So, what exactly is social policy?

Catherine Ford

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Education and Social Care
Course: BA (Hons) Social Policy
Category: Social sciences and social care

1 February 2017

This is my first blog post so bear with me… Before I start talking about my degree experience I want to introduce myself. My name is Catherine and I am 23 years old, in my final year studying BA (Hons) Social Policy in Cambridge.

I live at home with my family in central Cambridge, which means I don’t have to travel far into university for lectures! I used to have a part-time job alongside studying (which I stopped during my final year); however, I do volunteer a few times a month that I will talk about in more detail in another blog post.

So, in this post I thought I’d talk about the Social Policy degree, explaining a bit about what it involves and my experience. A question I am often asked when I talk to people about my degree, and I’m sure that my fellow students will agree, is ‘What is social policy?’ It is a fairly broad subject compared to other degree courses, but that is what I like about it. In my opinion, the Social Policy degree focuses on the many, different social problems in the UK, bringing together aspects of criminology, sociology, geography, economics and politics, and others.

Before studying at ARU, I originally had an unconditional offer from Brighton University to study geography. However, after deciding this wasn’t for me I applied to ARU as a January starter. I chose this course after doing some research about it online and on the ARU website. I found that my A-Levels in Sociology, Geography, Media Studies and General Studies related to this course well. I liked the idea of the course covering up-to-date as well as constantly changing issues, both in the UK and internationally.

I have always been interested in social issues and from an early age regularly attended protests/demonstrations with my parents. I followed mainly UK news of current affairs, and what I learned throughout my GCSEs and A-levels helped me gain a basic understanding of social problems and issues. However, I was keen to learn more.

The modules that we study in Social Policy are diverse, covering a wide range of issues from social exclusion, poverty and homelessness, to health and social care, crime and community, youth offending, and violence and harm. The areas that have particularly interested me throughout this course are homelessness and social exclusion, poverty and inequality, and domestic violence. The modules are taught in lectures and seminars, which gives opportunity for discussion and debates. I find all of the lecturers very approachable and friendly, as well as being truly passionate about the area that they are lecturing.

Another great thing about this degree is the assessments. There are no exams on the course and all of the assignments are essays, reports and presentations, which I prefer. Well, having said that, I don’t particularly enjoy presentations but they are important to improve public speaking skills and they aren’t too long (around five to ten minutes). Though, I do really enjoy writing essays and reports compared with exams.

Over the course of my degree, I have learned so much about different social issues, and I was able to focus my assignments on the areas that fascinated me the most. For most of the modules, there is a chance to explore your particular interests and strengths. For example, in the Violence and Harm module in my final year, I was able to write a report on a particular type of violence – domestic (or intimate partner) violence. Also, in my dissertation I chose to write about homelessness in the UK, another area that interested me.

Overall, I have really loved studying at ARU and despite all the stress from assignment deadlines, readings, and balancing my time, it has been really enjoyable.

I hope this post has been interesting and has explained the Social Policy course in a bit more detail. I’d like to write a few more blog posts in the future about the Erasmus+ exchange semester I took part in, in Sweden, the internship module and the trip to Brussels to visit the EU headquarters we went on with some law students.


The views expressed here are those of the individual and do not necessarily represent the views of Anglia Ruskin University. If you've got any concerns please contact us.