Social Policy and Social Work: Here to help!

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my blog for the Department of Social Policy and Social Work (SPSW). Over the next few months I’m going to keep you updated with the goings-on here at York and tell you what I’ve been upto!

If there’s anything you’d like to ask about any of the SPSW degrees, what student life is like or about York in general, send me any questions in the ‘Comments’ section of my posts and I will answer as best as I can (or signpost you to someone else who can help!). I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

Right, here we go…

If you’ve recently been offered a place on an SPSW course, congratulations!! It’s a wonderful feeling having offers in the bag, and a huge incentive for the nights where shopping the sales online may be more tempting than your 3rd night of revision in a row. But, it’s more than worth it and if you choose York you’ll be in for an unforgettable time.

You may have been to one of the Open Days, but if not….ta dah! This is where the magic happens:


Well, actually it’s where our amazing SPSW lecturers, professors and administrators live. All of the staff are super helpful, and if you ever need a chat about one of your modules you can pop along to see your lecturer during their ‘Open Hours’, which just means knocking on their door and they will spend some time helping you out.

If you come to York you will also be assigned a personal supervisor, who will be your number one contact during the length of your course. They can help you with personal and practical issues as well as academic ones, so you always know you’ve got someone to go to for support. There are lots of other specialist support services here at York and I’ll mention those in later posts.

If you’ve got friends or older siblings at uni you probably already know how generous university holidays are, and unbelievably, we’re now almost at the end of the Autumn term. It’s gone very quickly (something else you’ll hear a lot is how 3 years at uni flies by!), but rather than tell you about that just yet I thought it would be better to turn back time a little and tell you about my first term in year 1 to give you a flavour of what it’s like when you first arrive.

This is when it all begins!!
This is when it all begins!!

In a city called York far, far away…..okay I’m just kidding. You’ll get your timetable around September time, and you’ll probably have around 8 contact hours a week. This will be formed of a combination of:

  1. Lectures – listening and taking notes in a large group to a presentation by a lecturer on a particular topic, which will vary week by week.
  2. Seminars – smaller groups where you’ll have the chance to dig deeper into issues covered by the weekly lectures, usually through answering questions from set readings in advance of the session and then debating ideas as a group.
  3. Workshops – larger groups where there can either be guided “How to…” sessions on PCs, or where you can break into groups in preparation for things like presentations.

Before all this however, the department will make you feel very welcome and we were thrown a lovely reception and had the chance to meet all the other first year’s and also our lecturers.

The great thing about first year is that students from all Applied Social Science degrees are mixed with Social Policy students so you’ll get to meet loads of different students in your department. You’ll quickly be able to make another set of friends that you can both study and party with.

Another great thing about your first term is that assignments aren’t due until the first week after the Christmas holidays, so you have plenty of time to settle in to the course, have lots of fun and make your way home for some well earned rest before you get your teeth stuck into those essays.

However, if at this point you need something sweet to get those ideas flowing then a reminder of York could come in the form of these!

The contents of a rather successful ‘pass the parcel’

Rowntrees (now Nestlé) and Terry’s made York famous for confectionery and the smell of chocolate being made still fills the city air, which is amazing if you have a sweet tooth like me! So you can tell your family when they’re tucking into a Chocolate Orange this Christmas that it came from this very fine city!

Good luck with the last few weeks of term and if you haven’t yet got your UCAS form in, don’t panic. Remember amongst your mocks, applications and interviews to enjoy having some time off; you’ll need that energy next year!

Happy holidays and you’ll hear from me again in the new year!


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I'm a mature student now in Year 2 of a Social Policy degree. I really love living in York, originally I'm from the East Midlands - it's amazing how you notice the drop in temperature 'up North'! I came onto the course through the Extended Degree in Applied Social Science and Social Policy option, which consisted of an additional year before the three year degree. This was a wonderful and stimulating year that I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone in a similar position to do. Although other universities offered the same degree, I'm so glad I made the decision to come to York, and hopefully from my future blog posts you'll see the many reasons why! I'll look forward to telling you more about what life is like in York, and what the Department of Social Policy and Social Work can offer if you decide to make this wonderful city your home for the next few years!

2 thoughts on “Social Policy and Social Work: Here to help!”

  1. Hi Sophie. I am also a mature student, currently on my first year as part of the extended degree at york. I enjoyed your blog, I’m rather excited now! Instead of stressed haha. Any pointers for me as I have to produce a 10 minute presention of my choice relevant to social policy….and as I’m weighed under with essays, research project…I am looking for hints and tips! Any advice will be greatly appreciated 🙂 Tiffany

    1. Hi Tiffany, Katherine (the other Social Policy blogger) here. Unfortunately I didn’t do the extended degree so can’t really give you any specific advice but I’d just say make sure you choose a topic that really interests you or maybe one that’s been in the news a lot recently and be confident with what you are saying. Engaging with the audience can work well, maybe ask them a question or make them guess a statistic? Best of luck! 🙂

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