Social Sciences - BSc (Hons)

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Overview

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.

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.

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. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made.Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

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

  • Certificate

    A level

    BBC

  • Certificate

    GCSE

    Mathematics grade C

  • Certificate

    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.

  • Certificate

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    Distinction, Merit, Merit

  • Certificate

    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. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

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

Meet our staff in your country

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

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

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

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Course structure

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

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

You take all of the following compulsory modules.

Compulsory modules currently include

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.

Find out more about SA312

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.

Find out more about SA313

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 cover the measurement of crime, media representations of crime, the aims and justifications of punishment and the structure and operation of the criminal justice.

Find out more about SO329

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.

Find out more about SO343

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.

Find out more about SO344

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.

Find out more about SO345

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.

Find out more about SO346

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)

Find out more about SP312

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

Stage 2

Compulsory modules currently include

Philosophy of science; approaches to research; levels of measurement; reliability and validity; research design; descriptive statistics; analytical tests (chi-square, t-tests and non-parametric alternatives, ANOVA and non-parametric alternatives, correlation, regression) ; using SPSS; reporting research; critical evaluation of research; and surveys.

Find out more about SP646

This module introduces students to the use of qualitative methods for research in the social sciences in the interpretive tradition. It builds on the Stage 1 module, Foundations of Social and Criminological Research SAPO3130 and prepares students for sociological and socio-historical dissertations at Stage 3 SOCI5510. The module looks in detail at how sociologists and social historians do research. It contextualises the evolution of their research methods in relation to different schools of thoughts and critical perspectives, e.g. feminism. It exposes students to different tools of research including semi-structured and oral history interviews, focus groups, archival work and documentary analysis, ethnography, and visual, sensory, mobile and material methods.

Find out more about SO647

Optional modules may include

This module will cover: The history of youth crime and youth justice; the age of criminal responsibility; theoretical debates surrounding youth crime; the media construction of youth crime; the politics of youth crime; the structures and technologies of the youth justice system; restorative youth justice; and the relationship between the youth justice system and other branches of social policy.

Find out more about SO650

This module will cover key criminal justice agencies, contestability, and privatisation; the contested purposes of prisons; offending behaviour programmes in prison and probation; 'alternative' models of offender rehabilitation such as democratic and hierarchical therapeutic penal regimes and the ‘good lives’ model; practice skills in working with offenders; parole, risk, and resettlement; and desistance from crime.

Find out more about SO619

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).

Find out more about SO686

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.

Find out more about SO749

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 SO751

This module will introduce students to the ways in which visual sources – in this case, films, television programmes and other visual broadcast media – can be used in historical research. The module will focus upon the case study of British film and television from the 1930s. Students will consider the role of film and television programmes in a variety of historical contexts: the impact of economic depression and rising affluence upon the consumption of leisure products; the utilisation of film by governments for propaganda and morale-boosting in wartime; for social and political critique; and the cinematic codes by which idea[s] of Britain[s] could be conveyed to domestic and overseas audiences.

Students will explore films from a range of genres, including feature film, documentaries and wartime propaganda. Within this, students will also consider the development of subgenres, such as Ealing comedies, kitchen-sink realism, soap opera and reality television. The module will also introduce students to the broader historical contexts of cultural production and exchange. Alongside close analysis of set films and television programmes, students will also be required to read and discuss critical studies of these texts. The course will explore the evolution of leisure in Britain, and the economic and political history of the media and film industries. Students will also consider the relationships between cultural consumption and social identities.

Find out more about SO752

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.

Find out more about SO753

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.

Find out more about SO757

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.

Find out more about SO545

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.

Find out more about SA557

This module will introduce students to the utility of criminal psychology within the criminal justice context. It will introduce students to various topics such as the history of criminal psychology, how the field has been shaped, theories, the emergence, persistence and desistence of offending. The module will help students develop an understanding of criminal psychology and its importance in criminal justice contexts from different perspectives.

Find out more about SO548

This module is concerned with contemporary issues, developments, practices and research in criminal justice.

In line with current policy developments it will address the connections between criminal justice policies and other policy developments and critically examine 'new' policy initiatives including such measures as community crime prevention; developments to involve and protect the victims of crime; moves towards broader conceptualisations of justice, including reconceptualisations of crime as social harm. The module examines contemporary policy developments in sentencing, hate crime, racism in criminal justice practices, amongst other issues.

Find out more about SO549

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.

Find out more about SO556

Social cognition examines relationships between cognitive and social processes, particularly the way we form beliefs about ourselves, other individuals, and social groups.

Topics will include the cognitive processes in stereotyping and prejudice, whether our social behaviour is influenced by unconscious processes, and cognitive dissonance (the unpleasant feeling that we get when we hold beliefs that are inconsistent with each other or with our behaviour). A general theme will be biases and distortions in perceptions of ourselves, others and of the media. Recent research findings and methodology will be emphasised along with the practical implications of these findings for understanding human social behaviour.

Find out more about SP631

This module will examine developmental changes in social and cognitive processes from birth to adolescence. The interaction of biological and social factors throughout development will be examined.

Topics covered include attachment, perceptual and cognitive abilities in infancy, acquisition of language, theories of cognitive development, social & moral development, development of self-concept and theories of adolescence.

Find out more about SP629

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.

Find out more about SP630

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.

Find out more about SP625

This module explores contemporary issues in criminal justice focusing mostly on the British context. The curriculum provides the opportunity for Kent students to connect with real world criminal justice issues, including imprisonment, and for Prison Partner (inside) students to place their own experiences of the criminal justice system in a wider academic context.

The curriculum is divided into four parts. These are as follows:

• Part one: Prison security training; separate introductory meetings; first joint meeting and introduction to reflective writing and facilitated learning.

• Part two: Substantive topics of criminological interest e.g. what causes crime; do prisons work; how should we regulate drugs; how should victims be treated within the criminal justice system.

• Part three: The development of a group project between small groups of Kent and Prison Partner (either HMP Cookham Wood or HMP Rochester) students. This project will be related to one of the substantive topics from part two and will culminate in a group presentation.

• Part four: Closing ceremony and debriefing providing a final space to reflect on the overall learning experience.

Find out more about SO763

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).

Find out more about SP626

This module concerns the application of psychological theory and research to issues in criminal justice. We will consider psychological research and application in areas such as offender profiling and investigative psychology, detecting deception, confessions and false confessions, jury decision making, and eyewitness testimony. Recent psychological findings will be emphasised. Students will be encouraged to take a critical approach to assessing the validity of theories and applications. Students should gain an understanding of the potential and limitations of psychology's contributions to criminal justice.

Find out more about SP627

You have the opportunity to select elective 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

Optional modules may include

This module concerns the application of psychological theory and research to issues in criminal justice. We will consider psychological research and application in areas such as offender profiling and investigative psychology, detecting deception, confessions and false confessions, jury decision making, and eyewitness testimony. Recent psychological findings will be emphasised. Students will be encouraged to take a critical approach to assessing the validity of theories and applications. Students should gain an understanding of the potential and limitations of psychology's contributions to criminal justice.

Find out more about SP627

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).

Find out more about SP626

This module explores contemporary issues in criminal justice focusing mostly on the British context. The curriculum provides the opportunity for Kent students to connect with real world criminal justice issues, including imprisonment, and for Prison Partner (inside) students to place their own experiences of the criminal justice system in a wider academic context.

The curriculum is divided into four parts. These are as follows:

• Part one: Prison security training; separate introductory meetings; first joint meeting and introduction to reflective writing and facilitated learning.

• Part two: Substantive topics of criminological interest e.g. what causes crime; do prisons work; how should we regulate drugs; how should victims be treated within the criminal justice system.

• Part three: The development of a group project between small groups of Kent and Prison Partner (either HMP Cookham Wood or HMP Rochester) students. This project will be related to one of the substantive topics from part two and will culminate in a group presentation.

• Part four: Closing ceremony and debriefing providing a final space to reflect on the overall learning experience.

Find out more about SO763

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.

Find out more about SP625

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.

Find out more about SP630

This module will examine developmental changes in social and cognitive processes from birth to adolescence. The interaction of biological and social factors throughout development will be examined.

Topics covered include attachment, perceptual and cognitive abilities in infancy, acquisition of language, theories of cognitive development, social & moral development, development of self-concept and theories of adolescence.

Find out more about SP629

Social cognition examines relationships between cognitive and social processes, particularly the way we form beliefs about ourselves, other individuals, and social groups.

Topics will include the cognitive processes in stereotyping and prejudice, whether our social behaviour is influenced by unconscious processes, and cognitive dissonance (the unpleasant feeling that we get when we hold beliefs that are inconsistent with each other or with our behaviour). A general theme will be biases and distortions in perceptions of ourselves, others and of the media. Recent research findings and methodology will be emphasised along with the practical implications of these findings for understanding human social behaviour.

Find out more about SP631

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.

Find out more about SO556

This module is concerned with contemporary issues, developments, practices and research in criminal justice.

In line with current policy developments it will address the connections between criminal justice policies and other policy developments and critically examine 'new' policy initiatives including such measures as community crime prevention; developments to involve and protect the victims of crime; moves towards broader conceptualisations of justice, including reconceptualisations of crime as social harm. The module examines contemporary policy developments in sentencing, hate crime, racism in criminal justice practices, amongst other issues.

Find out more about SO549

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.

Find out more about SO551

This module will introduce students to the utility of criminal psychology within the criminal justice context. It will introduce students to various topics such as the history of criminal psychology, how the field has been shaped, theories, the emergence, persistence and desistence of offending. The module will help students develop an understanding of criminal psychology and its importance in criminal justice contexts from different perspectives.

Find out more about SO548

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.

Find out more about SA557

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.

Find out more about SO545

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.

Find out more about SO757

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.

Find out more about SO753

This module will introduce students to the ways in which visual sources – in this case, films, television programmes and other visual broadcast media – can be used in historical research. The module will focus upon the case study of British film and television from the 1930s. Students will consider the role of film and television programmes in a variety of historical contexts: the impact of economic depression and rising affluence upon the consumption of leisure products; the utilisation of film by governments for propaganda and morale-boosting in wartime; for social and political critique; and the cinematic codes by which idea[s] of Britain[s] could be conveyed to domestic and overseas audiences.

Students will explore films from a range of genres, including feature film, documentaries and wartime propaganda. Within this, students will also consider the development of subgenres, such as Ealing comedies, kitchen-sink realism, soap opera and reality television. The module will also introduce students to the broader historical contexts of cultural production and exchange. Alongside close analysis of set films and television programmes, students will also be required to read and discuss critical studies of these texts. The course will explore the evolution of leisure in Britain, and the economic and political history of the media and film industries. Students will also consider the relationships between cultural consumption and social identities.

Find out more about SO752

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 SO751

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.

Find out more about SO749

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).

Find out more about SO686

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.

Find out more about SO687

This module will cover key criminal justice agencies, contestability, and privatisation; the contested purposes of prisons; offending behaviour programmes in prison and probation; 'alternative' models of offender rehabilitation such as democratic and hierarchical therapeutic penal regimes and the ‘good lives’ model; practice skills in working with offenders; parole, risk, and resettlement; and desistance from crime.

Find out more about SO619

This module will cover: The history of youth crime and youth justice; the age of criminal responsibility; theoretical debates surrounding youth crime; the media construction of youth crime; the politics of youth crime; the structures and technologies of the youth justice system; restorative youth justice; and the relationship between the youth justice system and other branches of social policy.

Find out more about SO650

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

Fees

The 2020/21 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home/EU full-time £9250
  • International full-time £16200
  • Home/EU part-time £4625
  • International part-time £8100

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

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £9,250.

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

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Full-time tuition fees for Home and EU undergraduates are £1,385.

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

Additional costs

General additional costs

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

Funding

University funding

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

Government funding

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

Scholarships

General scholarships

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

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

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

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of 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.

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.

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

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.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

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.

Independent rankings

Criminology at Kent was ranked 7th in The Times Good University Guide 2020, and Social Policy was ranked 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2020.

Of Sociology graduates who responded to the most recent national survey of graduate destinations, over 93% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE, 2017).

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.

Apply

Full-time applicants

Full-time applicants (including international applicants) should apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system. If you need help or advice on your application, you should speak with your careers adviser or contact UCAS Customer Contact Centre. 

The institution code number for the University of Kent is K24, and the code name is KENT.

Application deadlines

See the UCAS website for an outline of the UCAS process and application deadlines. 

If you are applying for courses based at Medway, you should add the campus code K in Section 3(d).

Apply through UCAS

Apply now for part-time study

Social Sciences - BSc (Hons) - part-time at Medway

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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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Discover Uni is designed to support prospective students in deciding whether, where and what to study. The site replaces Unistats from September 2019.

Discover Uni is jointly owned by the Office for Students, the Department for the Economy Northern Ireland, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Scottish Funding Council.

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Find out more about the Unistats dataset on the Higher Education Statistics Agency website.