At Kent, Criminology and Social Policy are taught in the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research where you benefit from a large choice of specialist modules on race, social change, criminal justice, disability and the arts. Our academics are internationally recognised for their expertise in criminological theory and criminal justice policy. They are regularly asked by the government to provide insight on matters relevant for current policy developments. Our degree programme In your first year, you study introductory modules on criminology, sociology, and social policy. You then learn how to conduct and apply qualitative and quantitative sociological research and study different welfare models. In your second and final years, you can choose from a range of options covering topics like mental health in the criminal justice system, the sociology of imprisonment as well as inequality and social security. There is the opportunity to take a dissertation module on a subject of your choice in your final year. This allows you to focus in detail on an area you are particularly passionate about. Term abroad Students undertaking criminology joint degrees have the opportunity of spending the second term of their third year at San Diego State University in California as part of an international exchange programme. While at San Diego State, criminology exchange students can select from a number of module options delivered by the well-respected School of Public Affairs, which offers courses in fields such as criminal justice and criminology, public affairs and administration, and urban and transborder studies. Please see our Go Abroad pages for information about spending a full year abroad at one of our partner institutions in North America, Asia or Europe. Study resources You have access to a wide range of topical journals and books in hard copy and digital format through Kent’s Templeman Library. Your designated academic advisor provides guidance for your studies and academic development. Our Student Learning Advisory Service also offers useful workshops on topics like essay writing and academic referencing. Extra activities There are a number of student-led societies which you may want to join such as: Socrates Society Feminist Society Kent Amnesty International. There are also events available throughout the year for students from the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. These may include: research seminars and webcasts career development workshops informal lectures by guest experts followed by group discussion.
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.
Assessment is by a mixture of coursework and examinations; to view details for individual modules click the 'read more' link within each module listed in the course structure.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- the origins and development of UK criminal justice policy institutions
- the principal concepts and theoretical approaches in criminology and social policy
- the ways in which images of crime and notions of crime are constructed and represented
- the origins and development of UK welfare institutions
- the principles that underlie criminal justice and social 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 criminology and criminal justice
- knowledge of the main sources of data about crime and social welfare and a grasp of the research methods used to collect and analyse data
- knowledge of the local, regional, national and supra-national dimensions of social policy and understanding of the links between them
- an understanding of interdisciplinary approaches to issues in criminology and social policy and the ability to use ideas from other social sciences.
You develop the following intellectual skills:
- problem-solving and the ability to seek solutions to crime, criminal behaviour 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.
You gain the following subject-specific skills:
- identification and use of theories and concepts in criminology to analyse issues of crime and criminal justice
- identification and use of theories and concepts in social policy to analyse social issues
- 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.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- studying and learning independently, using library and internet sources
- developing an appetite for learning and being reflective, adaptive and collaborative in your approach
- making short presentations to fellow students and staff
- communicating ideas and arguments to others, both in written and spoken form
- preparing essays and referencing the material quoted according to conventions in social policy
- using IT to word process, conduct online searches, communicate by email and access data sources
- time management by delivering academic work on time and to the required standard
- working with others: developing interpersonal and teamworking skills to enable you to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results.
The programme aims to:
- produce graduates with analytical and knowledge-based skills relevant to employment in the professions, public service and the private sector
- provide a broad knowledge and understanding of key concepts, debates and theoretical approaches in criminology and social policy, and the relationship between criminology and social policy
- develop new areas of teaching in response to needs of the community
- explore the distribution of welfare and well-being within societies, and the ways in which different societies meet the basic human needs of their populations
- 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
- develop problem-solving skills and an understanding of the nature and appropriate use of research methods used in social science research
- teach students key writing, research and communications skills
- 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.