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Major: Political Economy and Social Policy

Major Details

Political Economy and Social Policy


Department of Sociology
Faculty of Arts

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Economy and Society (3)
Macroeconomic Principles (3)
Microeconomic Principles (3)

200 level

Social Inequality and Social Policy (3)
3cp from
Microeconomic Analysis (3)
Macroeconomic Analysis (3)
Applied Macroeconomics (3)
Applied Microeconomics (3)
Workplace Relations (3)
Australian Governments and Public Policy (3)
African Politics and Globalisation (3)
The Politics of Development Theory and Practice (3)
Methods of Social Research (3)
Work and Employment (3)
Consumption and the Consumer: Global Perspectives (3)

300 level

Profit, Protest, Policy: Changes in Market Society (3)
Global Political Economy (3)
6cp from
Justice and Development (3)
Industrial Organisation (3)
Macroeconomic Policy (3)
Economic Development (3)
Evolution of Economic Ideas (3)
Environmental Economics (3)
Asia-Pacific Development (3)
Social Philosophy (3)
Work and the Good Life (3)
Human Services in the 21st Century: Care, Gender and Institutions (3)
Activism and Social Change (3)
Social Change Placement (6)
Social Inequality (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program Political economy and social policy draws upon economics, sociology and politics to explain and understand how political institutions, the social environment and the economy influence each other. This unique interdisciplinary approach allows students to more deeply understand the relationships between economic, social and political issues. The major also has an applied focus, allowing students to connect their knowledge to policy making and social research. This provides an ideal introduction to a range of jobs in policy, administration, research, advocacy and the non-government sectors.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. explain economic approaches to the social sciences (K, C)
2. apply economic concepts to micro or macro economic problems (K, T)
3. compare alternative social scientific approaches to social, economic and political questions (K, T, L)
4. apply social science theory to social policy questions (K, T, J)
5. evaluate different forms of policy information (T, P, I, J)
6. critique social and economic theories of distribution and power (T, P, I, E, A)
7. explain the development of policy and inequality across nations (K, T)
8. communicate policy and social scientific information to general and professional communities (T, C)
9. organise collaboratively and work cooperatively on social science projects (P, I, C, L)
10. apply ethical criteria to social and policy questions (E, A, J, L).
Learning and Teaching Methods The major encourages students to develop a range of research, analytic and communications skills and to critically apply their knowledge to real world problems.

A unique feature of the major is its interdisciplinary focus. Students engage with different types of analysis, data and conceptual approaches from across the social sciences. This helps to develop comparative and critical analytic skills.

Students will develop a range of communication skills. This includes traditional academic writing skills, as well a group based learning, presentation skills and policy based writing. This reflects a pedagogy grounded in praxis, where theoretical knowledge is informed by contemporary experience, and can then inform action.

Most units involve lecture and tutorial classes, or seminars, however there is also opportunities to take Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) units as part of the major.
Assessment Assessments are based exclusively on the submission of individual and group coursework. The interdisciplinary nature of the program involves a range of assessment modes, including individual written assignments, exams, group discussions, presentations and policy analysis.

The coursework is designed to develop and assess your cognitive, interpersonal and critical capabilities. There is an emphasis on critical and creative thinking and independent research. Assessments also develop skills in professional and ethical judgement, as well as clear written and oral communication.

Final year assignments involve independent, research based learning, application of theoretical knowledge to policy issues and presentation and group work tasks.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Graduates are equipped to work in in a range of policy and advocacy positions in the local, state and federal governments and non-government sector, in media and communications, within the trade union movement and in social research.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148