Course Title: Social Policy

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Social Policy

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 2 2020,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 1 2022,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 1 2023,
Sem 2 2023


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019

Course Coordinator: Rebecca Hiscock

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2124

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: Buliding 37. Floor 4. Room 12

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course will seek to develop an historic and conceptual understanding of how social policy and welfare structures have evolved over the last 150 years. It will critically assess the performance of welfare systems and the policy solutions they produce to address specific social problems.

Finally, it will examine a number of contemporary policy issues – for example: welfare service delivery, program access and funding, volunteerism, mutual obligation, income redistribution, poverty reduction, plus the changing level and role of government intervention – as illustrations of the recurrent nature of social problems.

In this course you will apply conceptual frameworks in order to better understand the changing nature of social policy and critically evaluate how the interrelationship between politics, civil society and the economy has and continues to shape social policy outcomes. You will explore the historical influences shaping both social policy and the structure of welfare states in order to be able to offer thoughtful analysis and opinions on the direction of contemporary social policy in relation to earlier historical trends. You will also apply the knowledge and skills you develop in this course to real-world situations and workplaces.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Describe the broad history, features and developments of social policy 
  • Explain the development and consequences of key national policy interventions 
  • Identify and evaluate the diverse ethical and ideological positions informing Australian social policy developments 
  • Explain how and why social policy interventions have adopted particular interpretations and traditions 
  • Assess, explain and engage in debates about what national governments can and should do 
  • Confidently write about, present and discuss nominated social policy interventions 
  • Use social policy literature and research to prepare and write a social policy analysis paper

In this course you will develop and be assessed on the following graduate capabilities:

  • Communication
  • Critical analysis and conceptual development
  • Policy making

Overview of Learning Activities

Classes will provides a sequential learning framework for the course. The classes are designed to provide you with a teaching and learning environment in which to explore the various topics. The classes will open up key ideas and developments, and provide an overview of relevant research and literature for each topic.

Overview of Learning Resources

A prescribed text will be made available. In addition RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on the above learning outcomes and capabilities. You will be able to prepare assessment tasks with a total word length or equivalent of 4,000 - 5,000 words. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

  • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
  • A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
  • Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online: