Social Policy

An interdisciplinary approach to social issues.

Social policy is the study of policy solutions to the problems of education, inequality, poverty, crime, and other issues that families and children face. You’ll work with faculty who are experts in the study of poverty, the labor market, social demography, family structure, educational inequality, political participation, organizational dynamics, and health and welfare policy. Because you’ll practice thinking about how knowledge translates into policy solutions, this minor is ideal for those who plan to attend law school, programs in public health, or graduate school in the constituent social science field.


Introduction to Social Policy and Inequality: Baltimore and Beyond

This course will introduce basic concepts in economics, political science, and sociology relevant to the study of social problems and the programs designed to remedy them. It will address the many inequalities in access to education and health care, unequal treatment in the criminal justice system, disparities in income and wealth, and differential access to political power.

The American Welfare State

This course analyzes the distinctive U.S. welfare state in historical and comparative perspective. We begin with a survey of the policy context, a historical overview from the poorhouses through the Great Society, and a tour of welfare states across the rich democracies. We then survey developments—and explain the actual workings of policy—across jobs, education, welfare, pensions, and health care.

Policy and Practice in Human Services

This course examines the policies that frame human service programs and the methods that are used to deliver them. We focus specifically on child welfare and provide an opportunity for you to study why it’s so hard to get good work done by government for vulnerable populations. You’ll have the opportunity to review the challenges of implementing programs and reforms in government and consider the impact human services have on the population served.