two in addition to which students must take at least one of:

  • Human Development
  • Children and Childhood.

Any remaining credits can be taken from any of the subjects in the optional module list.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Social Research MethodsSI003020 credits
Poverty & Social Security in the UKSI026020 credits
Social Policy AnalysisSI006720 credits
Sociology of EducationSI023420 credits

Module titleModule codeCredits
Human DevelopmentSI003620 credits
Gender Relations and SocietySI007220 credits
Migration, 'Race' and Ethnic RelationsSI023520 credits
Cultural SociologySI023920 credits
Children and ChildhoodSI014120 credits
Cognitive and Biological PsychologySI026120 credits
Inequality & The Division of LabourSI007520 credits

Year three

There are two core modules in year three in addition to which students must take at least 40 credits from:

  • Equality and Diversity in Education and Work
  • Conflict and Change in Education Policy
  • Reflections on Teaching and Learning

Any remaining credits can be taken from any of the subjects in the optional module list.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

In the School of Social Sciences you will learn from scholars who are shaping the future of their fields. Our courses reflect both the core ideas of their disciplines and contemporary debates, theories and research.

In year one you will lay the foundations for later specialist study, taking a number of core modules and following a study skills programme designed to help you make the transition to higher education. In years two and three, you will be encouraged to study and learn more independently, giving you the opportunity to read more widely and to develop your own interests

Assessment methods vary from module to module but, across the degree scheme as a whole, you can expect a mixture of exams, essays, practical work, presentations, and individual and group projects. Depending on your degree scheme, you may also undertake a final year dissertation that will give you the opportunity to focus on one topic in depth and further develop your research and analytic skills.

As social science develops in response to the social world, so too our curriculum changes.  Our students play an important role in these developments, with the Staff-Student Panel being consulted about major changes and all students completing module evaluations and an annual student survey.

In 2013/14, 95% of School of Social Science graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

Turning theory into practical application and providing experience of the working world are important facets of preparing our graduates for life outside of education.

We encourage our students to think about life beyond University from day one, offering modules and support to give you a competitive advantage on graduating.

Our dedicated Placements Manager offers advice on available work placements, internships, work experience and opportunities to enhance your CV and broaden your horizons. Support with job applications and interview techniques is also available.


3 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

The School admits 300 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes of which approximately 50 are studying single or joint honours degrees in Education.

Applications received

Typical applications received



QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark

Education Studies

Social Policy

Overview and aims of this course/programme

The BSc in Education and Social Policy provides students with anin-depth understanding of education within a wider framework of social policy analysis. The education-focused dimension provides students with a comprehensive understanding of contemporary developments and challenges in education – which is increasingly being presented as the principal means of fostering economic growth, social cohesion and personal well-being. The more general social policy dimension provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the nature of social policy. Social policy is an interdisciplinary and applied subject which studies the distribution of welfare and well-being within societies. Its focus is on the ways in which society meet the basic human needs of the populations – one of which, of course, is education.

This programme offers students the opportunity to link theoretical analysis with empirical enquiry, to explore their underpinning assumptions and to investigate the research basis of contemporary policy and practice in education and social policy. The programme is interdisciplinary in approach and invites students to explore the historical, sociological, and political dimensions of education social policy.

Studying education and social policy together offers the chance to obtain an excellent grounding in contemporary theories, policies, methods and debates whilst also developing a wide range of transferable skills. It will enable students to identify, understand and critique the evidence-base of much current public, civic and social policy in education and other domains.

The programme provides an excellent starting point from which to develop a range of careers in education and related social policy areas. Students wishing to teach can progress on to a variety of post-graduate courses to obtain Qualified Teacher Status. Other career destinations include human resources, research with young people and children’s services in local and national government.

Degree programmes in the Cardiff School of Social Sciences reflect the National Qualifications Framework and benchmark standards of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.

What should I know about year five?

Most modules are 20 credits. Students are expected to allocate 200 hours of study time to each of them: this is made up of lectures (22-24 hrs in Years 2 and 3, 44-48 in Year 1), tutorials/seminars/workshops (8-10 hours), independent study and time spent on assessment tasks. Students should attend all lectures and are required to attend all seminars.

Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study, which can be found at:

Students are also expected to maintain regular contact with the personal tutor and, where appropriate, inform the School of any extenuating circumstances that might affect their academic performance.

In SOCSI we take the responsibility we share with you to support your learning seriously and if you have any particular requirements it is important that you let us know. In some instances you may just want to talk to your personal tutor or a member of the teaching team on a particular module. We also have a Disabilities contact and work closely with the Student Support Service.

How is this course/programme structured?

This is a 3 year full time programme, consisting of 120 credits a year.

What should I know about year four?

No specific equipment required

What should I know about year three?

Students will acquire and develop a range of skills, including both discipline specific and generic employability skills. These include: communicating and presenting oral and written information, arguments and ideas (individually and as part of a team); using ICT (word processing, data bases, internet communication, information retrieval and on-line searches); interpreting and presenting relevant numerical information; demonstrating interpersonal skills to enable team/group work; recognising, recording and communicating skills and knowledge to achieve personal/career goals; managing learning and performance (including time management); demonstrating a commitment to continuing learning and development. Through undertaking their own independent research, students also develop skills of project management, data collection and analysis and presentation.

Thedissertation provides a means to further develop and demonstrate a broad range of skills.  In particular, students are required to undertake a formal presentation of their findings at an annual student conference. 

What should I know about the preliminary year?

Each year of study consist of 120 credits, usually taught as six 20 credit modules. In each academic year, there will be a number of core modules that provide the essential foundation for the degree scheme plus a number of optional modules that allow you to tailor your academic work to your own strengths and interests. In the third year, students have the opportunity to undertake a dissertation. The dissertation is counted as a double module and provides the opportunity for independent study and research supported by an academic supervisor.

A diverse range of teaching and learning styles are used throughout the degree. Students will attend lectures, participate in tutorials or seminars and carry out practical tasks as individual or group activities. Seminar and practical work is particularly important as it provides an opportunity to student to obtain feedback on their progress and understanding throughout the academic year.

You will receive formal feedback on your assessments in a variety of ways. You will receive individual, written feedback on coursework, the purpose of which is to improve your understanding of the subject and develop transferable skills that can be applied elsewhere. General feedback will also be given on examinations, with individual feedback available for students who have failed the module and require a resit. Many modules also offer formative assessments, which enable you to develop your skills and obtain feedback without affecting your final module mark.

Some teaching will take place within the School of Social Sciences and some will be in other locations within the University campus.

What should I know about year one?

Each of the taught modules within the programme will be assessed using one or more of the following in-course assessments:

· Essays and coursework;

· Formal examinations;

· Class tests;

· Written reports;

· Oral presentations;

· Final year Dissertation.

There are also opportunities for formative assessment which do not formally count towards the final grade and are therefore an opportunity for students to gain insight on their progress.

Arrangements may be made to vary or substitute assessments for students with disabilities.


Students are provided with oral and written feedback on formative and summative assessment tasks which will identify areas of strength and areas where improvement is needed. In addition, staff provide students with an analysis of overall achievement on any one assessment task.

Other information

Students will be allocated a personal tutor for the duration of their studies. Tutors make themselves available for scheduled meetings to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance, but they can also be called upon when needed.

All modules within the programme make use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard, on which students will find course materials, links to related materials and information relating to assessment tasks. Additional module-specific support is provided by seminar tutors, lecturers and/or module convenors. Support for the dissertation is provided by a supervisor who will meet with students regularly.

Opportunities for students to reflect on their abilities and performance are also made available via the University’s central services, which include:

  • Academic and Skills Development Centre:
  • Information Literacy Resource Bank:
  • Careers Advice and Guidance:

Distinctive features

A typical graduate from this programme will be able to:

·                  Understand the origins and organisation of education systems;

·                  Comprehend the complex relationship between education and society;

·                  Evaluate competing theories of the principles and purposes of education;

·                  Appreciate how social policies are continuously reconstructed and changed;

·                  Develop an understanding of  key concepts and theories of welfare, including theories of the state and of policy-making and implementation;

·                  Understand key concepts and theoretical approaches that have been developed and are developing within education and social policy;

·                  Analyse contemporary developments in education and social policy from historical, sociological, psychological and political perspectives;

·                  Critically evaluate the evidence on which education and social policies and practices are based;

·                  Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to researching educational and social policy issues;

·                  Demonstrate personal and academic communication skills. 

How will I be taught?

Students are strongly encouraged and supported to undertake visits to in a range of educational settings – from provision for early years to adult education. These visits are arranged through the University, the School of Social Sciences and/or the student’s own contacts. Activities may include mentoring young people at GCSE stage or acting as University Ambassadors to local schools and further education colleges.

Admissions tutors

Mr Stephen Davies, Admissions Tutor

Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.


Get information and advice about making an application, find out when the key dates are and learn more about our admissions criteria.

How to apply
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