The School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research is one of the best in the country for teaching and research. Our academics are internationally recognised for their expertise and challenge you to develop your own opinions and ideas, encouraging you to become an independent thinker. We offer high levels of support and our staff are friendly and accessible.
Our degree programme
In your first year, you take introductory modules on criminology and criminal justice, sociology and law that lay the foundation for your future studies.
In your second and final years, you build on this knowledge and can also choose from a wide range of modules that allow you to focus on areas of particular interest to you. Areas covered include: the history of the police, victims and crime, forensic psychology, young people and violence, and women and crime.
It is possible to spend a year or a term abroad at one of our partner institutions. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply. See the year abroad section on the Course structure tab for more details.
Year in professional practice
This degree also includes the option of spending a year in professional practice at the end of your second year. This is an excellent opportunity to put theory in to practice and develop contacts in your area of interest, while gaining the relevant work experience employers look for. Possible placements include:
the policethe probation servicecustoms and excise.
See the year in industry section on the Course structure tab for more details.
The School also has excellent links with local outside agencies, such as the probation and youth justice services, the police and social services.
We use a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, case-study analysis, group projects and presentations and individual and group tutorials. Study groups are normally no more than 15-20 students and give you the opportunity to discuss a topic in detail.
Modules are usually assessed by a combination of coursework and written examinations. Some modules take the form of an extended dissertation or essay. Both Stage 2 and 3 marks count towards your final degree result.
If you choose to take the placement year, you will have the opportunity to spend 900 hours in a relevant professional setting, approved in advance to be suitable for your respective degree. Although you are responsible for obtaining your own placement, guidance will be offered in the form of tutorial support and access to networks of providers developed and maintained by the School. You will be visited once (where possible) during your placement, to ensure that the placement activities are suitable and achieving the programme learning outcomes. Assessment is on a pass or fail basis and the marks gained do not contribute to the final degree classification.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- the principal concepts and theoretical approaches in criminology
- the social processes that shape contemporary society and the relationships between groups
- the key international policy developments around human rights
- the origins and development of UK criminal justice policy institutions
- the principles that underlie criminal justice policy, how they have changed over time and how they relate to the workings of particular agencies of welfare and crime control
- contemporary issues and debates in specific areas of criminal justice
- the main sources of data about crime and social welfare and a grasp of the research methods used to collect and analyse data
- patterns of social diversity and inequality and their origins and consequences
- interdisciplinary approaches to issues in criminal justice and the ability to use ideas from other social sciences
- the competing theories of punishment and social control
- crime prevention issues and practices
- the English legal system and its practices.
You develop the following intellectual skills:
- problem-solving and the ability to seek solutions to criminal justice issues and other social problems and individual needs
- research, including the ability to identify a research question and to collect and manipulate data to answer that question
- evaluation and analysis, to assess the outcomes of criminal justice, crime prevention and social policy intervention on individuals and communities
- sensitivity to the values and interests of others and to the dimensions of difference
- interpretation of both research data and official statistics
- identification and gathering of appropriate library and web-based resources, making judgements about their merits and using the available evidence to construct an argument to be presented orally or in writing.
You gain the following subject-specific skills:
- identification and use of theories and concepts in criminology to analyse issues of crime and criminal justice
- analysing and providing a critique of specific criminal justice policies and practices to create new policies
- seeking out and using statistical data relevant to issues of crime and criminal justice
- seeking out and using statistical data relevant to social issues
- undertaking an investigation of an empirical issue, either on your own or with other students
- understanding the nature and appropriate use, including the ethical implications, of diverse social research strategies and methods
- distinguishing between technical, normative, moral and political questions
- understanding the socio-legal context in which the criminal justice system and other agencies operate
You gain the following transferable skills:
- communication: communicating ideas and arguments to others, both in written and spoken form for both specialist and non-specialist audiences making short presentations to fellow students and staff; preparing essays and referencing the material quoted according to conventions in social policy
- numeracy: analysing and utilising basic statistical data drawn from research and official sources at a rudimentary level
- information technology: using IT to wordprocess, conduct online searches, communicate by email and access data sources
- working with others: developing interpersonal and teamworking skills to enable you to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results
- improving own learning: exploring own strengths and weaknesses; having an appetite for learning and being reflective, adaptive and collaborative in your approach; studying and learning independently, using library and internet sources; developing skills in time management by delivering academic work on time and to the required standard
- problem-solving: developing the ability to identify and define problems, exploring alternative solutions and discriminating between them.
The programme aims to:
- produce graduates with analytical and knowledge-based skills relevant to employment in the criminal justice professions, public service and the private sector
- produce students who have acquired an in-depth understanding of the complexities of the way the criminal justice system operates and develops
- ensure that students acquire a solid understanding of methodologies for the study of social science in general
- develop new areas of teaching in response to needs of the community
- provide learning opportunities that are enjoyable, informed by a research environment and which offer appropriate support for students from a diverse range of backgrounds
- promote an understanding of contemporary social issues and of the impact of diversity and inequality on local and national communities
- provide an understanding of the social processes that influence the relationship between individuals, groups and institutions
- understand the emergence of social problems (including crime) and the responses of welfare and criminal justice institutions, including analysis of the theoretical, political and economic underpinnings of these responses
- help students to link theoretical knowledge with empirical enquiry and to identify and understand different ideological positions
- allow all students to develop the analytical and research skills necessary to understand and use social science knowledge effectively
- give students the opportunities to develop and practice a range of transferable or key skills that will be of use in future work and employment
- give students the skills and abilities to enable them to become informed citizens, capable of participating in the policy process and equipped for a dynamic labour market
- provide high-quality teaching by experienced and qualified staff in a pleasant environment.