Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Social Anthropology and Politics - BA (Hons)

UCAS code LL62

2019

This programme allows you to combine the study of social anthropology with an exploration of political theories, movements and institutions, and the drivers of political change.

Overview

Anthropologists have studied the political systems of world societies since the early years of the discipline, and, today, political anthropology is central to contemporary anthropological thought.

Within the School of Anthropology and Conservation, we have a range of experts working on politics, in regions as diverse as the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, India and Central America. Their research is key to specialist modules such as Violence and Conflict in the Contemporary World; innovative regional modules on European Societies and Southeast Asian Societies, and across a wide range of our core and optional teaching.

A unique strength of anthropological study of politics is its comparative perspective – enabling students to grasp, in concrete ethnographic detail, how power is manifested in diverse cultural practices and institutions across the modern world.

It also reveals how our understanding of political systems urgently needs to be grounded in such ‘local’ knowledge in a globalised and increasingly connected world. For such reasons, training in anthropology - in political systems and more broadly - offers an ideal complement to undergraduate study in politics.


Independent rankings

In The Guardian University Guide 2019, over 86% of final-year Anthropology students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Over 89% of final-year Anthropology students were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2019.

In The Guardian University Guide 2019, over 91% of final-year Politics students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

Teaching Excellence Framework

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.

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Course structure

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 Credits

Social Anthropology is a discipline which arose with other social sciences in the mid- to late-nineteenth century, social and cultural anthropology has made a speciality of studying 'other' peoples worlds and ways of life. With increasing frequency, however, anthropologists have turned towards 'home', using insights gained from studying other cultures to illuminate aspects of their own society. By studying people's lives both at 'home' and 'abroad', social and cultural anthropology attempt to both explain what may at first appear bizarre and alien about other peoples' ways of living whilst also questioning what goes without saying about our own society and beliefs. Or, to put it another way, social and cultural anthropology attempt, among other things, to challenge our ideas about what we take to be natural about 'human nature' and more generally force us to take a fresh look at what we take for granted.

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30

This module is an introduction to biological anthropology and human prehistory. It provides an exciting introduction to humans as the product of evolutionary processes. We will explore primates and primate behaviour, human growth and development, elementary genetics, the evolution of our species, origins of agriculture and cities, perceptions of race, and current research into human reproduction and sexuality. Students will develop skills in synthesising information from a range of sources and learn to critically evaluate various hypotheses about human evolution, culture, and behaviour. This module is required for all BSc and BA Anthropology students. The module is also suitable for students in other disciplines who want to understand human evolution, and the history and biology of our species. A background in science is not assumed or required, neither are there any preferred A-levels or other qualifications. The module is team-taught by the biological and medical anthropology staff.

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30

This core module introduces students to the wide range of different methodologies commonly employed in political science. This includes the scientific method and both traditional and newer forms of research. Students will also be introduced to some of the fields of inquiry that dominate the study of politics, including public choice, social movements, political behaviour, economic development and democracy. The module integrates these two main components to create both an awareness of the breadth of political science and its approaches, ultimately providing students with the foundation for further study in political science. Substantive topics include: the nature of inquiry (questioning and determining what constitutes evidence), methods of comparison, theory and hypotheses. They will also be introduced to and explore quantitative methods, formal methods, experimental methods and empirical quantitative methods. Students will implement basic quantitative research techniques for themselves. Finally, they will be introduced to concepts such as equivalence, selection bias, spuriousness, value bias and ecological and individualist fallacy in order to illuminate the difficulties faced when making comparisons.

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15

The module introduces students to the empirical study of the key structures, institutions and processes in political life. It does so through the lens of the comparative method, in which political systems are compared and contrasted to test hypotheses about the factors producing similarities and differences across countries and over time. The module first introduces the comparative method, and then discusses the different ways in which political systems can be organized and classified. It focuses on the three key powers in all political systems – executive, legislative and judicial – the ‘intermediate’ actors that link people to their governments, namely political parties, interest groups and the media, and how citizens behave politically in relations to such institutions and actors. Throughout the module, students are encouraged to identify the factors and the processes leading to different political outcomes across states and over time and to use both qualitative and quantitative data to support their arguments.

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15
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include Credits

This course builds on students' knowledge of the approaches and methods used in the study of politics and international relations introduced in the first year of the degree program and the foundation in the analysis of quantitative data established in the second year. Students will be asked to consider the nature and purposes of descriptive and causal analysis in politics and international relations. Students will develop skills in choosing, using and evaluating the research designs, and techniques for the collection and analyses of data used by researchers in these fields. Emphasis in the course will be placed on a mixed methods approach to political analysis that enables student to integrate, analyse and evaluate both qualitative and quantitative data. In addition to developing a conceptual and theoretical understanding of different approaches to evidence gathering and analyses and how they can be combined, students will also have the opportunity to extend their skills in practical data analyses.

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15

The study of social and political phenomena is a vast endeavour and this class will serve as an introduction to methods for social science research. This 15 credit intermediate-level module is normally taken in Stage II. It provides a basic, non-technical introduction to the use of quantitative methods in the political sciences for students from a variety of educational backgrounds (including those with very limited knowledge of mathematical terminology and notation). The progression of this course will address scientific research design and methodology and consider many examples of such research In short, it seeks to enable students to read, interpret, and critically assess arguments drawing on quantitative methods in Politics and International Relations. Students with some prior exposure to quantitative methods will have the opportunity to improve their command of statistical software as well as apply their general statistical skills to data sets commonly found in policy and academic work.

The module is divided into two main components: In the first part, students will be introduced to both the logic of empirical research in the social sciences and to basic concepts and techniques of descriptive uni-, bi-, and multi-variate data analysis. The second part will focus on uni-, bi-, and multi-variate inferential statistics. ICT skills will be acquired/enhanced of students by the introduction to and use of statistical software (SPSS). The focus will be on student-centred learning and critical reflection of selected examples of quantitative work in seminars and group work.

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15

The focus of this module is the intensive investigation of the canonical form in which research in social anthropology has been disseminated, the ethnography. The reading list for the module therefore consists exclusively of professional ethnographic monographs of varying thematic and regional focus.

Students will be expected to come to seminars with notes from their reading and will be encouraged to discuss that reading and to relate it to wider anthropological issues raised or implied by the authors of the ethnographies.

Considerable time will be spent, particularly in the earlier seminars, on instruction about how to read an ethnography and what goes into writing it. This might include how to examine its implicit (as opposed to explicit) theoretical assumptions; how to place it within the historical development of the discipline; how to evaluate its empirical investigation of particular theoretical problems; how to evaluate the relationship between description and analysis; how to evaluate its contribution to particular issues and topics within social anthropology; and the examination of its structure, presentation and ability to communicate an understanding of a social and cultural group through the written word.

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15

The module is a cross-cultural analysis of economic and political institutions, and the ways in which they transform over time. Throughout the term, we draw upon a range of ethnographic research and social theory, to investigate the political and conceptual questions raised by the study of power and economy. The module engages with the development and key debates of political and economic anthropology, and explores how people experience, and acquire power over social and economic resources. Students are asked to develop perspectives on the course material that are theoretically informed and empirically grounded, and to apply them to the political and economic questions of everyday life. The module covers the following topics: the relationship between power and authority; key concepts and theoretical debates in economic anthropology; sharing and egalitarianism; gift exchange; sexual inequality; violence; the nation state; money; social class; work; commodification; financialisation.

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15

This module is focused on a diverse range of approaches deployed by anthropologists to the study of religion, and belief and symbolic systems. It introduces a range of anthropological insights to the ongoing transformations of religious traditions and belief systems vis-à-vis colonial encounters, post-colonial settings, as well as globalisation. The aim of the module is to familiarize students with the complex interactions between lived religious practice, religious traditions, and the ways in which these are intertwined with other domains of social life, politics, economics and ideology. The key topics covered in this module focus on ritual and sacrifice; witchcraft and sorcery; secularisation and fundamentalism; millennialism and conversion; cosmology and ideology; human and non-human relationships; modes of religiosity, rationality and belief; mediation and ethics. This module will develop students' awareness of the strengths and limitations of anthropological insights compared to other disciplinary perspectives on religion such as theology, cognitive science or sociology.

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15

This module builds on Ethnographies I, and its focus is to further investigate the canonical form in which research in social anthropology has been disseminated, the ethnography. The reading list for the module therefore consists exclusively of professional ethnographic monographs of varying thematic and regional focus.

Students will be expected to come to seminars with notes from their reading and will be encouraged to discuss that reading and to relate it to wider anthropological issues raised or implied by the authors of the ethnographies.

Considerable time will be spent, particularly in the earlier seminars, on instruction about how to read an ethnography and what goes into writing it. This might include how to examine its implicit (as opposed to explicit) theoretical assumptions; how to place it within the historical development of the discipline; how to evaluate its empirical investigation of particular theoretical problems; how to evaluate the relationship between description and analysis; how to evaluate its contribution to particular issues and topics within social anthropology; and the examination of its structure, presentation and ability to communicate an understanding of a social and cultural group through the written word.

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15
Optional modules may include Credits

‘European Societies’ surveys the social anthropology of contemporary Europe, with a focus on Western European urban and rural societies. The module explores changes in European societies since the end of the Cold War, including conflict related to the reorganisation and ‘fortification’ of Europe’s southern and eastern borders. We read ethnographies exemplifying contemporary approaches to studying industrial and post-industrial societies. We critically review key debates in the study of community and identity politics; nationalism and ethnic conflict; borders, migration and transnationalism; tradition, modernity, and heritage; tourism; industrial and post-industrial work; new religious movements; and biosocialities. A further focus is interrogation of the concept of ‘Europe’ itself, through analyzing the process of ‘Europeanization’ within the EU, and issues raised by the financial crisis; and through presenting ethnographic vantage points from which students can rethink the idea of ‘Europe’ for themselves. The module includes a critical history of anthropological study of Europe and the Northern Mediterranean, with special attention to the role of the University of Kent in the development of the regional literature. It is designed to be accessible to anthropology students, and those interested in European studies more generally.

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15

The course will introduce students to cutting-edge ethnographic studies of contemporary China. Through these studies, students will be encouraged to think about a series of key issues in the anthropology of China.

For a very long time it was difficult or impossible for outsiders to observe life in China directly in a systematic way, and as a result our accustomed ways of thinking about China are based on macro-level economic and political phenomena, stereotypes and icons --- when we think of China, we think of Confucianism and Communism, kung fu and feng shui, Mao and Chiang Kai Shek, trouble in Tibet and tension with Taiwan. These things are all important, but they leave us with little understanding of what ordinary life is like in China, and so Chinese society can appear mysterious and sometimes contradictory. Fortunately, it has become progressively easier to conduct social scientific research in China and since the mid-1990s and there is now a substantial ethnographic literature that allows us to begin to see contemporary China as a flesh-and-blood society.

This module will use ethnographic literature to explore key topics in the anthropology of China, such as ethnicity, religion, the role of the Communist Party, and the development of capitalism.

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15

Over the course of twelve weeks this module provides students with a working knowledge of the ethnography of the countries of Southeast Asia and gives them the opportunity to discuss contemporary issues affecting the region. After being introduced to the places and peoples of the countries of Southeast Asia, students are directed to a study of agricultural and industrial developments, the political systems which exist at local and national levels, the importance of religious belief in everyday life, and issues of gender and power in the region.

Students should note that although this is an area course it is also an anthropological one and consequently students are urged to bring into their discussions in seminars and essays comparative material from other regions of the world to provide a dimension of cross-cultural analysis.

The emphasis of the module will be largely on Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand though the other countries of the region will receive frequent mention. Students are encouraged to introduce into discussions and essays reference to ethnographic examples from countries in the region in which they have an interest but which may not have received much attention in the lectures.

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15
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage

Stage 3

Compulsory modules currently include Credits

This module aims to develop the anthropological imagination of Stage 3 students, that is, to instill the ability to apprehend theoretical issues and apply them with a critical and informed sense of difference in the human experience. The module is not a 'history of theory' survey; rather, it will proceed by means of a set of topics through which different theoretical approaches to the same ethnographic problem or issue have been explored. The module may be organised around a single theme that has long dominated anthropological discussions (such as 'the gift', hierarchy and scale, structure and agency etc.) which will be used as a lens through which to view theoretical discussions within social anthropology as well as its appropriations from other disciplines.

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15

This module aims to aid Stage 3 students in making connections between theoretical issues and the ways in which they recur in the practices and debates of social anthropologists. The module teaches theoretical engagement by means of tracking the way that similar problems in ethnographic practice have been approached by different theoretical schools. The module engages a series of themes that illustrate how social anthropologists throughout the history of the discipline, and from different national traditions within the discipline, have engaged with the pressing political and social concerns of their day.

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15
Optional modules may include Credits

This course will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the recent political history of Northern Ireland. The course will be accessible to all students, whether they are new to the topic or not. The main objective of the course is to provide students with a greater understanding of one of the most complex regions within the United Kingdom. Students who take the course will learn about the central issues that underpinned community conflict, why sectarian conflict broke out in the region in the late 1960s, why it continued for so long, and what political dynamics led to the ‘peace process’ of the 1990s. In addition to looking at the conventional historical and political development of Northern Ireland, the course will also focus on wider aspects of the society such as representations in Irish poetry, music and sport, and the way in which these have mirrored political and cultural relationships within the region.

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15

This module introduces students to the complex set of questions surrounding religion in international politics. The module begins by exploring contending political and sociological understandings of religion at the turn of the 20th century. It looks, in particular, at the constructed nature of the categories of the ‘religious’ and the ‘secular’, and at the limits of the secularization thesis, which anticipated the privatization, decline and ultimately disappearance of religion in modernity. The discussion then turns to the relation between religion and secularism in Europe – with a focus on the question of European identity, multiculturalism, the relation between Europe and Islam and the numerous controversies surrounding Islam in Europe – and in the United States – with a focus on the concept of civil religion and the role of religious rhetoric and thinking in US foreign policy, particularly in the so-called ‘war on terror’. The module then explores the relation between religion and violence by looking at the role of the 16th and 17th wars of religion in the process of modern state formation and by asking whether there is a genuine connection between religion and violence. The concluding part of the module focuses on the emerging concept of the ‘postsecular’, its contending meanings, understandings and possible applications by focusing on the case of the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

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15

The purpose of the module is to enable students to critically engage with the International Society (or “English School”) approach to International Relations. Combining political theory, IR theory, philosophy, sociology, and history this approach seeks to understand the theory and practice of international politics by reference to the historical development of relations between large scale political entities (from empires, hordes, kingdoms, to the modern nation-state and beyond) and the discourses that have emerged (Machiavellian, Grotian, Kantian) in response to the development of first European international society and eventually world society. The course focuses on the central features of international society - war and peace - as they have been conceived by the three traditions and members of the English School from Martin Wight to more contemporary figures.

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15

This course is intended to familiarise students with the conservative tradition in modern politics. This is achieved by reference to a range of key conservative thinkers selected to help students understand the diversity of the conservative tradition and consider what factors help to cohere it. Comparison within the tradition and across a variety of thinkers is achieved by examining these thinkers' views on four basic categories of modern politics, namely the state, the market, society and international relations. In order to meet these broad learning outcomes, essay questions will be designed in order to ensure that students have to compare different thinkers.

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15

This module provides an introduction to the various approaches to security studies by way of introducing key thinkers, the key literature. Its core aim is to provide a solid theoretical and conceptual grounding for students interested in the diversity of issues, institutions and actors engaged in the practice of international security.

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15

One of the most striking developments in established Western democracies has been the electoral growth of extreme right and radical right-wing political parties. In this module students will investigate the nature and rise of extreme and radical right-wing parties, while also exploring other related issues such as right-wing extremist and racially-motivated violence and/or terrorism. This module will introduce students to the academic literature that has followed a resurgence of support for the extreme right. The module will familiarise students with conceptual and theoretical debates within this literature, and introduce students to some of the associated methodological debates. Students will be encouraged to think critically about concepts, classifications, ideologies, electoral behaviour and the broader implications of the rise of these parties and social movements in areas such as public policy and social cohesion.

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15

PO679 allows students to do independent, original research under supervision on a political science or liberal arts topic close to their specialist interests. The dissertation module gives them the opportunity to further these interests and acquire a wide range of study and research skills in the process. All dissertation topics have to be approved by the module convenor as well as by an academic supervisor. The module takes students through the entire process of writing a dissertation (8,000 words long): from the original 'problem' to a suitable research 'question', to choosing a method, to designing the research, to conducting the research; from taking notes to drafting the dissertation, to revising and writing the dissertation, and finally to submitting the dissertation. Lectures, supervision and a conference help students along the way. The curriculum includes structured opportunities for students to discuss their research ideas with each other as well as mock panel presentations in preparation for the student conference.

PLEASE NOTE: PO679 is worth 45 credits. If you wish to take PO679, please keep this in mind when choosing your other modules. PO679 is worth 15 credits in autumn term, and 30 in spring. The module is weighted more to the Spring term to enable you to dedicate the time needed to produce your dissertation.

As you can chose the equivalent of 4 x 15 credits in the autumn and 4 x 15 in the Spring, picking PO679 would look like this:

Autumn:

PO679

XX

XX

XX

Spring:

PO679

PO679

XX

XX

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45

This module prepares students both to think about the ways in which the landscapes are evolving and being shaped by contemporary developments in technical, scientific, and theoretical fields; and to think about how they want to take part in these developments in their own lives, through professional activity or further study. It will prepare students to think critically about the opportunities and dangers that come with the future, notably through the changes taking place in production techniques (through three-dimensional printing), ecological change and planning, scientific advancements and their impact on the humanities and social sciences (such as quantum theory's challenge to historical studies). By building on bodies of work that have already discussed the potential impact of new technologies and scientific innovations on our understanding of the human, this module will demand intellectual reflection on the potential for change and transformation, with reference to past events and how transformation has occurred to this day. In additional, the module will provide practical guidance on how to think about the student’s own future, whether professionally or for further studies. It will guide students through the possibilities open to them, and give them practical skills to secure an interview and present themselves successfully.

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15

The module provides an overview of some of the core arguments and issues that arise within the context of debates on political resistance: moral justifications of resistance to political authority, the techniques of resistance employed in historical examples, the presuppositions underpinning these techniques, the tensions and difficulties that typically arise in any act of resistance. Starting with Socrates, sent to the Athenians to act as a 'gadfly', the module will look at selected historical examples of resistance, identify and analyse aims and methods, and review and discuss outcomes and consequences.

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15

This module will address the major milestones in the politics and international relations of East Asia since 1945. We will analyse the causes and significance for East Asian countries of events such as the Korean War, the Cultural Revolution, the economic take-off of both Japan and South Korea, China's economic reforms, democratisation across the region, and US-China competition. A central theme of the module will be analysing the decisions that leaders take in order to hold onto power – from repression and liberalisation to corruption, purges, and propaganda – and how these decisions continue to influence the domestic and international politics of East Asian countries. We will explore differences in the countries' domestic political systems to help understand major historical and contemporary policies, and the influence of economic and security considerations.

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15

In this course, we shall examine the most urgent developments and security issues that affect the Asia-Pacific region.

It will start with an overview of International Relations theories and an exploration of whether non-Western International Relations theories will be a better alternative in understanding the development and security challenges in the Asia-Pacific.

We will then address the key international development and security dilemmas in the region. These include: the Taiwan problem; nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula; the danger of nationalism in Japan and beyond; territorial disputes in the South China Sea; and ensuring economic growth and regional cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific.

Finally, we will ask whether the influence and authority of the US, the incumbent hegemon in the Asia-Pacific region, are in decline and its preeminent role will soon be replaced by a rising China, and whether great-power confrontation is inevitable.

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15

The module will begin with an introduction to biographical narrative as a method in political science and to 'leadership' as a concept. Following this introduction, the module will present three ‘icons’ of 20th/21st Century world politics in three blocks of three weeks each, leaving one week for a concluding and comparative discussion (and one reading week). Throughout the module, the three themes of the title – resistance, suffering (sacrifice) and leadership – will be highlighted and will serve as a focus as the module considers the lives of Gandhi, Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi and their impact on world politics. Considering the lives of these iconic figures will allow us to discuss a number of important question, e.g. how they, as individuals, made choices that led them to occupy such prominent roles, how they understood themselves and how that self-understanding evolved over time, how the historical context provided them with opportunities to exercise influence and mobilise mass movements, how resistance and suffering enhanced their leadership roles, and how they used the influence they gained. While political science often studies political reality from an aggregate point of view, incorporating large numbers of observations through quantitative analyses, PO659 endeavours to explore general patterns in political reality through the unique experiences of three individuals and their journey to political stardom. We will also be able to take a critical look at how Western culture and politics often appropriate prominent individuals as representatives of liberal values without paying attention to the complexities of the relevant local contexts, customs and traditions.

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15

This module explores the origins, evolution and role of the United Nations (UN) in world politics. The aim is to understand how and why states and other actors participate in the UN. The module further explores the extent to which the United Nations is able to achieve its stated goals of maintaining peace and security, achieving cooperation to solve key international problems, and promoting respect for human rights. The module examines the work of key UN organs, agencies, and member states in a variety of issue areas, with the aim of critically assessing the successes, challenges, and failures of the United Nations.

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15

This module focuses on European foreign policy, i.e. the ‘external dimension’ of European politics, exploring the relationship between Europe and the rest of the world. Following the creation of the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU now stands poised to unleash significant foreign policy potential in its neighbourhood, and beyond. The difference between the EU and ‘Europe’ will be examined in component fashion through the foreign policies of some of the major European states.

Thereafter, the foreign policy tools of the EU will be looked at, after moving into an in-depth thematic treatment of the key foreign policy issues facing the EU vis-à-vis its security, defence, economic, trade and development relations, and its dynamics with ‘rising powers’, the US, its eastern and southern neighbours in Central Europe, Asia and North Africa.

Other issues include its burgeoning military capacity and a growing set of overseas military missions. Broader themes will include the impact of global developments on Europe, the international significance of European integration and the more general role of Europe in the new world order This course will draw on theories from political science and international relations and concepts defining Europe’s global role.

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15

We examine the main challenges facing post-communist Russia and in particular assess the development of democracy. We discuss the main institutions and political processes: the presidency, parliament, federalism, elections, party development and foreign policy, as well as discuss Yeltin’s, Putin’s and Medvedev's leadership. We end with a broader evaluation of issues like the relationship of markets to democracy, civil society and its discontents, nationalism, political culture and democracy and Russia's place in the world.

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15

In western countries feminism has had a considerable impact on the conduct of practical politics. The purpose of this module is to consider the ways in which feminist thought has influenced political theory. Returning to some of the earliest feminist critiques of modern politics by Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill, we examine a range of feminist approaches to politics, asking what unifies them and where and why they diverge from one another. Throughout, we ask how meaningful it is to speak of feminism in the singular: given the immense variety displayed by feminist thinking, should we talk about feminisms? Another guiding question will be the extent to which these approaches pose a fundamental challenge to traditional political theory. Can feminist theories of politics just 'add women and stir'? Or do feminist approaches compel us to new or different methodologies, conceptual tools and even definitions of politics?

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15

This module aims to provide students with a critical review of China's political development in the 20th and early 21st centuries. After a brief overview of China's political history since 1949, it is designed around two core blocks of study.

The first block looks at the principal political institutions that include the Communist Party, the government (the State Council), the legislature (the National People's Congress) and the military (the People's Liberation Army).

The second block examines the socio-political issues and challenges facing the country in its ongoing development. They range from the prospects of democratisation and the growth of civil society, the issue of quality of life in the areas of the environment and public health, corruption, nationalism and ethnic minorities, national reunification, territorial disputes with neighbouring countries to China's engagement with global governance.

A major theme of the module is to address why the Chinese communist regime is more durable and resilient than other non-democratic countries in achieving both economic growth and political stability and acquiring international influence, despite the fact that it faces numerous mounting development and governance challenges.

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15

The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the negotiation system that is the EU, how it has evolved politically and institutionally since its creation, how it works, both in theory and in practice and the key political challenges it faces. Students gain an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of European integration over time and the politics behind this new and experimental process of transnational cooperation. Students also analyse the functioning and roles of the EU's main institutional bodies, investigate how EU legislation is produced and implemented and how the various political actors with a stake in EU-decision-making interact both formally and informally. Finally, the module addresses key political questions underpinning EU politics in these challenging times, including political support for the EU amongst its citizens and the phenomenon of Euroscepticism; the UK’s relationship with the EU before and after the Brexit vote; the EU’s underlying democratic legitimacy and debates on its future development.

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15

Since 2009, the European Union has grappled with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and the UK, the rise of radical right, populist challenger parties, heightened tension with Putin's Russia, the UK’s Brexit decision and rule of law disputes with Hungary and Poland. This has led to increased questioning of the purpose and trajectory of European integration and policy-making. The focus of this module is on assessing the capacity of the EU as a system of public policy-making as it faces these myriad challenges. In so doing we endeavour to understand how the EU’s system of governance works and how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system. This module focuses on the EU’s 'outputs’ in terms of public policy in this context, with particular attention paid to the fields of market regulation, economic and monetary union, environmental policy, agriculture policy, regional policy, justice and home affairs policy (internal security), foreign policy and trade policy. As well as analysing the effectiveness of EU policy-making in these policy areas, where appropriate we also explore the impact of ongoing political events on their operation.

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15

Much recent academic and popular commentary has focused on citizens’ supposed mistrust of government, especially in the United States of America. The central aim of the Politics of Trust is to uncover the reasons for Americans’ malaise. However, students will also examine other western democracies where trust has fallen to see if these countries’ experiences can inform our understanding of the US case specifically and the politics of trust more generally. The course begins with a history of trust in America, with an overview of the putative reasons for declining trust in the post-World War II period, with an examination of the experiences of other western democracies. The second part turns to the specific explanations for declining trust as posited by academics and political commentators. Explanations include the crisis of government performance, spin, the internecine warfare between Republicans and Democrats, the changing nature of the modern labour market, declining social capital, and the media.

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15

PO617 offers a comprehensive introduction to the politics and national government of the United States. It introduces students to the ‘foundations’ of the US political system, examining the history of the republic, its economy and society, the values and beliefs American people subscribe to, and the basic structure of the political system. We will also examine those ‘intermediate’ institutions (interest groups, parties, elections and the media) that link people to their government, and the three key institutions of the federal government: the Congress, Presidency and Supreme Court. Lastly, we focus on the policymaking process in the US. We will look at economic policy, civil rights and liberties and foreign policy, ask how and why policy is made as it is, and examine the extent to which the policy solutions produced by the political system are optimal.

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30

The module examines the politics of transition and change in post-communist countries in their effort to establish new democratic regimes and find their place in the world. The module consists of three main parts.

Part I focuses on the experience and nature of communist rule, to develop basic understanding of communism as an ideal, political system, and a life style. Part II looks at transitions, examining regional patterns of change and relating them to the 3rd and 4th waves (coloured revolutions) of democratisation globally. Part III discusses the issues of post-communist politics in Europe, by way of exploring the forms and quality of democracy in the new states, considering the effect of EU enlargements on the new Member States and the EU neighbours; and discussing the future of communism in the world.

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15

This module provides an introduction to some of the major developments in Western political thought by discussing the work and impact of key figures such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant, Wollstonecraft, Mill, Marx, and Nietzsche. Focusing on reading the primary works of these thinkers, putting them in their historical context, and understanding their reception in contemporary scholarship, this module addresses the overall problems which ‘modernity’ poses for political theory in Western societies.

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15

This module introduces students into the study of terrorism and political violence, and thereafter deepens their knowledge of the controversial aspects of this subject. The initial lectures will deal with definitional problems involved in the concept of "terrorism" and various theories about the causes of political violence in its different forms. With a point of departure in a chronological review tracing the origins of the phenomenon long back in history, the module will later study the emergence of political terrorism during the second half of the 19th century. This will be followed by a study of state and dissident terrorism in different parts of the world. The module will also address the relationship between religious radicalism and different forms of political violence, including "new terrorism" and possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Then, the focus of attention will be shifted to implications of various counter-terrorism strategies and "The War on Terrorism" for democracy and human rights. These issues will be addressed with a special focus on methodological problems involved in the study of terrorism and political violence.

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15

This module introduces students into the study of the Middle East as a region and an arena of international conflict. Against the background of a historical review of the developments in the 20th century, the module will focus on the colonial past of the region, the imperial legacy, the emergence of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the origins of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the impact of sub-state loyalties – i.e. factors which have shaped the Middle East as a region and as a security complex. In this context, the students will explore the ideological developments in the region, most important among them, the rise and fall of Arab nationalism, the emergence of Islamic radicalism and the consolidation of the Israeli right. Adopting an international relations perspective, the module will also cover the impact of outside state actors, such as USA, Russia and the EU on the Middle East as a whole and on the relationships among those states that compose this region. Finally, the students will study the debate about "Orientalism" and the problematic aspects of the Western academic study of the Middle East and the Islamic world. These issues will be addressed with a special focus on the problem of bias involved in the academic study of the Middle East.

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15

This module offers a comprehensive study of US foreign policy since 1945. Ranging from ‘containment’, ‘democratic enlargement’, and ‘the war on terror’ the module introduces students to the concept of ‘grand strategy’ and the need to understand the broader intellectual platform and foundations of the way in which the United States engages with the world. A number of case studies are used to explore this such as the work of George Kennan, the Vietnam War, and the move towards ‘smart power’ under presidents Bush and Obama. In addition to this the course also explores questions on the social construction of state identity in the American national consciousness and how both the media and political elites help to shape public opinion and attitudes that relate to America’s ‘friends’, ‘allies’, and ‘enemies’. The course also explores the concept of ‘soft power’ as a method of extending American influence and power in the world and questions the idea of American decline.

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15

This module introduces students to central debates about the influence of different executive formats on democratic government. The course examines the differences between and within presidential, parliamentary and semi-presidential constitutions and examines their consequences for the quality of democracy and for policy outcomes. The course initially focuses on identifying the key institutions and processes that shape the behaviour and strategies of politicians in the executive, before moving on to consider the consequences of these for governance, policy-making and democratic stability. Throughout the central focus is on understanding the extent and the ways that formal political institutions may shape how politicians respond to citizen preferences, bargain with each other to resolve political conflict and choose policies. Students will be exposed to different ways of thinking about the impact of political institutions on politics, different ways of conceptualizing and measuring democratic performance and encouraged to think about how a broad range of other factors may interact with constitutional formats to shape outcomes. The approach used will be broadly comparative and will use case-specific and cross-national evidence from both developed and less developed democracies in all regions of the world.

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15

The module is aimed to introduce students to Marxist theory and to enable them to assess both the contemporary and historical significance of Marxism in world politics. Students are expected to read some of the key texts of Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels and to consider varied interpretations and critiques of Marxist methods, writings and theories. Students are also expected to consider the political contexts in which these theories and debates emerged and their implications for political practice. Students are not expected to demonstrate any detailed knowledge of the history of Marxist-inspired governments, regimes or political movements.

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15

This module explores the linkages between mediation theory and the practice of conflict resolution in deeply divided societies. Topics include the theory and practice of negotiations, conflict escalation and peace mediations while specific emphasis will be given to the role of regional or international institutions in early conflict prevention. The module applies negotiation theory in the study of state disintegration, demographic and environmental conflict, property rights, federal management and transitional justice. The course engages with the core literature in negotiation theory and exposes students to a number of simulations aiming to improve negotiation skills (identifying best alternatives, revealing or not preferences, identifying win-win arrangements, defeating spoilers and exercising veto rights). Because of the practical skills taught in the module and the interactive nature of in-class simulations, students are expected to attend lectures and tutorials. Finally, the course examines the role of citizens and community organizations in peace mediations focusing on a number of selected case studies from deeply divided societies specifically Israel/Palestine, the former Yugoslavia, South Africa, Greece/Turkey (including Cyprus & the Kurdish issue), Rwanda and Northern Ireland.

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15

This module aims to investigate the different roles and experiences of human beings at and in war. Following an introduction to issues regarding agency (How do people act in the social world? How much freedom do they have? What impact can their actions have?), the course will examine the roles of combatants (both state and non-state), civilians (men, women and children), and third parties (peacekeepers, humanitarian workers, journalists, and academics). The module will draw on academic literature, but also written, oral and video testimony and artwork to examine these categories first as a social group (examining questions such as age brackets, income brackets, education, life expectancy), then in terms of their political functions and roles, and finally in an attempt to access some degree of experiential knowledge of war and peace. Due to the sensitive nature of the material examined, the module will not be using lecture capture.

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15

Connections is an innovative module that aims to provide a 'diagnosis of the present' informed by an interdisciplinary variety of approaches such as historical narratives, life writings (auto-biography), literature, photography and data analysis. A key question to be discussed is: what are the themes and issues that define our contemporary era, and how are they connected and impact on each other? In previous years, the module explored issues of class, peace(-keeping) and violence, borders and imagination, exile, media and democracy, and others. The module further aims to make connections with current events as they are unfolding, and depending on circumstances may include sessions on topics of particular relevance at the time that the module is being taught.

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30

A thread running through this module is a belief that to understand today's China we have to know how it has come to the present, as present-day China is a product of its deep imperial past and of its revolutions in the 20th century, the Republican, the Nationalist and the Communist. Before studying the 'rise’ of contemporary China, we must therefore understand the decline collapse of imperial China from the mid-19th to the early 20th century. We can perceive the said rise of China as the process of regaining its rightful place in the Western-dominated international system and of mutual accommodation between China and the rest of the world.

The narrative of modern China starts from the late 16th century when China, ruled by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), was the regional hegemon. The demise of the Sino-centric regional order began in the early 19th century. Since then, Chinese rulers, officials and intellectuals have repeatedly groped for ways to modernise their country to counter mounting pressures from the West. Seen in this perspective, this module will be primarily focused on how China adapted itself to the modernising West in order to be accepted as a full and respected member of the international society while preserving its own non-Western identity. With this, you should be able to understand towards the end of this module why China now values the respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right of all nations to freely choose their own paths to development. Also, for many students of International Relations, China’s entry and integration into the international society since the 1970s has been strikingly non-violent. A secondary focus of this module will be on how China and other key members of the world have been mutually accommodating to each other and whether China’s ‘peaceful rise’ can continue.

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15

The course provides an overview of the broad field of international conflict analysis and resolution. Students have the opportunity to explore the motivations driving different forms of conflict, including interpersonal, group and civil violence. Students will also be exposed to a range of theories and approaches used to understand violent conflict, and a number of different methods of conflict resolution (e.g. negotiation, mediation, peacekeeping operations, and transitional justice.) The approach is interdisciplinary and juxtaposes traditional approaches used to study conflict management with new scientific studies of conflict and cooperation.

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15

Law is often assumed to stand 'outside' of society, either because it is ‘above’ us or even ‘behind’ us, as in ‘society changes too fast for the law to keep up’. This module proposes law as an ethnographic subject, that is, a field of action governed by rather than governing social and cultural sensibilities. If, according to a classic cliché, anthropologists look for relationships while lawyers look for rules, the module will examine how social relationships can come to appear rule-like to legal and anthropological studies alike. Since lawyers in fact contributed to the early formation of the discipline of anthropology, anthropology itself may be seen as the product of a legalistic classification of human relations. The curriculum will therefore proceed through the history of the relationship between anthropology and law as disciplines and through ethnographic material from different legal environments. In doing so it will consider subjects such as language, gender, class, and religion and their effects upon the experiences of people involved in processes of dispute and its resolution. Finally the module will investigate how well law ‘travels’ between societies, and between different levels of the same society: for instance, how do concepts such as legal pluralism, the cultural defence, and universal human rights affect the theory and practice of law?

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15

This module offers Stage 3 students the opportunity to design, execute, and write up a dissertation project of their own devising. Students may pursue a module of library-based research under supervision on a particular topic and/or undertake limited ethnographic research on that topic. The topic, and the way it is researched, will be of the student's own choosing. All projects must be supervised by a member of staff in Social Anthropology, with whom the student has arranged to work before registering for the module. Students who wish to do a project on this module should collect the information sheet from the School Office during Stage 2 (this includes students on a Year Abroad programme) not later than then end of the online module registration period in the Spring Term.

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30

This module introduces visual anthropology via the encounter between media maker and subject and framed in relation to the concepts of reflexivity and intersubjectivity. Central concerns are the cross-cultural reception of media, the use of video and photography as and for research, the social history of film and photography relating to ethnographic subjects, the study of national and regional cinematic traditions (outside Europe and America) and the comparative ethnography of television and broader consideration of issues of social representation and political ideology in visual imagery. Indicative areas covered in the module include:

1) Collaborative Media and Intersubjectivity

2) Soundscapes and Sensory Ethnography

3) Photography and Sociality

4) Observational and Participatory Cinema

5) Ethno-fiction and Indigenous Media

6) Intersections of medical and visual anthropology

7) New Media and Activism

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15

This module explores the use of audio-visual media as research, reflexive and transformational ethnographic practice in tune with contemporary anthropological theorising of ethnographic and documentary film. The collaborative and feedback oriented process of using audio-visual media in the production of a short video film that is presented online delivers experiential insights and re-evaluation of the value of video, photography and audio to research, represent and influence aspects of people's lifeworlds. The practical instruction in how to develop a project is grounded in exercises that explore cultural and personal assumptions of what a camera does. Further training in cinematography, interviewing and sound, camera movement and improvisation, and the flexible uses of DSLR cameras present the key pre-production training. Editing theory and practice is taught with a view to efficient workflow and minimal post-production, facilitating knowledge of use in independent multi-media production. Web based interactive platforms are introduced with a view to facilitate wider communication and dissemination. The value of feedback is emphasised in creating media productions that have academic and personal integrity, resonance with and impact on particular audiences.

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15

This module seeks to engage directly with the central provocation of the Anthropocene: that the speed, scope and scale of human industrial activities are having unparalleled, unintended and poorly understood impacts on the earth as a system, thus contributing to and significantly expanding the scale and risks associated with the crisis of modernity and its multiple dimensions: environmental, social, political, and cultural. In response to this crisis, and especially in light of the fact that human activities are so profoundly entangled with biological, ecological, geographical and geological process, a number of academic disciplines are reconsidering many of their core categories, boundaries and approaches. The Anthropocene constitutes an important, novel and challenging problem and a unique case study to attempt a more careful and effective integration of the different intellectual traditions and methods as exemplified in SAC: social and biological anthropology, human ecology and conservation. Some of the main areas covered in the module include: 1) A review of the key problems and issues signalled by the Anthropocene, including the evidence and the debates and areas of disagreement 2) The Anthropocene in relation to earth system science and the planetary, with a particular emphasis in the relationship between the history of the earth, the history of life and the history of humans 3) Some of implications of the incoming period of heightened risk, uncertainty and cascading crises 4) To consider the consequences of the changes and challenges signalled by the Anthropocene upon core categories and assumptions underlying the humanities and sciences, with particular attention to such key binaries as human-nature, living-non-living, and technology-biology 5) The need and challenge of simultaneously considering multiple and apparently incommensurable scales, both in time and space 6) The Anthropocene dilemma: humans as agents or victims? 7) Considering some of the challenges the Anthropocene raises for the practice of science, politics, law, governance, etc. 8) What do these problems, questions and debates mean in terms of our own individual and collective futures, both professionally and personally?

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15

Ethnicity’ and ‘nationalism’ are matters of contemporary urgency (as we are daily reminded by the media), but while the meanings of these terms are taken for granted, what actually constitutes ethnicity and nationalism, and how they have been historically constituted, is neither clear nor self-evident. This module begins with a consideration of the major theories of nationalism and ethnicity, and then moves on to a series of case studies taken from various societies around the world., and then moves on to examine a number of other important concepts—indigeneity, ‘race’, hybridity, authenticity, ‘invention of tradition’, multiculturalism, globalization—that can help us appreciate the complexity and dynamics of ethnic identities. The general aim of the module is to enable and encourage students to think critically beyond established, homogenous and static ethnic categories.

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15

This module is an introduction to ethnopharmacology, a multidisciplinary field of study that employs chemistry, ecology, biology, pharmacology and anthropology to evaluate and understand the use of plants (and other substances) in non-western medical systems. While students will be introduced to all of the disciplines involved in ethnopharmacological research, this module will have a heavy anthropological focus. Lecture and reading materials will address questions related to the actions of natural products in the human body, the ecological and evolutionary basis of medicinal plants use, the epistemology of non-western medical systems, the efficacy of medicinal plants and the development of pharmaceuticals based on traditional medicines. Topics discussed in class will provide ideas and models for student research projects. This module should appeal to students with interests in anthropology and/or medical care/research.

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15

Anthropology has an important role to play in the examination of our own organizational lives as embedded in various forms of capitalism. This module will allow students to gain anthropological perspectives on business formations, structures, practices and ideologies. Businesses – be they individuals, families, corporations, nation-states or multi-lateral corporations - have identities that are invariably distinct from one another and which are forged upon and promote particular social relationships. Ethnographic case-studies, with a strong emphasis on the stock market in the last third of the course will provide the basis for discussing how these social relationships that enact power, are embedded in broader cultural processes such as ethnicity, nationalism, migration, and kinship as well as ideologies of gender, aesthetics and religion among others. Acknowledging the multiple dynamic relationships between businesses, people and marketplaces will allow us to evaluate their roles as reactive producers, consumers and disseminators of cultural processes within our surrounding environments, extending from the local to the global.

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15

Primarily intended to offer a critical analysis of the concept of development, particularly as it is used to talk about economic and social change in the developing world, the module shows how anthropological knowledge and understanding can illuminate 'development issues' such as rural poverty, environmental degradation, international aid and humanitarian assistance, climate change and the globalization of trade. Topics discussed include the role of anthropology in development practice, by examining some of the methods being used to either study or participate in current development projects, whether at local, national or international levels of intervention.

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15

In this module you will learn how people are using social computing resources, how anthropologists and others understand these activities, how to access and deploy these resources yourself, and how to leverage your participation to better understand social and cultural processes that are underway in social computing contexts.

In Social Computing we describe and analyse how people use and adapt new technologies to form and navigate cultural and social contexts, create and spread knowledge and undertake action emerging from computer-enhanced capabilities. Capabilities include the internet (including so call Web 2.0), clouds, augmented reality, robotics and virtual devices, wearable computers and sensors and artificial intelligence.

We begin by looking at the major theoretical paradigms and methods that have guided research on these in anthropology and related disciplines. In the remainder of the module we examine case studies of social computing based on different capabilities, using a took-kit that supports the creation and analysis of social computing capabilities and developing group and individual contributions to an on-going collective module project that will contribute to the Social Computing context.

Topics considered include the creative commons of open source, Web 2.0 and resource clouds, social networks, organisational change, reputation, social, lgel and ethical issues, mobile and ubiquitous computing and argmented reality. Topics discussed in class will provide ideas and models for student research projects.

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15

Teaching and assessment

Social Anthropology

Anthropology at Kent uses a stimulating mix of teaching methods, including lectures, small seminar groups and laboratory sessions. For project work, you will be assigned to a supervisor with whom you meet regularly. You will also have access to a wide range of learning resources, including the Templeman Library, research laboratories and computer-based learning packages.

Assessment ranges from 80:20 exam/coursework to 100% coursework. At Stages 2 and 3, most core modules are split 50% end-of-year examination and 50% coursework. Both Stage 2 and 3 marks count towards your final degree result.

Politics

Our main teaching methods are lectures, seminars, working groups, PC laboratory sessions and individual discussions with your personal tutor or module teachers. Assessment is through continuous feedback, written examinations, assessed essays and oral presentations.

We hold a weekly extra-curricular Open Forum organised by our School research groups, where students and staff have the opportunity to discuss and debate key issues that affect higher education and politics in the world today.

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 programme specification for each subject below. Please note that outcomes will depend on your specific module selection:

Careers

Studying Social Anthropology and Politics gives you an exciting range of career opportunities. We work with you to help direct your module choices to the career paths you are considering. 

Through your studies you learn how to work independently, plan and organise projects, analyse complex data, express your opinions coherently and with sensitivity, and present your work with clarity and flair. These are all key skills that graduate employers are looking for.

Recent graduates have gone into many different areas including teaching, publishing, practical politics, local and central government, the diplomatic service, EU administration, financial services,non-governmental organisations, overseas development and aid work, media research or production (TV and radio), journalism, advertising, social work, international consultancy and work with community groups. Many have also gone on to postgraduate study.

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. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

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

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB

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.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 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. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15700
Part-time £4625 £7850

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.

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.

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.