The course will present an introduction to social policy. It explains key economic concepts that are relevant to designing social security systems and policy programmes. It will provide an overview over important social policies including poverty reduction, pensions, health and long-term care and unemployment insurance. Each social policy will be illustrated by concrete examples in Austria and internationally, and analyzed from an interdisciplinary perspective. Student group projects will deal with selected social policy issues in comparative perspective.
Topics covered in this course:
- social policy, social welfare and the welfare state: objectives, principles, actors, policies
- social risk and (social) insurance
- equity: concepts, issues and policies
- comparative welfare state analysis
- Evaluation of social programmes
The course provides a framework for understanding, reviewing and critical analysis of alternative approaches to the study and the practice of social policy. After attending this course, students will be able to:
- outline and apply the conceptual foundations of social policy
- understand fundamental design principles of social security systems,
- identify alternative welfare state models,
- characterise social policies in selected countries,
- analyse and discuss social policy approaches against the background of major economic and social policy objectives,
- understand and discuss academic social policy papers.
In addition, students will:
- gain practice and improve their skills in writing, presenting and discussing their ideas.
This being a ‘Course with continuous Assessment (PI)’, the university requires students to attend at least 80% of all classes for completing the course successfully. This also applies in to classes taught in distance modus. Ideally you don’t miss any classes.
Please kindly let me know in advance if you have to miss a unit. Make sure you complete the readings for all units.
The course will be taught in person but it could revert to hybrid or online teaching depending on how government policies to fight the current pandemic unfold (and WU's reponse to any changes). There will be (online) lectures, in-class assigments and interactive formats. Lectures will be complemented by home assignments to be prepared and delivered partly individually and partly in small teams (group presentations). Last not least, students will work on an individual seminar papers.
- (online) lectures
- team-based learning
- group presentations
- seminar papers (briefing paper & critical review paper)
Assessment (relative weights in the final grade):
- active participation during online units: 10%
(engaging in Q&A, completing and presenting in-class assigments, present social policy graph/newsbit/"snippet" of the week)
- written test (single-choice test): 20%
- visual essay (prepared by groups of 3 students) and accompanying briefing paper: 35%
- response paper ("reaction paper") related to a social policy reading (individual): 35%
Grade Key (point ranges)
- 1: Excellent (90-100 points)
- 2: Good (80-89 points)
- 3: Satisfactory (65-79 points)
- 4: Sufficient (50-64 points)
- 5: Fail (0-49 points)
After class or via Email (firstname.lastname@example.org).