Professor of Social Policy Director of Research for the College of Social Sciences Deputy Director of CHASM Karen Rowlingson


Karen Rowlingson joined the Department of Social Policy and Social Work in February 2007 as Professor of Social Policy.  She is Deputy Director of CHASM (the Research Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management) and Director of Research for the College of Social Sciences.  After studying Modern History at Oxford University and Sociology at the LSE, Karen then worked at the Policy Studies Institute in London before becoming an academic at the Universities of Derby and then Bath.  From 2010-2012 she was the Vice Chair of the ESRC's Research Committee and Chair of its Grants Delivery Group.  In her spare time, Karen plays 11 aside football for Solihull Sporting Ladies.

Research interests

Karen's research interests lie within the field of social policy and focus on the financial security of individuals, families and households including: assets and asset-based welfare; poverty, wealth and inequality; social security policy; financial capability and education (including savings, pensions, credit and debt).  As well as looking at individual behaviour in relation to personal finance she is interested in the role of the state, the financial services sector, employers and the third sector in delivering financial security.  Her research is strongly empirical involving a broad range of rigorous research methods. She has a particularly strong methodological expertise in designing quantitative surveys and mixing qualitative with quantitative methods.

Education/Academic qualification

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Bath

    Social Policy

  • Master in Science, London School of Economics and Political Science, The (LSE)


  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Oxford

    Modern History

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

Professor Rowlingson currently supervises doctoral researchers working on attitudes to equity release; access to financial advice; and social exclusion and gender in Bangladesh.