Law and the Welfare State (M6073)

15 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

This module introduces you to the welfare state.

Explore the history of this institution, how neoliberal reforms have affected its nature, and the ways in which welfare might be organised and provided for in the future.

The types of question covered may include:

  • What can contemporary social policy reveal about the relationship between the citizen and the state?
  • How might the welfare state be understood as an institution for controlling the poor, rather than for alleviating their poverty?
  • What role does private finance play in today’s publicly funded welfare systems?

The module explores such questions via a consideration of some examples from contemporary social policy and law. These may include:

  • the UK’s National Health Service
  • unemployment policy
  • social housing
  • higher education.


55%: Lecture
45%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 22 hours of contact time and about 128 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2024/25. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: