CAS in Social Policy

The topic | Objectives | Target audience | Teaching methods

The topic

The welfare state that was built up in the post-war years is being called into question more and more. On the one hand, an ageing population and slower economic growth have been responsible for the emergence of problems financing the welfare state and questions about its long-term viability. On the other hand, the transformations underway in the spheres of family life and the world of work have produced growing insecurity and thus the growing demands for social protection. The resulting public debate has been strongly polarised and characterised by confrontation.

This course, based on the most recent scientific studies and international comparisons, aims to depoliticise the debate and provide participants with the necessary elements to understand and manage the processes underlying the current transformation of the welfare state.



  • Objectively examine the principal challenges facing the welfare state;
  • Identify how scientific social-policy research can help us in practice;
  • Understand the challenges to the future development of a welfare state and evaluate Switzerland’s path in that direction;
  • Situate and evaluate Switzerland’s position relative to the European and international contexts;
  • Identify examples of best practices in different domains of social policy, in Switzerland and abroad;
  • Suggest potential elements to aid the transformation of social management.


Target audience

  • Students studying for the MAS in Public Administration (MPA);
  • Political representatives and administrative managers in the social and employment sectors;
  • Social action and social welfare professionals;
  • Representatives of political parties, interest groups and not-for-profit organisations.


Teaching methods

The course is based on alternating contributions from theory, lectures from outside experts and class discussions. The course material is mainly organised along two principal themes: the relationship between scientific research and practice (designing and managing social policies), and Switzerland’s situation with regards to experiences in other countries. The course documentation includes many texts, but also substantial statistical data presented in the form of tables or graphs. Participants are also accompanied by course staff in the preparation of their trimestral work project 


Qualifications and Certificates

Participants who actively and regularly attend the course, and complete the course project, will be awarded a Foundation of Continuing Education certificate of continuing education/Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Public Administration (with a specialisation in CEMAP). This corresponds to 10 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. Participants who follow the course but decide not to complete the project work will receive a certificate of attendance (but no ECTS credits).


Registration fees

Total course registration fees come to CHF 3,900 (including all documentation), which should be paid on receipt of the invoice, and by the start of the course at the latest.
A discount of 5%, up to a maximum of CHF 500 per course, is available to any IDHEAP alumni—holding an MPA, DAS or CEMAP, an IDHEAP PhD or a Master’s in PMP—who wish to follow a CAS course or a Seminar for Specialist and Executives organised by IDHEAP. This reduction does not apply to participants in the DAS who subsequently wish to follow the MPA course. Any decision to withdraw from the course must be made in writing. If withdrawal from the course is announced between 21 and ten days prior to its commencement, 50% of the registration fee will remain due. If withdrawal from the course is announced less than ten days before its commencement, the entire registration fee is due. The number of places being limited, registrations will be considered on the basis of the date of receipt.


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