menu icon
Social Policy and Social Work PhD

Social Policy and Social Work PhD

Key information

Qualification type

PhD/DPhil - Doctor of Philosophy

Subject areas

Social Policy / Administration Social Work

Course type


Course Summary

Studying Social Policy will enable you to understand the causes of social problems and what governments attempt to do about them. As an academic subject, social policy gained prominence in British universities after the Second World War when the rapid expansion of key public services prompted interest in the emerging ‘welfare state’. In its early days the subject was primarily concerned with what William Beveridge, the chief architect of the British welfare state, had termed the ‘five giants’. In modern terms, these giants were poverty, ill-health, poor housing, insufficient education and unemployment. Social workers aim to protect vulnerable people from abuse, neglect or self-harm and to help to enhance their well-being and quality of life. Drawing upon a rich knowledge base and theoretical perspectives derived from the social and psychological sciences, social workers aim to promote positive individual and social change. Social workers operate within legal frameworks for protecting and supporting vulnerable people. For example, local authority social workers working with children and families use child protection policies and procedures to intervene in families to protect vulnerable children and provide support, while those working with adults aim to ensure that their needs for care and protection are met. Our research increases knowledge and understanding of the world we live in and changes the way things work. We analyse complex human situations to find solutions to problems. We evaluate current systems and engage our expertise and the latest methods to improve them. We bring in knowledge from all around the globe to improve life here in the UK, often for the most vulnerable members of society.

Different course options

Full time | University of York | 3 years | OCT-19

Study mode

Full time


3 years

Start date


Tuition fees

UK fees
Course fees for UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


International fees
Course fees for non-UK / EU students

For this course (per year)


Average for all Postgrad courses (per year)


Entry requirements

Applicants typically need at least the equivalent to a UK upper second-class (2:1) honours degree and, in some cases, a Masters degree.