University of Sydney Handbooks - 2020 Archive

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Social Policy

About the minor

Social Policy is a field of study that is concerned with the wellbeing of all of us as a society. Social Policy is interested in the questions of how to address inequalities amongst us and how to make our society a fairer and more inclusive society. In the Social Policy minor, we will be looking at the issues behind the headlines we see in the news every day and analyse the decisions that governments make and who and what influences those decisions.

Students will be introduced to the subject through key concepts and ideas that have been developed to help understand the world. These foundational ideas will be consolidated in their second and third year units that explore a range of social policies that are introduced, tested and restructured over time both in the context of Australia and elsewhere.

These policies include but are not limited to the areas of: work and the labour market, healthcare, family, old-age, social security, indigenous peoples, globalisation, and immigration

We will challenge and unpack some of the common sense assumptions about certain groups both young and old, and men and women. We will study central assumptions behind the design of these policies and investigate how they work in various contexts.

Studying Social Policy enables us to better understand how to manage social risks; what policy instruments are used to address them; and what underpins their very existence. We ask difficult questions about social problems and discuss what we can do about them. The Social Policy minor offers an opportunity to engage in this discussion so that one day you can be a part of the solution to make the world a better place.

Requirements for completion

The Social Policy minor requirements are listed in the Social Policy unit of study table.

Contact and further information

Department website:

Undergraduate Coordinator: