Singapore University of Social Sciences

Poverty and Social Inequality

Poverty and Social Inequality (SWK382)

Applications Open: To be confirmed

Applications Close: To be confirmed

Next Available Intake: To be confirmed

Course Types: To be confirmed

Language: English

Duration: 6 months

Fees: To be confirmed

Area of Interest: Social Services

Schemes: To be confirmed

Funding: To be confirmed

School/Department: S R Nathan School of Human Development


Poverty is one of the most entrenched and challenging problems that social workers and policy makers grapple with constantly. In this course, the various social and economic theories on the causes of poverty will be discussed. In particular, different definitions and concepts of poverty frame how poverty is being measured, as well as the policy responses that are targeted at poor families. Related to poverty are concepts of social mobility, social disadvantages and social exclusion. Pertinently, poverty has direct and indirect social, civic, cultural and health impact on people’s lives. The course will also focus on policy approaches and social services targeted at low-income families in Singapore. Contemporary policy issues in Singapore, such as the measures to support the “working poor”, widening income inequality or the adequacy of social security will be discussed.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY REGULAR SEMESTER


  • Definitions of poverty.
  • Theories on poverty.
  • Poverty, social exclusion, social mobility and social inequality.
  • Measurements of poverty and policy implications.
  • Public perceptions of the poor and voices of the poor.
  • Impact of poverty on individuals and families.
  • Policy responses toward poverty and inequality across different countries.
  • Poverty and social inequality in Singapore.
  • Singapore’s policy response on poverty and social mobility.
  • Social services and community initiatives for poor families in Singapore.
  • Factors impacting social mobility and poverty in Singapore.
  • Globalisation and poverty.

Learning Outcome

  • Compare and contrast the different theories on poverty.
  • Evaluate the different concepts of poverty.
  • Appraise the different policy responses toward poverty.
  • Evaluate the social services and community initiatives for low-income families in Singapore.
  • Examine the impact of poverty on individuals and families.
  • Discuss challenges and difficulties in engaging low-income families in Singapore.
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