Social Policy

Social Policy and Social Change - BA (Hons)

with Quantitative Research

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

Overview

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

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

Our degree programme

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

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

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

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

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

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

Year abroad

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

Extra activities

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

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

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

Flexible tariff

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

Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB 

  • medal-empty GCSE

    Maths at grade C (or 4).

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

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

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

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

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 points at HL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in the Politics module if taken, and 60% in LZ013 Maths & Stats (1 & 2) if you do not hold GCSE Maths at 6/B or equivalent.

International students should visit our International Student website for further specific information. International fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot study part-time due to visa restrictions.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

If you need to improve your English language standard as a condition of your offer, you can attend one of our pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes before starting your degree programme. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

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

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

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

All of this is completed alongside your social policy modules.

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

Converting to a Quantitative Research Minor after Stage 1

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

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

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • 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.

Fees for Year in Industry

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

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

Additional costs

General additional costs

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

Funding

University funding

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

Government funding

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

Scholarships

General scholarships

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

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

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

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

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

Teaching and assessment

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

Contact hours

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

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

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

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

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

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

Intellectual skills

You develop the following intellectual skills:

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

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

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

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

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

Independent rankings

For graduate prospects Social Policy at Kent was ranked 4th in The Times Good University Guide 2021.

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

Careers

Graduate destinations

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

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

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

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

Help finding a job

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

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

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

Work experience

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

Career-enhancing skills

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

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

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

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

Independent rankings

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

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

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

Applications

We are no longer accepting applications for the 2021/22 academic year. Please visit the 2022 entry course pages.

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

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For more information about the Q-Step Centre, please contact us:

E: Qstep-info@kent.ac.uk

T: +44(0)1227 823401

www.kent.ac.uk/qstep

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

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

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