Introduction to Social Protection for the Poor

Course Description:

The main objective of the course is to provide an introduction to non-contributory social protection and its relevance for fighting poverty and vulnerability. The course will highlight the role social protection measures can play in the development process and it will show the advantages and disadvantages of different policy interventions and design options. The course will offer online lectures, online discussion boards, assignments, weekly tutorial meetings to discuss readings and assignments, and an oral exam at the end of the course.

At the end of the training you will have a better understanding of the rationale for social protection interventions from a development policy perspective and will be informed about advantages and disadvantages of different issues related to the design and implementation of social assistance schemes in developing countries. More specifically, you will have gained knowledge on:

  • the rationale for governments to invest in non-contributory social protection programmes;
  • the link between social protection and inclusive growth and development;
  • types of social protection instruments;
  • beneficiary identification;
  • the relevance of fiscal space and how it can be created.
  • performance indicators for social protection interventions;


A Master degree (or equivalent) in Social Sciences

Course completion, ECTS, edubadges and estimated workload:

The course is completed once you fulfill the course requirements and pass the assignments and oral exam. Your coursebook will also include the explanation of resit options. Participants will receive 2 ECTS equivalence credits and the certification will be offered through an online educational badge. The estimated workload is 60 hours, including 10-15 hours per week and 10-15 hours per assignments/oral exam.


500 euro

Required Readings:

The cost of the course does not include expenses for books or hard copies of the course material. Course materials can all be downloaded by the participant him/herself.

Starting date, enrollment time and payment:

Upon a successful enrollment, every participant will start the course on an individual basis, immediately after the acquisition of the course materials. Your tutor will reach out to you to agree on a timeline.

You will be enrolled for 10 weeks, including 1 week to access the platform and become familiar with the materials, 4 weeks of coursework, 2 to do the oral exam and 3 weeks for potential resit time.

In case you prefer to use the 10 weeks in a different way, please agree with your tutor during your first exchange.

To pay the tuition fee, please make the transfer to the following account. Upon payment, you will be registered as student, and contacted by your tutor. On average this takes 1-2 weeks.

Bank account no.
IBAN NL05 INGB 0657 618705
Swift or BIC code INGBNL2A
Beneficiary Maastricht University
Bank name ING Business Banking
Bank address P.O. Box 90153
5600 RE  Eindhoven
The Netherlands
Payment specification your last name and

Download the coursebook

Franziska Gassmann - Course designer

The current global crisis exemplifies the need for well-designed and implemented social protection systems. Countries with functioning systems are prepared for the economic shock that will affect millions of people. It is expected that countries with comprehensive social insurance and social assistance provisions will more likely be able to cushion the impact on the people and (in the long run) on the economy.
Prof. Dr. Franziska Gassmann, UNU-MERIT