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You are here Courses > Undergraduate > Bachelor in Sociology & Social Policy

Poverty, Inequality and Redistribution

Module Code


Module Title

Poverty, Inequality and Redistribution

 ECTS Weighting




Semester Taught


Module Co-ordinator

Ms. Camille Loftus

Module Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • LO1 critically compare the strengths and weaknesses of alternative concepts of poverty;
  • LO2  Explain the different methodologies used in measuring poverty and inequality, and the interplay between concepts and methodology;
  • LO3  Analyse and critique data on poverty, inequality and social expenditure;
  • LO4  Discuss policy principles and how to reconcile conflicting goals that can arise when formulating policy responses to poverty and inequality;
  • LO5  Integrate concepts and evidence from different social science disciplines;
  • LO6  Demonstrate  written and verbal ability to communicate concise and theoretically grounded arguments as they relate to poverty and inequality.

Module Content

The purpose of the module is to explore the conceptualisation and measurement of the concepts of poverty and inequality, and how public policy impacts upon them.
Students will examine how our understanding of these concepts has developed over time, and critically analyse the different ways in which we measure them. Students will consider how effectively different measures capture the experience of poverty and inequality.
The module examines key public policy issues in relation to poverty and inequality, considering how potentially conflicting principles can be reconciled in designing policy responses.
Students will develop a critical knowledge of income distribution processes – broadly defined – and related policy arguments. The role of employment, care and gender will be considered, along with that of tax, welfare and other social spending systems, in redistributing income, resources and life chances. Specific aspects of social security, taxation and social policy will be considered, and alternatives such as basic income will be critically reviewed.

Teaching and Learning methods

Lectures, tutorials, independent reading


Assessment Component

Assessment Description

LO Addressed

% of total

Week due

Portfolio and presentation

The assignments that form the continuous assessment are expected to be based on extensive independent reading, in addition to consistent class attendance. It is also important to note that the course involves the possibility of engaging in group work, as an alternative to individual presentations (which is also an option).





2000 word end of semester essay.




Reassessment requirements

Students who fail the module must submit an essay of 3000 words for reassessment in the Supplemental examination period. This essay is weighted at 100% for resubmission. Portfolio and presentation assessments are not included in reassessment – this is reflected in the longer word count.  All supplemental assessments must be resubmitted during the college supplemental examination period.

Student inputs

According to TEP (Trinity Education Project), 10 ECTS modules represent approximately 200-250 hours of student input. For this module, the minimum guidelines for student inputs are as follows:

  • Class attendance and participation: 22 hours
  • Time spent reviewing instructional material: 22 hours
  • Time spent on further reading: 100 hours
  • (Group) work on presentation topic: 28 hours
  • Researching and writing the essay: 28 hours

TOTAL 200 hours

Recommended reading

Preparatory reading: Lister, Ruth (2004) Poverty. Cambridge: Polity Press.

*A penalty of 10% will be applied to students who submit essays late without an authorised extension.