Social and Public Policy 1A: Foundations of Welfare PUBPOL1010

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides the opportunity to analyse key social problems such as worklessness, poverty, homelessness and ill health, and how they have been addressed by public policy. Students examine the historical origins and evolution of the welfare state and engage with challenging debates about the government's current role in welfare.


■ three lectures per week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10 - 11am) 

■ a weekly tutorial (8 in total, timeslots scheduled throughout the week, one hour)

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses





One 1500 word essay (65%)

An online written assignment of 750 words (25%)

Set exercise: Tutorial attendance involving active participation (10%) 

Course Aims

The aims of the course are to:

■ provide an introduction to Social and Public Policy;

■ provide students with the opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding of the historical origins and evolution of welfare provision in the UK from the nineteenth century to the present day;

■ analyse key social problems and how they are addressed by public policy;

■ assess the role of contemporary governments in welfare.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course students will be able to:
- outline the meaning, functions and delivery of social and public policy;

- critically assess the effects of the living and working
conditions of the mass population in Britain during the nineteenth century;
- critically evaluate the motivating factors for State intervention in Britain;

- outline the genesis and evolutionary development of the British Welfare State in an international
- critically assess the role of key individuals and extra-Parliamentaty activity in the development of State welfare provision;

- identify the metaphorical 'Five Giants' and the types of social and public policies organised to combat them in the c
ontext of the UK and devolution;
- critically analyse the development of welfare provision since 1945 and the current operation of the major welfare institutions in the UK .

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components of the course's summative assessment.


Other requirements: regular attendance and minimum grade of G.