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This course will introduce you to a contested and dynamic view of social policy as influenced by multiple factors including social change, political agendas, social movements, emerging issues and new trends. You will critically examine the main fields of social policy such as poverty, work, gender, and the services available for vulnerable groups; as well as the theories, methods and approaches used to examine social policy. Change is a key focus of the course, including drivers of change in social policy and the impact of such change.

The course is offered by the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), Australia's preeminent social research centre. The course will adopt a research based learning model where course content will be based on research including that produced by SPRC; you will be challenged to think as researchers, participate in research discussions, develop skills in research techniques that can be applied to multiple policy contexts, and engage with key stakeholders and researchers in the social policy field. This unique style of research-led teaching will offer you an enhanced learning experience that will align closely with the practice needs of those already working in policy contexts, and will widen opportunities for those wishing to work in policy areas.

The course is offered as an elective within the Masters of Public Policy and Governance degree program. 

Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 3



Indicative contact hours


Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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