Politics and International Relations

Social Policy and Politics - BA (Hons)

Canterbury

Overview

Within the Social Policy element of your degree, you study central issues such as poverty, health, crime, education, homelessness and child protection. This includes looking at both the nature of social problems and also at the policies directed towards them by government, and at the role of voluntary and private welfare.

Within the Politics element of your degree, you are taught by people who have advised government departments or have conducted international conflict mediation exercises. They bring this experience to their teaching, giving you the opportunity to see how theoretical ideas apply in the real world. You can also take part in the weekly extra-curricular Open Forum, where students and staff discuss and debate key issues that affect higher education and politics in the world today.

Kent's School of Politics and International Relations has a cosmopolitan community and excellent links with prestigious institutions in Europe and beyond. Our academic staff are engaged in cutting-edge research on a wide variety of political issues such as ethno-political conflict, human rights, social theories of justice, voting behaviour and electoral reform.

Think Kent video series

Dr Heejung Chung from the University of Kent explores the benefits of flexible working and the potential negative effects it can have for workers, especially in the context of increased competition, high unemployment and the decline of worker and union power.

Independent rankings

Social Policy and Administration at Kent was ranked 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2017 and 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2017

Politics at Kent was ranked 5th in The Guardian University Guide 2017.

For graduate prospects, Social Policy at Kent was ranked 2nd and Politics at Kent was ranked 6th in The Guardian University Guide 2017.

Of Politics students who graduated in 2015, 96% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

 

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

Possible modules may include:

PO326 - Introduction to Political Science (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO327 - Introduction to Comparative Politics (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SA300 - Social Policy and Social Control (15 credits)

This module is designed both for students intending to specialise in social policy, and for other students who are interested in social problems and responses to them. We explore the ways in which phenomena come to be labelled as social problems, we focus upon the ‘problem of youth’ and why certain youth behaviours are seen as problematic, who defines them as such and what is expected in terms of the balance between state and family responsibility. Issues explored include: young people’s changing relationship to the family; teenage pregnancy; education, transitions to work, migration drug (mis)use, youth homelessness and anti-social behaviour.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SA301 - Health, Care and Wellbeing (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO336 - Sociology of Everyday Life (15 credits)

Sociology offers insight into how society works. To do this, we question and look behind the ‘common sense’ view of everything in the social world. This course looks at a range of important and topical aspects of society and explains how we can make better sense of them by ‘thinking sociologically’. The aim is to introduce students to the wide range of topics which comprise contemporary Sociology and indicate how social circumstances shape and influence our lives. Why do powerful differences and inequalities between men and women persist even though both are now formally equal? Why, in a world that is safer and healthier than ever before, do we witness so much concern about risks such as to our health, children and security. These are type of questions we will begin to answer. The course is suitable both for those who have studied sociology at A level, and those who have not. There is a considerable emphasis on interactive discussion, through weekly seminar groups.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO337 - Fundamentals of Sociology (15 credits)

This course provides grounding in the basic history and assumptions of sociological thinking and research, and how they apply to key aspects of our society. Topics are less from everyday experience than in the Sociology of Everyday Life course, focusing on more abstract topics such as the state and globalization. Students will also be encouraged to consider competing perspectives on these topics and how they might be assessed. There will be a lecture and seminar each week and students will be encouraged to engage in informed discussion and debate.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

SO601 - Welfare in Modern Britain (30 credits)

This module provides students with basic accounts of the scope and scale of the British welfare system, and the theoretical basis for its existence and growth. The recent history and current organisation of the main areas of social welfare provision such as social security, education, health, social care and housing are explored. These services which comprise ‘the welfare state’ are situated in the broader context of welfare provided from non-state sources: the family, the market, community and voluntary sector and debates regarding how welfare should be provided and funded. The module examines how policies are formulated and the processes through which they are implemented and revised. It also considers the impact that social policies have on social inequality and difference based on class, ethnicity, gender, disability or age. Welfare in Modern Britain is a core module for those taking Social Policy and related degrees, but is also relevant to those with an interest in contemporary social problems and the policies aimed at addressing them.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PO657 - Political Research and Analysis (15 credits)

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



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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO661 - Fact, Evidence, Knowledge and Power (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO658 - The Rise of China (15 credits)

This module aims to provide students with a critical review of China’s hegemonic role in pre-modern East Asia and its political development since the 1840s when it was forced to open up to the outside world and to lay a solid foundation for even more detailed study of present-day China.



It deals with a recurrent theme in the study of Chinese politics, that is, how successive Chinese leaderships since the 1840s have reconciled Chinese indigenous political culture with models of modernisations that originated in the West. Focus is on how indigenous and foreign models for state-building and political development have guided Chinese thinking about national rejuvenation and modernisation.



This module assumes no prior knowledge of Chinese history or politics, and introduces students to the defining features of the Chinese traditional political system, including: Confucianism and Legalism, the causes of the demise of imperial China in 1911, the abortive attempts of republicanism and constitutionalism between 1912 and 1949, the rise of communism, and major political events since 1949 as well as its recent ascendancy.



Questions to be explored in this module include: Why did the Chinese imperial system fail to meet the challenges and encroachment from the West and Japan? How did Chinese leaders understand ‘modernisation’? Why did Chinese political elites embrace communism? What have been the impacts of revolutions on China’s external behaviour and relations, post-1949? How has China’s worldview been ‘socially constructed’ in its interactions with Western powers? What is China’s grand strategy for development in the early 21st century?

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO618 - East European Politics (15 credits)

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

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO623 - Modern Political Thought (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO555 - International Organisation: The UN System (15 credits)

This module explores the origins, evolution and role of international organisations in world politics. The aim is to understand how these institutions have developed, why states choose, refuse and fail to use these institutions as a means to achieve their objectives, and to what extent international organisations can promote international cooperation. The module takes the United Nations system as its central focus, but will also consider historical forms of international organisation as well as the processes of global governance. International organisations are involved in a wide variety of issues in contemporary international politics. This module will survey a selection of them, exploring the political differences and questions that arise in international responses to these issues.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO611 - Politics of the European Union (15 credits)

The decision by a majority of the British electorate who voted on Thursday 23rd June 2016 to leave the EU sent shockwaves throughout Europe and the world and created a political earthquake within the UK's political system. Focusing on the European level, as this module does, the result of the referendum plunged the EU into its most serious existential crisis as, for the first time, a member state has signalled its desire to exit. According to Marine Le Pen, leader of France's Front National, the Brexit vote was 'by far the most important political event taking place in our continent since the fall of the Berlin Wall'. The reverberations of this decision will be felt for many years to come and affect an EU experiencing what some commentators have termed a 'polycrisis’ since the Euro-crisis erupted in Greece six years ago. As well as bailing out Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus and the economic fall-out from the global financial crisis of 2008-9, the EU has also witnessed the worst refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War, terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels and heightened tension with Putin’s Russia over the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The EU has never been under such pressure and its resilience so tested. The purpose of this module in this context is thus two-fold. First, we learn and understand how the EU has reached where it is today, how its political system works, its strengths and weaknesses and how it is driven both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system. At the same time, we analyse the process of Brexit, how it will be managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU. There has certainly never been a more challenging or interesting time to learn about the EU!

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO617 - Contemporary Politics and Government in the United States (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SO602 - Social Research Methods (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SO603 - Health and Health Policy (15 credits)

This module will introduce students to the analysis of health policy focusing on recent policy changes in the UK and identifying the major influences which have shaped these policies. There have been considerable changes in health service policy and health policy in the UK over the last decade involving changes to existing policies and the development of new policy themes. The latter have included a growing recognition of the need to address inequalities through public health policies but the relative neglect of environmental health policies, a focus on the views and/or the voice of the user and the public, the emergence of evidence-based policy and practice, the marketisation and privatisation of health care, the introduction of managerialism and the attempts to regulate the medical profession. This module provides an analysis of these recent policy developments and explores to what extent they reflect significant shifts in policy. What shapes these policies is examined through an exploration of the influence of professional medicine and other occupational groups including CAM, the pharmaceutical industry, the State, patients groups and the wider global environment. It links analysis of the theory of policy making with an analysis of empirical examples.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO645 - The Third Sector: Charities and Social Enterprises in Modern Societies (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO670 - Kent Student Certificate for Volunteering, Platinum Award (15 credits)

This is a 15 credit course which will enhance your CV, particularly if you are hoping to work in the public or voluntary sector. You will be supported to undertake three placements in a variety of volunteering roles, both on and off campus; attend four lectures on the voluntary sector and complete a reflective learning log to help you think about your experiences and the transferable skills you are gaining.



The following 2 units are compulsory:



Active community volunteering

Project Leadership



Plus 1 unit selected from the following:



Active university volunteering

Training facilitator

Mentoring

Committee role



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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO532 - Mental Health (15 credits)

This module introduces students to the sociological approach to understanding mental health. It begins by outlining historical definitions of mental health and how policy and practice have changed over time from incarceration in large institutions to present-day community care. Sociological perspectives of mental illness (for example, the sociology of suicide, labelling and social causations of mental ill-health) are considered alongside psychiatric and psychological approaches to treating people with mental illnesses. The module then looks at social inequalities in relation to opportunities to recover, including gender and race, as well as where sufferers are within the life-course (including young people and older people with dementia).Mental health and the criminal justice system as well as religion/spirituality and faith are also explored. Please note, as this is not a clinical module material covered will not include in-depth investigations of specific diagnoses of mental illnesses.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO575 - Poverty, Inequality and Social Security (15 credits)

The coalition government has argued that following the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent double-drip recession adoption, the UK has no option but to pursue austerity policies. This has included a huge squeeze on spending on cash transfers often referred to as 'welfare'.



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



It is designed to be of interest to Sociology and Health and Social Care students as well as Social Policy students.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO595 - Reproductive Health Policy in Britain (15 credits)

Contraception, abortion, and teenage pregnancy are the subjects of public controversy in Britain. This module takes these aspects of ‘reproductive health’ as its main examples. We will consider why contraception, abortion and teenage pregnancy became the subject of policy-making, and look at how policy about them has changed over time. Attention will be drawn to areas of debate that are currently particularly controversial, to encourage students to consider the ways in which policy could develop.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SA519 - The Social Politics of Food (15 credits)

The module provides an introduction to social and political issues raised by food and its provision, exploring how sociologists, social anthropologists and policy analysts have addressed this area. The module examines the role of food within the household and beyond, exploring the ways in which food and food practices make manifest social categorisations such as gender, age, ethnicity and religion. Using the examples of vegetarianism and religion, it examines the way food is entwined with symbolic and moral categorisations. The module as also addresses the political and policy issues raised by food, exploring government involvement in the area of ingestion, drawing parallels between food, alcohol and tobacco. In doing so it addresses the political issues raised by the large corporate interests of the food industry, and the role of the market in shaping provision. It addresses questions of public health, dietary adequacy and the future of the welfare state through sessions on schools meals and food banks.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE556 - Social Sciences in the Classroom (15 credits)

The module will begin with (locally timetabled, formative) training sessions for the students (2x3hours) in the Autumn term. These will include sessions on the sections of the national curriculum that are degree specific, the relationship with the teacher, how to behave with pupils, as well as how to organise an engaging and informative session on an aspect of the specific degree subject drawn from the national curriculum. These sessions will be run by the local module convenors, the academic schools' Outreach Officers (though this may be the same person) and members of the Partnership Development Office.



After training the student will spend one session per week for six weeks in a school in the Spring term (this session includes time to travel to and from the School, preparation and debrief time with the teacher and 'in class’ time with the teacher and pupils – 3 hours in total). Generally, they will begin by observing lessons taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Later they will act somewhat in the role of a teaching assistant by working with individual pupils or with a small group. They may take ‘hotspots’: brief sessions with the whole class where they explain a topic or talk about aspects of university life. Finally the student will progress to the role of "teacher" and will be expected to lead an entire lesson.



The student will be required to keep a weekly log of their activities. Each student will also create resources to aid in the delivery of their subject area within the curriculum. Finally, the student will devise a special project (final taught lesson) in consultation with the teacher and with the local module convener. They must then implement and evaluate the project.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SE606 - Connections (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PO660 - International Conflict and Cooperation (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO667 - War and Peace in International Society (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO671 - International Security (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO678 - Caring for Vulnerable Adults: Understanding Social Care (30 credits)

Social care is of central significance in the support of a range of vulnerable adults. As such it is one of the key services of the welfare state, though one that often loses out to higher profile concern with medical care. In this module we trace the development of social care from its origins in nineteenth century philanthropy, through its consolidation as a key service within the post war welfare state, to its current state of flux as it becomes increasingly fragmented and subject to new models of provision. The module looks at the care experiences of people with physical disabilities whether acquired in childhood or as result of accident or illness later in life; with learning difficulties; and mental health problems; as well as frail older people, exploring user perspectives and questions of empowerment. It also addresses those who provide care and support in the form of family carers and paid workers, whether social workers or care assistants, addressing policy debates concerning the role of the state and family in provision. It analyses the key social and policy debates in this field: for example: can we afford the cost of the rising numbers of older people? What role does ageism play in recent scandals about the quality of care provision? How can we support family carers? How do we integrate people with learning disability into wider society? In doing so it raises issues of funding, affordability and the mixed economy of care, as well as addressing fundamental questions about how disability, age and care are experienced and understood.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SO702 - Sociology and Social Politics of the Family (15 credits)

Often presented as the most natural form of human organisation, the family's changing nature over time indicates it is no such thing. Particularly since the Second World War, driven by the transformation of women's position within society, the very idea of a typical family has been called into question. The numbers of those choosing to live alone in contemporary society even calls into question the very notion of family at all. This module explores how the family has changed historically in its role and relationship to the individual and society. We trace the development of the modern, private family and how it has been shaped by socio-economic, cultural and political pressures. We will particularly focus upon the tension between this private 'haven in a heartless world' and a society anxious about the family's apparent instability.



Synopsis of the curriculum

• The social history of ‘the family’ and its transformations.

• The sociology of the public/private split

• The evolution of policies relating to ‘family life’

• The ‘individualisation’ thesis

• The economics and obligations of the family

• Recent social and demographic changes considered to underlie the problem of the contemporary family (changes in fertility patterns, in marriage and co-habitation, the rise of single person households)

• Debates about specific current policies about ‘parenting’

• Critiques of state intervention in family life

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO736 - Sociology of Religion (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage


Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

SO736 - Sociology of Religion (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO702 - Sociology and Social Politics of the Family (15 credits)

Often presented as the most natural form of human organisation, the family's changing nature over time indicates it is no such thing. Particularly since the Second World War, driven by the transformation of women's position within society, the very idea of a typical family has been called into question. The numbers of those choosing to live alone in contemporary society even calls into question the very notion of family at all. This module explores how the family has changed historically in its role and relationship to the individual and society. We trace the development of the modern, private family and how it has been shaped by socio-economic, cultural and political pressures. We will particularly focus upon the tension between this private 'haven in a heartless world' and a society anxious about the family's apparent instability.



Synopsis of the curriculum

• The social history of ‘the family’ and its transformations.

• The sociology of the public/private split

• The evolution of policies relating to ‘family life’

• The ‘individualisation’ thesis

• The economics and obligations of the family

• Recent social and demographic changes considered to underlie the problem of the contemporary family (changes in fertility patterns, in marriage and co-habitation, the rise of single person households)

• Debates about specific current policies about ‘parenting’

• Critiques of state intervention in family life

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO678 - Caring for Vulnerable Adults: Understanding Social Care (30 credits)

Social care is of central significance in the support of a range of vulnerable adults. As such it is one of the key services of the welfare state, though one that often loses out to higher profile concern with medical care. In this module we trace the development of social care from its origins in nineteenth century philanthropy, through its consolidation as a key service within the post war welfare state, to its current state of flux as it becomes increasingly fragmented and subject to new models of provision. The module looks at the care experiences of people with physical disabilities whether acquired in childhood or as result of accident or illness later in life; with learning difficulties; and mental health problems; as well as frail older people, exploring user perspectives and questions of empowerment. It also addresses those who provide care and support in the form of family carers and paid workers, whether social workers or care assistants, addressing policy debates concerning the role of the state and family in provision. It analyses the key social and policy debates in this field: for example: can we afford the cost of the rising numbers of older people? What role does ageism play in recent scandals about the quality of care provision? How can we support family carers? How do we integrate people with learning disability into wider society? In doing so it raises issues of funding, affordability and the mixed economy of care, as well as addressing fundamental questions about how disability, age and care are experienced and understood.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SO679 - Research Dissertation (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SE556 - Social Sciences in the Classroom (15 credits)

The module will begin with (locally timetabled, formative) training sessions for the students (2x3hours) in the Autumn term. These will include sessions on the sections of the national curriculum that are degree specific, the relationship with the teacher, how to behave with pupils, as well as how to organise an engaging and informative session on an aspect of the specific degree subject drawn from the national curriculum. These sessions will be run by the local module convenors, the academic schools' Outreach Officers (though this may be the same person) and members of the Partnership Development Office.



After training the student will spend one session per week for six weeks in a school in the Spring term (this session includes time to travel to and from the School, preparation and debrief time with the teacher and 'in class’ time with the teacher and pupils – 3 hours in total). Generally, they will begin by observing lessons taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Later they will act somewhat in the role of a teaching assistant by working with individual pupils or with a small group. They may take ‘hotspots’: brief sessions with the whole class where they explain a topic or talk about aspects of university life. Finally the student will progress to the role of "teacher" and will be expected to lead an entire lesson.



The student will be required to keep a weekly log of their activities. Each student will also create resources to aid in the delivery of their subject area within the curriculum. Finally, the student will devise a special project (final taught lesson) in consultation with the teacher and with the local module convener. They must then implement and evaluate the project.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SA519 - The Social Politics of Food (15 credits)

The module provides an introduction to social and political issues raised by food and its provision, exploring how sociologists, social anthropologists and policy analysts have addressed this area. The module examines the role of food within the household and beyond, exploring the ways in which food and food practices make manifest social categorisations such as gender, age, ethnicity and religion. Using the examples of vegetarianism and religion, it examines the way food is entwined with symbolic and moral categorisations. The module as also addresses the political and policy issues raised by food, exploring government involvement in the area of ingestion, drawing parallels between food, alcohol and tobacco. In doing so it addresses the political issues raised by the large corporate interests of the food industry, and the role of the market in shaping provision. It addresses questions of public health, dietary adequacy and the future of the welfare state through sessions on schools meals and food banks.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SA503 - A Future for the Welfare State? Social Change, Challenge and Crisis (30 credits)

Welfare states face many challenges in the contemporary world. This course takes a comparative approach by systematically analysing key fields to show how a variety of countries have identified and tackled problems of social policy. It starts with a consideration of theoretical frameworks but most of the course is directed at consideration of welfare issues in different countries and to specific topics: globalisation, migration, population ageing, disability, the cuts and so on. In this way, the student is provided with a systematic overview of some of the main areas in which international and national social policy agendas co evolve. It is intended for students of social policy, social work, and social sciences.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SO595 - Reproductive Health Policy in Britain (15 credits)

Contraception, abortion, and teenage pregnancy are the subjects of public controversy in Britain. This module takes these aspects of ‘reproductive health’ as its main examples. We will consider why contraception, abortion and teenage pregnancy became the subject of policy-making, and look at how policy about them has changed over time. Attention will be drawn to areas of debate that are currently particularly controversial, to encourage students to consider the ways in which policy could develop.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO575 - Poverty, Inequality and Social Security (15 credits)

The coalition government has argued that following the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent double-drip recession adoption, the UK has no option but to pursue austerity policies. This has included a huge squeeze on spending on cash transfers often referred to as 'welfare'.



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



It is designed to be of interest to Sociology and Health and Social Care students as well as Social Policy students.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO532 - Mental Health (15 credits)

This module introduces students to the sociological approach to understanding mental health. It begins by outlining historical definitions of mental health and how policy and practice have changed over time from incarceration in large institutions to present-day community care. Sociological perspectives of mental illness (for example, the sociology of suicide, labelling and social causations of mental ill-health) are considered alongside psychiatric and psychological approaches to treating people with mental illnesses. The module then looks at social inequalities in relation to opportunities to recover, including gender and race, as well as where sufferers are within the life-course (including young people and older people with dementia).Mental health and the criminal justice system as well as religion/spirituality and faith are also explored. Please note, as this is not a clinical module material covered will not include in-depth investigations of specific diagnoses of mental illnesses.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO670 - Kent Student Certificate for Volunteering, Platinum Award (15 credits)

This is a 15 credit course which will enhance your CV, particularly if you are hoping to work in the public or voluntary sector. You will be supported to undertake three placements in a variety of volunteering roles, both on and off campus; attend four lectures on the voluntary sector and complete a reflective learning log to help you think about your experiences and the transferable skills you are gaining.



The following 2 units are compulsory:



Active community volunteering

Project Leadership



Plus 1 unit selected from the following:



Active university volunteering

Training facilitator

Mentoring

Committee role



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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO645 - The Third Sector: Charities and Social Enterprises in Modern Societies (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO603 - Health and Health Policy (15 credits)

This module will introduce students to the analysis of health policy focusing on recent policy changes in the UK and identifying the major influences which have shaped these policies. There have been considerable changes in health service policy and health policy in the UK over the last decade involving changes to existing policies and the development of new policy themes. The latter have included a growing recognition of the need to address inequalities through public health policies but the relative neglect of environmental health policies, a focus on the views and/or the voice of the user and the public, the emergence of evidence-based policy and practice, the marketisation and privatisation of health care, the introduction of managerialism and the attempts to regulate the medical profession. This module provides an analysis of these recent policy developments and explores to what extent they reflect significant shifts in policy. What shapes these policies is examined through an exploration of the influence of professional medicine and other occupational groups including CAM, the pharmaceutical industry, the State, patients groups and the wider global environment. It links analysis of the theory of policy making with an analysis of empirical examples.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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SO602 - Social Research Methods (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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SE606 - Connections (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PO671 - International Security (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO675 - Politics and IR Internship (15 credits)

This module blends practical workplace experience, in the form of an internship in the area of politics and international relations, with taught workshops and private study. The internship will allow students to experience first-hand the practical application of their degree subject in the wider world of work, and will provide the opportunity to develop transferable skills such as teamwork, communication and self-organisation. The taught workshops will provide an opportunity to reflect upon, and develop, knowledge of the sector and its relationship with the academic field of study, using the student's internship experiences and a range of other resources. Students will also examine learning theory and consider the value of experiential learning experiences within Higher Education.



It will be the student's responsibility to source and apply for internship opportunities, but assistance will be provided both by the School's Employability, Alumni Manager, and the University's Careers and Employability Service. These opportunities should be in an organisation whose aims and activities are broadly related to politics and international relations, and the internship should reflect these activities and give the student the opportunity to work in a way which allows the module learning objectives to be achieved. Students on pre-approved School-administered internships will also be eligible to take this module.



The internship must consist of at least 60 hours of work, but this may be spread across a number of days / weeks and need not be a full-time position. The module convenor will approve of all internship opportunities prior to their commencement and students are advised to liaise closely with the module convenor and other appropriate staff in good time. Internships must finish by the date of the final seminar, and the School will provide all documentation and relevant insurance / health and safety checks to ensure that the placement meets both University and sector requirements and guidance on work-related learning opportunities. Students who fail to complete necessary paperwork relating to their internship and the module will be unable to proceed.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO676 - The Radical Right in Western Democracies (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO679 - Research Dissertation (45 credits)

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



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



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



Autumn:

PO679

XX

XX

XX



Spring:

PO679

PO679

XX

XX

Credits: 45 credits (22.5 ECTS credits).

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PO667 - War and Peace in International Society (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO669 - Conservatism: Politics and International Relations of the Right (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO660 - International Conflict and Cooperation (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO617 - Contemporary Politics and Government in the United States (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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PO611 - Politics of the European Union (15 credits)

The decision by a majority of the British electorate who voted on Thursday 23rd June 2016 to leave the EU sent shockwaves throughout Europe and the world and created a political earthquake within the UK's political system. Focusing on the European level, as this module does, the result of the referendum plunged the EU into its most serious existential crisis as, for the first time, a member state has signalled its desire to exit. According to Marine Le Pen, leader of France's Front National, the Brexit vote was 'by far the most important political event taking place in our continent since the fall of the Berlin Wall'. The reverberations of this decision will be felt for many years to come and affect an EU experiencing what some commentators have termed a 'polycrisis’ since the Euro-crisis erupted in Greece six years ago. As well as bailing out Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Cyprus and the economic fall-out from the global financial crisis of 2008-9, the EU has also witnessed the worst refugee crisis since the end of the Second World War, terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels and heightened tension with Putin’s Russia over the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. The EU has never been under such pressure and its resilience so tested. The purpose of this module in this context is thus two-fold. First, we learn and understand how the EU has reached where it is today, how its political system works, its strengths and weaknesses and how it is driven both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system. At the same time, we analyse the process of Brexit, how it will be managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU. There has certainly never been a more challenging or interesting time to learn about the EU!

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO612 - Policy-making in the EU (15 credits)

Since 2009, the European Union (EU) has been grappling with a crisis in the Eurozone, a refugee crisis, terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, the rise of challenger parties and heightened tension with Putin's Russia. This has led to increased questioning of the purpose and trajectory of European integration and policy-making. The Brexit decision by the UK electorate in June 2016 plunged the EU further into crisis, sending shockwaves throughout the world as for the very first time an EU member state chose exit over voice or loyalty. Membership of the EU is now clearly contingent and the reverberations of this decision will affect both the EU and the UK for many years to come. The focus of this module is on assessing the capacity of the EU as a system of public policy-making as it faces these myriad challenges. In so doing we endeavour to understand how the EU’s system of governance works and how it is driven by both the politics and economics of its member states and the global system. This module focuses on the EU’s 'outputs’ in terms of public policy in this context, with particular attention paid to the fields of market regulation, monetary union, environmental policy, agriculture policy, regional policy, justice and home affairs, foreign policy and trade policy. As well as analysing the effectiveness of EU policy-making in these policy areas, we also evaluate the impact of Brexit on their operation, as well as the process of Brexit itself, how it is being managed by the UK and the EU27 and its implications for the future of the EU.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO616 - The Politics of Trust (in the USA) (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO555 - International Organisation: The UN System (15 credits)

This module explores the origins, evolution and role of international organisations in world politics. The aim is to understand how these institutions have developed, why states choose, refuse and fail to use these institutions as a means to achieve their objectives, and to what extent international organisations can promote international cooperation. The module takes the United Nations system as its central focus, but will also consider historical forms of international organisation as well as the processes of global governance. International organisations are involved in a wide variety of issues in contemporary international politics. This module will survey a selection of them, exploring the political differences and questions that arise in international responses to these issues.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO557 - Japan in the World (15 credits)

This module explores the place of Japan in today’s international system. It not only investigates Japan’s most important bilateral relationships, such as the Japan-US axis and relations with China, Korea, etc., but also Japan’s increasing role in multilateral bodies, such as the UN, ASEAN and APEC. Economic questions and security issues will both be addressed alongside the problems of Japanese energy. Students are encouraged to develop an understanding of how the China/Japan conflict gets more important and how Japan’s perception may differ from those in Europe or the USA.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO558 - The Contemporary Politics of Japan (15 credits)

This module will examine the domestic politics of Japan, starting with the changes made by the American occupation. We will then explain the institutions and informal practices which maintained long-term one-party-dominant rule of the LDP (1955-1993). Attention will be paid to electoral rules, the government and opposition parties, collusion between the LDP/business/bureaucracy and voting behaviour.

Attention will then move to how the system has changed since the 1993 election which saw the LDP lose its majority. We will analyse the successes of Koizumi and the new era of post-Koizumi politics. We will assess the current Prime Minister and how he is running Japan. We will analyse the 2009 DPJ government and assess its' successes and failures. The module will end with assessment of the Fukushima management of the disaster and the new LDP government.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO563 - Foreign Policy Analysis and Management (15 credits)

This module examines the complex relationship between foreign policy analysis and foreign policy practice. It does so by exploring shifting approaches to making and examing foreign policy, including the contributions of IR theory to Foreign Policy Analysis. Historical antecedents of foreign policy as a practice are examined via observations of traditional bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, followed by traditional state-based actors, non-state actors, and the nature of the structure they inhabit. FP decision-making is then examined, followed by the process of foreign policy implementation. The issue of motivation is tackled through analyses of the largely domestic impact of culture, interests and identity and broader effect of intra-state norms, ethics, the issue of human rights. Case studies of key countries reinforce the practical implications of above-mentioned issues throughout the module.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO566 - Europe and the World (15 credits)

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

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

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO579 - Post Communist Russia (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO597 - Governance & Politics of Contemporary China (15 credits)

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



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



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



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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO599 - European Security Co-operation (15 credits)

This module places the contemporary developments in European security integration within a historical context while focusing on institutional formation and the role of nation-states with the view to highlight continuities and changes constituted in the new Security Architecture. The module locates (Western) Europe’s place in international security vis-à-vis other actors including the United States and emerging powers in order to determine what type of security identity Europe has carved for itself in the post-War period. The module further considers the implications of cooperation for Europe’s ability to respond to external New Security Challenges.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO623 - Modern Political Thought (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO629 - Terrorism and Political Violence (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO630 - Politics of The Middle East (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO634 - Understanding US Foreign Policy: Power, Tradition and Transformation (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO638 - Political Behaviour in Britain (15 credits)

The module examines the nature of political behaviour in Britain today. It focuses on two key issues. The first is the way that citizens participate in politics. The module explores the nature of political participation, and how this has changed in the last few decades. It also examines the characteristics of people who participate, and the factors that motivate individuals to engage in different forms of political participation. The second key issue examined is voting behaviour. The module considers how far electoral decisions are shaped by stable ‘sociological’ factors, and how far voters today are less closely aligned with parties and more open to the influence of particular policy messages, personalities and media coverage. Alongside this focus on the behaviour of citizens, the module also considers the activities of key intermediary organisations, such as legislators. Throughout, the module seeks to develop students’ understanding and analytical skills, by considering theories and models of political behaviour along with the way data and other evidence can be brought to bear in testing the validity of these models.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO652 - Politics in the Classroom (15 credits)

The module will begin with training sessions for the students in the Autumn term. These will include sessions on the relationship with the teacher, how to behave with pupils, as well as how to organise an engaging and informative session on an aspect of politics drawn from the national curriculum. These sessions will be run by the Partnership Development Office.

After training the student will spend one session per week for six weeks in a school in Spring term (this session includes time to travel to and from the School, preparation and debrief time with the teacher and ‘in class’ time with the teacher and pupils – 3 hours in total). They will begin by observing lessons taught by their designated teacher and possibly other teachers. Later they will act somewhat in the role of a teaching assistant by working with individual pupils or with a small group. They may take ‘hotspots’: brief sessions with the whole class where they explain a topic or talk about aspects of university life. Finally the student will progress to the role of “teacher” and will be expected to lead an entire lesson.

The student will be required to keep a weekly log of their activities. Each student will also create resources to aid in the delivery of citizenship and politics within the curriculum. Finally, the student will devise a special project (final taught lesson) in consultation with the teacher and with the module convener. They must then implement and evaluate the project.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO653 - Marxism: Politics and International Relations (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO656 - Humans at War (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO618 - East European Politics (15 credits)

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

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO658 - The Rise of China (15 credits)

This module aims to provide students with a critical review of China’s hegemonic role in pre-modern East Asia and its political development since the 1840s when it was forced to open up to the outside world and to lay a solid foundation for even more detailed study of present-day China.



It deals with a recurrent theme in the study of Chinese politics, that is, how successive Chinese leaderships since the 1840s have reconciled Chinese indigenous political culture with models of modernisations that originated in the West. Focus is on how indigenous and foreign models for state-building and political development have guided Chinese thinking about national rejuvenation and modernisation.



This module assumes no prior knowledge of Chinese history or politics, and introduces students to the defining features of the Chinese traditional political system, including: Confucianism and Legalism, the causes of the demise of imperial China in 1911, the abortive attempts of republicanism and constitutionalism between 1912 and 1949, the rise of communism, and major political events since 1949 as well as its recent ascendancy.



Questions to be explored in this module include: Why did the Chinese imperial system fail to meet the challenges and encroachment from the West and Japan? How did Chinese leaders understand ‘modernisation’? Why did Chinese political elites embrace communism? What have been the impacts of revolutions on China’s external behaviour and relations, post-1949? How has China’s worldview been ‘socially constructed’ in its interactions with Western powers? What is China’s grand strategy for development in the early 21st century?

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO664 - Conflict Analysis and Northern Ireland: History, Politics & Culture (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO665 - Advanced Topics in Politics and International Relation (15 credits)

This module is designed to offer Stage 3 Politics and International Relations students an opportunity to study a topic in politics and international relations at an advanced level. Participation will be limited to students who have demonstrated strong writing and analytical skills in their Stage 2 coursework (with a minimum average of 60%) and the topics may vary from year to year depending on the research and teaching interests of academic staff. The module will build on the concepts, theories and methods that students have acquired in their previous studies, introducing them to more advanced readings and further developing their knowledge and understanding of the scholarship at the forefront of their discipline in a given issue area. Students will work very closely with academic staff and will benefit from their research expertise and individual feedback in a small group setting. The module will assist students in developing their critical and analytical skills and help them to understand the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge concerning their advanced topic in politics and/or international relations.



FOR THE 2017/2018 ACADEMIC YEAR



Two topics will be offered in 2017/18, one in the Autumn term and one in the Spring term. Students may only take one topic within this module.





Topic title: Global Gender Justice, Convenor: Dr Andrea Den Boer - AUTUMN TERM



This module addresses some of the complex issues regarding achieving justice for women internationally through a thematic examination of classical and cutting-edge scholarship in the areas of gender, security, and human rights. We will interrogate practices of representation of women as victims and explore the cultural, religious, political, and social challenges and barriers to achieving gender justice within the family, the community, the state and global society. We will analyse the effectiveness and limits of international organisations, international human rights instruments, NGOs and activists to bring about change in women's lives. The seminar will be guided by an overall aim to explore the extent to which gender inequality within the state has an impact on state behaviour, with a specific focus on state development and state security.



Students gain an awareness of the following themes: the situation of women around the world; the ways in which gender affects social, political, and economic status; the evolving study of gender in international politics (with an emphasis on security and human rights); the political implications of scholarship; and the links between gender, feminism, and activism.



The seminar requires previous knowledge of international relations, but will introduce students to feminist theories relevant to the study of gender in international relations. The two-hour weekly seminar will involve a close reading of key texts as a group as well as discussion/debate of the weekly topics.





Topic title: Russia and its Neighbours, Convenor: Professor Richard Sakwa - SPRING TERM



The crisis over Ukraine from 2013 was stark demonstration of the failure to establish an inclusive and mutually legitimate system of European security and international politics after the end of the Cold War. On the one side, Russia was treated as a defeated power, even though the country did not see itself as such, and was assigned a modest role in world affairs. In the end this provoked a type of Weimar syndrome in a country whose dignity and interests were perceived to have been ignored. On the other side, the European Union and NATO have claimed to be advancing a type of 'post-modern' politics in which traditional Westphalian notions of balance of power and geopolitical interests have given way to a benign notion of economic and normative homogenization. Two contrasting visions of world order came into contestation.



The module will examine the evolution of Russian foreign policy since the end of the Cold War and its interactions with the EU and NATO. The broader context of the tension between greater and wider visions of Europe will be analysed, as well as the tensions within representations of Europe itself. More specifically, Russia's relations with its immediate neighbours will be studied in the context of moves towards the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union and the development of greater Asian ideas, notably in the consolidation of 'non-Western' institutions (such as the SCO and BRICS) accompanied by the emergence of a narrative of resistance and insulation from Western hegemony.



The seminar requires some familiarity with international relations theory and European politics, but will introduce students to the fundamental developments in Russian and Euro-Asian politics and international relations. The two-hour weekly seminar will involve a reading of key texts as a group as well as discussion/debate of the weekly topics.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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PO666 - Religion and International Politics (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching & Assessment

Social Policy

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.

Politics

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, simulations and role plays, workshops, working groups, PC laboratory sessions and discussions with your tutor. Assessment is through feedback, written examinations, assessed essays and oral presentations, among others.

For assessment details for individual modules click the 'read more' link within each module listed in the course structure.

Programme aims

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

KIS Course data

UNISTATS / KIS

Key Information Sets

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.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

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

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

New GCSE grades

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

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

BBB

Access to HE Diploma

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

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

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

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

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 15 points at HL

International students

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

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.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
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.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates fare extremely well in terms of finding employment. Some choose to work in directly related areas such as:

  • social work and health care
  • policy analysis in the public and voluntary sectors
  • human resource management and advice services
  • management in the Civil Service and the voluntary sector.

Others choose to pursue careers in professions such as:

  • teaching
  • publishing
  • financial services
  • journalism. 

Many choose to go on to postgraduate study.

Help finding a job

Both the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research and the School of Politics and International Relations provide support as you start to think about your career options.

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 School of Politics and International Relations runs an Employability Programme, focused on providing you with the skills you need when looking for a job. This includes workshops on a range of topics, for example summer internships, networking, and careers in diplomacy and the civil service.

Students also have access to a weekly Employability Newsletter, featuring jobs for graduates, as well as internship and volunteering opportunities.

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

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

Career-enhancing skills

In addition to your subject-specific skills, you also develop the key transferable skills that graduate employers look for. These include:

  • communication, organisational and research skills
  • the ability to analyse complex information and make it accessible to non-specialist readers
  • report writing
  • leadership skills and effective teamworking. 

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

Independent rankings

For graduate prospects, Social Policy at Kent was ranked 2nd and Politics at Kent was ranked 6th in The Guardian University Guide 2017.

Of Politics students who graduated in 2015, 96% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

According to Which? University (2017), the average starting salary for graduates of this degree is £20,000.

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. 

For 2018/19 entry, 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.

Enquire or order a prospectus

Resources


Read our student profiles


Contacts

Related schools

Enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 827272

Open days

Our general open days will give you a flavour of what it is like to be an undergraduate, postgraduate or part-time student at Kent. They include a programme of talks for undergraduate students, with subject lectures and demonstrations, plus self-guided walking tours of the campus and accommodation.

Please check which of our locations offers the courses you are interested in before choosing which event to attend.

 

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department for Education or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

University of Kent - © University of Kent

Enquiries: +44 (0)1227 824429 or email the school

Last Updated: 10/03/2015

Banner image attribution Antonin Rémond