UNSW's Social Policy Research Centre is dedicated to tackling critical social issues through research with a focus on poverty, inequality, wellbeing and justice. This research-and-impact-grounded course teaches learners more about the causes and effects of poverty through a unique Australian policy lens and uses an evidence-based foundation for social change. 


Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture

Research Centre

Social Policy Research Centre

Delivery Mode





6 weeks



What will I learn?

Understanding Poverty, Inequality and Social Disadvantage in Australia provides a unique academic-led, research-and-impact-grounded program that capitalises on the Poverty and Inequality Partnership between the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and UNSW as an evidence-based foundation for social change. This course teaches knowledge and skills in understanding and overcoming poverty, inequality and social disadvantage, and demonstrates how these learnings are an integral component of any not-for-profit and for-profit department’s portfolio - especially in designing policies to support people affected by poverty and inequality. 

Through a mixture of online lectures, self-directed reading, self-directed activities and discussion forums, students will gain knowledge and skills relating to:

1) theoretical conceptualisations of poverty and inequality;
2) analysis of poverty and inequality in Australia and cross-nationally;
3) exploration of the causes and consequences of poverty and inequality; and
4) practical knowledge of the impacts and advocacy for change. 

The course will include modules on the following topics:

  • social security in Australia and the Australian social policy landscape
  • poverty and inequality concepts and theories
  • the measurement and analysis of poverty and inequality
  • the profile of social disadvantage in Australia – who is missing out?
  • living decently in Australia - the various health, housing and spatial facets of poverty and inequality
  • the pillars, principles and economics of Australia’s social safety net
  • drivers of change - what can we do about poverty and inequality?

This course explores the complex interaction between economic resources, employment, housing, health and broader social policy systems, while also de-stigmatising what poverty, inequality and social disadvantage are and what it looks like in contemporary Australia.

How will I learn?

This course will be delivered online with a combination of  live sessions and self-paced modules.

Who should take this course?

Professionals working in social policy for both not-for-profit and for-profit sectors or individuals with an interest in supporting their organisation’s advocacy for social change in Australia .

Who is leading this course?

Course Conveners

Dr Yuvisthi Naidoo is a Research Fellow at the Social Policy Research Centre. She is a social policy researcher and quantitative research analyst whose focus is on social disadvantage and social indicators specialising in poverty and inequality; deprivation and social exclusion; well-being and ageing societies. She has extensive experience working on Australian Research Council funded projects on poverty, deprivation and social exclusion in Australia, with the most research project involving cross-national comparison of deprivation amongst European countries. Before joining the SPRC, Yuvisthi worked for the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute on sustainable housing and support options for older homeless people. 

Dr Bruce Bradbury is an Associate Professor at the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC). Bruce undertakes research on poverty and inequality, the measurement of living standards, income support and labour market policies, consumer equivalence scales, and the geographic dimensions of social policies.

Stay in the loop!

Sign up and we'll keep you updated on our short courses