SO4006 - Social Problems: Myths and Realities

What will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn to assess and evaluate competing approaches to theorising and analysing the relationship between the state, social problems, policy and citizens. You will evaluate a range of ideologies reflected in the formulation and implementation of social policies. You will also develop your knowledge of the role of the state in identifying, articulating and providing solutions to social problems. An important skill which you will also develop is the critical and reflective way in which you will evaluate the effectiveness of policy.

In the first instance you will learn to examine and assess a number of historical case studies concerning the theory and practice of social policy, for example The Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, the Beveridge Report and The Suffragettes.

In the second part of the module you will explore post war austerity, the emergence of the welfare state and the contemporary welfare experience in the UK which has been referred to as a new age of austerity.

How will I learn on this module?

You will participate in both lectures and seminars for this module delivered either online, face to face, or by a combination. There will be activities such as small group discussion and presentations, individual independent work, debates and brief reports.

Delivery of the module is supported by learning materials such as social media, short films, case studies including individual accounts, other media and academic materials. You will be directed towards seminar preparation, including the reading of academic texts and/or the preparation of questions/research tasks.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

You will be supported through the electronic learning portal (Blackboard). This will hold a digitalised and extensive reading list with information about set readings for seminar work. It will also provide assessment material and guidelines, learning outcomes etc. Teaching materials such as PP presentations will be made available here in advance of lectures.

Assessment preparation sessions will be built into the teaching programme. One to one tutorial sessions will be made available prior to the submission of assessment dates.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. You will be able to demonstrate an understanding of key ideologies and arguments surrounding the role of the state in implementing social policies.

2. You will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the implications of social policy on society, groups and individuals.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. You will be able to use a range of academic and research skills to evaluate the difficulties involved with the successful implementation of social policies and policy effectiveness.

2. You will work independently and in small teams, developing problem solving, group presentation skills and effective articulation and debating of key arguments.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA)

1. You will have the ability to frame questions about social policy history and theory as well as thinking independently and reflectively about them.

How will I be assessed?

In Semester One you will be assessed by a 10 minute group presentation (weighting 50%).

In Semester Two you will be assessed by a 2,000 word critical essay (weighting 50%).





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code LM39

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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