The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T +44 (0)1227 764000
MA Civil Society, NGO and Nonprofit Studies
Director: Dr Jeremy Kendall
This new and currently relevant MA in Civil Society, NGO and Non-profit Studies is offered by the University of Kent's highly respected School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research; we are proud to have been ranked at 4th in the UK in the most recent RAE.
As a recognised world, European and national leader in theoretical and applied social science with a strong liberal arts component, the School is uniquely well positioned to deliver this wide ranging and multi-faceted programme utilising contemporary research knowledge. The MA in Civil Society, NGO and Non-profit Studies is designed for well qualified, reflective, curious and profoundly motivated students who wish to gain knowledge of, and the ability to critically analyse, the role that civil society organisations do and should play in political, social and economic life.
This new MA is exceptional in the field in terms of its breadth and depth. For example, most programmes in this area tend to focus largely on management and organisational issues and are associated with business studies style approaches. This MA, by contrast, is able to capitalise on the extraordinary range of multi-disciplinary expertise to be found at SSPSSR and the Faculty of Social Science, capitalising on cutting edge knowledge in policy studies, sociology and political analysis.
Context for the new MA: The growth of international scholarship and policy interest in civil society
The motivations for this area of study differ from place to place: in the UK, for example, emphasis is being placed on this sphere’s pivotal role as a anchor for the ‘Big Society’, and as a response to the limitations of the State; in many parts of East Central Europe, its capability to act as an alternative to market excesses which are given particular weight; while in the developing world it is often its role as an agent for democratisation that attracts most attention. But whatever the balance of reasons, it is agreed that we need to invest in the advancement of knowledge about this part of our social infrastructure.
International research effort has accordingly proliferated in this area. Specialist international associations like ISTR, the International Society for Third Sector Research, have flourished over the past decade or more; nationally based groups, like VSSN in the UK and ARNOVA in the US have increasingly embraced the international and comparative dimension in their fora and events; and many disciplinary scholarly associations now include special interest groups focusing on core aspects of this sphere. Included here are nonprofit enterprise (economics and business studies), altruism, philanthropy and social movements (sociology), pro-social behaviours (social psychology), social capital and governance (political science), and long term trajectories of third sector-state interdependence (historical studies).
The course is suitable for:
- Internationally oriented students who have specialised or majored in undergraduate programmes in civil society, non-profit studies, policy studies or related areas, and wish to develop, deepen and broaden their existing knowledge
- Practitioners working for or with civil society organisations, who have acquired experiential knowledge of aspects of this sphere, and who now wish to deepen their understanding more systematically by engaging with the latest frameworks and techniques for reflection and analysis
- Employees from local, national and international public bodies and third sector representative and voice bodies, who need to develop insights on civil society as part of their efforts to frame, design, implement, analyse and critique civil society policies
The course is flexibly organised, and may be undertaken on a full-time (one year) or part-time (two year) basis. The core, mandatory modules provide a uniquely insightful overview of the long term development of social science thinking about civil society; equip students with the ability to understand and put to work the most relevant approaches to the subject from across disciplines; and provide training in methodological matters. Students then choose from a range of options with strong relevance for civil society development, covering social movements; philanthropy and fundraising; international social policy analysis, and other bodies of knowledge within particular fields.
Students obtain a Diploma on successfully completing these modules. However, many will seek to obtain the full MA by completing a closely supervised dissertation during the summer months which allows them to explore their particular area of interest in depth.
Attendance: One year full-time, two years part-time.
- Is taught by authoritative academics leading internationally renowned research efforts on third sector policy and political analysis, philanthropy and social movements
- Allows the student to strike a well tailored balance in line with needs and interests in terms of disciplinary components
- Provides opportunities to connect with a multi-disciplinary research cluster devoted to civil society, drawing together the extraordinary depth of expertise in this sphere available at the School
- Allows unrestricted access to the Kent's Templeman Library, with particularly strong holdings of materials (many available remotely) on social, political, and economic aspects of civil society development
Students also benefit enormously from being part of a broader, well established social science community of students and scholars. Being part of the School also offers the chance:
- To engage with a remarkably cosmopolitan teaching staff and student body, drawn from all regions of the world
- To attend a major seminar series, with invited speakers who are leading experts on civil society, social policy, social research, sociology and cultural studies
Optional modules (indicative list of possible options):
MA Civil Society, NGO and Non-profit Studies Bursary Scheme
SSPSSR has created a bespoke bursary for appropriately qualified individuals from organisations with membership of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO). The bursary, a generous £2,000 discount on tuition fees, is available on a competitive application basis.
We believe this scheme is needed because many British voluntary organisations lack the extensive budgets to enable their staff to benefit from higher level degree programmes, yet face enormous social, economic, political and policy pressures at the current moment. Staff and organisations require access to leading knowledge and analytic approaches relating to civil society in order to help them navigate and negotiate these challenges. Kent’s NCVO Bursary is designed to address this need by making this access more affordable to such organisations.
The Civil Society, NGO and Non-profit Studies Master’s is unique in its combination of specialist civil society research and teaching expertise honed over two decades, attending to the third sector, philanthropy and social movements; and more general social science options, covering research methods and a range of social and policy topics. These are designed to equip students with a wide range of transferable competences, skills and capabilities relevant to careers not only in the third sector, but in government and business too.
We are delighted to be collaborating in this way with the NCVO to help strengthen the capacity of voluntary or third sector organisations in Britain.
2013 application process
Reward of the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research’s NCVO Bursary will be made on a competitive basis:
15 July 2013: Deadline for applications and supplementary evidence (transcripts, references, cv and NCVO membership validation)
25-26 July 2013: Interviews held
30 Sept 2013: Term starts
If you work for an NCVO member organisation and are interested in applying for the NCVO Bursary, please contact the SSPSSR Postgraduate office to register your interest:
T: +44 (0)1227 823684
Entry requirements: A 2.1 or higher university degree (GPA equivalent 3.25) in a social science discipline. Applicants must have an excellent command of English.
The University requires all non-native speakers of English to produce evidence of proficiency in written and spoken English. We require a minimum score in one of the following:
- 6.5 in International English Language Test (IELTS)
- 600 in paper-based or 250 computer-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
- 'B' in the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English
- 'A' in the Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English
Still unsure if this is for you?
We offer a unique combination of multi-disciplinary civil society expertise
The School involves an exceptional mix of proven teaching commitment and leading edge international research in a friendly and stimulating intellectual environment.
We are based in a beautiful semi-rural campus setting, which is also conveniently located for access to London, Brussels, Paris and other major urban centres
Ten reasons to choose us
- We are recognised as a leading UK Economic and Social Research Centre in Postgraduate Training. SSPSSR is a part of the ESRC’s network of UK Doctoral Training Centres, a strategic initiative designed to foster innovation in the UK’s social science community.
- You will be taught by staff well respected in the social science field and highly engaged with contemporary discussion and debate in their subject areas. Click here to find out more about recent publications from our staff.
- As a large, multidisciplinary School, we offer an unparalleled breath of postgraduate taught courses and a wealth of supervisory experience and expertise for research students. Our School website contains regularly updated staff profiles with details of their research interests (http://www.kent.ac.uk/sspssr/staff/index.html )
- Due to our position as a top ranking UK Social Science research centre we are able to offer access to our highly competitive MA and PhD scholarships. Click here for more information.
- We are the only School in the UK to have been awarded the prestigious EU Erasmus Mundus postgraduate programme, Doctorate in Cultural and Global Criminology.
- We provide excellent pastoral care. We have a dedicated Postgraduate office which provides a highly efficient service for all postgraduate students and our academic staff are friendly, approachable and deeply invested in the learning environment of our students.
- We offer regular research and advanced training seminars for students, giving students the opportunity to hear, engage and network with speakers in their research areas.
- The University of Kent is an attractive and spacious campus overlooking the historic city of Canterbury and yet the cosmopolitan buzz of London is only 56 minutes away by train.
- The School provides high quality study space for postgraduate students with specially furnished rooms with free access to computers and printers.
- You will have access to great facilities including sports centres, theatre and cinema, clubs and societies, bars, cafes and night clubs, helping to ensure that your student experience with us is enjoyable as well as intellectually stimulating and productive.
What the student says:
“...The opportunity to combine studies in Civil Society, NGO, and Non-Profit Studies at Kent has been excellent. To have the flexibility to choose modules you are interested in makes postgraduate study all the more enjoyable. The fact that students are also taught by world renowned leading academics who know their specialist fields incredibly well makes the process of learning all the more worthwhile. And the insights provided are highly valued in the sector."
MA in Civil Society, NGO and Non-Profit Studies, 2011 - 2012.