Social Policy

Social Policy with Quantitative Research - BA (Hons)

Overview

Social Policy addresses the challenges at the heart of our society: child protection, crime prevention, care for older people and those with disabilities, social disadvantage, and the health crisis. Combining quantitative skills, which many employers look for, with an understanding of these issues gives you a chance to contribute to the debate and offers excellent career prospects.

The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research is one of the best in the country for teaching and research. Our academics are internationally recognised for their expertise in social policy. 

Adding a quantitative research minor to your programme opens your mind to new ways of thinking. Starting with no assumed statistical knowledge, you graduate with an advanced package of practical quantitative skills alongside subject-specific knowledge in the theory and application of social policy. 

Our degree programme

In your first year, you take introductory modules in sociology, critical thinking, social policy and quantitative skills.

In your second and final years, you investigate the nature of social problems and use research findings to evaluate policy proposals and recommendations. You extend your quantitative skills and take compulsory modules in social research methods and the welfare state. Optional modules cover a wide range of areas such as poverty, health, crime, education, homelessness, and issues relating to social disadvantage, including class, race, gender, age, sexuality and poverty. 

You are encouraged not just to view issues in a detached manner, but also to argue about the way things could – and should – be changed.

In your final year, you choose either a dissertation with a quantitative research focus or (providing you achieve the required academic standard by the end of Stage 2) a placement module where you can put your skills into practice. 

Workplace experience is highly valued by employers, and the placements offered through Kent see students completing meaningful, applied quantitative analysis for business and organisations across a range of sectors, giving you the opportunity to add concrete workplace achievements to your CV.

Social Policy is also available as a single honours programme without quantitative research. For details, see Social Policy.


Year abroad

Our students have the opportunity to spend a year or a term abroad at one of our partner institutions in North America, Asia and Europe. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply. 

Extra activities

The Social Studies Society is run by Kent students for anyone with an interest in Criminology, Sociology, Law, Social Policy, Economics and Politics. Previous activities include the Criminal Justice in Action guest speaker series.

There are events available throughout the year for students from the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. These may include:

  • research seminars and webcasts
  • career development workshops
  • informal lectures by guest experts followed by group discussion.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made.Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

  • Certificate

    A level

    BBB 

  • Certificate

    GCSE

    Maths at grade C (or 4).

  • Certificate

    Access to HE Diploma

    The School is committed to widening participation and has a long and successful tradition of admitting mature students. We welcome applications from students on accredited Access courses.

  • Certificate

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit in Health and Social Care or Public Services.

  • Certificate

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 points at HL

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time

Placements are arranged by the Q-Step Placement Officer who provides one-to-one guidance and assists with any practical matters, although you have the opportunity to arrange your own placement (subject to agreement) if you wish. You are also assigned an academic supervisor who assists you with your placement assessments.

Placements provide invaluable career experience and insights into the professional world and the repeated practical and professional use of your skills means that you can move seamlessly into quantitative methods careers, in academia or beyond.

All of this is completed alongside your social policy modules.

The course structure below gives examples of the kinds of modules you can expect to take during the programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

Converting to a Quantitative Research Minor after Stage 1

Students studying other undergraduate programmes in social policy may convert to the BA Sociology Policy with Quantitative Research after Stage 1 (subject to completion of the compulsory first year social policy modules and consultation with the Director of Studies for Social Policy or their nominee).

To catch up on the quantitative research skills learned in the first year of a quantitative research minor, converting students must attend and pass the Quant GROUP Summer School, in the summer after Stage 1, in order to be eligible to convert.

Stage 1

You complete introductory quantitative modules, which teach you the methodological and technical foundations which you build on in later years. You also learn to think like a quantitative researcher, developing a critical eye for statistics and data analysis, both in academic research and the world around you.

You take all compulsory and optional modules listed below.

Compulsory modules currently include

The module aims to develop the understanding of the policy making process and the role of the different actors within the wider context of the tools and limits of the ability of the UK national government to influence behaviour. It has a particular focus on processes of social control as they relate to social policy. Learning will be centred around two main tasks:

i. Understanding the links between social policy and the regulation of behaviour e.g. the uses and outcomes of incentives, sanctions and educative communication to promote behavioural changes sought by policy makers.

ii. Taking topical examples of policy issues, contextualised analysis of the policy making process, its 'stages', key actors and

institutions will be used to explore how and why particular policy options emerge and evolve. A central concern will be to help students understand the nature of support and opposition for particular policy proposals and the implications for developing alternative policies.

Find out more about SA300

Health, care and wellbeing are central concerns in all our lives; and they raise questions of the interconnected roles of the state, the market and the individual in their creation and support. In this module we explore how we understand and conceptualise these areas, and the potential role of policy interventions in support of them. The module examines the social determinants of health, exploring the ways in which inequalities in society can be replicated. It asks how we might best address changing health needs, including in relation to the growing proportion of older people, exploring these in the context of the new politics of the NHS. What are the best structures to deliver health care? How should these best be funded? Life style is increasingly implicated in health outcomes, and the module explores the dilemmas raised by rising levels of obesity. These are matters of personal choice, but they challenge the health and wellbeing of the population, and raise questions of how choices are shaped in the context of market production. Governments increasingly declare that they are interested not simply in health or prosperity, but also of wellbeing. The module explores what this means, and why there is a new interest in this area. This includes a focus on children/young people and families, examining social policies in areas such as child care, looked after children (state care) and provision for young refugees.

Find out more about SA301

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the ways sociologists attempt to document and explain the social experience of everyday life. Each week the category of 'social experience' is held up for analytical scrutiny in relation to a particular component of 'everyday life'. The course aims to illustrate the value of sociology for helping individuals to better understand the contents and conditions of their social experience of the world. It also aims to document the ways in which sociological theories and methods have developed in correspondence with the evolution of modern societies. The curriculum will include topics such as, The Social Experience of: Work; Memory; Childhood; Food; Stigma; Animals; Charity; and Taste.

Find out more about SO336

Sociology is the study of human societies. It is a discipline committed to the attempt to map out and explain the constitution of society. It also aims to attend to and explain the distinctive character of people's social experience of the world. Sociologists operate from the premise that, by working to explain human characteristics and behaviours in social terms and as relative products of society, they stand to offer insights into some of the major forces that determine our thoughts and behaviours. They work under the conviction that human beings are fundamentally social beings and are products of distinct forms of society. This course is designed to provide you with a basic introduction to Sociology. A particular focus is brought to how sociologists venture to understand the social structures and determinant social forces that shape our living conditions and life chances. It also outlines some of the ways in which such matters are addressed as problems for sociological theory and empirical sociological research.

The curriculum will include topics such as:

What is Sociology?

Theories and Theorizing

Methods and Research

Cities and Communities

The State, Social Policy and Control

Globalization

Work, Employment and Leisure

Inequality, Poverty and Wealth

Stratification, Class and Status

Find out more about SO337

This course is designed to help students understand and critique the numbers and research they encounter in their everyday lives. The first half of the course focuses on teaching the knowledge and skills need to critically evaluate factual quantitative claims. Each lecture uses example quantitative claims, largely drawn from the news media, to teach a particular quantitative skill. For example, highlighting a statistic based on a biased sample to teach students the principles of sampling. The seminars build on the content of the lectures and aim to teach students the practical, computer-based skills needed to evaluate quantitative claims.

The second half of the course is based around students conducting their own research, and also brings in qualitative skills element. Students apply the critical and quantitative skills they have learned to conducting their own mixed-methods project.

Find out more about SO341

This module aims to develop key statistical skills in students on their arrival at Kent, which they can build on in their further research and substantive modules in their degree. Learning will be oriented towards:

i. Assessing the strengths and limitations of using regression analysis for the establishment of causal inference; This includes:

o Distinction between causality, correlation or association

o Levels of measurement (e.g. nominal, ordinal, interval, ratio)

o Methods of regression analysis (e.g. OLS and logistic regression) and related assumptions

ii. Learning how to respond to research questions with the application of statistical methods of analysis, mainly regression methods, with the help of statistical software.

iii. Learning how to interpret the outcome of regression models and contextualise the results within broader theories.

Find out more about SO410

Optional modules may include

Crime is a major social and political issue and the source of much academic and popular debate. Key criminological issues will be examined during the course of the module within their wider sociological and social policy context. There will be a particular focus on understanding the nature and extent of crime and victimisation, analysing public and media perceptions of crime, and exploring the relationship between key social divisions (age, gender and ethnicity) and patterns of offending and victimisation.

Find out more about SO305

This module introduces students to discussions and debates surrounding modern culture. It looks at why culture has always been such a contested sphere and has a decisive impact on society at large. Students will look at culture in the widest sense, ranging from ‘the arts’ to the banalities of everyday life in our consumer society; at how culture has expressed and organised the way people think and live from the days of 'protestantism' to those of post-punk. Books, magazines, radio, TV, movies, cartoons, fashion, graffiti, the cult of celebrity, youth subcultures and pop music will be used to understand class, history, sexuality, colonialism, revolution, conflict and globalisation.

Find out more about SO334

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Stage 2

You complete introductory quantitative modules, which teach you the methodological and technical foundations which you build on in later years. You also learn to think like a quantitative researcher, developing a critical eye for statistics and data analysis, both in academic research and the world around you.

You take all compulsory and optional modules listed below.

Compulsory modules currently include

The module will cover the following topics and issues:

1. The impact of social research upon both social theory and policy-making.

2. The primary epistemological and ontological debates and how these affect the research question, method and design.

3. The steps in designing a qualitative research project and criteria for assessing its quality as applied to positivist as well critical theorists approaches

Ethical considerations in social research, the main problems with establishing valid samples and how different sampling approaches can undermine the validity of the research findings.

4. The variety of qualitative research techniques available to social scientists and their relative advantages and disadvantages in understanding the social world. These include interviewing, visual, comparative/historical, and discourse analytic approaches.

Find out more about SO546

This module aims to develop a basic quantitative research skillset that will enable the student to work with data, from working with different types of datasets/variables to analysing this data and presenting it in oral and written form.

Learning will be orientated towards:-

• Learning ways to work with and manipulate datasets to make them ready for statistical analysis (i.e. to create tidy data)

• Understanding the limitations of simple (OLS) regression, with particular emphasis on endogeneity/confounding and causal heterogeneity;

• Learning a number of advanced methods for investigating the social world through quantitative research (e.g. associative and causal methods). For each method, students will first consider the rationale for the method (its strengths and limitations), and then use the method in hands-on statistical analysis sessions using appropriate statistical software (e.g. R);

• Learning how to communicate and present data and quantitative analysis (e.g. with various types of data visualisations).

Find out more about SO5012

This module provides a broad introduction to welfare services in modern Britain, with a focus on England. Successful students will improve their understanding of the recent history and current organisation of the following areas of social welfare provision. These include education, health, social care, and housing.

The module starts with a basic mapping and description of key institutions and issues. It then moves on to: The policy-making process: paying for welfare services; social policy implementation by government and professions; assessing the impact of social policies.

The teaching will emphasise debates, arguments and controversies. Students will learn how to put together an argument and persuade others.

Find out more about SO601

Optional modules may include

This course will provide students with a sociological understanding of the changing and central importance of individualization for contemporary society, situated both in historical and global comparative terms. The fracturing of collective bonds and assumptions and the casting of individuals into a 'life of their own making' is driven by a combination of economic, technological and cultural forces and is becoming apparent across the globe. This has provoked concern with the implications for social order, mental health and even the future of families and populations. The neglected theme of individualization allows us to examine changing social norms, the changing boundaries of private and public, the management of social order and cohesion in increasingly diverse societies and how anxieties concerning these developments may be overstated or misplaced. At the same time, this module will also emphasize the importance of attending to the ethical and practical implications of unchecked individualization in a variety of contexts and through different case studies

Find out more about SO6011

'This module provides an analysis of health policy primarily focusing on recent policy changes in the UK and identifying the major influences which have shaped these policies. There have been considerable changes in health service policy and public health policy in the UK over the last two decades involving changes to existing policies and the development of new policy themes. The latter have included the rise and fall of policies aimed at social inequalities and the decline in life expectancy in some areas; the increasing emphasis on 'nudging' lifestyle change and on wellbeing in public health policy; a continued focus on the views and/or the voice of the user and the public and increasing emphasis on democratizing the health service and co-production; the re-emergence of the importance of environmental health policy; the marketisation and privatisation of health care in the context of a reduction in public funding; the introduction of managerialism and the attempts to regulate the medical profession and the effectiveness of priority setting agencies such as NICE with their emphasis on evidence based decision making This module is theoretically informed and the approach taken lays emphasis on the interplay of powerful structural interests such as the influence of professional medicine and other occupational groups, the media (including the social media), the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry, commercial health care companies, the State and the socio-political values associated with the government in power, patient’s groups, the third sector and the wider global environment.'

Find out more about SO603

The module provides an overview of the contribution of the third sector to social, economic and political life. It includes analysis of definitions and categorisations, exploration of the theories which underpin the study of the third sector, an examination of theories and the current state of volunteering and charitable giving, examination of the historical and current public policy agenda in relation to the third sector in the UK, the EU and more generally and, an overview of current issues in the third sector and how social scientists go about studying them.

Find out more about SO645

The course is concerned with the relatively new ideas of living in a ‘risk society’ which theoretically capture the heightened sensitivity within Western societies to the numerous ‘risks’ which shape our lives. The course will explore basic concepts of risk, hazard and probability and how risk is managed and communicated. Topics will include risk and globalization, and risk and the media. Developments will be examined through key examples such as ‘mad cow’ disease and genetically modified ‘frankenfoods’. The course will suggest that heightened perception of risk is here to stay, and is leading to a reorganisation of society in important areas.

Find out more about SO659

This is a 15 credit course which will enhance your CV, particularly if you are hoping to work in the public or voluntary sector. You will be supported to undertake three placements in a variety of volunteering roles, both on and off campus; attend four lectures on the voluntary sector and complete a reflective learning log to help you think about your experiences and the transferable skills you are gaining.

The following 2 units are compulsory:

Active community volunteering

Project Leadership

Plus 1 unit selected from the following:

Active university volunteering

Training facilitator

Mentoring

Committee role

All students taking this module are expected to attend four sessions that provide the academic framework for understanding volunteering, as well as practitioner knowledge that will be helpful as you progress through your placements, and invaluable preparation for your essay. These sessions last one hour each and are spaced evenly throughout the academic year.

Find out more about SO670

The course discusses the main approaches which have developed in urban sociology through an exploration of some of the major themes. These themes include urbanisation under capitalism, planning, post-industrialism, globalisation, social differentiation, multiculturalism, protest and social movements, and comparative urbanism (Asian and African contexts). Approaches considered within these will include Marx, Weber, the Chicago School, the Manchester school, and post-modernism.

Find out more about SO712

‘Health’, ‘illness’ and ‘medicine’ are by no means static concepts. Their meaning has changed over time, and there is competition and conflict over what they mean. For example, in recent decades, health has come to mean much more the absence of disease. This is the age of healthy eating, sexual health, holistic health, healthy lifestyles and healthy living. We live in a time when medicine can mean homeopathy or acupuncture, as well as heart surgery and vaccinations. ‘Health’ is also something we seem to worry about, and panic over; recent years have witnessed high profile scares about eating beef, using the contraceptive pill and mobile phones, and giving babies the MMR vaccine. ‘Health, Illness and Medicine’ discusses key ideas and concepts developed by social scientists that can help us understand these, and other, aspects of our society.

Find out more about SO509

The coalition government has argued that following the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent double-drip recession adoption, the UK has no option but to pursue austerity policies. This has included a huge squeeze on spending on cash transfers often referred to as 'welfare'.

This module focuses on poverty and inequality and how such social security policies impact upon them. Students will analyse the nature, extent and causes of poverty and inequality, with reference to the UK. The module will make students aware of current issues in welfare reform as it relates to groups vulnerable to poverty including: people who are unemployed; people who are sick or disabled; older people; children; lone parents; people from Black or minority ethnic groups. The module also shows how social security policies encompass different principles of need, rights and entitlement for users of welfare services.

It is designed to be of interest to Sociology and Health and Social Care students as well as Social Policy students.

Find out more about SO575

This module introduces students to the sociological approach to understanding and critiquing mental health. It begins by outlining historical definitions of mental health and how policy and practice have changed over time from incarceration in large institutions to present-day community care. Sociological perspectives of mental illness (for example, labelling and social causations of mental ill-health) are considered alongside psychiatric and psychological approaches to treating people with mental illnesses. The module then looks at social inequalities in relation to opportunities to recover, including gender and race, as well as other 'actors' within the field such as carers).Mental health and the criminal justice system as well as religion/spirituality are also explored. Please note, as this is not a clinical module material covered will not include in-depth investigations of specific diagnoses of mental illnesses

Find out more about SO532

This module is designed as an exploration of both the social history and historiography of 'the Enlightenment'. It draws a focus to the legacy of Enlightenment in contemporary sociological theory. It explores the bearing of Enlightenment ideas and interests upon the intellectual and political cultures of western modernity. It introduces students to ongoing debates concerned with the legacy of the Enlightenment in twenty-first century society. In this context, it explores the influence of the Enlightenment and its cultural portrayal in contemporary sociology in current disputes concerned with the legacy of colonialism, the gendering of the public sphere, the fate of religion and religious culture through modern times, the cultivation of our social and political democracy and the ‘tragic’ fate of modern rationality.

Find out more about SO764

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Year abroad

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

You can apply to add a year abroad to your degree programme from your arrival at Kent until the autumn term of your second year. The year abroad takes place between Stages 2 and 3 at one of our partner universities. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. For a full list, please see Go Abroad.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the year abroad. The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and does not count towards your final degree classification.

Stage 3

You apply what you have learnt in either a quantitative work placement or a quantitative research dissertation. Here, you hone your skills in a practical setting, gaining vital workplace or research experience, and demonstrating to employers that you can apply your skills to real life problems.

You take compulsory modules and choose either SO748 or Advanced Quantitative Dissertation. You then choose specialist modules from an approved list. See below for examples of possible optional modules.

Compulsory modules currently include

Welfare states face many challenges in the contemporary world. This course takes a comparative approach by systematically analysing key fields to show how a variety of countries have identified and tackled problems of social policy. It starts with a consideration of theoretical frameworks but most of the course is directed at consideration of welfare issues in different countries and to specific topics such as globalisation, migration, population ageing, disability and austerity measures.

Find out more about SA503

Optional modules may include

This module will involve students undertaking quantitative research in a placement setting, while simultaneously reflecting on the process of undertaking real-life quantitative research (through a log), culminating in an assessed reflection on their placement. Aside from the support of the Q-Step Placements Officer and an academic placements advisor, students would also receive lectures covering:

- Turning an organisations ideas into a viable research project (noting that the Q-Step team will already have worked with placement organisations to do this);

- Good practice in undertaking quantitative research projects (e.g. data security, data management, replicability);

- Ethics in applied quantitative research (certainty/uncertainty, power, and 'usefulness');

- Reflecting on research practice (linked to the assessments below).

Matching students to placements

While the Kent Q-Step Centre will arrange a number of potential placements for students on this module, it is the student's responsibility to negotiate a suitable placement – placements depend on finding a successful match between a student's abilities/interests and the placement hosts' needs, and this cannot be guaranteed in advance. However, the Q-Step Centre's Placements Officer (in collaboration with the Q-Step Academic Placement Lead and (where appropriate) the Schools' Placements Officer) will provide considerable support for students in finding a placement, including:

o Providing a range of possible placement opportunities for students that have been negotiated with employers across the private, public and voluntary sectors;

o Helping match students to these placement opportunities;

o Helping students find their own placement opportunity, if they cannot find a successful match in the existing placement opportunities.

The Placements Officer will also provide the further support.

Find out more about SO748

The aim of the module is that students choose and then answer their own research question. The objectives are to develop a research question and appropriate research design. This will be followed by identifying suitable data sources based on existing literature. This will be followed by identifying data sources and data analysis techniques to interrogate the data and answer their research question. The final part objective is write up the research in a clear and coherent manner.

Find out more about SO756

The course discusses the main approaches which have developed in urban sociology through an exploration of some of the major themes. These themes include urbanisation under capitalism, planning, post-industrialism, globalisation, social differentiation, multiculturalism, protest and social movements, and comparative urbanism (Asian and African contexts). Approaches considered within these will include Marx, Weber, the Chicago School, the Manchester school, and post-modernism.

Find out more about SO712

This is a 15 credit course which will enhance your CV, particularly if you are hoping to work in the public or voluntary sector. You will be supported to undertake three placements in a variety of volunteering roles, both on and off campus; attend four lectures on the voluntary sector and complete a reflective learning log to help you think about your experiences and the transferable skills you are gaining.

The following 2 units are compulsory:

Active community volunteering

Project Leadership

Plus 1 unit selected from the following:

Active university volunteering

Training facilitator

Mentoring

Committee role

All students taking this module are expected to attend four sessions that provide the academic framework for understanding volunteering, as well as practitioner knowledge that will be helpful as you progress through your placements, and invaluable preparation for your essay. These sessions last one hour each and are spaced evenly throughout the academic year.

Find out more about SO670

This module aims to enable students to design and conduct their own piece of research. This can be primary research where students collect and analyse their own data, or it can be library based, where students research existing literature or re-analyse data collected by others. The research can be about a particular policy or policy area, social problem, social development, or matter of sociological interest. The dissertation will usually be set out as a series of chapters. In order to assist students with designing and writing a dissertation a supervisor – a member of staff in SSPSSR - will have an initial meeting with students (during the summer term of Year 2 where possible) and then during the Autumn and Spring terms students will have at least six formal dissertation sessions with their supervisor. These may be held individually or with other students. In addition there will be two lectures by the module convenor which will also support students’ progress.

Find out more about SO679

The course is concerned with the relatively new ideas of living in a ‘risk society’ which theoretically capture the heightened sensitivity within Western societies to the numerous ‘risks’ which shape our lives. The course will explore basic concepts of risk, hazard and probability and how risk is managed and communicated. Topics will include risk and globalization, and risk and the media. Developments will be examined through key examples such as ‘mad cow’ disease and genetically modified ‘frankenfoods’. The course will suggest that heightened perception of risk is here to stay, and is leading to a reorganisation of society in important areas.

Find out more about SO659

The module provides an overview of the contribution of the third sector to social, economic and political life. It includes analysis of definitions and categorisations, exploration of the theories which underpin the study of the third sector, an examination of theories and the current state of volunteering and charitable giving, examination of the historical and current public policy agenda in relation to the third sector in the UK, the EU and more generally and, an overview of current issues in the third sector and how social scientists go about studying them.

Find out more about SO645

'This module provides an analysis of health policy primarily focusing on recent policy changes in the UK and identifying the major influences which have shaped these policies. There have been considerable changes in health service policy and public health policy in the UK over the last two decades involving changes to existing policies and the development of new policy themes. The latter have included the rise and fall of policies aimed at social inequalities and the decline in life expectancy in some areas; the increasing emphasis on 'nudging' lifestyle change and on wellbeing in public health policy; a continued focus on the views and/or the voice of the user and the public and increasing emphasis on democratizing the health service and co-production; the re-emergence of the importance of environmental health policy; the marketisation and privatisation of health care in the context of a reduction in public funding; the introduction of managerialism and the attempts to regulate the medical profession and the effectiveness of priority setting agencies such as NICE with their emphasis on evidence based decision making This module is theoretically informed and the approach taken lays emphasis on the interplay of powerful structural interests such as the influence of professional medicine and other occupational groups, the media (including the social media), the pharmaceutical industry, the food industry, commercial health care companies, the State and the socio-political values associated with the government in power, patient’s groups, the third sector and the wider global environment.'

Find out more about SO603

This module will provide students with an understanding of both the art and science of philanthropy (that is 'voluntary action for public good'), culminating with students distributing philanthropic funding to local community causes. Exploring the role of philanthropy in contemporary society, students would be encouraged to critically examine who gives in society and why. We will examine the mechanisms of giving, and how and why philanthropy impacts on all parts of civil society. We explore the economic, social and moral frameworks of giving, debating notions of worthy and unworthy causes, and how social policy shapes philanthropic giving, as well as how philanthropy helps shape and drive social policy. As part of this module students will be facilitated to reflect on and make their own giving decisions, exploring the role of the philanthropist and how to define philanthropic impact. The module concludes with students ‘becoming’ philanthropists, distributing small grants to local organisations and evaluating these giving decisions.

Find out more about SO624

This course will provide students with a sociological understanding of the changing and central importance of individualization for contemporary society, situated both in historical and global comparative terms. The fracturing of collective bonds and assumptions and the casting of individuals into a 'life of their own making' is driven by a combination of economic, technological and cultural forces and is becoming apparent across the globe. This has provoked concern with the implications for social order, mental health and even the future of families and populations. The neglected theme of individualization allows us to examine changing social norms, the changing boundaries of private and public, the management of social order and cohesion in increasingly diverse societies and how anxieties concerning these developments may be overstated or misplaced. At the same time, this module will also emphasize the importance of attending to the ethical and practical implications of unchecked individualization in a variety of contexts and through different case studies

Find out more about SO6011

In this module you will begin to understand the process and debates surrounding how researchers learn more about the social world. What techniques and approaches do social researchers draw upon to organise, structure and interpret research evidence? How do we judge the quality of research? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the range of frameworks and methodologies? The first part of the module introduces you to the conceptual issues and debates around the ‘best’ way to explore social questions, forms and issues, and an overview of some popular methods for doing so. In the Spring Term, you will spend most of your time applying what you have learned in a group research project and an individual research design project.

Find out more about SO602

The module will begin with (locally timetabled, formative) training sessions for the students in the Autumn term. These will include sessions on the sections of the national curriculum that are degree specific, the relationship with the teacher, how to behave with pupils, as well as how to organise an engaging and informative session on an aspect of the specific degree subject drawn from the national curriculum. These sessions will be run by members of the Partnership Development Office.

After training the student will spend approximately 6 hours in a school in the Spring term (this session excludes time to travel to and from the School, preparation and debrief time with the teacher). Generally, they will begin by observing lessons taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Later they will act somewhat in the role of a teaching assistant by working with individual pupils or with a small group. They may take 'hotspots': brief sessions with the whole class where they explain a topic or talk about aspects of university life. Finally, the student will progress to the role of "teacher" and will be expected to lead an entire lesson.

The student will be required to keep a log of their activities and experiences at each session. Each student will also create resources to aid in the delivery of their subject area within the curriculum. Finally, the student will devise a special final taught lesson in consultation with the teacher and with the local module convener. They must then implement and reflect on the lesson.

Find out more about SE556

‘Health’, ‘illness’ and ‘medicine’ are by no means static concepts. Their meaning has changed over time, and there is competition and conflict over what they mean. For example, in recent decades, health has come to mean much more the absence of disease. This is the age of healthy eating, sexual health, holistic health, healthy lifestyles and healthy living. We live in a time when medicine can mean homeopathy or acupuncture, as well as heart surgery and vaccinations. ‘Health’ is also something we seem to worry about, and panic over; recent years have witnessed high profile scares about eating beef, using the contraceptive pill and mobile phones, and giving babies the MMR vaccine. ‘Health, Illness and Medicine’ discusses key ideas and concepts developed by social scientists that can help us understand these, and other, aspects of our society.

Find out more about SO509

This module introduces students to the sociological approach to understanding and critiquing mental health. It begins by outlining historical definitions of mental health and how policy and practice have changed over time from incarceration in large institutions to present-day community care. Sociological perspectives of mental illness (for example, labelling and social causations of mental ill-health) are considered alongside psychiatric and psychological approaches to treating people with mental illnesses. The module then looks at social inequalities in relation to opportunities to recover, including gender and race, as well as other 'actors' within the field such as carers).Mental health and the criminal justice system as well as religion/spirituality are also explored. Please note, as this is not a clinical module material covered will not include in-depth investigations of specific diagnoses of mental illnesses

Find out more about SO532

The coalition government has argued that following the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent double-drip recession adoption, the UK has no option but to pursue austerity policies. This has included a huge squeeze on spending on cash transfers often referred to as 'welfare'.

This module focuses on poverty and inequality and how such social security policies impact upon them. Students will analyse the nature, extent and causes of poverty and inequality, with reference to the UK. The module will make students aware of current issues in welfare reform as it relates to groups vulnerable to poverty including: people who are unemployed; people who are sick or disabled; older people; children; lone parents; people from Black or minority ethnic groups. The module also shows how social security policies encompass different principles of need, rights and entitlement for users of welfare services.

It is designed to be of interest to Sociology and Health and Social Care students as well as Social Policy students.

Find out more about SO575

This module is designed as an exploration of both the social history and historiography of 'the Enlightenment'. It draws a focus to the legacy of Enlightenment in contemporary sociological theory. It explores the bearing of Enlightenment ideas and interests upon the intellectual and political cultures of western modernity. It introduces students to ongoing debates concerned with the legacy of the Enlightenment in twenty-first century society. In this context, it explores the influence of the Enlightenment and its cultural portrayal in contemporary sociology in current disputes concerned with the legacy of colonialism, the gendering of the public sphere, the fate of religion and religious culture through modern times, the cultivation of our social and political democracy and the ‘tragic’ fate of modern rationality.

Find out more about SO764

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Fees

The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £9250
  • International full-time £16200
  • Home/EU part-time £4625
  • International part-time £8100

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £9,250.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

Additional costs

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Teaching and assessment

In addition to learning through lectures, seminars, workshops, project supervision, and statistics classes, this degree prides itself in its aim to let students carry out hands-on research in the ‘field’ through placements and field trips. Most modules are assessed by examination and coursework in equal measure.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

  • produce thoughtful, well-trained and flexible social scientists with an up-to-date knowledge of social welfare provision in industrial societies
  • help students to link theoretical knowledge with empirical enquiry and to identify and understand different ideological positions on welfare provision
  • give students the skills and abilities to enable them to become informed citizens, capable of participating in the policy process and equipped for a dynamic labour market
  • provide students with the statistical and analytical tools to independently and successfully conduct advanced quantitative research
  • help students make persuasive arguments using quantitative research, and to critically assess the arguments made by others in the course of social life
  • help students link theoretical knowledge with empirical enquiry, so that they understand how to conduct and critique social research in the real world.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the origins and development of UK welfare institutions
  • the current sources of welfare in the UK, including health and social services, social security, housing and education
  • the operation and financing of the policy process and an understanding of the political economy of welfare
  • the welfare provided by the private and voluntary sectors, and an understanding of the mixed economy of care
  • the key concepts used in social policy, such as need, equity, inequality, poverty, exclusion, identity, difference and diversity
  • the local, regional, national and supra-national dimensions of social policy and understanding of the links between them
  • the main sources of data about social welfare and a grasp of the research methods used to collect and analyse data
  • interdisciplinary approaches to issues in social policy and the ability to use ideas from other social sciences
  • the key concepts and theories of welfare and the ability to apply these in a comparative approach
  • the strengths and weaknesses of statistical techniques applied to the study of social issues
  • cross-disciplinary understanding of advanced quantitative reasoning and application of these methods to the analysis of complex societal problems
  • how to abstract findings from the application of quantitative research methods to examine essential features of complex societal problems and provide a framework for assessment of contemporary institutional arrangements
  • the value of comparative analysis across disciplines
  • ethical implications of social sciences’ inquiry.

Intellectual skills

You develop the following intellectual skills:

  • problem-solving skills and the ability to seek solutions to social problems and individual needs
  • research skills, including the ability to identify a research question and to collect and manipulate data to answer that question
  • evaluative and analytic skills, to assess the outcomes of social policy intervention on individuals and communities
  • sensitivity to the values and interests of others and to the dimensions of difference
  • quantitative: the appropriate use of analytical methods – including advanced methods – in handling, analysing and presenting statistical data across relevant disciplines. Ability to interpret both research data and official statistics.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • identifying and using theories and concepts in social policy to analyse social issues
  • handling and interpreting statistical data relevant to social issues.
  • undertaking an investigation of an empirical issue, either on your own or with other students
  • distinguishing between technical, normative, moral and political questions
  • constructing criminological arguments using quantitative empirical evidence.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • studying and learning independently, using library and internet sources
  • an appetite for learning and being reflective, adaptive and collaborative in your approach
  • making short presentations to fellow students and staff
  • communicating ideas and arguments to others, both in written and spoken form
  • preparing essays and referencing the material quoted according to conventions in social policy
  • using IT to word-process, conduct online searches, communicate by email and access data sources
  • developing skills in time management by delivering academic work on time and to the required standard
  • developing interpersonal and teamwork skills to enable you to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results
  • appropriately using analytical methods – including advanced methods – in handling, analysing and presenting statistical data in diverse real-world settings.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

Independent rankings

Social Policy at Kent was ranked 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2020 and 7th in The Times Good University Guide 2020.

Social Policy at Kent was ranked 3rd for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2021.

Careers

Graduate destinations

In an increasingly competitive job market, graduates with quantitative skills are in high demand by all employers from across the public, private and third sectors. 

Our social policy graduates have been extremely successful in finding employment in a wide range of areas including:

  • social work and health care
  • policy analysis
  • human resource management
  • advice services
  • education and research 
  • the Civil Service.

Some graduates choose to go on to further studies at postgraduate level.

Help finding a job

The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research has its own employability team who work with businesses to maximise opportunities for our students. We also hold an Employability Month every February and run networking events throughout the year to help you develop your skills and contacts.

The University has a friendly Careers and Employability Service which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

Work experience

There are opportunities to apply your newfound skills in quantitative analysis in professional settings through placements and applied research modules. We have links to placements across many sectors, including government (national and local), think tanks and charities, cultural organisations and the private sector. 

Career-enhancing skills

You graduate with subject-specific knowledge that is essential if you plan to work in the broad area of social policy. Alongside this knowledge, your advanced quantitative research skills, which give you the ability to understand, explain and critique data in diverse real-world settings, can set you apart from other graduates.

You also develop the key transferable skills graduate employers look for. These include:

  • the ability to analyse problems
  • excellent communication skills
  • teamworking
  • the ability to use data analysis computer programs
  • an understanding of, and sensitivity to, the values and interests of others.

You can also gain additional skills by signing up for our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a new language or volunteering.

Independent rankings

For graduate prospects, Social Policy at Kent was ranked 8th in The Times Good University Guide 2018 and 11th in The Complete University Guide 2018.

Of Social Policy students who graduated from Kent in 2016, 100% were in work or further study within six months, making them the most successful in the UK (DLHE).

According to Which? University (2017), the average starting salary for graduates of this degree is £18,500.

Apply for Social Policy with Quantitative Research - BA (Hons)

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  • Your UCAS Track login details
  • UCAS code L4G3
  • Institution ID K24
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