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Module HPS-1001:
From Cradle to Grave

Module Facts

Run by School of History, Philosophy and Social Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Hefin Gwilym

Overall aims and purpose

From Cradle to Grave is the School's introductory module to Social Policy and is accessible to both Social Policy students and students in other disciplines within the School. The purpose of the module is to provide students with a broad introduction to the history and theoretical perspectives of Social Policy. How can a satisfactory provision of health services, social care and income security to secured for citizens? What are the choices and restraints facing policy makers, service providers and individuals? It will enable students to identify and analyse problems which we face in our daily lives using perspectives offered by Social Policy and other social sciences. It will explore: 1. The political, financial and organisational contexts in which social policies are delivered, received and experienced. 2. The effects of demographic changes on social policies and provision, such as an ageing society and migration. 3. The State's role in welfare and the role of privatisation and the voluntary sector in welfare provision. 4. The nature and causes of inequalities in income, health outcomes and life chances in the UK and globally. 5. The ways in which social, economic and technological changes are affecting the nature of modern welfare strategies. 6. How devolution has changed the nature of social policies and provision in the UK.

Course content

This module will provide an exploration of the ways and means by which welfare is delivered to service users and patients. It will examine personal, social, economic and political aspects of welfare, and consider some of the moral and philosophical issues raised. The course also traces the development and use of concepts such as social need, health care need, welfare, social justice and equality, citizenship and social exclusion amongst others within the framework of the policy process. Students will consider a series of substantive issues, e.g. the care of older people, child protection, services for people with mental health problems, etc. Students will become familiar with a variety of theoretical perspectives used by the social sciences. They will examine the main institutions of health and welfare, and consider some of the main dilemmas of our age, e.g. how to balance individual and collective responsibilities; how to balance the needs of carers, and those receiving care; and how to address some of the ethical issues raised by modern medicine. To what extent should the state be involved in the provision of welfare - residually or universally? To what extent does the state amplify or produce social inequalities?

Learning outcomes

    1. Demonstrate a basic understanding of key theoretical perspectives in Social Policy.
    2. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the history of Social Policy from the Nineteenth Century to date.
    3. Show an understanding of key concepts in the delivery of welfare and an appreciation of the possible advantages and disadvantages of different models of welfare delivery.
    4. Identify some of the causes and consequences of income inequalities and how these are related to welfare.
    5. Show an understanding of the administrative and financial context within which social policies are constructed, including the impact of devolution on health and welfare structures.
    6. Demonstrate an awareness of the international dimension of Social Policy, particularly relating to world poverty .

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
Essay 50
REport 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy


There will be a weekly lecture and seminar which will include a power-point presentation on a relevant theme.


There will be a weekly lecture and seminar which will include a power-point presentation on a relevant theme


Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Safety-Consciousness - Having an awareness of your immediate environment, and confidence in adhering to health and safety regulations
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others

Subject specific skills

  • Develop a sound appreciation of the variety of theories that comprise the discipline of social policy and how these impact on social policy interventions
  • Become cognizant with key conceptual debates within the field of contemporary social policy

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: