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 in social policy.
Our degree programme
In your first year, you explore the nature of social challenges such as ageing, neglect, crime, health, education, employment and homelessness. As your understanding develops, you study how social and public policies are devised and directed towards alleviating social problems. You can also choose optional modules on criminology, modern culture or sociology.
In your second and final years, you extend your knowledge about the purposes and use of social and public policy and the role of government. You develop your research and analytic skills and explore the nature of welfare systems in different countries and how this impacts on social inequality.
The varied expertise in the School means we are able to offer optional modules that include explorations of childhood, family, environmentalism, gender, political change, crime, race, violence and work, among others. This means that you can choose to study areas of particular interest to you or that relate directly to your career choice.
Throughout your degree, our academics challenge you to develop your own opinions and ideas, and encourage you to become an independent thinker. We offer high levels of support and our staff are friendly and accessible.
Social Policy student Isobel talks about her course at the University of Kent.
You can choose 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 Course structure for full details.
The Social Studies Society is run by Kent students for anyone with an interest in criminology, sociology, law, social policy, economics and politics.
There are events available throughout the year for students from the School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. These may include:
research seminars and webcasts career development workshops informal lectures by guest experts followed by group discussion.
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 welfare institutions
- the current sources of welfare in the UK, including health and social services, social security, housing and education
- the operation and financing of the policy process and the political economy of welfare
- welfare provided by the private and voluntary sectors and the mixed economy of care
- key concepts used in social policy, such as need, equity, inequality, poverty, exclusion, identity, difference and diversity
- local, regional, national and supra-national dimensions of social policy
- the main sources of data relating to social welfare and the methods used to collect and analyse data
- inter-disciplinary approaches to issues in social policy
- the key concepts and theories of welfare and the ability to apply these in a comparative approach.
You develop intellectual abilities in:
- problem-solving, the skills to seek solutions to social problems and individual needs
- research, including the skills to identify a research question and collect and manipulate data to answer that question
- evaluation and analysis, including the skills to assess the outcomes of policy intervention
- recognising and showing sensitivity to the values and interests of others and to the dimensions of difference.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- identifying and using concepts and theories in social policy to analyse social issues
- seeking out and using statistical data relevant to social issues
- the investigation of an empirical issue
- how to distinguish between technical, normative, moral and political questions.
You gain transferable skills that enable you to:
- study and learn independently, using library and internet sources
- learn and be reflective, adaptive and collaborative in your approach
- make short presentations to fellow students and staff
- communicate ideas and arguments to others, both in written and spoken form
- prepare essays and reference the material quoted according to conventions
- use IT to conduct on-line searches, communicate by email and in written documents and access data sources
- develop skills in time management and work to deadlines
- work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results.
The programme aims to:
- produce thoughtful, flexible and well-trained social scientists with an up-to-date knowledge of social welfare provision in industrial societies
- enable you to link theoretical knowledge with empirical enquiry and to identify and understand different ideological positions on welfare provision
- give you the skills and abilities to enable you to become an informed citizen, capable of participating in the policy process and equipped for a dynamic labour market.