Utopias: Welfare Theory and Social Policies for a 'Good Society' PUBPOL4035

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2 (Alternate Years)
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course examines welfare theory and social policies through an exploration of diverse philosophical and political ideas about what constitutes a 'good society'. Critical analysis and evaluation of competing ideological perspectives will be made in the context of social and ethical issues, including environmental concerns; 'race' and ethnicity; and the dialectics of power, community, and individualism.


A weekly two hour teaching session

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Social & Public Policy normally requires a grade point average of 12 (grade C3) over Social & Public Policy 2A and 2B (formerly Public Policy 2A and 2B) as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses





A essay of 2,500 words 40%.

A one hour exam 60%.

Reflective Learning log 20%

Students will be required to write a reflective learning log (500 words) outlining their:-

1.Active participation throughout the course, e.g. prepared for and contribute to small group work, whole class discussions and co-operate learning exercises, including online peer review

2. Reflections on how their active participation has affected their learning and development of graduate attributes 

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No


Course Aims

The aims of the course are to:

■ define the concept and meaning of 'utopia' in multiple social and political contexts;

■ examine diverse and controversial perspectives on welfare theory and what constitutes a 'good society';

■ explore critically potential social policies that would be necessary to achieve a 'good society' within competing and contrasting ideological paradigms;

■ critically analyse the feasibility of achieving a 'good society' through a range of ideological, political, social and ethical lenses.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students should be able to:


■ outline the meaning of the concept of 'utopia' and its relevance to social and public policy;

■ critically analyse a range of different ideological perspectives of welfare theory and a 'good society';

■ evaluate critically a series of potential social policy proposals in accordance with different views of a 'good society';

■ examine and assess the feasibility of achieving a 'good society' from a range of radical, conservative, classical, and contemporary viewpoints;

■ critically assess the development of their graduate attributes

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.