Social Policy and Social Change and Politics - BA (Hons)

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Are you interested in current affairs and politics? Do you wonder about how societies can promote the welfare of individuals and families? Our Social Policy and Social Change and Politics joint honours programme offers you a comprehensive approach to exploring these important topics.

Overview

The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research offers a large choice of specialist modules on race, social change, criminal justice, disability and the arts. Our academics are internationally recognised for their expertise in social policy and their varied research gives you the opportunity to study diverse areas ranging from street culture to terrorism.

Our modules and creative forms of assessment are designed to stimulate your thinking and prepare you for a job market looking for versatile and innovative individuals.

Politics at Kent encourages you to think critically about political events, ideas and institutions while engaging with the key issues of today.

Our degree programme

In your first year, you explore the nature of social challenges such as ageing, neglect, crime, health, education, employment and homelessness. You are also introduced to the fundamentals of political science. You learn about qualitative and quantitative research methods relevant for both disciplines.

During all stages of your studies, you have the opportunity to choose specialist modules that suit your interests and include topics like health policy; inequality and social security; political change; crime; race and work.

In your final year of study, there is an option to take a dissertation module on a subject of your choice. This allows you to focus in detail on an area you are particularly passionate about.

Study resources

You have access to a wide range of topical journals and books in hard copy and digital format through Kent’s Templeman Library. You can even access content from the European Documentation Centre, a useful resource for studying European politics and policy.

Your designated academic advisor provides guidance for your studies and academic development.

Our Student Learning Advisory Service also offers useful workshops on topics like essay writing and academic referencing.

Extra activities

There are a number of student-led societies which you may want to join such as:

  • Socrates Society
  • Feminist Society
  • Kent Amnesty International
  • Politics and International Relations Society.

There are also 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.

You may also attend the School of Politics and International Relations programmes of events which focuses on bridging the gap between academic study and real-life politics.

Entry requirements

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Some typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

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    A level

    BBB

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    30 points overall or 15 points at HL

  • International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, 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

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

This module introduces students to the empirical study of the key structures, institutions, processes, outcomes and behaviour in political systems. It familiarises students with both the content and shape of political life and how academic scholars study it. But it also introduces the data, methods and techniques that allow students to study it themselves. Students learn about political life by learning how to do basic political research.

Find out more about POLI3350

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 SAPO3000

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, particularly 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 and alcohol consumption. 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. It also examines the interface between health and care, both institutionally and conceptually and in turn, how these relate to issues of wellbeing. The module's content covers a range of issues affecting adults and children/young people.

Find out more about SAPO3010

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: Sex, Gender and Sexuality, Racial and Ethnic Identities, Risk and Society, Crime and Deviance, Health, Media, Religion or Family.

Find out more about SOCI3360

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 SOCI3370

Optional modules may include

Democracy in Britain does not appear to be in a healthy state. Citizens are less engaged with political institutions, and less trusting in politicians, than they used to be. Critical questions are being asked about the role and effectiveness of such key institutions as the electoral system and parliament. Meanwhile, the nature of political authority in Britain is changing rapidly. Power has been transferred upwards to the European Union, and downwards to devolved bodies in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London. Non-electoral actors such as the media also play an important role in shaping political decisions. Where does this leave the political system at the start of the 21st century? Is government in Britain effective and democratic? Or are Britain's political institutions failing? This module provides students with an introduction to some of the key issues facing the political system in Britain today. The module examines the challenges facing the political system, the effectiveness of existing political arrangements and the merits of institutional reform. While the focus is domestic, many of the same challenges are also faced by political systems in other west European countries, to which the course will make reference. The module thus aims to go beyond a simple focus on British politics, by introducing students to some of the key contemporary issues facing many western democracies.

Find out more about POLI3040

The module is designed to introduce students to the principle approaches to conflict and conflict resolution. Starting with a discussion of the pervasiveness of conflict in human existence, the module will engage with the key question of "what is conflict?" Students will be introduced to conflict management and conflict resolution approaches before engaging with conflict resolution processes such as negotiation and mediation. The module will rely on case studies and simulations to help students engage directly and better grasp the different theoretical approaches. Case studies will include an in-depth analysis of the Oslo process and a discussion of the specific difficulties linked to negotiations with “terrorists.” The students will emerge from the module with knowledge of the central paradigms and concepts of conflict analysis and resolution, and with an initial set of skills (negotiation and mediation) which can be used to further understand international politics but also in their personal engagement with others.

Find out more about POLI3250

Societies expend huge amounts of intellectual and financial capital attempting to understand and explain the problem of crime. The module will provide a general introduction to the different types of crime that occur throughout the social structure in Western democracies, from the mundane, quotidian crimes of everyday life, to crimes perpetuated by the most powerful members of society. To that end, the module will contain lectures on subjects such as the nature and extent of violent crime, the process and effects of victimisation, and the relationship between key social divisions (age, gender and ethnicity) and patterns of offending. The module will also include a focus on how the media and popular culture intertwine with the practices of crime and crime control.

Find out more about SOCI3330

This module 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 module 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 SOCI3410

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

Stage 2

Stage 3

Fees

The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for UK undergraduate courses have not yet been set by the UK Government. As a guide only the 2021/2022 fees for this course were £9,250.

  • Home full-time TBC
  • International full-time TBC
  • Home part-time TBC
  • International part-time TBC

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

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.

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 A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

Teaching and assessment

Social Policy

We use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, case study analysis, group projects and presentations, and individual and group tutorials. Many module convenors also offer additional ‘clinic’ hours to help with the preparation of coursework and for exams.

Politics

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, simulations and role plays, workshops, working groups, PC laboratory sessions and discussions with your tutor. Assessment is through feedback, written examinations, assessed essays and oral presentations, among others.

For assessment details for individual modules click the 'read more' link within each module listed in the course structure.

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

For programme aims and learning outcomes please see the programmes specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:

Independent rankings

Social Policy at Kent was ranked 3rd for research quality and 10th overall in The Complete University Guide 2022.

Social Policy at Kent was ranked 3rd for graduate prospects and 10th for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2022.

Careers

Graduate destinations

As part of your degree, you develop critical thinking, transferable knowledge and skills that enable you to work in a variety of professions.

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

  • national and local government
  • social and cultural policy
  • practical politics
  • international institutions and NGOs
  • social services
  • media, journalism, broadcasting
  • the organisation of social and community projects
  • social work.

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.

We have excellent links with local outside agencies, such as the probation and youth justice services, the police and social services.

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.

Career-enhancing skills

As well as gaining skills and knowledge in your subject area, you acquire key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates.

These skills include:

  • analysing complex information and making it accessible to non-specialist readers
  • writing reports
  • using data analysis software
  • working effectively and considerately in teams
  • an understanding of, and sensitivity to, the values and interests of others.

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

Apply for this course

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.

Find out more about how to apply

All applicants

Apply through UCAS

International applicants

Apply now to Kent

Contact us

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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