Master of Social Policy
- CRICOS Code: 049598E
What will I study?
200 point program (2 years full-time or part-time equivalent)
This is our most popular program for those who have completed undergraduate study. No experience is necessary.
First 100 points
- 25 points of Compulsory subjects
- 75 points of Elective subjects
Second 100 points
- 25 points of Compulsory subjects
- 75 points of Elective subjects (Coursework option)
- 37.5 points of Minor Thesis subjects (Thesis option)
- 12.5 point Core subject (Thesis option)
- 25 points of Elective subjects (Thesis option)
150 point program (1.5 years full-time or part-time equivalent)
This program is for graduates with relevant background studies.
- 50 points of Compulsory subjects
- 100 points of Elective subjects (Coursework option)
- 37.5 points of Minor Thesis subjects (Thesis option)
- 12.5 point Core subjects (Thesis option)
- 50 points of Elective subjects (Thesis option)
100 point program (1 year full-time or part-time equivalent)
This is for relevant honours graduates or those who have completed at least two years professional work experience in a closely related field, in addition to relevant background study.
- 50 points of Compulsory subjects
- 50 points of Elective subjects (Coursework option)
- 37.5 points of Minor Thesis subjects (Thesis option)
- 12.5 point Core subject (Thesis option)
Students must complete one of three available Capstone streams for this degree (some are Coursework-based and some are Thesis-based). For more information on subjects, Capstone streams, and detailed information, please view the Handbook entry for this course.
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
- Social Research Design and Evaluation12.5
Social Research Design and Evaluation
This subject examines various social research design and evaluation approaches to the study of social interaction. Students will critically examine the utility of, and theoretical underpinnings behind advanced methods of collecting, analysing and writing up social research. The subject will also analyse the relationship between policy evaluation and social research, notably in the context of debates around evidence based policy.
- Foundations of Social Policy12.5
Foundations of Social Policy
The subject engages with contemporary theories of social inclusion and capital with an emphasis on networks and their role in community strengthening, community building and regional economic development. The subject also engages in the role these strategies have in larger projects of social policy reform such as the Third Way, the Partnership movement and "joined-up" government. The subject will engage in specific social policy issues (health, housing, welfare, employment etc) as a means to investigate the use of social capital and network analysis techniques.
- Governance and Social Policy12.5
Governance and Social Policy
This subject provides students with a series of critical approaches to the study of social policy and governance in modern societies. The subject bridges theories from sociology, political economy and criminology to develop students' capacity to provide a holistic analysis of the policies surrounding social issues in modern societies in the light of global socio-economic changes. The subject will help students to understand and examine the potential contradictions that state interventions and law implementation have for specific socio-demographic groups. In addition, the subject aims to enhance students' ability for critical and independent thinking about contemporary policy concerns.
- Contemporary Social Problems12.5
Contemporary Social Problems
This subject focues on social problems in a sociological perspective. The aim of the subject is to give students a good understanding of the social dimension of social problems as well as insights into the social construction and negotiation of social problems. A number of different approaches and ways to see social problems will be introduced to sharpen the awareness of the influence of specific worldviews of our selection, understanding and responses to social problems. On this basis a number of recent social problems and a shift in understanding and dealing with social problems will be discussed.
- Social Science Research Seminar12.5
Social Science Research Seminar
This subject is designed to develop research skills for students planning and writing research theses in the School of Social and Political Sciences. The subject explores contemporary research strategies, differing methodological approaches to social research, the relationship of theory and research, and practical issues concerned with designing thesis topics and their realization through the research process, including the management of ethics principles and procedures. The subject gives special attention to the design of problem-driven research. It will assist students to develop skills in thesis preparation and development as well as in the framing of research projects, more generally. The subject is taught through a combination of lectures, workshops and seminars.
- Public /Social Policy Thesis Part 118.75
Public /Social Policy Thesis Part 1
This subject involves a supervised thesis of 12 000 words, embodying the results of the student's own research.
- Public /Social Policy Thesis Part 218.75
Public /Social Policy Thesis Part 2
Refer to PPMN90049 Public / Social Policy Thesis Part 1 for details
- Migration and Development12.5
Migration and Development
Migration is one of the most significant drivers of social change in the developing world. The objective of this subject is to examine key issues and debates around the migration - development nexus, drawing on conceptual, theoretical, and empirical studies in human geography, anthropology, sociology, demography, and political science. Class debates and exercises will deepen students’ understanding of the conceptual models and theoretical frameworks that have been used to analyse migration and development. Important concepts such as transnationalism, forced migration, global care chains, governmentality, and global householding will be examined and critiqued. We will also look into economic, social and cultural implications of migration for development processes at both micro and macro levels, assessing the links between migration and key debates in development such as globalisation, poverty, gender and social change.
- China's Two Social Revolutions12.5
China's Two Social Revolutions
This subject presents an overview of the patterns of social life in China and how these have changed since the revolution in 1949. The socialist transformations led by Mao Zedong after 1949 (the first social revolution) and the market and other reforms led by Deng Xiaoping after 1978 (the second) receive equal emphasis. Topics covered include political institutions, economic policies and work organizations, rural social life, urban life and urbanization, religion, family life, population, gender relations, schooling, and inequality patterns.
The course will be taught by Martin Whyte, a sociologist from Harvard University and Asia Scholar at the University of Melbourne who specializes in research on social change in post-1949 China. Prof. Whyte’s lectures will focus on both the origins and dynamics of social change in China as well as current issues and debates spawned by these changes.
- Qualitative Research Methods12.5
Qualitative Research Methods
This subject forms an advanced overview of theories, methods and ethical issues in qualitative research. The subject will focus on the techniques of field studies, intensive interviewing, and case studies. Students will carry out small scale qualitative research exercises and will present them orally and in writing.
- Drugs and Justice12.5
Drugs and Justice
This subject introduces students to a range of historical and contemporary issues surrounding the measurement of drug use and the popular and scientific construction of the health, crime and social consequences of drug use. The subject is concerned with the relationships between various constructions of drug phenomena and the policies and practices of drug control. The subject critically addresses issues and techniques involved in demand-reduction (education and treatment) and supply-reduction (law enforcement). At the completion of the subject, students should be able to recognise and explain contemporary discourses on health, harm, crime and public policy related to drug use.
- Punishment and Detention: New Challenges12.5
Punishment and Detention: New Challenges
This subject focuses on the idea that since the 1970s there has been a rise in punitiveness and a change in the character and purposes of involuntary detention in western countries. The subject asks students to identify and understand the different domains in which punitive tendencies might be found, including in areas such as immigration that traditionally have lain outside criminology’s interests. It will introduce students to key debates within contemporary criminology concerning the extent, substance and reasons for changes in punitiveness and the changing face of detention practices. The subject will explore through a series of case studies the experiences of groups upon whom the weight of such measures of have fallen – particularly, women, indigenous minorities and ‘illegal’ migrants. It will also consider some of the key penal mechanisms – such as parole release – that have become part of an increasingly fractious politics of punishment and detention. On completion of the subject students should have an understanding of both the data and explanatory and theoretical arguments concerning what has been seen as a major defining feature of most western nations' recent history: the inexorable rise of punitive attitudes and spread of new forms of involuntary detention.
- Research and Criminal Justice Governance12.5
Research and Criminal Justice Governance
What does it mean for a criminal justice intervention to be effective? Why is it important to know? For whom? How does government emphasis on the impact of criminal justice programs affect the design and funding of programs? And what does this focus on effectiveness mean for research priorities and methods? This subject considers questions such as these in exploring how, why, and for whom criminal justice ‘evidence’ or ‘knowledge’ is produced. In this subject you will be asked to identify a particular criminal justice program or intervention (we will look at a range of examples), and to design an approach to discover whether or not it ‘works’ – thinking about how, why and for whom.
The subject is divided into three broad areas. First we will examine what ‘criminal justice governance’ actually is, what it means for criminal justice policy and practice, and the implications for ‘evidence’ about programs and interventions. In the second section we will explore different approaches to measuring effectiveness and gathering knowledge about criminal justice practices and programs. The last part will focus on different settings (e.g. prisons, policing) and subjects of criminal justice research (e.g. justice-involved young people), and the impact that different kinds of knowledge might have. Throughout, we will examine professional and political issues about the role and application of research in criminal justice, as well as ethical issues about engaging in research with vulnerable and offending populations.
- Monitoring and Evaluation in Development12.5
Monitoring and Evaluation in Development
The importance of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in the management of projects and programs has been widely recognised within the development sector. Effective M&E acts as an anchor to keep the program moving in the right direction towards the goals and targets set at the planning stage. Historically, M&E was seen exclusively as a tool to make development organisations accountable to donors and conducted by foreign consultants who were largely unfamiliar with the context where development interventions took place. This approach has hampered development agencies’ efforts to obtain the right kind of information for effective M&E and project management.
Within the new M&E paradigms emerging since the 1990s, an emphasis is placed on not only accountability but also learning, empowerment and capacity building of local communities. This subject aims to offer comparative insights into different M&E approaches in development as well as to impart practical skills to students so they may develop the technical proficiency in project/program M&E. The subject focuses on development projects and programs rather than policies or public sector management. Practical exercises will be an essential part of the subject.
- Civil Society, NGOs and the State12.5
Civil Society, NGOs and the State
Over the course of the last thirty years, an 'associational revolution' has swept the world, as more and more civil society organizations have taken over tasks formerly assigned to states, formed cross-border advocacy campaigns to hold both states and corporations accountable for labor, environmental, and human rights violations, and formulated alternative development policies that run counter to the paradigms espoused by the World Bank and other multilateral lending organizations. While some argue that this associational revolution promises more participatory, expedient, and decentralized forms of transnational governance, others contend that it reflects little more than the ongoing privatization of the public sphere at the hands of transnational capital. In this course, we evaluate these and alternative perspectives by exploring transformations in the structure of the global political-economy over the past thirty years; looking closely at the roles played by a variety of NGOs and CBOs as part of more multi-layered regimes of 'global governance'; analyzing the shifts in state structures that have made these regimes possible; and teasing apart the ongoing tensions between various factions of what some have called, an emerging 'global civil society'. Case studies will be drawn from Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.
- Economics For Public Policy12.5
Economics For Public Policy
The course introduces students to the economic principles and framework used by economists to consider issues of public policy. The importance of rigorous analysis in problem solving is emphasised. The policy areas likely to be covered will be taken from public finance, industry policy, competition policy, micro-economic reform, taxation and income distribution, as well as health, education and infrastructure provision. The emphasis is on current issues and so the actual policies covered may vary in response to current events.
- Social Impact Assessment and Evaluation12.5
Social Impact Assessment and Evaluation
This subject develops the skills to understand and assess the social impacts of development, including international development projects, resource management, and proposed infrastructure or new policies. We do this in two ways: by looking at how to assess the impacts of proposed projects, and through evaluation techniques for existing developments or projects. In each case we develop practical skills and interdisciplinary techniques to appraise and evaluate impacts. These techniques draw from anthropology, development studies, and the policy sciences, and move beyond simple summative assessments and financial accounting. We consider the social and environmental contexts in which any form of appraisal is embedded, and the capacities of different actors (from the state to NGOs and community groups) to avert or mitigate negative impacts through learning, negotiation, and citizen participation. Examples, some presented by guest speakers, are drawn from Australia, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia. At the completion of the subject students will have developed the conceptual skills to understand the impacts of development; be familiar with the range of methodologies and techniques used in impact assessment; understand development evaluation; and will be able to apply this in critical evaluation of the impact of projects and programmes.
- Climate Change Politics and Policy12.5
Climate Change Politics and Policy
This subject introduces and analyses critical concepts and terms central to debates over climate change, including risk and uncertainty, adaptation and mitigation, burden sharing, and problems and issues relating to regimes, strategies and policy instruments for addressing global warming. The subject considers the rise of climate change as a policy problem. It reviews and analyses the history of climate change policy as it has evolved nationally and internationally. It examines the interactions between national and regional climate policy, including in Australia, the United States, the European Union and China. It analyses debates and concerns that have led to the evolution of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol, and more recent arrangements. Students will consider a range of policy instruments, including carbon taxes and emissions trading, and technologies that have been proposed or deployed to address this issue. This subject enables students to understand the evolution of a critical global environmental issue. It offers insights into technical, political, ethical and ecological issues that have framed climate change policy, particularly since 1992, and enables students to think critically about and participate in developing policy in this domain.
- Sustainability and Behaviour Change12.5
Sustainability and Behaviour Change
It is perhaps obvious that human behaviour is having a negative impact on our environment. Behavioural change, thus, is pivotal to ensure a more environmentally sustainable future. However the question of behavioural change is vexed. Some argue that humans are ‘naturally’ greedy and selfish, others suggest that we are ‘puppets’ - the victims of the social structures engendered by capitalism, and yet others trust that good behaviour will follow from the ‘truth’; knowledge about environmental problems. These and other views of behaviour set up particular change strategies. The above examples suggest three strategies for changing behaviour: provide people with incentives that will lead them to ‘choose’ different behaviours, or the transformation of social structures such as capitalism and patriarchy, or the provision of environmental education.
This subject examines the question of behavioural change from a number of disciplinary perspectives (psychology, sociology ecology, marketing and economics). Each discipline ‘sees’ the problem differently and this allows us to map insights and gaps in these knowledges. These purported differences can be understood and reconciled; behaviour is show to be a function of the physical, social and psychological aspects of social practices. This allows for a more holistic understanding of behaviour and the strategies that might create behaviour change.
NB: This subject uses a ‘flipped classroom’ mode of delivery. Most weeks require the watching of a vodcast prior to attending a 2 hour seminar. The success of the seminars and student learning is governed by individuals’ preparation and participation. This subject covers a lot of theory and requires active engagement. The consideration of societal behaviour change will likely engender a consideration of your own behaviour, including as a student.
- Gender, Globalisation and Development12.5
Gender, Globalisation and Development
This subject examines the relationships between gender, globalisation and development, illustrated principally through case studies, policy documents, and ethnographic texts. It also draws theoretical perspectives and insights from a number of social science and humanities disciplines as well. On completion of the subject students should have an understanding of problems of writing about gender and difference: debates on modernity, globalisation, and development: gender, colonialism and postcolonialism; gender, politics, and the state; masculinities, femininities and sexualities; gender and labour; gender and development agencies; gender, religion and development; gender, sexuality, rights and transnational migration.
- Social Enterprise Incubator12.5
Social Enterprise Incubator
Social enterprises are businesses that exist with the specific purpose of solving social and/or environmental problems through trade. These enterprises merge the best features of business and the non-profit sector to create innovative solutions that address both social and market gaps. Within these enterprises, success is thus measured in social and/or environmental terms, in addition to financial sustainability.
This multidisciplinary subject has been developed in partnership with Unbound, a Melbourne-based social enterprise leading innovative education programs on social change through entrepreneurship across the Asia-Pacific region. The subject equips students with a critical understanding of social entrepreneurship, and provides them with a practical opportunity to develop their own start-up social enterprise. Groups will be formed according to personal interest and students will work in small project teams to conceptualise, develop and pitch a viable social enterprise initiative. Students are also expected to test their idea in the marketplace in real time, for example, liaise with external organisations to receive feedback on your product/service and/or develop a minimal viable product that can be showcased.
To support the development of ideas, the subject draws from case studies, field trips and guests speakers from the Victorian start-up ecosystem that share their personal experiences and advice as successful social entrepreneurs. Students will also have the opportunity to receive direct support on their idea during a feedback salon with academics, business leaders and social enterprise practitioners.
Upon completing this subject, students will develop a critical understanding of the nature of social enterprise in contemporary society and the practical requirements for developing sustainable social enterprise projects. The subject also uniquely provides students with the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world solutions in real time.
- Governing Challenges 112.5
Governing Challenges 1
This subject examines contemporary issues in governing, the challenges this creates for policy actors, and how they are addressed. It draws on the expertise of prominent academic and practitioner visitors to the Melbourne School of Government and reflects the core research areas of the Melbourne School of Government. Students will have the opportunity to explore these issues through various topics areas.
- Regional Governance12.5
How can governments across the Indo-Pacific region cooperate to address mutual challenges? This subject examines how a regional governance framework helps us to formulate and implement responses to regional problems, such as transnational crime, environmental degradation, and response to natural disasters. We explore diverse approaches to public policy and administration from across the region, and the tensions which sometimes arise among them. For example, we consider how to strike a balance between rules-based governance (relying on international law, norms and rules) and relations-based governance (e.g. the ‘ASEAN Way’). We will hear from guest speakers in the public, university and not-for-profit sectors and consider how governments coordinate and implement policy responses to major regional challenges. This subject will be useful to students who work on issues relating to the Indo-Pacific region or those who are generally interested in how to address regional issues which, by their very nature, cannot be confined to a single country.
- Key concepts and debates: What is regional governance, and what does it mean to consider a regional governance framework in addressing regional challenges? What are the key regional challenges faced by Australia and its neighbours in the Indo-Pacific region today? What can we learn from exploring diverse approaches to public policy and administration from across the region?
- Key actors and institutions: We will examine the roles of actors including governments at federal, state, and local levels across the region; bilateral and multilateral agreements among countries, including at the sub-state level; regional governmental organisations and forums; transnational corporations, banking and finance groups; and transnational nongovernmental organisations engaged in humanitarian efforts.
- Key issues and case studies: Case studies may include statelessness and movement of people; environmental initiatives; disaster relief; approaches to transnational crime; and regional economic integration and crisis. Students are encouraged to focus in assessment on case studies of interest and relevance to them.
- Inequality and Public Policy12.5
Inequality and Public Policy
This subject examines the way in which egalitarian political philosophy offers moral guidance in a variety of policy-making contexts. After examining some philosophical treatments of the fundamental, abstract value of equality, our attention will turn to more specific ways in such philosophical theorising can influence public policy: How should a concern for equality guide policy about education, unemployment, and other important public services? Should unemployed people have their benefits cut if they refuse to take a job they don't want? Does affirmative action make society fairer, or discriminate against hard-working high achievers? Do private schools allow rich people to buy an unfair advantage for their children? General concepts to be discussed include egalitarian concerns about stigmatisation, shame, social integration, and oppression – as well as how policy might seek to address them.
- The Ethics of Gaming12.5
The Ethics of Gaming
Within the context of video games, is it appropriate to judge a legitimate action or even a more sustained gaming strategy as morally good or bad? Should virtual enactments within video games be something to warrant moral interest? If so, should there be a limit to what can be enacted or represented within these games, and how do we arrive at this limit? If not, why not? In short, why might the indignant cry of “It’s just a game” not be sufficient to stave off those who would insist on the enactment of virtual taboos being the subject of moral scrutiny?
Students will be afforded an opportunity to cast a critical eye over the applicability of traditional and more contemporary theories of morality to the enactment of taboos within gamespace (inter alia Hume, Kant, Virtue Theory). Can these approaches be used to guide the selective prohibition of video game content by informing us about what should be permitted and what (if anything) should not within these playful arenas?
In addition, rather than endorsing the idea that video game content and enactments are either morally good or bad per se, as an alternative, students will be encouraged to evaluate psychological (and other) research / theory relating to what individuals are able to cope with when engaged in simulations of taboo activities. Might such research / theory provide the basis for a more informed metric of permissibility?
Students will tackle questions such as:
- A priori, what justification is there for the selective prohibition of gaming content?
- A posteriori, what justification is there for the selective prohibition of gaming content?
- How important is player motivation for determining the morality of enacting virtual taboos, or the narrative and what it appears to be endorsing?
- Should the virtual enactment of taboos be used to (i) identify those with a predilection for certain types of taboos (e.g., paedophilia) and (b) their treatment?
As noted above, students will encounter a variety of philosophical theories of morality, as well as interdisciplinary empirical research (e.g., psychology, media studies, sociology)
- Business and Government12.5
Business and Government
The respective roles, responsibilities and sources of power characterizing relationships between business and government play a crucial role in shaping public policy and regulation, within and between countries. Because of its productive function, business often enjoys a privileged position with government, while a major goal of policy and regulation at national and international levels is to steer and regulate business activity. Relationships between business and government vary significantly in different countries, economic sectors, and over time, and the conceptual tools for understanding them remain subject to widespread debate. This subject critically reviews contemporary policy debates and scholarly research, and draws on contrasting case examples to explore theoretical, normative and practical implications of business-government relationships. Particular attention is given to debates about government-business relationships associated with processes of public policy formation and implementation, social and environmental regulation, and delivery of public services and infrastructure. On completion of the subject, students should have a strong critical understanding of debates about the character and inter-relationship of business and government, from a comparative and international perspective.
- International Policymaking in Practice12.5
International Policymaking in Practice
How is foreign policy made? Who are the key actors involved in foreign and trade policymaking? What factors and information sources do they consider? What are the frames of reference that national and international policymakers bring to bear, the obstacles they confront, and the strategies and techniques of diplomatic persuasion and negotiation they are most likely to find effective in moving issues forward? What factors determine which issues and problems get priority government attention? What determines success or failure in areas such as bilateral initiatives, treaty negotiations, external interventions, conflict prevention and resolution and engagement with multilateral organisations? How much influence do non-governmental organisations and other civil society actors have in international policymaking?
This subject is based around a series of case studies taught by the Subject Coordinator as well as a number of senior guest lecturers who are or have been international policymakers. In previous years, guest lecturers have included a former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs who has chaired international panels and commissions, senior diplomats, officials and advisers in the sector and the head of a Diplomatic Mission to Australia. The subject has a very practical focus, and all lecturers speak from their own extensive and diverse experience. The subject focuses on Australian foreign policy and national interest; however, it is not necessary for students to have extensive prior knowledge of Australian foreign policy or politics to successfully complete the subject.
Case studies and specific issues may include:
- The evolution of economic diplomacy, including responses to new international dynamics in trade negotiations and in the G20;
- Australia's multilateral engagement, including as a member of the UN Human Rights Council (2018-20) and the UN Security Council (2013-2014);
- Refugees – international policymaking and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR);
- Bilateral relationship development and management – case studies could include the regions such as South Pacific or Latin America;
- Australia’s bilateral relationship with China – developing policy to advance interests with a great power;
- The role of Intelligence agencies in international policymaking;
- The international response to genocide and other mass atrocity crimes - the Responsibility to Protect;
- The roles of Ministerial advisers and other stakeholders in the development of trade policy and initiatives; and
- The role of news media in international policymaking.
The subject examines the roles and opportunities for influence of various actors in the sector, such as advisers and MPs, diplomats and departmental officials, and the intelligence community.
- Social Policy and Development12.5
Social Policy and Development
This subject investigates the linkage between social policy and development (including economic development) within developing countries. It focuses on the roles played by states, markets and communities in the Asia-Pacific region in responding to key social policy issues such as poverty and welfare, unemployment, old age, health, disability, and the socio-economic position of women. The subject examines how different developing countries attempt to instigate social policy-related change via rational policy formation and implementation, public sector and community leadership, economic-driven change (such as micro-finance schemes), and working with international investment from firms, aid donors and NGOs. Elements of the subject will be presented in conjunction with the Universitas Indonesia and Gadjah Mada Universitas, and the November offering will be delivered on location at Gadjah Mada Universitas, Jogjakarta, Indonesia. In the November offering, teaching will focus more specifically on social policy examples from Indonesia.
- Health Program Evaluation 112.5
Health Program Evaluation 1
This subject examines the diverse purposes health program evaluations can serve and the wide range of environments in which health program evaluations are conducted. Using Australian and overseas evaluation examples, students gain an overview of conceptual and methodological issues in the key evaluation approaches. The three major stages in the conduct of an evaluation are covered: planning and negotiating the terms and design of the evaluation; data collection and analysis; and the provision of findings. Each stage is considered through example and critique of those examples, with opportunities to apply these skills in the development of an evaluation plan for a real, work-based program.
- Disability and Global Development12.5
Disability and Global Development
Disability inclusion has recently emerged as a priority in global development. This reflects growing global concern over extreme poverty, poor health outcomes and inequity, alongside the understanding that many health and development interventions are not reaching those most excluded or most at-risk. This subject equips students to critically analyse barriers to participation in contemporary health and development practice, so that they will better understand the imperative and complexity of inclusion. Drawing on real-world case studies and practitioner experience, which includes both people with and without disabilities. This subject explores key issues concerning disability measurement and investigates the correlates of disability, rights, health and well-being.
Experts in the field of disability inclusion present contemporary examples of development practice to demonstrate the challenges of, and opportunities for, ensuring inclusion across multiple sectors, including: health; employment; education; and disaster risk reduction. Assessment items for this subject build on key principles of inclusion and their application to real-world problems of contemporary concern. Students who undertake this subject will develop skills and strategies to advance solutions relating to poverty elimination, empowerment and participation in their current and/or future work.
- Health Program Evaluation 212.5
Health Program Evaluation 2
This subject provides an extension of studies in Health Program Evaluation introduced in Health Program Evaluation 1, aiming to deepen the students understanding of the conceptual bases of evaluation and extend practical skills. Its focus is particularly on issues relating to the selection and development of an appropriate evaluation approach and methods for a particular health program, policy or service. The subject provides an initial grounding in the theoretical origins of program evaluation, contemporary approaches to evaluation as well as implementation science and knowledge translation. The subject then considers the development of an evaluation approach and design from an applied perspective. Case-studies of evaluations will be presented to provide an opportunity to consider theoretical, methodological and practical issues associated with the conduct of complex health program evaluations. Students will have an opportunity to develop evaluation proposals in response to real world funding and policy settings.
- Health Policy12.5
The subject focuses on the decisions, usually made by governments, which determine the present and future objectives underlying a country’s health services and programs. The following topics will be covered:
- policy definitions and instruments;
- ideas, ideologies and interests that influence priorities in policy decision making;
- the significance of effectiveness, efficiency and equity as objectives of health policy;
- legal, political, managerial, sociological and economic perspectives in understanding policy formation; and
- the emerging role of scientific evidence in policy formation.
Processes relating to the development and implementation of health policy including health policy analysis and monitoring and evaluation. Both Australia and developing country contexts will be studied.
- Public Consultation & Policy Negotiation12.5
Public Consultation & Policy Negotiation
This subject is based around simulated public and stakeholder consultation exercises where participants test theories and techniques of engagement in order to increase democratic participation and to collect data to inform policy makers. Participants will also be exposed to Big Data and also consider possible future trends. The subject will conclude with a committee reporting exercise where participants will have to negotiate an outcome.
- Project-based Policy Analysis25
Project-based Policy Analysis
The Project-based policy analysis is a capstone option in the Master of Social Policy. This subject enables participants to draw on the expertise developed throughout the MSP and apply it in real time to a contemporary project. The project is team-based to mirror the practical experience of managers and will be developed and overseen by both a professional and academic mentor. The project team will work in consultation with their practice and academic mentors to develop a project brief, undertake analysis, and prepare a professional report to the sponsoring organisation. The project team will present their report at the Capstone Presentation Day.
- Understanding The Life Course12.5
Understanding The Life Course
This subject introduces a life course approach to social issues. Life course research is a relatively new and innovative approach in the social sciences which has developed in recent decades. It brings back in a time dimension into social research and systematically links social changes on the macro level to individual experiences on the micro level. The aim of the subject is to give students a good understanding of how our life and our identities are shaped by social institutions and our experiences. The subject will introduce key concepts such as 'cumulative (dis)advantage', 'linked lives' and 'biographical action'. It will also demonstrate how a life course perspective can be used to advance our understanding of social issues.
- Comparative Social Policy12.5
Comparative Social Policy
This subject, which is taught in Indonesia, uses a comparative approach to analyse key areas of contemporary social policy, with a focus on the reform strategies that emerged over the 1990s. The subject examines the different social policy responses that have characterised these strategies, and considers ways of evaluating policy models in key areas. It engages with social policy in Australia, Europe and North America, emerging social policy in Asia, as well as with the increasing role of international organizations. The subject focuses on key policy areas, drawn from family policy, health policy, employment policy, ageing and urban policies. Elements of the subject will be presented in conjunction with Gadjah Mada Universitas in Indonesia.
- International Migration12.5
This subject will examine the impact of international migration on the states, societies, and individuals. Its first segment will address the questions such as why people move and how societies change because of immigration and emigration. The second segment will examine policies concerning multiculturalism and social cohesion. By reviewing various policy examples and case studies, this subject aims to help students understand the realities of international migration and its policy challenges. The third segment will analyze the global governance of international migration, including the roles of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and international laws. This subject is offered by Asia Institute, and will use many case studies of Asian countries, while covering the experiences of Australia, the US, Canada, and some major immigration countries in Europe as reference points as well.
- Inclusive Policy Development12.5
Inclusive Policy Development
This unit of study will provide students with an introduction to contemporary approaches to the development and evaluation of social policy. In particular, it will enable students to explore ways of involving those whose lives are to be affected by social policy, in the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of such policy (e.g., using co-production). The unit will use social, community, human and health services policy as case studies, with a particular emphasis on contemporary social policy as it relate to people with disability and disability service provisions. The seminars will include the participation of people with disability as experts in their lived experience of the implementation of social policy, as well as industry experts from community services and government agencies. Students will be expected to contribute to seminars based on both their own research conducted as part of the unit and, wherever possible, from their own lived experience of social policy development and implementation.
- Social Policy Internship25
Social Policy Internship
In this subject Master of Social Policy students will be placed in an organisation which either has governmental responsibilities or deals with government, where they will work under the supervision and guidance of a senior manager in the organisation. Students will be required to use their own networks to make an initial contact with a potential organisation. Their choice will then need to be ratified by the department. Students will carry out research or analytical exercises of relevance to the organisation that will be involved in high-level and complex policy making. Students will study the structure, culture and policy environment of the organisation and develop advanced analytical, research and report-writing skills as well as negotiating and interpersonal skills. Students completing this course should expect to acquire significant insight into the complexities of policy making and management. During the internship an academic supervisor will advise them.
If primary research is carried out during the internship, ethics approval is the responsibility of the host organisation.
- Indigenous Policy Analysis12.5
Indigenous Policy Analysis
This subject covers the five eras of Indigenous policy and introduces a set of strategies for analysing and evaluating government policy in a range of fields. Applicable in all policy areas, analysis and evaluation skills are often required in government agencies, industry and community organisations in order to identify the impact of policy and provide direction on opportunity for change.
Indigenous affairs is frequently associated with narratives of failure. This subject provides the opportunity to understand the cause of those narratives and work within strengths-based approaches to analyse and evaluate of key policies in Indigenous affairs.
- Changing Labour Markets and Inequalities12.5
Changing Labour Markets and Inequalities
Labour markets have undergone substantial changes over the past decades. Trends of globalization, de-industrialization, increasing (youth) unemployment, changing gender roles and demographic ageing have transformed substantially the nature of employment relationships and work in advanced economies. Labour force has become more diverse in the composition of workers – with more women, older workers and immigrants – while more divided by people’s education, race and gender. In this subject we will investigate how changes in the labour market institutions, as well as changes in the organization and composition of workers have produced disparities in careers, wages and labour market dynamics within and across generations over the past decades. To address these issues, the subject combines insights from sociological and economic labour market theory, ranging from classic human capital and job search models to more sociological approaches that emphasize the structure of organizations and institutions within a comparative perspective. We will use this theoretical background to discuss more recent empirical work about e.g., changing work and employment relationships; transformation of job histories and careers; the rising wage and gender inequality; the role of welfare states and institutions; discrimination in the labour market; and the intergenerational transmission of (dis)advantage. Through active in-class discussions, quizzes and exercises students will learn how to interpret labour market theories and critically assess empirical work.
- Social Policy: Special Topics A12.5
Social Policy: Special Topics A
Special Topic: Survey Research Methods
This subject will give practical tips and hands-on experience for designing and implementing social surveys, for both academic purposes and the public/business sector. The structure of the subject will parallel the steps taken when executing a survey: comparing the advantages and disadvantages of surveys versus other means of collecting social data; determining the specific purpose of the study and to whom the study applies; developing the content and testing questions; implementing the questionnaire; and undertaking data cleaning and preliminary analysis. This will be illustrated by drawing on experiences from real life surveys. Practical, hands-on exercises will form a key part of lectures and tutorials and computer lab exercises.
- Social Inclusion Policy and Practice12.5
Social Inclusion Policy and Practice
Do we live in a Big Society; a social investment state; a socially inclusive society or a global economy? How can we make sense of policy and programs in the context of seemingly ever-changing paradigms and politics? What is the role of social policy in the face of enduring inequalities and new social risks?
Drawing on sociological and social policy frameworks and practice knowledge, this subject addresses key challenges associated with the translation of policy into practice in local and international contexts.