Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

Social Sciences - BSc (Hons)

UCAS code L340:K

2019

Our Social Sciences degree gives you the skills to better understand the world you live in. You study key issues such as class, poverty, inequality, health, crime, and urban change and are encouraged to think of innovative ways to tackle them.

2019

Overview

The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research is one of the best in the country for teaching and research. Our academics are internationally recognised for their expertise and challenge you to develop your own opinions and ideas, encouraging you to become an independent thinker. We offer high levels of support and our staff are friendly and accessible.

Our degree programme

As a Social Sciences student, you study society from a range of perspectives. These include sociology, social policy, psychology, criminology and social history.

In your first year, you take one compulsory module on social research methods and are then able to choose modules that focus on areas of interest to you. You also have the option to choose a subject pathway to focus on throughout your degree; choosing a pathway means that at least 50% of your modules are in the named subject areas.

You select from the following specialisms:

  • Psychology and Criminology
  • Sociology and Criminology
  • Sociology and Psychology
  • Sociology and Social Policy

In your second and final years, you further develop your research skills and can then select modules dependent on your interests. Modules are wide-ranging and currently cover areas such as the history of policing, forensic psychology, politics and power and drugs in their cultural context.

Year abroad

It is possible to spend a year or a term abroad at one of our partner institutions. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply. See the year abroad section on the Course structure tab for more details.

Year in professional practice

Your year in professional practice takes place between your second and final year. You gain work experience in a professional setting and can put the theory you have learnt into practice. It is also gives you the chance to develop networks and contacts in your area of interest. Employers also greatly value, and seek evidence of, relevant work experience when selecting candidates for posts. See the Course structure tab for full details.

Extra activities

The Social Studies Society is run by Kent students for anyone with an interest in criminology, sociology, law, social policy, economics and politics.

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

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

Independent rankings

Criminology and Sociology at Kent were both ranked 1st for research quality in The Times Good University Guide 2018.

In The Guardian University Guide 2018, Criminology at Kent was ranked 6th for course satisfaction and Social Policy and Administration was ranked 12th overall.

Social Policy and Administration at Kent was ranked in the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings 2017.

Teaching Excellence Framework

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

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

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

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

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

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

This introductory course in criminology and criminal justice will introduce students to the ways in which images and notions of crime are constructed and represented, including the links between crime and the key social divisions of age, gender and ethnicity. They will be introduced to the workings of the criminal justice system and its key agencies. Students would also receive lectures covering:

- The measurement of crime

- Media representations of crime

- The aims and justifications of punishment

- The structure and operation of the criminal justice system

Read more
15

This module introduces students to the history of Britain in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, through an exploration of changes and continuities across three themes: the political world; the economy; and social life. The political world theme engages with the creation of a mass democracy in 1918, the varying fortunes of the political parties, and Britain's changing place in the world. The economy theme explores the impact of depressions and recoveries, industrial relations, affluence and globalization. The social life theme draws out the human scale of such experiences, looking at changing social conditions, the experience of war, and shifting social attitudes to gender, race, sexuality and religion. Students will consider the range of primary sources that historians use to analyse past events and processes, building skills in documentary analysis.

Read more
15

This module follows on from Foundations in Social and Criminological Research 1 in developing students' skills in research and critical thinking. The emphasis in this module is on quantitative methods: evaluating the use of quantitative research in 'real life’ contexts, and developing skills in analysing quantitative data. Students will explore descriptive statistics, the evaluation of research designs and learn how to use SPSS to handle quantitative data.

Read more
15

The module will discuss classical and contemporary sociological perspectives (including Marxism, Weberianism, feminism and Bourdieusian), examining how they address key sociological debates, such as modernity, social order, conflict, agency and power. The module will also discuss key sociological concepts (such as class, gender and 'race'), explaining how they are used to understand social practices and structures in everyday life.

Read more
15

The module will discuss a range of substantive topics (e.g., families, deviance, economy and cities), examining how they address key sociological issues, such as agency, power and culture. The module will also discuss the implications of social practices and institutions for understanding everyday life and social change, explaining how class, gender, ethnicity and other social inequalities are significant concepts in shaping people's lived experiences. Classical and contemporary macro- and micro-theoretical perspectives (such as Marxism, feminism and postmodernism) will be employed to understand and explain social practices and institutions.

Read more
15

This module introduces students to the politics of social policy, building specifically on their learning in SO326 Understanding Contemporary Britain. Students will explore the role of politicians, pressure groups, the media and public opinion in shaping responses to social problems, and the party-political and ideological approaches to policy-making.

Students will explore the tensions between welfare and the economy and the main tensions between individualism and collectivism in the political environment of the contemporary welfare state. Students will be introduced to the role of politics in social policy making to understand the different value positions political parties hold. Students will examine these issues through five policy sectors of employment, social security, health, housing, and education.

Read more
15

This module introduces debates about the nature of social research methods principally in sociology, criminology, social history and psychology, with reference to social policy, politics and other social sciences. It will introduce students to social research from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students will develop key study and research skills for research methods module in Stage 2 and the dissertation in Stage 3.

Topics to be covered include: the history and politics of the social sciences; interdisciplinarity; what is reality/knowledge?; emotions and reason; positive, normative, moral and political thinking; critical thinking and reading; research skills; essay writing and presentation skills; use of documentary/archival and visual sources.

Read more
15

The lectures will give a brief history and overview of the discipline, followed by an examination of different approaches to explaining human behaviour. Different areas of psychology (such as social and cognitive) will be explained and examples of topics in these areas examined as illustrations. The focus will be on the nature of psychology as a discipline, the types of methods and approaches used in psychology, and how it compares and contrasts with other disciplines in the social sciences.

Perspectives examined in the course will include:

• biopsychology ( the nervous system, including structure, functions and effects of damage)

• evolutionary principles and their relevance to behaviour

• behaviourism (principles of learning through conditioning)

• cognitive psychology (e.g. memory, decision-making)

• social psychology (e.g. group membership)

• clinical issues (anxiety disorders)

Read more
15
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

This module will cover quantitative methods in social and psychological research, building on concepts covered in Stage 1. The aims are to strengthen skills in different methods of data collection and statistical techniques (including training with SPSS), to provide experience with reporting research, and to prepare students for the dissertation module in the final year. The module will cover experimental and non-experimental research designs and methods of data analysis including ANOVA and regression. Completion is a requirement to undertake a psychology dissertation in Stage 3. Techniques will be demonstrated through their application to practical work carried out by students.

Content will include:

• Reliability and validity in experimental and non-experimental research design

• Behavioural experiments

• Quantitative surveys

• Correlation and causation.

• Statistical analysis for multiple independent variables/predictors.

• Reporting research.

• Critical evaluation of research claims.

Read more
15

This module is designed to develop awareness and critical understanding of methodological issues and practices within sociology. It will give students both a theoretical and practical understanding of sociological approaches and techniques, with a particular emphasis on qualitative approaches. Students will be equipped to tackle research design, undertake research using specific techniques, and analyse and present their findings. They will be able to make judgements about appropriate matches between research questions, design and techniques, and claims about the knowledge produced in their own and other research. The course includes practical work for students to learn first-hand about the research process. The module builds on Stage 1 Foundations of Social and Criminological Research and further develops students' methodological and analytical skills as a preparation for their Dissertations in the final year of the degree programme.

Read more
15

Youth crime is a field that frequently attracts much public, political and media attention, and the aim of this module is to encourage students to critically assess the true prevalence and severity of crime committed by young people. The module starts by locating the fascination with youth and crime in its historical context, demonstrating that youth crime is neither a new nor novel phenomenon. The course then moves on to examine the developing and competing theories which seek to explain why young people commit crime.

The module traces the way in which young people and their subcultures are frequently made the focus of 'moral panics' by the media, with juveniles themselves becoming the archetypal 'folk devils'. We look at the position that ‘persistent young offenders’ hold in the public consciousness, and how the politics of youth justice has thrived on the fear of youth crime. The course concludes by providing an overview of how the state seeks to prevent children from committing crime and a critique of the societal responses to young people who violate the law.

Read more
15

This module offers an overview of the contemporary rationale, powers, procedures and practices of the criminal justice system. It starts by providing students with a theoretical foundation by which they can better understand the functions of the criminal justice system, before moving on to address to the social dimensions which affect its operation.

We then focus on some specific forms of crime and deviance that have perplexed both the public and policy makers. What is a 'hate crime'? How should the Government address the problem of domestic violence? What specific problems does the emergence of the night-time economy pose to the operation of the criminal justice system?

The position of the victim in the criminal justice system is then analysed, looking at the rise of the 'victim movement' and broadening our understanding of what we mean by the term ‘victim’. We also tackle the role that restorative justice plays in challenging our conventional understanding that ‘criminal justice’ should operate as an adversarial system, in which the victim and offender take opposing sides.

Finally, the module addresses social responses to crime and deviance, and looks at some of the technologies of social control. Crime is increasingly becoming a political issue and the general public’s ‘fear of crime’ is arguably on the rise. We look at how the Government attempts to tackle the ‘problem’ of crime and disorder, and the implications that this has for social control.

Read more
30

This module provides an introduction to the study of women's relationships with the criminal justice system. The subject is analysed in both its historical and contemporary contexts and there will be a strong emphasis on theoretical understanding of gender, on feminist theory and on inter-disciplinary approaches. Amongst the topics under consideration are: feminist criminology; media representations of women; crime and justice; women offenders and the criminalisation of women; female victims of crime; women in penal institutions; women as prosecutors; and women in criminal justice employment.

Read more
15

The correctional services are fundamental to the exercise of criminal justice and to the punitive bite of the criminal justice system. This module offers students the opportunity to examine critically the complex contemporary role, use, and work of prisons and probation in England and Wales and their sometimes ability to enable the rehabilitation of serious offenders. Besides its focus on the Prison and Probation Services, the module considers prisoners' experiences of being 'behind bars’, models of offender rehabilitation and methods of working with serious (violent and sexually violent) offenders to help them to change, risk assessment and parole, the resettlement of former prisoners in the community, and why and how people stop committing crime. Seminar discussions include debate about the merits and demerits of prison privatization and the use of ‘real life’ examples of exercises undertaken with offenders to challenge their thinking and case studies of released prisoners who re-offended.

Please note: This module requires, at times, explicit discussion of sexual offending and the treatment needs of sexual offenders. Students who think they will find these topics uncomfortable or upsetting are advised not to take this module.

Read more
15

This course examines the relationship between drugs and crime, the criminalisation of people who use drugs, drug trafficking and dealing, and the emergence of the prison as a locale for the delivery of drug treatment. It examines the evidence for the link between drug use and crime, looks at definitions of drug and addiction, and tracks changes in policy. It examines the changing role of prison and the identification of drugs as a key factor in offending and the development of interventions as a key re-settlement strategy. It also examines attempts to reduce offending through the provision of treatment to people who have problems with drugs.

Read more
15

Exceptionally high levels of incarceration and prevailing fear of crime and anti-social disorder have prompted a review of traditional systems of dealing with offenders. After years of prison expansion concerted efforts are being put in place in many Western countries to reduce the number of people in custody. There is a range of alternative forms of managing offenders including restorative justice, community punishments and drug courts. The main aim of this module is to provide students with a critical understanding of these alternative models in a wider historical and cross cultural context. It will explore key values, issues and debates set in the context of theoretical arguments and criminal justice policy and practice.

Read more
15

Would you like to volunteer for a cause you believe in while learning useful skills and gaining real world experience? If you would this is the module for you!

Social Justice Practice provides an opportunity for you to gain practical experience of the voluntary and community sector and combine it with academic study of the sector and related theoretical concepts such as social capital, social justice, volunteering, altruism and philanthropy. Lectures also cover topics such as the role, management, financing and governance – essential knowledge if you are planning to work in a wide range of different professions.

Students undertake at least 100 hours of voluntary work with a charity in Kent or Medway during the academic year. Once you sign up for this module you will be invited for an interview to discuss your volunteering plans and so you can find out more about the module and the volunteering you plan to do for it. Register in the usual way and you will be invited for an interview towards the end of the summer term (late May or early June).

Read more
30

This module addresses many of the issues that have shaped the modern practice of policing in recent times. It traces the way in which landmark events have served to mould and shape the daily practice of policing, and the implications that these have for police discretion. The module encourages students to think critically about these issues and to analyse the repercussions that their legacies have had for the routine, everyday social world of police officers and the communities that they serve. Topics include: police-race relations; stop-and-search practice; police cultures; corruption allegations; policing of riots and public disorder; policing of gendered and sexual violence; the rise of police privatisation and vigilantism and the development of performance based cultures.

Read more
15

This module aims to provide a broad introduction to social ethics. It will give students moral frameworks with which to address contemporary issues affecting social and professional practices and relationships. The module explores how everyday encounters and practices have ethical dimensions, which are often neglected in sociological accounts. A range of topics will be examined, including euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, prostitution, cannibalism, lying, charity and fair wage. It will draw upon several ethical perspectives, such as utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, feminist ethics and theories of justice, to understand these topics.

Read more
30

This module examines the changes and continuities in the provision of social welfare in Britain from the early nineteenth century to the present day, with an emphasis on the period after 1945. It considers the context of policy and policy reform, as well as the processes. The module will proceed chronologically, using specific major developments as a framework, e.g. the New Poor Law, the Liberal Reforms, the Second World War and reconstruction, the rise of free market ideologies from the 1970s. Within these milestones, students will engage with changes in claims to citizenship and the economy over this period, and how these have impacted on the direction of policy. Students will also look at the mechanics of the policy process, examining such topics as the decline of the Royal Commission, the rise of single-issue campaigning groups etc. Through the historical case studies to be examined, students will also engage with micro, meso and macro policy analysis and its application.

Read more
15

This module will examine applications of cognitive research in three main areas. The first area concerns relationships between brain processes and cognition. These will be examined using examples of neuropsychological conditions and disorders such as agnosia, phantom limbs, and synaesthesia. The second concerns cognitive theories of belief, superstition, 'magical thinking' and delusional thinking. The final section will examine relationships between cognition and emotion; in particular, attention and memory biases in mood disorders (anxiety and depression) and the role of mental imagery in emotional disorders. Practical applications and relevance to a general understanding of behaviour will be emphasised.

Read more
15

Human cognition is a key theme in psychology and knowledge of this area aids in interpreting and understanding behaviour in a range of contexts.

This module will examine the cognitive processes involved in attention, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision making and consider the ways in which research on these processes contributes to our understanding of human behaviour. We will consider topics such as memory, false memories, effective learning and problem-solving, and errors and biases in everyday thinking. It provides a good basis for modules in social cognition, applied cognitive psychology, and other areas of psychology.

Read more
15

This module encourages students to take an international view of social policy, beyond the national state, and to develop understanding of the global links and comparisons that can be used to consider welfare in this way. It is recommended that students take this in their third year having studied one or both of the second year social policy modules (SO545 or SO749).

Introductory lectures and seminars will introduce the challenges and risks facing contemporary welfare regimes, including neoliberalism, globalisation and financial uncertainty, and the notion of mixed economies of welfare. Another block of learning will provide accounts of comparative approaches to welfare and explore histories and contemporary dynamics of welfare in the US and in mainland Europe. Finally a series of welfare topics on migration, care, work and citizenship will be introduced in order to explore issues and policy responses within a global framework.

Read more
15

Humans are social creatures - even after becoming capable of independent living, very few of us seek to live in isolation. Indeed, as a species human survival has always depended on living and working as part of a group, therefore no study of behaviour would be complete without considering these interactions. The first component of this module will examine Social Influence processes, by considering the ways in which the presence of other people can affect the way we perceive ourselves and others, and the way in which we behave (e.g. through social facilitation and loafing; conformity; obedience; and minority influence). An Intragroup Processes component will then focus on some of the processes that can take place within social groups (e.g. self-categorisation; group decision-making; and the development of leaders) before, finally, an Intergroup Processes component will explore issues that might develop between social groups (e.g. intergroup relations; stereotype development; and prejudicial attitudes).

Read more
15

Developmental psychology examines changes which over the lifespan. This module will focus on social, emotional and cognitive development from infancy to adolescence. The interaction of biological and social factors throughout development will be emphasised. Topics include attachment of children to caregivers, the consequences of early neglect and deprivation, perceptual and cognitive abilities in infants, the acquisition of language, alternative theories of cognitive development, changes in social abilities and emotional regulation, development of moral reasoning and pro-social behaviour, and theories of adolescent transition, stress and identity.

Read more
15

This module approaches the study of social policy and welfare from the perspective of the everyday contexts in which it is implemented and experienced. Via this focus it will explore key substantive issues in contemporary social policy areas including health and social care, family, childhood and education, work and housing, as well as responding to contemporary and live debates. Key conceptual concerns include inequality and difference, the nature of care and the changing identities of welfare subjects and professionals. These concerns are set within the context of shifting welfare settlements and entitlements at national and international level. The policy issues are organised around everyday scales and spaces of policy intervention, including the body, home and family, neighbourhood, community and institution. This approach will enable students to engage with how welfare and social policy is ordered, experienced and contested within everyday contexts, as well as unevenly distributed at a local and regional level. Case studies relevant to each lecture will enable students to explore lived experiences of welfare in diverse settings as well as develop analytical skills in responding to empirical research data. The module has a focus both on UK and European welfare contexts, and on how these local experiences of welfare are shaped by global change and dynamics, for example around migration, health and care.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

The module will use the lenses of emotions and affect to explore a range of contemporary sociological issues and sites. Drawing both on feminist approaches and the recent turn to affect and emotion in the social sciences, the course will consider issues of identities, politics and place, in ways that question some of the binaries of social science thinking around public/private, local/global, intimate/political. Students will gain both a broad-based understanding of the theoretical and methodological frameworks for considering emotions sociologically, as well as a more detailed series of topics which use these frameworks in empirical contexts.

The first half of the module will provide the theoretical, conceptual and methodological underpinnings for the sociological study of emotions, around themes of neoliberalism, identities and politics, and methods for studying emotions. The second half of the module will be topic based around themes such as the body, home, work, care, media, violence, friendship and migration.

Read more
15

For much of its history criminology has been concerned with the offender and the victim was largely absent from criminological discourse, research and the criminal justice process. It was not until the early 20th century that criminologists [re] discovered the victim and began to consider the role they played in the commission of crime. From these initial investigations, the victim became the central focus of academic scholarship from which the discipline 'victimology' emerged. The victim is no longer considered to be ‘a bit part player’ in understanding crime. They are deemed to be central to crime detection and the prosecution of criminal acts. This module charts the birth and growth of victimology and considers some of its major theoretical concepts. It will explore the nature and extent of criminal victimisation in society and critically examine it from a number of different perspectives. The module will also examine the changing role of the victim within the criminal justice system.

Read more
15
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year in industry

The year in professional practice is taken between Stage 2 and 3 and is an opportunity to apply your social science learning in practice. You learn about the pragmatic contexts in which voluntary and public sector organisations operate and also develop your knowledge about employment opportunities in these areas. Not only does placement year help you to gain work experience and contacts, it also encourages you to look at your studies in a new light. Graduates from our degrees with a year in professional practice leave the School with the much sought after combination of the skills and competency gained through a university education, and the ability to demonstrate these in a practical work setting.

The option of a placement year is open to those students who have attained a good academic record at Stages 1 and 2, and have successfully completed an interview process. Read one student's experience of the placement year.

Alternatively, you can use our pathway options to specialise in two subject areas in Stages 2 and 3, and therefore graduate with a BSc (Hons) Social Sciences (Sociology and Psychology) or (Sociology and Criminology) or (Psychology and Criminology) or (Sociology and Social Policy).

Year abroad

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

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

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

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

For much of its history criminology has been concerned with the offender and the victim was largely absent from criminological discourse, research and the criminal justice process. It was not until the early 20th century that criminologists [re] discovered the victim and began to consider the role they played in the commission of crime. From these initial investigations, the victim became the central focus of academic scholarship from which the discipline 'victimology' emerged. The victim is no longer considered to be ‘a bit part player’ in understanding crime. They are deemed to be central to crime detection and the prosecution of criminal acts. This module charts the birth and growth of victimology and considers some of its major theoretical concepts. It will explore the nature and extent of criminal victimisation in society and critically examine it from a number of different perspectives. The module will also examine the changing role of the victim within the criminal justice system.

Read more
15

The module will use the lenses of emotions and affect to explore a range of contemporary sociological issues and sites. Drawing both on feminist approaches and the recent turn to affect and emotion in the social sciences, the course will consider issues of identities, politics and place, in ways that question some of the binaries of social science thinking around public/private, local/global, intimate/political. Students will gain both a broad-based understanding of the theoretical and methodological frameworks for considering emotions sociologically, as well as a more detailed series of topics which use these frameworks in empirical contexts.

The first half of the module will provide the theoretical, conceptual and methodological underpinnings for the sociological study of emotions, around themes of neoliberalism, identities and politics, and methods for studying emotions. The second half of the module will be topic based around themes such as the body, home, work, care, media, violence, friendship and migration.

Read more
15

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.

Read more
15

This module approaches the study of social policy and welfare from the perspective of the everyday contexts in which it is implemented and experienced. Via this focus it will explore key substantive issues in contemporary social policy areas including health and social care, family, childhood and education, work and housing, as well as responding to contemporary and live debates. Key conceptual concerns include inequality and difference, the nature of care and the changing identities of welfare subjects and professionals. These concerns are set within the context of shifting welfare settlements and entitlements at national and international level. The policy issues are organised around everyday scales and spaces of policy intervention, including the body, home and family, neighbourhood, community and institution. This approach will enable students to engage with how welfare and social policy is ordered, experienced and contested within everyday contexts, as well as unevenly distributed at a local and regional level. Case studies relevant to each lecture will enable students to explore lived experiences of welfare in diverse settings as well as develop analytical skills in responding to empirical research data. The module has a focus both on UK and European welfare contexts, and on how these local experiences of welfare are shaped by global change and dynamics, for example around migration, health and care.

Read more
15

Developmental psychology examines changes which over the lifespan. This module will focus on social, emotional and cognitive development from infancy to adolescence. The interaction of biological and social factors throughout development will be emphasised. Topics include attachment of children to caregivers, the consequences of early neglect and deprivation, perceptual and cognitive abilities in infants, the acquisition of language, alternative theories of cognitive development, changes in social abilities and emotional regulation, development of moral reasoning and pro-social behaviour, and theories of adolescent transition, stress and identity.

Read more
15

Humans are social creatures - even after becoming capable of independent living, very few of us seek to live in isolation. Indeed, as a species human survival has always depended on living and working as part of a group, therefore no study of behaviour would be complete without considering these interactions. The first component of this module will examine Social Influence processes, by considering the ways in which the presence of other people can affect the way we perceive ourselves and others, and the way in which we behave (e.g. through social facilitation and loafing; conformity; obedience; and minority influence). An Intragroup Processes component will then focus on some of the processes that can take place within social groups (e.g. self-categorisation; group decision-making; and the development of leaders) before, finally, an Intergroup Processes component will explore issues that might develop between social groups (e.g. intergroup relations; stereotype development; and prejudicial attitudes).

Read more
15

This module encourages students to take an international view of social policy, beyond the national state, and to develop understanding of the global links and comparisons that can be used to consider welfare in this way. It is recommended that students take this in their third year having studied one or both of the second year social policy modules (SO545 or SO749).

Introductory lectures and seminars will introduce the challenges and risks facing contemporary welfare regimes, including neoliberalism, globalisation and financial uncertainty, and the notion of mixed economies of welfare. Another block of learning will provide accounts of comparative approaches to welfare and explore histories and contemporary dynamics of welfare in the US and in mainland Europe. Finally a series of welfare topics on migration, care, work and citizenship will be introduced in order to explore issues and policy responses within a global framework.

Read more
15

A key benefit of the Summer School is the opportunity for intense learning in situ. We will make the most of this by conducting teaching in the city as well as in the classroom. The Summer School will be highly interactive and combine lecture time and in class discussion, formal visits and walks, and informal exploration.

Provisional timetable (subject to change)

SUNDAY Welcome dinner

MONDAY

Seeing and sensing: the practice of ethnography

Visit to tourist space: the tourist gaze vs ethnographic observation

TUESDAY

Religious and cultural difference

Colonial representations and contestations: museum visit

WEDNESDAY

Grasping the rhythms of the city

Everyday rhythms on the street: practical exercise

Talk from French ethnographer and reception

THURSDAY

Student project work

Multisensory ethnography in contested spaces

Ethnography on the move: guided walk

FRIDAY

Student presentations

Discussion of projects for assessment

Conclusions and feedback

Farewell dinner

Read more
15

Human cognition is a key theme in psychology and knowledge of this area aids in interpreting and understanding behaviour in a range of contexts.

This module will examine the cognitive processes involved in attention, memory, reasoning, problem-solving, and decision making and consider the ways in which research on these processes contributes to our understanding of human behaviour. We will consider topics such as memory, false memories, effective learning and problem-solving, and errors and biases in everyday thinking. It provides a good basis for modules in social cognition, applied cognitive psychology, and other areas of psychology.

Read more
15

This module will examine applications of cognitive research in three main areas. The first area concerns relationships between brain processes and cognition. These will be examined using examples of neuropsychological conditions and disorders such as agnosia, phantom limbs, and synaesthesia. The second concerns cognitive theories of belief, superstition, 'magical thinking' and delusional thinking. The final section will examine relationships between cognition and emotion; in particular, attention and memory biases in mood disorders (anxiety and depression) and the role of mental imagery in emotional disorders. Practical applications and relevance to a general understanding of behaviour will be emphasised.

Read more
15

This module examines the changes and continuities in the provision of social welfare in Britain from the early nineteenth century to the present day, with an emphasis on the period after 1945. It considers the context of policy and policy reform, as well as the processes. The module will proceed chronologically, using specific major developments as a framework, e.g. the New Poor Law, the Liberal Reforms, the Second World War and reconstruction, the rise of free market ideologies from the 1970s. Within these milestones, students will engage with changes in claims to citizenship and the economy over this period, and how these have impacted on the direction of policy. Students will also look at the mechanics of the policy process, examining such topics as the decline of the Royal Commission, the rise of single-issue campaigning groups etc. Through the historical case studies to be examined, students will also engage with micro, meso and macro policy analysis and its application.

Read more
15

The aim of the Dissertation is to enable students to undertake independent research. In the course of their projects, students will deepen their critical understanding of research design and the application of specific techniques, and will further develop theoretical and practical understandings of the approaches of the relevant discipline.

Read more
30

This module aims to provide a broad introduction to social ethics. It will give students moral frameworks with which to address contemporary issues affecting social and professional practices and relationships. The module explores how everyday encounters and practices have ethical dimensions, which are often neglected in sociological accounts. A range of topics will be examined, including euthanasia, abortion, capital punishment, prostitution, cannibalism, lying, charity and fair wage. It will draw upon several ethical perspectives, such as utilitarianism, deontology, virtue ethics, feminist ethics and theories of justice, to understand these topics.

Read more
30

This module addresses many of the issues that have shaped the modern practice of policing in recent times. It traces the way in which landmark events have served to mould and shape the daily practice of policing, and the implications that these have for police discretion. The module encourages students to think critically about these issues and to analyse the repercussions that their legacies have had for the routine, everyday social world of police officers and the communities that they serve. Topics include: police-race relations; stop-and-search practice; police cultures; corruption allegations; policing of riots and public disorder; policing of gendered and sexual violence; the rise of police privatisation and vigilantism and the development of performance based cultures.

Read more
15

Would you like to volunteer for a cause you believe in while learning useful skills and gaining real world experience? If you would this is the module for you!

Social Justice Practice provides an opportunity for you to gain practical experience of the voluntary and community sector and combine it with academic study of the sector and related theoretical concepts such as social capital, social justice, volunteering, altruism and philanthropy. Lectures also cover topics such as the role, management, financing and governance – essential knowledge if you are planning to work in a wide range of different professions.

Students undertake at least 100 hours of voluntary work with a charity in Kent or Medway during the academic year. Once you sign up for this module you will be invited for an interview to discuss your volunteering plans and so you can find out more about the module and the volunteering you plan to do for it. Register in the usual way and you will be invited for an interview towards the end of the summer term (late May or early June).

Read more
30

This module traces the way in which criminal justice and criminal justice policy have become increasingly politicised in recent years. It utilises key examples, such as terrorism, dangerous offenders, and capital punishment to highlight the interaction between popular opinion, research, policy formation and the criminalisation of particular groups within society. The module will analyse how and why crime has become such an important issue on the political agenda, as well as examining the important role that pressure groups (such as NACRO and the Howard League for Penal Reform) have played in mediating political rhetoric and policy.

Topics covered within the module include the criminalization of social policy; terrorism; 'dangerous' offenders; penal populism; and the politics of risk.

Read more
30

The module is intended to increase awareness of continuity and change in patterns and perceptions of crime and the responses to it by the legal system and other agencies over the period 1750-1900.

Students will study historical perspectives on the history of crime and punishment – Whig, Marxist, revisionist etc.

They will have a chance to undertake critical evaluation of the sources of crime history and learn about change and continuity in the criminal justice system over the period covered.

Policy case studies include juvenile delinquency, transportation, capital punishment, the development of the prison, violent crime, and the treatment of victims.

Read more
15

Exceptionally high levels of incarceration and prevailing fear of crime and anti-social disorder have prompted a review of traditional systems of dealing with offenders. After years of prison expansion concerted efforts are being put in place in many Western countries to reduce the number of people in custody. There is a range of alternative forms of managing offenders including restorative justice, community punishments and drug courts. The main aim of this module is to provide students with a critical understanding of these alternative models in a wider historical and cross cultural context. It will explore key values, issues and debates set in the context of theoretical arguments and criminal justice policy and practice.

Read more
15

This course examines the relationship between drugs and crime, the criminalisation of people who use drugs, drug trafficking and dealing, and the emergence of the prison as a locale for the delivery of drug treatment. It examines the evidence for the link between drug use and crime, looks at definitions of drug and addiction, and tracks changes in policy. It examines the changing role of prison and the identification of drugs as a key factor in offending and the development of interventions as a key re-settlement strategy. It also examines attempts to reduce offending through the provision of treatment to people who have problems with drugs.

Read more
15

The correctional services are fundamental to the exercise of criminal justice and to the punitive bite of the criminal justice system. This module offers students the opportunity to examine critically the complex contemporary role, use, and work of prisons and probation in England and Wales and their sometimes ability to enable the rehabilitation of serious offenders. Besides its focus on the Prison and Probation Services, the module considers prisoners' experiences of being 'behind bars’, models of offender rehabilitation and methods of working with serious (violent and sexually violent) offenders to help them to change, risk assessment and parole, the resettlement of former prisoners in the community, and why and how people stop committing crime. Seminar discussions include debate about the merits and demerits of prison privatization and the use of ‘real life’ examples of exercises undertaken with offenders to challenge their thinking and case studies of released prisoners who re-offended.

Please note: This module requires, at times, explicit discussion of sexual offending and the treatment needs of sexual offenders. Students who think they will find these topics uncomfortable or upsetting are advised not to take this module.

Read more
15

This module provides an introduction to the study of women's relationships with the criminal justice system. The subject is analysed in both its historical and contemporary contexts and there will be a strong emphasis on theoretical understanding of gender, on feminist theory and on inter-disciplinary approaches. Amongst the topics under consideration are: feminist criminology; media representations of women; crime and justice; women offenders and the criminalisation of women; female victims of crime; women in penal institutions; women as prosecutors; and women in criminal justice employment.

Read more
15

This module offers an overview of the contemporary rationale, powers, procedures and practices of the criminal justice system. It starts by providing students with a theoretical foundation by which they can better understand the functions of the criminal justice system, before moving on to address to the social dimensions which affect its operation.

We then focus on some specific forms of crime and deviance that have perplexed both the public and policy makers. What is a 'hate crime'? How should the Government address the problem of domestic violence? What specific problems does the emergence of the night-time economy pose to the operation of the criminal justice system?

The position of the victim in the criminal justice system is then analysed, looking at the rise of the 'victim movement' and broadening our understanding of what we mean by the term ‘victim’. We also tackle the role that restorative justice plays in challenging our conventional understanding that ‘criminal justice’ should operate as an adversarial system, in which the victim and offender take opposing sides.

Finally, the module addresses social responses to crime and deviance, and looks at some of the technologies of social control. Crime is increasingly becoming a political issue and the general public’s ‘fear of crime’ is arguably on the rise. We look at how the Government attempts to tackle the ‘problem’ of crime and disorder, and the implications that this has for social control.

Read more
30

Youth crime is a field that frequently attracts much public, political and media attention, and the aim of this module is to encourage students to critically assess the true prevalence and severity of crime committed by young people. The module starts by locating the fascination with youth and crime in its historical context, demonstrating that youth crime is neither a new nor novel phenomenon. The course then moves on to examine the developing and competing theories which seek to explain why young people commit crime.

The module traces the way in which young people and their subcultures are frequently made the focus of 'moral panics' by the media, with juveniles themselves becoming the archetypal 'folk devils'. We look at the position that ‘persistent young offenders’ hold in the public consciousness, and how the politics of youth justice has thrived on the fear of youth crime. The course concludes by providing an overview of how the state seeks to prevent children from committing crime and a critique of the societal responses to young people who violate the law.

Read more
15

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.

If you choose to take the placement year, you  have the opportunity to spend 900 hours in a relevant professional setting, approved in advance to be suitable for your respective degree. Although you are responsible for obtaining your own placement, guidance is offered in the form of tutorial support and access to networks of providers developed and maintained by the School. You are visited once (where possible) during your placement, to ensure that the placement activities are suitable and achieving the programme learning outcomes. Assessment is on a pass or fail basis and the marks gained do not contribute to the final degree classification.

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.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • provide knowledge and understanding of key areas of social sciences
  • develop your critical, analytical and interpretative skills so you can engage with debates in the field
  • provide the opportunity to develop research techniques
  • enable you to specialise in areas of social science that interest you
  • provide opportunities for students from different educational backgrounds
  • equip you to succeed in the employment market.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the key concepts and theories used to analyse society
  • the key issues and debates within the social sciences
  • the methodology of the social sciences and how to critically evaluate research
  • how to conduct research relating to a problem in social sciences
  • the main sources of social science data and how it is collected and analysed
  • understanding of interdisciplinary approaches to social science issues.

Intellectual skills

You develop intellectual abilities in:

  • problem-solving skills and strategic thinking
  • research skills including the ability to analyse problems and issues
  • collecting and interpreting data
  • sensitivity to the needs and values of others
  • critical and evaluative skills
  • assessing the implications of policy outcomes
  • spotting flaws in arguments within written documents and the spoken word
  • developing a logical argument
  • using the internet to research issues in the social sciences.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in how to:

  • identify and use concepts and theories to analyse issues within the social sciences
  • find and use statistical data relevant to the social sciences
  • undertake an investigation involving primary research
  • distinguish between positive, normative, moral and political issues and questions.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in how to:

  • communicate effectively and develop a strong line of argument in written and verbal form
  • plan ahead and manage time in order to meet deadlines
  • work as a member of a team
  • listen to others and understand their point of view
  • analyse questions and write reports and essays setting out options and alternatives
  • reference material according to accepted conventions
  • use internet and library resources to study independently
  • make clear and effective presentations to peers and staff
  • have a critical and reflective approach to study and work
  • compare and contrast the strength and weaknesses in the arguments and opinions of others.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Social Sciences graduates go on to work in careers including:

  • teaching
  • research
  • local government
  • the Civil Service
  • management in the public, private or voluntary sectors
  • marketing
  • care and counselling
  • psychology
  • the police.

Some of our graduates choose to go on to further study at Master’s or PhD level.

Help finding a job

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

The School has excellent links with local outside agencies, such as the probation and youth justice services, the police and social services.

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

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

Career-enhancing skills

As well as your subject-specific knowledge, you also develop the key transferable skills graduate employers look for. These include:

  • excellent communication skills
  • organisational and research skills
  • the ability to analyse problems
  • teamworking.

Taking the year in professional practice can also considerably enhance your career prospects, as employers actively seek graduates with relevant work experience.

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

Independent rankings

For graduate prospects Sociology at Kent was ranked 2nd, Criminology 3rd and Social Policy 8th in The Times Good University Guide 2018.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

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

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

New GCSE grades

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

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBC

GCSE

Grade C or above in Mathematics

Access to HE Diploma

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

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

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

Distinction, Merit, Merit

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 14 at HL

International students

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

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

Meet our staff in your country

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

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

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

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Fees

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

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

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

Your fee status

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

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2019/20 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2019/20 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

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

General additional costs

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

Funding

University funding

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

Government funding

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

Scholarships

General scholarships

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

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

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

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

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Full-time

Part-time

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

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

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