Social Policy

- regular access to academic staff who specialise in a wide range of areas within Social Policy and Social Work

- regular seminar meetings which provide academic support through the year of study

Vision and Values Statement
The Higher Diploma in Social Policy is a level 8 transition course providing a foundation in Social Policy for graduates of other disciplines. On completion of the course students will have developed an understanding of contemporary social issues and critical policy analysis. Social policy studies the roots of social inequalities, poverty, social justice, crime and social order and social risks in the workplace and how welfare programmes, political movements and cultural values shape them. Students will gain applied knowledge in the reasons for social policy, the complex nature of policy making, and the social consequences of welfare interventions. We will help students develop a broad toolkit of methodological approaches for social inquiry and work practice. The degree provides a strong foundation for both postgraduate study, in particular social work, and a wide range of careers in government, voluntary and community sector, policy advocacy and activism, media and private sector organisations.

We value multidisciplinary exploration, understanding and critical reflection on inequality, poverty, social justice, crime and a wide range of social policies. We encourage our students to be critical thinkers, to develop an awareness of ethical issues, and to engage with civil society to achieve greater equality and well-being in societies.

Through individual and group learning, social policy students are provided with a learning environment that supports the development of reflective and analytical skills. Students will learn to evaluate evidence and identify solutions to key issues of social justice, social work and welfare. We teach how to communicate effectively to various audiences. Within a diverse community of lecturers and students an open and pluralistic discussion culture is nurtured and supported.

We apply a variety of teaching and learning methods. A combination of lectures and seminars are the primary teaching method, delivered by dedicated educators, practitioners and experts in their field. In addition, we use active learning approaches, such as panel debates, data lab work, policy evaluations, poster sessions, field work and group work. Face to face interaction between students, lecturers and tutors is supported by online tools.

Related Programmes
MSocSc Social Work FT

Subjects taught

Stage 1 - Core
Social Policy Theories and Concepts I SPOL10010
Understanding Social Problems and Policies SPOL10030
History of Irish Social Policy SPOL10180
Social Protection: Security, Work and Poverty SPOL20260
Child Abuse, Sexual + Domestic SPOL38190

Stage 1 - Option
Contemporary Irish Welfare State SPOL10020
Introduction to Social Work SPOL18130
Economics of Social Policy SPOL20050
Housing Policies, Neighbourhoods and Homes SPOL20280
Social Work in Practice SPOL28110
Global Social Policy SPOL28150
Enviro, Soc & Human Wellbeing SPOL28160
Work & the Welfare State SPOL28170
Social Policy & the Lifecourse SPOL28180
Policy-making, Implementation & Evaluation SPOL30010
Social Policy, Social Justice and the Environment SPOL30220
Analys Health & Soc Care Pol SPOL38200
Migration, Racism and Irish Society SPOL38210
Inequality and Social Justice in Irish Society SSJ10060
Gender, Power and Politics - Historical Perspectives SSJ20110

Entry requirements

Please contact the school for entry requirements.

Application dates

How to apply?
The following entry routes are available:
HDip Social Policy FT (W050)
Duration 1 Years
Attend Full Time
Deadline Rolling*

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised.




1 year full-time.


HDip Social Policy (W050) Full Time
EU fee per year - € 6710
nonEU fee per year - € 13270

***Fees are subject to change
Tuition fee information is available on the UCD Fees website.

Enrolment dates

Next Intake: 2020/2021 September

Post Course Info

Careers & Employability
The Higher Diploma in Social Policy can be used as a transition course for those who need to fulfil the Social Policy credit requirements for access to postgraduate training in Social Work. Additionally it provides a background in Social Policy for students interested in careers in Social Policy or Public Policy.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Higher Diploma (Level 8 NFQ)

  • Attendance type

    Full time,Daytime

  • Apply to

    Course provider