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Comparative Social Policy, 7.5 Credits

The course is discontinued from 2023-06-19

Swedish name: Comparative Social Policy

This syllabus is valid: 2017-07-10 and until further notice

Course code: 2SO028

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: First cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: Sociology: First cycle, has only upper-secondary level entry requirements

Grading scale: Three-grade scale

Responsible department: Department of Sociology

Revised by: Head of Department of Sociology, 2017-06-19


The aim of this course is to introduce students to the field of social policy. The course provides an overview of the main theories and empirical developments in welfare state and social policy analysis. Major and updated topics (e.g. aging societies, globalization or immigration) are discussed. Special emphasis is put on the characteristics of welfare policies and family policies in Sweden. The development and distinctiveness of the "Swedish Model" is analysed in a comparative, international perspective.

Expected learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course, the student will:

  • be able to analyze and systematize different theoretical approaches to understanding social policy regimes
  • be able to apply these concepts, terms and methods to empirical research questions
  • have a deeper understanding of the Swedish welfare system.

Required Knowledge

General entry requirements

Form of instruction

Course meetings will take the form of lectures and seminars and include both group and individual work. All coursework is in English. Lectures and seminars will be held in English.

Examination modes

The examination consists of two parts. In seminars, students will present work in groups. At the end of the course, students will take a final exam. In order to be awarded a Pass grade for the course as a whole, the student must pass both parts of the examination and attend all compulsory sessions indicated in the course schedule.

International students will be graded in accordance with the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Grading decisions are based on an assessment of the individual student’s performance. In case of a student being awarded a Fail grade, she or he has the right to be re-examined in a form and at a time agreed upon in consultation with the examiner.

Students have the right to be re-examined up to five times per course. Examination and supplementary examination based on the syllabus outlined here can be guaranteed for up to two years after the start of the course. If a student is awarded a Fail grade on at least two consecutive attempts of the examination of the course or course component, she or he has the right to request a new examiner. The director of studies should be consulted in such circumstances.

Other regulations

Decisions relating to academic credit transfers are made on a case-by-case basis. For further information about this contact the study advisor. See also Umeå University’s set of rules and academic transfer regulations.


  • Valid from: 2017 week 28

    Castles Francis Geoffrey
    The Oxford handbook of the welfare state
    Oxford : Oxford University Press : 2010 : 876 s. :
    ISBN: 978-0-19-957939-6
    Search the University Library catalogue

  • Valid from: 2017 week 27

    Baranowska A
    Changing Patterns of Entry into Employment and Motherhood in Poland: A Cross Cohort Comparison
    H. P. Blossfeld, S. Bertolini and D. Hofäcker (eds.) Youth on Globalised Labour Markets: Rising Uncertainty and its Effects on Early Employment and Family Lives in Europe. Barbara Budrich Publishers : 2011 :

    Eger M. A.
    Even in Sweden: The Effect of Immigration on Support for Welfare State Spending
    European Sociological Review 26(2): 203-217 : 2010 :

    Gauthier A. H
    Family Policies in Industrialized Countries: Is There Convergence?
    Population (English edition) 57: 3 : 2002 :

    Koopmans R
    Trade-Offs between Equality and Difference: Immigrant, Integration, Multiculturalism and the Welfare State in Cross-National Perspective
    Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 36:1 : 2010 :

    Immigration or Welfare? The Progressive’s Dilemma Revisited
    Kulin J, Eger M, Hjerm M
    Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World 2(0): doi:2378023116632223. : 2016 :

    Leitner S
    Varieties of Familialism: The Caring Function of the Family in Comparative Perspective
    European Societies 5:4 : 2003 :

    Lewis J
    Gender and the Development of Welfare Regimes
    Journal of European Social Policy 2: 3 : 1992 :

    Consequences of Family Policies on Childbearing Behavior: Effects or Artifacts?
    Neyer G, Andersson G
    Population and Development Review 34: 4 : 2008 :

    The welfare state reader
    Pierson Christopher, Castles Francis Geoffrey, Naumann Ingela K.
    3. ed. : Cambridge : Polity : 2014 : vii, 407 pages :
    ISBN: 9780745663692
    Search the University Library catalogue

    Do Parties ‘Playing the Race Card’ Undermine Natives’ Support for Redistribution? Evidence from Europe
    Schmidt A, Dennis W, Spies C
    Comparative Political Studies 47: 4 : 2014 :