5608 Course I: Introduction to Health and Social Policy
Mark Golboyz, M.Sc.,B.A., Univ.Prof. Dr. Ulrike Schneider
Contact details
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
02/16/23 to 02/19/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Day Date Time Room
Monday 03/06/23 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM Online-Einheit
Monday 03/13/23 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.10
Monday 03/20/23 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.10
Monday 03/27/23 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.10
Monday 04/17/23 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.10
Monday 04/24/23 02:00 PM - 02:45 PM TC.-1.61
Monday 04/24/23 02:45 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.10
Monday 05/08/23 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.10
Monday 05/15/23 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.10
Monday 05/22/23 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.10
Monday 06/05/23 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM TC.3.10
Monday 06/12/23 02:00 PM - 04:30 PM TC.4.05

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 
Learning outcomes

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.
Attendance requirements

This being a ‘course with continuous assessment (PI)’, the University requires students to attend at least 80% of the time of the scheduled course units for completing the course successfully. Ideally you attend all units fully. If you are unable to fully attend a unit, please let the Lecturer(s) know in advance. In case online units are scheduled, the same attendance requirements apply.

Notice of Special Regulation for Covid-19: If a student is required to quarantine, or is otherwise prevented from attending class, due to a certified case of Covid-19 infection or a federally mandated Covid-19 lockdown, and this affects either attendance or the completion of an exam or other required course assignment, the course instructor is empowered to provide an alternative means for said student to meet the attendance/assessment requirement as necessary. The same means will be required of any student in the same situation in this course.

Students with symptoms or other suspicions of Covid should contact this office ( If given permission to stay home they must show official proof (e.g. forward the email) to the course instructors. Students must contact the potential Covid office if they believe they have symptoms. They cannot just decide to not attend class without this official permission (this would count as non-attendance).

Teaching/learning method(s)

The course will be taught in person but it could revert to online teaching depending on how government policies to fight the current COVID-19 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 paper.

  • (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)
  • written test (single-choice test): 20%
  • group project: 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)

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Availability of lecturer(s)

After class or via Email  ( 

Unit details
Unit Date Contents
1 06.03.2023

Welfare, the Welfare State and Social Policy: Concepts, history of the welfare state, the welfare state in numbers (Lecture 1)


  • Barr 2020, Ch.1 (pp.3-20);
  • optional: Greve 2020, Ch. 2 (pp.14-30) and Ch.3.3 (37-40); Garland 2016, Ch. 1+2 (pp.1-25); Pestieau & Lefebvre 2018, Ch.1 (pp.1-10)
2 13.03.2023

Social policy for reasons of efficiency: Overview  (Lecture 2)

Reading: Barr 2020, Ch. 3.3.2 - 3.3.5 (pp.49-60)

3 20.03.2023

Provision of (Social) Insurance and Social Services (Lecture 3)

Reading: Barr 2020, Ch.4 (pp. 86-104)

4 27.03.2023

Social Policy for Reasons of Equity: Overview (Lecture 4, Part 1)


  • Greve 2019, Ch.3 (Why inequality matters), (pp.39-55)
  • Barr 2020, Ch.5.3.1  & 5.3.2  (pp.120-123) or
  • Greve 2020, Ch.4.5, (pp.74-76)
5 17.04.2023

Social Policy for Reasons of Equity: Measuring poverty and inequality (Lecture 4, Part 2)


    • Barr 2020, Ch. 5.2 (pp.113-119), 5.3.3 (pp. 123-124), 5.4.1 (pp. 125-128)
    • optional: Pestieu & Lefebvre 2018, Ch.2 (pp.11-25)

    [Welfare State Design and Comparison (Lecture 5)] -> (will also be a topic in the HSP 4 course)


    • Greve 2020, Ch.3 (here: pp.31-37), & Ch.8.2 (pp.131-136)
    • Pestieau & Lefebvre 2018, Ch.5 (pp.47-60)
    • optional: Barr 2020, Ch. 3.6 (pp.73-76)
      6 24.04.2023

      TEST  (based on obligatory readings for lectures 1-5)

        Poverty Policy (Lecture 6)


        • Barr 2020: Ch.8.1-8.4.5 (pp.195-214)
        • optional: Barr 2020, Ch.8.4.6+8.4.7 (pp.215-224)
        7 08.05.2023

        Pension Policy (Lecture 7)


        • Greve 2020, Ch.13 (pp.212-222)
        • Pestieau & Lefebvre 2018, Ch.10 (pp.123-136)
        8 15.05.2023

        (Health-) and LTC Policy (Lecture 8)

        Reading: Greve 2020: Ch.12 (pp.203-211)

        9 22.05.2023

        Labour Market Policy (Lecture 9)


        • Greve 2020, Ch.7 (pp. 106-129)
        • Pestieau & Lefebvre 2018, Ch.13, (pp. 157-173)
        • optional: Greve 2019, Ch.4 Dualisation of the labour market (pp.57-75)
        10 05.06.2023

        Discrimination & Non-Discrimination Policy (Lecture 10)

        Reading: Greve 2020, Ch.10 (pp.170-188)

        11 12.06.2023

        Presentation and Discussion of Group Projects


        Last edited: 2023-04-17