Social Policy and Social Change at the University of Kent

Social Policy and Social Change

Ranked 2nd for research quality in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022

Join our world

Our academics encourage you to develop your own opinions and ideas against the backdrop of a detailed understanding of existing knowledge. You develop the skills and confidence to play a key part in creating change that will have a positive impact on people’s lives. Our choice of optional modules means you can study areas of particular interest to you or that relate directly to your career choice.

You explore the nature of social challenges such as ageing, neglect, crime, health, education, employment and homelessness. You learn to draw on critical insights and concepts developed in sociology, political analysis and economics as they relate to social policy. As your understanding develops, you study how social and public policies are devised and directed towards alleviating social problems, as well as the role of government. You develop your research and analytical skills and explore the nature of welfare systems in different countries and how this impacts on social inequality.

School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

At the University of Kent, you study social policy and social change within the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR). SSPSSR has an international reputation for teaching and research. It is consistently ranked among the top four disciplinary centres of its kind in the UK for Sociology. SSPSSR is one of three schools within the Division for the study of Law, Society and Social Justice (LSSJ).

Social Policy and Social Change at SSPSSR: Undergraduate programmes

Unleash your potential

"The great thing about studying social policy at the University of Kent is that we have the world-leading experts doing research and doing a lot of activism and policy work in these areas."

Study social policy and social change at Kent

Dr Heejung Chung shares insights into her research and into some of the topics you can study



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I think someone should study Social Policy if they're interested in societal problems and they're interested in fixing problems in society. Especially if they've had a really big interest in Sociology at A Level.


Teaching and research excellence

Our academics are leading experts in research that explores the complexities of the social world. They are internationally renowned for their world-class teaching, research and publications. Our research informs the topic we teach.

Our research expertise includes:

  • The welfare state
  • The changing nature of work, and the role of the benefits system
  • Parenting, and families and welfare systems
  • Volunteering, charitable giving and public attitudes to the voluntary sector
  • The development of social care, civil society
  • Social inequalities from a social policy perspective
  • Social research methods
  • Modes of collective action and citizenship

Supportive student environment

Our teaching environment is characterised by high levels of student support and our staff are friendly and accessible. Our academics will inspire you. Throughout your degree, our academics will challenge you to develop your own opinions and ideas, and encourage you to become an independent thinker. 

Your future

We're committed to helping you succeed in tomorrow's world. Visit our 'Your future' page to be inspired by the success stories of our SSPSSR alumni. You can also discover the careers support available to you as an SSPSSR student, and explore an exciting range of options for enhancing your employability.

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Megan O'Brien

International Social Policy MA

"All of my professors have been extremely knowledgeable about the subjects they teach. I would not say this was surprising. Based on SSPSSR’s reputation, I was expecting professors to be experts in their fields."

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Annabel Palmer Robinson

Social Policy BA

"Kent stood out because I really liked the topics and modules that were on the specification. I visited on the open day and I just loved the campus. Then I went to the taster lecture for Social Policy and fell in love with the subject too."

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Pebbles Buckley

International Social Policy MA

"SSPSSR have some of the best Social Research academic staff in the country, and that really shines through in the way that they teach."

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Bronwen Willoughby-Richards

Criminology and Social Policy BA

"I would love to go on to work in the public sector, in particular reviewing policy and looking for new and innovative ways to improve policy. I hope that this will enable me to work around the world..."

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Josie Horton

Social Policy and Sociology BA

"My favourite modules included Mental Health, Sociology and Social Politics of the Family and Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice. I also appreciated that there was a much heavier focus on coursework rather than exams."

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Jack Warner

Methods of Social Research MA

"The gig economy is a new phenomenon and I really wanted to find out more. Eventually, with the School’s help, I was granted postgraduate funding from the ESRC (Economic & Social Research Council) that allowed me to do a Master’s followed by a PhD."

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Nicola Oginni

Sociology and Social Policy BA

"I always did well at A level Sociology, so I decided to focus on my strengths, and combine that with Social Policy in the joint honours that Kent was offering."

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The course provided me with an excellent degree and essential research skills and experience which will help me pursue my desired career in social policy research.

Reach your potential

Studying social policy and social change enables you to become a critical thinker. You'll be equipped with transferable knowledge and skills, enabling you to work in a variety of professions. Our graduates are highly sought after and have gone on to enjoy careers in areas as diverse as:

  • Central government -  including Civil Service
  • Local government  - officer or other professional
  • Think Tank Policy analyst
  • Researcher/Consultancy firm
  • Health or Social Care manager
  • Charity manager/professional
  • Lecturer or Teacher
  • Campaigner or lobbyist

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

Postgraduate studies in social policy

Our School has a long and distinguished history and is one of the largest and most successful social science research communities in Europe. Our postgraduate programmes offer you specialist knowledge in your chosen area and an advanced level of skills. 

Your degree, your way

  • On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you
  • Broaden and deepen your interests by attending a range of intellectually stimulating staff/graduate seminars offered across the School 
  • Some programmes can be taken at Diploma or Certificate level before proceeding to Master’s level.