Developing Social Policy - 2018

To enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into a course from the provider. Read before you start

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Postgraduate
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 14 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: Sem2
  • Availability for 2018: Sem2
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 - Policy Brief (30%) , Participation - Online engagement (10%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2018 Fees
Domestic 2,387.00
International 2,637.00

This unit was previously known as SGY881 Developing Social Policy.

This unit introduces and advances major topics in Australian social policy – the policies that governments make to improve individual and public welfare. The idea of social policy can be narrow, involving giving cash benefits and social services to the most needy. But our understanding of social policy might be broader, and encompass the provision of social infrastructure – health, housing and education services. Sometimes, social policy can be 'disguised' in other policies entirely, such as the policy of life-long employment, minimum wages in Australia, and guaranteed prices for food staples. This semester, we apply different analytical lenses to understanding social policy and welfare state development. The unit has three parts. The first part engages with key theories about the politics and economics of social policy. The second part turns to the issue of understanding welfare state development and change. The third part examines the political and social dynamics of contemporary social policy. Across the semester, we will situate Australian social policymaking in international perspective to highlight what is unique and what is similar with the experiences of other countries.

At the completion of this unit students will:

  1. critically assess, use and synthesise information
  2. discuss key social theories and frameworks used to understand the development of social policies
  3. contextualise Australian social policy by reflecting on international developments
  4. challenge your preconceptions about welfare and other areas by engaging in policy debates
  5. apply and adapt knowledge to 'real world' problems in an ethical and consistent manne
  6. locate and retrieve reliable and high quality information and analysis through individual research
  7. develop vocational skills such as writing policy briefs for government departments and non-government organisations
  8. further develop communication skills to convey your own ideas simply, directly and respectfully
  9. demonstrate effective time management and work organisation.
  • Assignment 1 — Policy Brief (30%)
  • Participation — Online engagement (10%)
  • Research Assignment (60%)

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • SGY881 — Developing Social Policy (Previously SGY381)

Admission to the below programs

In order to enrol in this unit, you must be accepted into one of the following courses:

Please visit the course details page and read the Requirements tab for more information about eligibility.

This unit addresses the following topics.

1Course Introduction - What is social policy?
2An Australian Story: From the wage-earner's model to the present
3Alleviating Poverty?The `functions' of poverty and welfare;
4On Work & Welfare: Social policy for full employment?
5Social Policy for Social Citizenship? Rights, obligations and solidarity
6Managing Social Risk? Dealing with state and market failures
7Understanding Social Policy Developments;
8The Macro Dynamics of Welfare State Change
9The Micro Dynamics of Welfare State Change
10The Rise of Conditionality: `Workfare' vs. the `new paternalism'
11The Shift to Markets: Neoliberalism, marketisation and financialisation
12Closing the Gap? Persistent inequalities and Indigenous social policy
13Course Conclusion.

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.

Textbook information for this unit is currently being updated and will be available soon. Please check back regularly for updates. Alternatively, visit the The Co-op website and enter the unit details to search for available textbooks.

Enquire online

Need to ask a question that's best put down in words?
Make an online enquiry.

Enquire now

Ready to enrol?

Start studying this unit now.


Got a question?

Get an answer from one of our friendly Student Advisors.