Sociology, Social Policy and Social Change - BA (Hons)

Are you curious about how societies work, develop and transform? Do you wonder about how societies can promote the welfare of individuals and families? Our Sociology and Social Policy joint honours programme offers you the opportunity to analyse these questions from a theoretical and practical perspective.

Overview

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

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

Our degree programme

In your first year, you study the fundamentals of sociology and social policy. You then learn how to apply and conduct qualitative and quantitative sociological research.

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

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

Study resources

You have access to a wide range of topical journals and books in hard copy and digital format through Kent’s Templeman Library.

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

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

Extra activities

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

  • Socrates Society
  • Feminist Society
  • Kent Amnesty International.

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

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

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Flexible tariff

Make Kent your firm choice – The Kent Guarantee

We understand that applying for university can be stressful, especially when you are also studying for exams. Choose Kent as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place, even if you narrowly miss your offer (for example, by 1 A Level grade)*.

*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis but some of our typical requirements are listed below. Students offering qualifications not listed are welcome to contact our Admissions Team for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University welcomes applications from Access to Higher Education Diploma candidates for consideration. A typical offer may require you to obtain a proportion of Level 3 credits in relevant subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    Distinction, Distinction, Merit

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    30 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.

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.

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

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

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time (4 with a year abroad), 6 years part-time (7 with a year abroad)

Modules

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

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

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

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

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

ii. Taking topical examples of policy issues, contextualised analysis of the policy making process, its 'stages', key actors and institutions will be used to explore how and why particular policy options emerge and evolve. A central concern will be to help students understand the nature of support and opposition for particular policy proposals and the implications for developing alternative policies.

Find out more about SAPO3000

Health, care and wellbeing are central concerns in all our lives; and they raise questions of the interconnected roles of the state, the market and the individual in their creation and support. In this module we explore how we understand and conceptualise these areas, and the potential role of policy interventions in support of them. The module examines the social determinants of health, exploring the ways in which inequalities in society can be replicated. It asks how we might best address changing health needs, particularly in relation to the growing proportion of older people, exploring these in the context of the new politics of the NHS. What are the best structures to deliver health care? How should these best be funded? Life style is increasingly implicated in health outcomes, and the module explores the dilemmas raised by rising levels of obesity and alcohol consumption. These are matters of personal choice, but they challenge the health and wellbeing of the population, and raise questions of how choices are shaped in the context of market production. Governments increasingly declare that they are interested not simply in health or prosperity, but also of wellbeing. The module explores what this means, and why there is a new interest in this area. It also examines the interface between health and care, both institutionally and conceptually and in turn, how these relate to issues of wellbeing. The module's content covers a range of issues affecting adults and children/young people.

Find out more about SAPO3010

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the ways sociologists attempt to document and explain the social experience of everyday life. Each week the category of 'social experience' is held up for analytical scrutiny in relation to a particular component of ‘everyday life’. The course aims to illustrate the value of sociology for helping individuals to better understand the contents and conditions of their social experience of the world. It also aims to document the ways in which sociological theories and methods have developed in correspondence with the evolution of modern societies. The curriculum will include topics such as: Sex, Gender and Sexuality, Racial and Ethnic Identities, Risk and Society, Crime and Deviance, Health, Media, Religion or Family.

Find out more about SOCI3360

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

The curriculum will include topics such as:

What is Sociology?

Theories and Theorizing

Methods and Research

Cities and Communities

The State, Social Policy and Control

Globalization

Work, Employment and Leisure

Inequality, Poverty and Wealth

Stratification, Class and Status

Find out more about SOCI3370

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

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

Find out more about SOCI3410

This module provides an introduction to the major issues and controversies surrounding the definition, development and teaching of 'classical' social theory. It introduces students to the key problems that have set the agendas for sociological inquiry as well as the main concepts and theoretical traditions that have shaped sociological thought. A considerable debate surrounds the meaning of ‘classical’ social theory and what should be associated with this term. For some, ‘classical’ social theory refers to ideas developed by a generation of thinkers whose works belong to a particular period of our cultural/intellectual history (usually dated c.1880- c.1920). Others understand this as a label for ‘canonical’ texts that define the project and enterprise of sociology. For many, it simply means the works of Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim, Max Weber and Georg Simmel (the so-called ‘founding fathers’ of the discipline). Classical sociology has also been identified as a critical tradition of placing society in question so as individuals may be better equipped to understand how their personal troubles are the product of determining socio-economic structures and processes. Each of these approaches to understanding ‘classical’ social theory will be explored and analysed.

Find out more about SOCI4080

Optional modules may include

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

Find out more about SOCI3050

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

Find out more about SOCI3340

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

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

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

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

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

Find out more about SOCI6010

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

Find out more about SOCI6020

This module provides an introduction to the major issues and controversies that have shaped key developments in contemporary social theory. It surveys the development of social theory through the second half of the twentieth century and up to the present day. Following on from the SO408 module on 'classical' social theory, it questions the distinction between the 'classical' and the ‘contemporary’ so as to highlight the intellectual decisions, values and problems involved in the packaging of social theory under these terms. It also provides critical introductions to the following theorists and issues: Talcott Parsons and his legacy; Symbolic Interactionism up to Goffman and beyond; The Frankfurt School: Critical theory and the crisis of western Marxism; Jurgen Habermas and the decline of the public sphere; Michel Foucault and a his understanding of ‘power’; Pierre Bourdieu and the reproduction of inequality; From Modernity to Post-modernity?; The feminising of social theory; Globalisation, networks and mobilities; New challenges for the twenty-first century.

Find out more about SOCI7270

Optional modules may include

This module is a one-term placement opportunity that allows you to teach aspects of your degree subject in a local school. Launched to coincide with Kent's 50th anniversary in 2015, it highlights the longstanding excellence of human and social science research and teaching at the University, and the important role the institution has in contributing to the local community.

If selected for this module you will spend approximately 6 hours in a Kent secondary school in the Spring term (this session excludes time to travel to and from the School, and preparation and debrief time with the teacher). Generally, you will begin by observing lessons taught by your designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Later you will act somewhat in the role of a teaching assistant by working with individual pupils or with a small group. You may take 'hotspots': brief sessions with the whole class where you explain a topic or talk about aspects of university life. Finally, you will progress to the role of "teacher" and will be expected to lead an entire lesson. Throughout the module you will be given guidance and support by a local convenor based in your academic school as well as the overall module convenor.

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

Find out more about ANTB5560

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

Learning will be orientated towards:

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

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

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

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

Find out more about SOCI5012

This module provides students with an understanding of the concept of social status: how it differs from (and interacts with) other aspects of social stratification, such as power, class, and material circumstances. Students will explore theories for why human beings value social status so highly, and why they often take such dramatic steps to avoid losing it. The module will examine how considering social status concerns helps us to understand a variety of important social phenomena, encompassing health, violence, education, cultural participation, morality, and identity. Students will become familiar with the empirical tools researchers have used to understand the role of status, along with the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.

Find out more about SOCI5013

This module will appeal to students interested in education from a global, sociological perspective. It will allow students to opportunity to consider their own experiences of education through the lens of sociological theory. The module will include the history of education in the local and global context, and an examination of the intersections, hierarchies, ethics and dynamics of power and inequality in the classroom, in particular how educational systems contribute to the production and re-production of social inequalities (such as class, gender, dis/ability and race). Other topics covered will include the marketization and digitization of further and higher education; the rise in 'radical pedagogies', and the inclusive curriculum. The module will ask students to consider ideas around the purpose of education and educational policy, and their sociological implications, as well as encouraging comparative analysis of international education systems. There will be a practical focus on students’ own reflexive experience of education, and how it might be experienced as a UK, international, widening participation or non-traditional students, in light of current discourse and educational policy.

Find out more about SOCI5014

The aim of this module is to provide students with a critical understanding of the nature and extent of crime and deviance in contemporary society, and the main ways in which they can be explained and controlled. Focusing upon contemporary sociological theories of crime against a background of the classical ideas within the field, this module will provide undergraduates with an opportunity to engage with the most up-to-date debates in an area of great interest in contemporary society.

Find out more about SOCI5050

'Health', ‘illness’ and ‘medicine’ are not static concepts. Their meaning changes over time, and there is competition and conflict over what they mean. For example, in recent decades, health has come to mean much more the absence of disease. This is the age of healthy eating, sexual health, holistic health, healthy lifestyles and healthy living. The term ‘epidemic’ is no longer used only in relation to contagious disease; we have epidemics of teenage pregnancy, obesity and ‘mental health’. We live in a time when medicine can mean homeopathy or acupuncture, as well as heart surgery and vaccinations. ‘Health’ is also something we seem to worry about, and panic over, including about some things like vaccinations and contraceptive pills that are also part of ‘public health’. Of course, our experience has been reshaped profoundly by global experience of, and responses to, pandemic.. This module draws on sociological ideas that can help us understand, and critically evaluate, what we mean by health, illness and medicine and what the meaning we give to these terms tells us about the society we live in.

Find out more about SOCI5090

Environmental issues have become central matters of public concern and political contention. In this module we shall consider explanations for the rise and social distribution of environmental concern as well as the forms of organisation that have been adopted to address environmental questions, including the emergence of global environmental issues and the responses to them. The development of environmental protest, environmental movements and Green parties are central concerns, but we shall also consider the 'greening' of established political parties and political agenda. Is it realistic to expect the development of a global environmental movement adequate to the task of tackling global environmental problems. The approach is broadly comparative and examples will be taken from Europe (east and west), North America, Australasia and south-east Asia.

Find out more about SOCI5250

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

Find out more about SOCI5320

The module will be organised around the following themes:

• The history, development and structure of the institutions of the CJS

• Current issues facing the CJS

• Crime, crime control and social exclusion

• Crime prevention and community safety

Within the organisation of the module students will be encouraged to cooperate on issues based around the above themes and to participate verbally within the context of class discussions, group presentation and class debate.

Find out more about SOCI5360

What is meant by 'racism'? Charges of racism are seemingly everywhere – in the workplace, in the streets, in everyday interactions. But what exactly is racism? Is it beliefs about racial inferiority or superiority? Is it found in actions and consequences whether people intended to be racist or not? We will first review various theories of racism, and critically assess how changing conceptualisations of racism arise in specific, socio-political contexts. We will also consider whether a colour-blind future is desirable and/or possible.

Find out more about SOCI5370

The key focus of this course is to provide students with a good understanding of issues surrounding gender and the labour market in a comparative sociological perspective. The course is designed around the core research questions in the gender inequality literature in relation to work-life balance in the context of family, company, the labour market and the welfare states. The module starts off examining the key questions of whether there is a gender wage gap and each week discusses the potential explanation of why there is a gender gap, starting with the preference theory – women earn less because they make bad choices in their lives, moving on to more structural problems restricting women's choices. We also examine some of the key methods which gender inequality research has used recently

Find out more about SOCI5440

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

Find out more about SOCI5750

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

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

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

Find out more about SOCI6010

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

Find out more about SOCI6011

This module aims to get students to think about their place in their social worlds, and in particular the importance of our ethnic and racial backgrounds and identities in shaping this sense of belonging. What is the nature of ethnic ties and membership? How do understanding of ethnic group identity and membership influence our interactions with one another, and structure our opportunities in the wider society? How do our ethnic backgrounds intersect with our gender, religion, and sexuality? These issues are now critical in multi-ethnic societies such as Britain, where our use of ethnic categories and terms are central to societal organization and function, whether in the census or in everyday interactions. But given the dizzying speed with which our societies are become super-diverse, via various forms of migration, and interracial and interethnic unions, the terms and categories we use are much less 'obvious' than they may have been in the past. Membership in ethnic groups themselves is now increasingly contested, and we also question what we mean by terms such as ‘minority’ or ‘BME’.

Find out more about SOCI6012

The module provides students with an understanding of the contested cultural meanings underpinning crime. Too often criminology is satisfied taking definitions of criminality at face value, when really it means very different things to different people and in different contexts. The module examines how media representations propagate particular perceptions of crime, criminality and justice. It goes on to consider the manner in which those who 'offend' experience and interpret their own behaviour, which may be focused on the attainment of excitement or indeed on attaining their own conception of justice. The module explores these contradictions in a world where crime, control and the media saturate everyday life. In doing so it considers a diverse range of concepts; youth culture, hedonism, hate crime, risk taking, moral panics, the image, emotionality and consumerism. We examine the nature of a late-modern society where criminality inspires great fear and resentment, whilst at the same time it provides imagery which is harnessed to produce entertainment and sell a range of consumer goods. Students will become familiar with cutting edge research and theory in the fields of Cultural Criminology, Visual Criminology, and Media and Crime, placing issues such as music, photography, street gangs, extreme sports, newspapers and nights on the town in new and exciting contexts.

Find out more about SOCI6050

The module combines theoretical and methodological approaches from sociology, cultural and media studies, history and literature to examine how our understandings of the past, present and future are formed, framed, mediated and remediated in a variety of social, cultural and political contexts. It aims to introduce students to key themes and issues related to the social experience of time. It will encourage them to reflect on how this experience informs our approaches to social problems, relationships of power and inequality, and the formation of collective identities. Over the course of the term, we will debate and critically explore the roles of heritage, nostalgia, the imagination, narrative and experience at the heart of both processes of social change and cultural continuity. We will question what it is that forms the constitutive narrative of a cultural identity, its foundations, expression and trajectory. We will also examine the material and symbolic construction of social groups such as generations, classes and communities.

Find out more about SOCI6210

The module introduces students to a range of case studies and topics – both historical and contemporary – that are analysed through the framework of state crime. Beginning with a theoretical introduction to this framework, students will learn to integrate their understanding of state-perpetrated atrocity with a criminological analysis of the nature of state violence, the objectives and driving forces of state crime, the denial of state crime, and the potential avenues for accountability and justice. It will examine not only state crime but examples of resistance to state crime in the form of protest, documentation, legal challenges and artistic and media responses. The module will allow students to understand the potential to resist state crime and the limits of that potential in complex circumstances.

Find out more about SOCI6220

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

Find out more about SOCI6240

Social care is of central significance in the support of a range of vulnerable adults, forming one of the key services of the welfare state, albeit often with a lower profile than the closely related field of health care. In this module we trace the historic evolution of social care services (including recent processes of deinstitutionalisation and interactions with other welfare services). The role of the state is analysed in relation to the now well established 'mixed economy of welfare' present in social care. We consider in more depth the main groups of service users, namely vulnerable older people, those with mental health problems, physical or learning disabilities and informal carers. Also examined are key issues relating to user participation and empowerment, personalisation and adult protection/safeguarding. These issues are set within wider contexts of inequalities and diversity and UK (devolved) services within comparative context.

Find out more about SOCI6250

This course critically examines the historical role that animals have played in the making of modern society and the current nature of human/nonhuman relations in contemporary cultures. Students will also be introduced to intersections of race/class/gender and species. The final part of the course considers collective action and social policy as it relates to past and present efforts to challenge problematic aspects of human/nonhuman relations.

Find out more about SOCI6260

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

Find out more about SOCI6450

This module will examine the impact of digital technology on our social and cultural lives. It will concentrate on how the Internet in particular has challenged some of our more traditional notions of identity and self, the body, relationships, community, privacy, politics, friendship, war and crime, economics, among others. Lectures will show how some of the basic components of culture such as notions of identity, space, the body, community, and even the very notion of what it is to be human, have been complicated by the rise of virtuality and cyberspace. We will also examine these issues through case study phenomena unique to digital culture, currently including gaming, music, cybersex and social networking

Find out more about SOCI6570

The course is concerned with the relatively new ideas of living in a 'risk society' which theoretically capture the heightened sensitivity within Western societies to the numerous 'risks' which shape our lives. The course will explore different dimensions of risk's impact on everyday life, and then examine key ways in which political culture is being reorganised around risk aversion. The course will suggest that heightened perception of risk is here to stay, and is leading to a reorganisation of society in important areas.

Indicative lecture List

1. Britain, Europe and the New Risk Society

2. An Integrated Approach to Understanding Risk

3. Risk and the Interpersonal: Risky Relationships

4. Risk and the Family: Children and the Curbing of Activity

5. Risk and Public Life: the Terrorist Threat

6. The Risk Management of Everything

7. Accidents, Blame and the Culture of Inquiries

8. The Precautionary Principle

9. 'Compensation Culture'

10. Towards Global Risk Aversion?: The Case of Japan

11. Course Summary

Find out more about SOCI6590

Work and economic life is one of the central themes of sociology. Work allows us to think about class, gender, race and issues of identity. Work defines how people live their lives and is a major constituting factor in identity formation. In recent years work has changed enormously with the rise of globalisation, of deindustrialisation and the ending of old certainties which used to underpin working lives. This module examines how sociology and sociologists have looked at the issue of work in the past as well as in contemporary societies. It charts the theoretical background to the assumptions sociologists make about work as well as the methods they use to investigate work and employment. The module will focus on issues industrialisation, deindustrialisation, notions of career and identity and places and spaces of work. A major part of this module is the discussion of innovative ways of looking at work including through visual methods and approaches, and in addition it will draw on material from the arts and humanities.

Find out more about SOCI6680

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

The following 2 units are compulsory:

• Active community volunteering

• Project Leadership

Plus 1 unit selected from the following:

• Active university volunteering

• Training facilitator

• Mentoring

• Committee role

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

Find out more about SOCI6700

Images of 'trim, taut and terrific' bodies surround us in contemporary consumer culture. They look down on us from billboards, are increasingly central to advertisers' attempts to sell us clothes, cosmetics, cars, and other products, and pervade reality television programmes based on diet, exercise and 'extreme’ makeovers. These trends have occurred at the same time that science, technology, genetic engineering and medicine have achieved unprecedented levels of control over the body: there are now few parts of the body which cannot be remoulded, supplemented or transplanted in one way or another. In this course we explore how culture represents and shapes bodies, and also examine how embodied subjects are themselves able to act on and influence the culture in which they live. We will seek to understand the relationship between the body and self-identity, embodiment and inequalities, and will explore various theories of the body. In doing this we range far and wide by looking at such issues as work, music, sex/gender, cyberbodies, Makeover TV, film, transgender, sport, music, work and sleep. Embodiment is the enduring theme of this course, though, and we will explore its many dimensions via a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, and by asking and addressing a range of questions such as ‘How and why has the body become increasingly commodified?’, ‘Why has the body become increasingly central to so many people’s sense of self-identity?’, ‘If we live in a culture that has been able to intervene in the sizes, shapes and contents of the body like never before, have people have become less sure about what is ‘natural’ about the body, and about how we should care for and treat our bodily selves?’

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

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The module aims to enable students to conceive and execute a major research project in the field of cultural studies. Students attend a Summer term group meeting with the module convenor to explore and discuss ideas for research and the submission of a draft title and plan, which is to be completed during the long vacation prior to the module beginning. In the Autumn term they will receive feedback on this plan and proposal from their supervisor and/or the module convenor. They will then be required to attend a series of meetings with their assigned supervisor throughout the Autumn term and at the end of that term submit a Literature Review for assessment. In the spring term, research and writing of the dissertation continue under the guidance of the supervisor and at the end of the term, the completed assignment is submitted.

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This module aims to develop a critical understanding of one of the most important intellectual and political issues of our times, namely, 'globalization' and global social change. In so doing, this module poses a number of key questions: what is globalization, and what forms does it take? How does globalization reconstitute our relationship to society? How is globalization experienced across the world, and what power relations does it create? This module presents contemporary modes and challenges of doing sociology in an increasingly complex and interdependent world. Students will critically evaluate contending theories of globalization, and explore key topical debates in global issues, including the impact of global economic treaties on poverty, trade, and urban growth in the Global South; the flows, opportunities, and conflicts in the creation of global culture, and resistance to global forces and power relations in the form of anti-globalization movements.

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

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This module provides an introduction to the major issues and controversies that have shaped key developments in contemporary social theory. It surveys the development of social theory through the second half of the twentieth century and up to the present day. Following on from the SO408 module on 'classical' social theory, it questions the distinction between the 'classical' and the ‘contemporary’ so as to highlight the intellectual decisions, values and problems involved in the packaging of social theory under these terms. It also provides critical introductions to the following theorists and issues: Talcott Parsons and his legacy; Symbolic Interactionism up to Goffman and beyond; The Frankfurt School: Critical theory and the crisis of western Marxism; Jurgen Habermas and the decline of the public sphere; Michel Foucault and a his understanding of ‘power’; Pierre Bourdieu and the reproduction of inequality; From Modernity to Post-modernity?; The feminising of social theory; Globalisation, networks and mobilities; New challenges for the twenty-first century.

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This module covers key issues and debates in the sociology of religion in order to interrogate the significance of religious faith and belief in the modern world. After an introductory lecture, the module is organised into two closely connected parts. Firstly, it explores classical statements on the sources, meaning and fate of religion in modernity by examining the writings of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and Georg Simmel, and using their analyses to interrogate current events (e.g. 'prosperity Pentecostalism' and also violent responses to transgressions of what religions consider to be sacred). The emphasis here is on developing in students the knowledge and skills necessary to appreciate and engage critically with the significance of religion for the development of sociology, and with key statements about the modern fate of religion in and beyond the West. Second, the module explores in some detail core issues concerned with and associated with the secularisation debate. Here, we look not only at conventional arguments concerning secularisation and de-secularisation, but also at the significance of ‘the return of the sacred’ in society, civil religion, the material experience of religion, and the manner in which religious identities and habits are developed in the contemporary world. This enables us to develop new perspectives on the viability of religion in current times.

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This module invites students to explore the critical links between emotion, media and culture in the context of contemporary cultural, socio-political and economic relations. It examines what is meant by 'the affective turn' within the humanities and social sciences and introduces students to a range of interdisciplinary literatures concerned with theorising the cultural politics of emotion and the mediation of affect. Through various case studies and examples, the module investigates how social, cultural and media theorists have addressed the relationships between emotion, affect, power and identity in the context of postcoloniality, multiculturalism, neoliberalism and various social justice movements. Attending to contemporary cultural debates concerning happiness, empathy, hope, fear, hate, disgust and melancholia, it explores how personal feelings are linked to social norms and power structures and considers how we might disrupt an assumed division between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions. The module explores how emotions, feelings and affects are produced, mediated and circulated through a range of cultural forms, practices and technologies, paying particular attention to the role of film, television, news media, digital culture, literature and popular science.

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This module will involve students undertaking quantitative research in a real world setting, while simultaneously reflecting on the process of undertaking real-life quantitative research (through a log), culminating in an assessed report on their work. This real world setting can be of the form of an individual research project, working in a support role with an academic or within a placement organisation. Students will receive support by a supervisor and receive lectures covering such topics as:

- Turning an organisation's ideas into a viable research project;

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

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

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

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This module introduces and applies ideas in critical, cultural and communications theory to debates and issues surrounding media and popular culture, focusing on such themes as cultural elitism, power and control, the formation of identities, the politics of representation, and the cultural circuit of production and consumption. It investigates the relationship between the development of contemporary society and societal values and the changing technological basis of mediated culture.

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This module, Young People and Violence, approaches the study of interpersonal violent crime as it relates to young people. It will explore violence experienced in everyday life paying particular interest to the social context in which it can occur; for example urban spaces, schools, familial setting and 'gang, gun and knife culture'. The concern with youth, crime and violence is critically appraised in the context of shifting political focus on disaffected young people. It will seek to understand violence within the context of youth in late modernity. One of the primary objectives of this module will be to engage students in analytical debates on crime and violence as experienced by young people as perpetrators and victims. It will examine and apply criminological theory to youth violence exploring the connection between crime and violence through the intersection of race, gender, ethnicity and class. In particular, the module will investigate the link between structure and agency. In this module, students will have the opportunity to review the impact of changing political and criminal justice responses to the youth crime problem. The module will have a national, as well as international focus.

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This module aims to develop a critical understanding of one of the most timely and pressing issues of recent times, namely, migration, and its relationship to politics of identities, belonging and citizenship in global societies. It aims to introduce students to key themes and issues related to the social experience of migration in a diversity of contexts. Over the course of the term, we will debate and critically explore the ways in which migrants, refugees and diaspora communities shape their societies of settlement and origin and how they have become key actors of a process of 'globalisation from below' at different social and spatial scales. We will critically discuss key concepts and theories deployed to analyse contemporary processes of migration, transnationalism and diaspora and assess their relevance across a wide range of migration case studies. Examples of the central questions this module will address are: what are the main drivers of contemporary migration? To what extent can migrants become transnational citizens? What is the link between migration and homeland development in third world countries? How are gender, class and race relations affected by migration?

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This module provides students with an understanding of contemporary cybercrime, its implications and its sociological meanings. It examines how cybercrime functions, how it relates to wider criminological debates and theories, and how it raises challenges in our understanding of the nature of crime, criminality, crime control and policing. Students will become familiar with cutting edge research and theories in the field of cybercrime, and debates that are developing both within the UK and across the world. By focusing on the differing levels of both action and actors, this unit will provide a holistic and nuanced understanding of these vital contemporary challenges facing society. This module equips students with the necessary theoretical and practical tools and modes of social enquiry to make sense of an increasingly digital and networked world.

Find out more about SOCI7600

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

Year abroad

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

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

To be eligible for the year abroad all students must obtain an average of 60% in the first and second years of their degree. In addition, those students studying on a Tier 4 visa must ensure they comply with the prevailing UKVI visa regulations governing course changes that are applicable to their individual circumstances. 

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

Stage 3

Optional modules may include

This module is a one-term placement opportunity that allows you to teach aspects of your degree subject in a local school. Launched to coincide with Kent's 50th anniversary in 2015, it highlights the longstanding excellence of human and social science research and teaching at the University, and the important role the institution has in contributing to the local community.

If selected for this module you will spend approximately 6 hours in a Kent secondary school in the Spring term (this session excludes time to travel to and from the School, and preparation and debrief time with the teacher). Generally, you will begin by observing lessons taught by your designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Later you will act somewhat in the role of a teaching assistant by working with individual pupils or with a small group. You may take 'hotspots': brief sessions with the whole class where you explain a topic or talk about aspects of university life. Finally, you will progress to the role of "teacher" and will be expected to lead an entire lesson. Throughout the module you will be given guidance and support by a local convenor based in your academic school as well as the overall module convenor.

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

Find out more about ANTB5560

This module will provide students with an in-depth examination of the theoretical and applied aspects of Forensic Psychology. It will include the development of laws and the principles on which the judicial system is founded, offending by specific sections of the community including street gangs and career criminals, Criminal Justice responses to offending by the police and forensic profilers, the role and credibility of eyewitnesses and the interview processes employed with suspects, the role of juries, how sentences are compiled for convicted offenders, the aims of punishment and how prisoners respond to imprisonment, theoretical perspectives of rehabilitation and an examination of the implementation of the sex offender treatment programme. The module will focus on the in-depth application of forensic psychology to the justice system, its role in identifying and ameliorating offending behaviour. In particular it will evaluate the role of psychology in criminal justice: systems, policies and practices by presenting and critically evaluating research and research methods within forensic psychology. Students will be encouraged to develop skills to critique the literature and methodologies to further their understanding of the core forensic issues the course presents.

Find out more about PSYC6370

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

Learning will be orientated towards:

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

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

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

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

Find out more about SOCI5012

This module provides students with an understanding of the concept of social status: how it differs from (and interacts with) other aspects of social stratification, such as power, class, and material circumstances. Students will explore theories for why human beings value social status so highly, and why they often take such dramatic steps to avoid losing it. The module will examine how considering social status concerns helps us to understand a variety of important social phenomena, encompassing health, violence, education, cultural participation, morality, and identity. Students will become familiar with the empirical tools researchers have used to understand the role of status, along with the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches.

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This module will appeal to students interested in education from a global, sociological perspective. It will allow students to opportunity to consider their own experiences of education through the lens of sociological theory. The module will include the history of education in the local and global context, and an examination of the intersections, hierarchies, ethics and dynamics of power and inequality in the classroom, in particular how educational systems contribute to the production and re-production of social inequalities (such as class, gender, dis/ability and race). Other topics covered will include the marketization and digitization of further and higher education; the rise in 'radical pedagogies', and the inclusive curriculum. The module will ask students to consider ideas around the purpose of education and educational policy, and their sociological implications, as well as encouraging comparative analysis of international education systems. There will be a practical focus on students’ own reflexive experience of education, and how it might be experienced as a UK, international, widening participation or non-traditional students, in light of current discourse and educational policy.

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The aim of this module is to provide students with a critical understanding of the nature and extent of crime and deviance in contemporary society, and the main ways in which they can be explained and controlled. Focusing upon contemporary sociological theories of crime against a background of the classical ideas within the field, this module will provide undergraduates with an opportunity to engage with the most up-to-date debates in an area of great interest in contemporary society.

Find out more about SOCI5050

'Health', ‘illness’ and ‘medicine’ are not static concepts. Their meaning changes over time, and there is competition and conflict over what they mean. For example, in recent decades, health has come to mean much more the absence of disease. This is the age of healthy eating, sexual health, holistic health, healthy lifestyles and healthy living. The term ‘epidemic’ is no longer used only in relation to contagious disease; we have epidemics of teenage pregnancy, obesity and ‘mental health’. We live in a time when medicine can mean homeopathy or acupuncture, as well as heart surgery and vaccinations. ‘Health’ is also something we seem to worry about, and panic over, including about some things like vaccinations and contraceptive pills that are also part of ‘public health’. Of course, our experience has been reshaped profoundly by global experience of, and responses to, pandemic.. This module draws on sociological ideas that can help us understand, and critically evaluate, what we mean by health, illness and medicine and what the meaning we give to these terms tells us about the society we live in.

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Environmental issues have become central matters of public concern and political contention. In this module we shall consider explanations for the rise and social distribution of environmental concern as well as the forms of organisation that have been adopted to address environmental questions, including the emergence of global environmental issues and the responses to them. The development of environmental protest, environmental movements and Green parties are central concerns, but we shall also consider the 'greening' of established political parties and political agenda. Is it realistic to expect the development of a global environmental movement adequate to the task of tackling global environmental problems. The approach is broadly comparative and examples will be taken from Europe (east and west), North America, Australasia and south-east Asia.

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

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The aims of the module are to:

• Explore gender differences in offending, victimisation, and deployment in the criminal justice system

• Examine theoretical approaches in Criminology and their engagement with issues of gender

• Discuss the main ways in which gender impacts on the operation of the criminal justice system

Topics covered in the module will cover:

• gender and patterns of offending

• a critique of traditional criminology; feminist criminologies; masculinities and crime

• media representations of male and female offenders

• gender in the courtroom, penal system and policing

• women and men as criminal justice professionals

• gender, victimisation and fear of crime.

Find out more about SOCI5330

This module provides students with a sociological and criminological understanding of contemporary issues relating to youth crime. More specifically, the module provides a critical understanding of young people's involvement in crime and deviance and the various responses to youth crime, especially how young people are dealt with by the youth justice system. The module begins by examining current trends in youth offending and explores media responses. We then go on to look at 'the youth problem’ from an historical context. The module then goes on to focus in depth on four key substantive themes such as; gangs and violent crime; drugs, alcohol and nightlife; young people, urban space and antisocial behaviour; and the youth justice system in England and Wales. Throughout the module, attention is given to the importance of understanding the connections of youth crime with race, class and gender and at the same time, engages with key theoretical ideas and debates that inform our understandings of youth crime. This unit provides an opportunity to engage with the most up-to-date debates in an area of great interest in contemporary society.

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The module will be organised around the following themes:

• The history, development and structure of the institutions of the CJS

• Current issues facing the CJS

• Crime, crime control and social exclusion

• Crime prevention and community safety

Within the organisation of the module students will be encouraged to cooperate on issues based around the above themes and to participate verbally within the context of class discussions, group presentation and class debate.

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What is meant by 'racism'? Charges of racism are seemingly everywhere – in the workplace, in the streets, in everyday interactions. But what exactly is racism? Is it beliefs about racial inferiority or superiority? Is it found in actions and consequences whether people intended to be racist or not? We will first review various theories of racism, and critically assess how changing conceptualisations of racism arise in specific, socio-political contexts. We will also consider whether a colour-blind future is desirable and/or possible.

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The key focus of this course is to provide students with a good understanding of issues surrounding gender and the labour market in a comparative sociological perspective. The course is designed around the core research questions in the gender inequality literature in relation to work-life balance in the context of family, company, the labour market and the welfare states. The module starts off examining the key questions of whether there is a gender wage gap and each week discusses the potential explanation of why there is a gender gap, starting with the preference theory – women earn less because they make bad choices in their lives, moving on to more structural problems restricting women's choices. We also examine some of the key methods which gender inequality research has used recently

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

Find out more about SOCI5750

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

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

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

Find out more about SOCI6010

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

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This module aims to get students to think about their place in their social worlds, and in particular the importance of our ethnic and racial backgrounds and identities in shaping this sense of belonging. What is the nature of ethnic ties and membership? How do understanding of ethnic group identity and membership influence our interactions with one another, and structure our opportunities in the wider society? How do our ethnic backgrounds intersect with our gender, religion, and sexuality? These issues are now critical in multi-ethnic societies such as Britain, where our use of ethnic categories and terms are central to societal organization and function, whether in the census or in everyday interactions. But given the dizzying speed with which our societies are become super-diverse, via various forms of migration, and interracial and interethnic unions, the terms and categories we use are much less 'obvious' than they may have been in the past. Membership in ethnic groups themselves is now increasingly contested, and we also question what we mean by terms such as ‘minority’ or ‘BME’.

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The module provides students with an understanding of the contested cultural meanings underpinning crime. Too often criminology is satisfied taking definitions of criminality at face value, when really it means very different things to different people and in different contexts. The module examines how media representations propagate particular perceptions of crime, criminality and justice. It goes on to consider the manner in which those who 'offend' experience and interpret their own behaviour, which may be focused on the attainment of excitement or indeed on attaining their own conception of justice. The module explores these contradictions in a world where crime, control and the media saturate everyday life. In doing so it considers a diverse range of concepts; youth culture, hedonism, hate crime, risk taking, moral panics, the image, emotionality and consumerism. We examine the nature of a late-modern society where criminality inspires great fear and resentment, whilst at the same time it provides imagery which is harnessed to produce entertainment and sell a range of consumer goods. Students will become familiar with cutting edge research and theory in the fields of Cultural Criminology, Visual Criminology, and Media and Crime, placing issues such as music, photography, street gangs, extreme sports, newspapers and nights on the town in new and exciting contexts.

Find out more about SOCI6050

The module combines theoretical and methodological approaches from sociology, cultural and media studies, history and literature to examine how our understandings of the past, present and future are formed, framed, mediated and remediated in a variety of social, cultural and political contexts. It aims to introduce students to key themes and issues related to the social experience of time. It will encourage them to reflect on how this experience informs our approaches to social problems, relationships of power and inequality, and the formation of collective identities. Over the course of the term, we will debate and critically explore the roles of heritage, nostalgia, the imagination, narrative and experience at the heart of both processes of social change and cultural continuity. We will question what it is that forms the constitutive narrative of a cultural identity, its foundations, expression and trajectory. We will also examine the material and symbolic construction of social groups such as generations, classes and communities.

Find out more about SOCI6210

The module introduces students to a range of case studies and topics – both historical and contemporary – that are analysed through the framework of state crime. Beginning with a theoretical introduction to this framework, students will learn to integrate their understanding of state-perpetrated atrocity with a criminological analysis of the nature of state violence, the objectives and driving forces of state crime, the denial of state crime, and the potential avenues for accountability and justice. It will examine not only state crime but examples of resistance to state crime in the form of protest, documentation, legal challenges and artistic and media responses. The module will allow students to understand the potential to resist state crime and the limits of that potential in complex circumstances.

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

Find out more about SOCI6240

Social care is of central significance in the support of a range of vulnerable adults, forming one of the key services of the welfare state, albeit often with a lower profile than the closely related field of health care. In this module we trace the historic evolution of social care services (including recent processes of deinstitutionalisation and interactions with other welfare services). The role of the state is analysed in relation to the now well established 'mixed economy of welfare' present in social care. We consider in more depth the main groups of service users, namely vulnerable older people, those with mental health problems, physical or learning disabilities and informal carers. Also examined are key issues relating to user participation and empowerment, personalisation and adult protection/safeguarding. These issues are set within wider contexts of inequalities and diversity and UK (devolved) services within comparative context.

Find out more about SOCI6250

This course critically examines the historical role that animals have played in the making of modern society and the current nature of human/nonhuman relations in contemporary cultures. Students will also be introduced to intersections of race/class/gender and species. The final part of the course considers collective action and social policy as it relates to past and present efforts to challenge problematic aspects of human/nonhuman relations.

Find out more about SOCI6260

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

Find out more about SOCI6450

This module will examine the impact of digital technology on our social and cultural lives. It will concentrate on how the Internet in particular has challenged some of our more traditional notions of identity and self, the body, relationships, community, privacy, politics, friendship, war and crime, economics, among others. Lectures will show how some of the basic components of culture such as notions of identity, space, the body, community, and even the very notion of what it is to be human, have been complicated by the rise of virtuality and cyberspace. We will also examine these issues through case study phenomena unique to digital culture, currently including gaming, music, cybersex and social networking

Find out more about SOCI6570

The course is concerned with the relatively new ideas of living in a 'risk society' which theoretically capture the heightened sensitivity within Western societies to the numerous 'risks' which shape our lives. The course will explore different dimensions of risk's impact on everyday life, and then examine key ways in which political culture is being reorganised around risk aversion. The course will suggest that heightened perception of risk is here to stay, and is leading to a reorganisation of society in important areas.

Indicative lecture List

1. Britain, Europe and the New Risk Society

2. An Integrated Approach to Understanding Risk

3. Risk and the Interpersonal: Risky Relationships

4. Risk and the Family: Children and the Curbing of Activity

5. Risk and Public Life: the Terrorist Threat

6. The Risk Management of Everything

7. Accidents, Blame and the Culture of Inquiries

8. The Precautionary Principle

9. 'Compensation Culture'

10. Towards Global Risk Aversion?: The Case of Japan

11. Course Summary

Find out more about SOCI6590

Work and economic life is one of the central themes of sociology. Work allows us to think about class, gender, race and issues of identity. Work defines how people live their lives and is a major constituting factor in identity formation. In recent years work has changed enormously with the rise of globalisation, of deindustrialisation and the ending of old certainties which used to underpin working lives. This module examines how sociology and sociologists have looked at the issue of work in the past as well as in contemporary societies. It charts the theoretical background to the assumptions sociologists make about work as well as the methods they use to investigate work and employment. The module will focus on issues industrialisation, deindustrialisation, notions of career and identity and places and spaces of work. A major part of this module is the discussion of innovative ways of looking at work including through visual methods and approaches, and in addition it will draw on material from the arts and humanities.

Find out more about SOCI6680

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

The following 2 units are compulsory:

• Active community volunteering

• Project Leadership

Plus 1 unit selected from the following:

• Active university volunteering

• Training facilitator

• Mentoring

• Committee role

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

Find out more about SOCI6700

Images of 'trim, taut and terrific' bodies surround us in contemporary consumer culture. They look down on us from billboards, are increasingly central to advertisers' attempts to sell us clothes, cosmetics, cars, and other products, and pervade reality television programmes based on diet, exercise and 'extreme’ makeovers. These trends have occurred at the same time that science, technology, genetic engineering and medicine have achieved unprecedented levels of control over the body: there are now few parts of the body which cannot be remoulded, supplemented or transplanted in one way or another. In this course we explore how culture represents and shapes bodies, and also examine how embodied subjects are themselves able to act on and influence the culture in which they live. We will seek to understand the relationship between the body and self-identity, embodiment and inequalities, and will explore various theories of the body. In doing this we range far and wide by looking at such issues as work, music, sex/gender, cyberbodies, Makeover TV, film, transgender, sport, music, work and sleep. Embodiment is the enduring theme of this course, though, and we will explore its many dimensions via a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, and by asking and addressing a range of questions such as ‘How and why has the body become increasingly commodified?’, ‘Why has the body become increasingly central to so many people’s sense of self-identity?’, ‘If we live in a culture that has been able to intervene in the sizes, shapes and contents of the body like never before, have people have become less sure about what is ‘natural’ about the body, and about how we should care for and treat our bodily selves?’

Find out more about SOCI6760

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

Find out more about SOCI6790

The module aims to enable students to conceive and execute a major research project in the field of cultural studies. Students attend a Summer term group meeting with the module convenor to explore and discuss ideas for research and the submission of a draft title and plan, which is to be completed during the long vacation prior to the module beginning. In the Autumn term they will receive feedback on this plan and proposal from their supervisor and/or the module convenor. They will then be required to attend a series of meetings with their assigned supervisor throughout the Autumn term and at the end of that term submit a Literature Review for assessment. In the spring term, research and writing of the dissertation continue under the guidance of the supervisor and at the end of the term, the completed assignment is submitted.

Find out more about SOCI6830

This module aims to develop a critical understanding of one of the most important intellectual and political issues of our times, namely, 'globalization' and global social change. In so doing, this module poses a number of key questions: what is globalization, and what forms does it take? How does globalization reconstitute our relationship to society? How is globalization experienced across the world, and what power relations does it create? This module presents contemporary modes and challenges of doing sociology in an increasingly complex and interdependent world. Students will critically evaluate contending theories of globalization, and explore key topical debates in global issues, including the impact of global economic treaties on poverty, trade, and urban growth in the Global South; the flows, opportunities, and conflicts in the creation of global culture, and resistance to global forces and power relations in the form of anti-globalization movements.

Find out more about SOCI6840

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

Find out more about SOCI7120

This module provides an introduction to the major issues and controversies that have shaped key developments in contemporary social theory. It surveys the development of social theory through the second half of the twentieth century and up to the present day. Following on from the SO408 module on 'classical' social theory, it questions the distinction between the 'classical' and the ‘contemporary’ so as to highlight the intellectual decisions, values and problems involved in the packaging of social theory under these terms. It also provides critical introductions to the following theorists and issues: Talcott Parsons and his legacy; Symbolic Interactionism up to Goffman and beyond; The Frankfurt School: Critical theory and the crisis of western Marxism; Jurgen Habermas and the decline of the public sphere; Michel Foucault and a his understanding of ‘power’; Pierre Bourdieu and the reproduction of inequality; From Modernity to Post-modernity?; The feminising of social theory; Globalisation, networks and mobilities; New challenges for the twenty-first century.

Find out more about SOCI7270

This module covers key issues and debates in the sociology of religion in order to interrogate the significance of religious faith and belief in the modern world. After an introductory lecture, the module is organised into two closely connected parts. Firstly, it explores classical statements on the sources, meaning and fate of religion in modernity by examining the writings of Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and Georg Simmel, and using their analyses to interrogate current events (e.g. 'prosperity Pentecostalism' and also violent responses to transgressions of what religions consider to be sacred). The emphasis here is on developing in students the knowledge and skills necessary to appreciate and engage critically with the significance of religion for the development of sociology, and with key statements about the modern fate of religion in and beyond the West. Second, the module explores in some detail core issues concerned with and associated with the secularisation debate. Here, we look not only at conventional arguments concerning secularisation and de-secularisation, but also at the significance of ‘the return of the sacred’ in society, civil religion, the material experience of religion, and the manner in which religious identities and habits are developed in the contemporary world. This enables us to develop new perspectives on the viability of religion in current times.

Find out more about SOCI7360

This module invites students to explore the critical links between emotion, media and culture in the context of contemporary cultural, socio-political and economic relations. It examines what is meant by 'the affective turn' within the humanities and social sciences and introduces students to a range of interdisciplinary literatures concerned with theorising the cultural politics of emotion and the mediation of affect. Through various case studies and examples, the module investigates how social, cultural and media theorists have addressed the relationships between emotion, affect, power and identity in the context of postcoloniality, multiculturalism, neoliberalism and various social justice movements. Attending to contemporary cultural debates concerning happiness, empathy, hope, fear, hate, disgust and melancholia, it explores how personal feelings are linked to social norms and power structures and considers how we might disrupt an assumed division between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ emotions. The module explores how emotions, feelings and affects are produced, mediated and circulated through a range of cultural forms, practices and technologies, paying particular attention to the role of film, television, news media, digital culture, literature and popular science.

Find out more about SOCI7420

This module will involve students undertaking quantitative research in a real world setting, while simultaneously reflecting on the process of undertaking real-life quantitative research (through a log), culminating in an assessed report on their work. This real world setting can be of the form of an individual research project, working in a support role with an academic or within a placement organisation. Students will receive support by a supervisor and receive lectures covering such topics as:

- Turning an organisation's ideas into a viable research project;

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

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

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

Find out more about SOCI7480

This module introduces and applies ideas in critical, cultural and communications theory to debates and issues surrounding media and popular culture, focusing on such themes as cultural elitism, power and control, the formation of identities, the politics of representation, and the cultural circuit of production and consumption. It investigates the relationship between the development of contemporary society and societal values and the changing technological basis of mediated culture.

Find out more about SOCI7500

This module, Young People and Violence, approaches the study of interpersonal violent crime as it relates to young people. It will explore violence experienced in everyday life paying particular interest to the social context in which it can occur; for example urban spaces, schools, familial setting and 'gang, gun and knife culture'. The concern with youth, crime and violence is critically appraised in the context of shifting political focus on disaffected young people. It will seek to understand violence within the context of youth in late modernity. One of the primary objectives of this module will be to engage students in analytical debates on crime and violence as experienced by young people as perpetrators and victims. It will examine and apply criminological theory to youth violence exploring the connection between crime and violence through the intersection of race, gender, ethnicity and class. In particular, the module will investigate the link between structure and agency. In this module, students will have the opportunity to review the impact of changing political and criminal justice responses to the youth crime problem. The module will have a national, as well as international focus.

Find out more about SOCI7511

This module aims to develop a critical understanding of one of the most timely and pressing issues of recent times, namely, migration, and its relationship to politics of identities, belonging and citizenship in global societies. It aims to introduce students to key themes and issues related to the social experience of migration in a diversity of contexts. Over the course of the term, we will debate and critically explore the ways in which migrants, refugees and diaspora communities shape their societies of settlement and origin and how they have become key actors of a process of 'globalisation from below' at different social and spatial scales. We will critically discuss key concepts and theories deployed to analyse contemporary processes of migration, transnationalism and diaspora and assess their relevance across a wide range of migration case studies. Examples of the central questions this module will address are: what are the main drivers of contemporary migration? To what extent can migrants become transnational citizens? What is the link between migration and homeland development in third world countries? How are gender, class and race relations affected by migration?

Find out more about SOCI7550

This module provides students with an understanding of contemporary cybercrime, its implications and its sociological meanings. It examines how cybercrime functions, how it relates to wider criminological debates and theories, and how it raises challenges in our understanding of the nature of crime, criminality, crime control and policing. Students will become familiar with cutting edge research and theories in the field of cybercrime, and debates that are developing both within the UK and across the world. By focusing on the differing levels of both action and actors, this unit will provide a holistic and nuanced understanding of these vital contemporary challenges facing society. This module equips students with the necessary theoretical and practical tools and modes of social enquiry to make sense of an increasingly digital and networked world.

Find out more about SOCI7600

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

Fees

The 2023/24 annual tuition fees for this course 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

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

Funding

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

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

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

Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and examinations; to view details for individual modules click the 'read more' link within each module listed in the course structure.

Contact hours

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

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

Programme aims

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

Independent rankings

Sociology at Kent was ranked 2nd for research quality in The Complete University Guide 2023.

Careers

Graduate destinations

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

Our graduates have gone on to work in:

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

Help finding a job

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

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

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

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

Career-enhancing skills

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

These skills include:

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

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

Apply for Sociology, Social Policy and Social Change - BA (Hons)

UCAS application cycle for 2023 is open. You can search courses and apply via the UCAS website.

Our Open Days are a great way to discover more about the courses and get a feel for where you'll be studying. Along with campus tours, online chats and virtual events there are lots of other ways to visit us.

Sign up to receive all the latest news and events from Kent. 

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United Kingdom/EU enquiries

Enquire online for full-time study

Enquire online for part-time study

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

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International student enquiries

Enquire online

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

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