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.
Adding a quantitative research minor to your programme opens your mind to new ways of
thinking. Starting with no assumed statistical
knowledge, you graduate with an advanced package of practical
quantitative skills alongside subject-specific knowledge in the theory and application of social policy.
Our degree programme
In your first year, you take introductory modules in sociology, critical thinking, social policy and quantitative skills.
In your second and final years, you investigate the nature of social
problems and use research findings to evaluate policy proposals and
recommendations. You extend your quantitative skills and take compulsory modules in social research methods and the welfare state. Optional
modules cover a wide range of areas such as poverty, health, crime,
education, homelessness, and issues relating to social disadvantage,
including class, race, gender, age, sexuality and poverty.
You are encouraged not just to view issues in a detached manner, but
also to argue about the way things could – and should – be changed.
In your final year, you choose either a dissertation with a
quantitative research focus or (providing you achieve the required
academic standard by the end of Stage 2) a placement module where you
can put your skills into practice.
Workplace experience is highly valued by employers, and the
placements offered through Kent see students completing meaningful,
applied quantitative analysis for business and organisations across a
range of sectors, giving you the opportunity to add concrete workplace
achievements to your CV.
Social Policy is also available as a single honours programme without quantitative research. For details, see Social Policy.
Our students have the opportunity to spend a year or a term abroad at one of our partner institutions in North America, Asia and Europe. You
don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain
The Social Studies Society is run by Kent students for anyone with an interest in Criminology, Sociology, Law, Social Policy, Economics and
Politics. Previous activities include the Criminal Justice in Action
guest speaker series.
There are events available throughout the year for students from the
School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research. These may
research seminars and webcasts career development workshops informal lectures by guest experts followed by group discussion.
In addition to learning through lectures, seminars, workshops, project supervision, and statistics classes, this degree prides itself in its aim to let students carry out hands-on research in the ‘field’ through placements and field trips. Most modules are assessed by examination and coursework in equal measure.
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 an understanding of the political economy of welfare
- the welfare provided by the private and voluntary sectors, and an understanding of the mixed economy of care
- the key concepts used in social policy, such as need, equity, inequality, poverty, exclusion, identity, difference and diversity
- the local, regional, national and supra-national dimensions of social policy and understanding of the links between them
- the main sources of data about social welfare and a grasp of the research methods used to collect and analyse data
- interdisciplinary approaches to issues in social policy and the ability to use ideas from other social sciences
- the key concepts and theories of welfare and the ability to apply these in a comparative approach
- the strengths and weaknesses of statistical techniques applied to the study of social issues
- cross-disciplinary understanding of advanced quantitative reasoning and application of these methods to the analysis of complex societal
- how to abstract findings from the application of quantitative
research methods to examine essential features of complex societal
problems and provide a framework for assessment of contemporary
- the value of comparative analysis across disciplines
- ethical implications of social sciences’ inquiry.
You develop the following intellectual skills:
- problem-solving skills and the ability to seek solutions to social problems and individual needs
- research skills, including the ability to identify a research question and to collect and manipulate data to answer that question
- evaluative and analytic skills, to assess the outcomes of social policy intervention on individuals and communities
- sensitivity to the values and interests of others and to the dimensions of difference
- quantitative: the appropriate use of analytical methods – including advanced methods – in handling, analysing and presenting statistical
data across relevant disciplines. Ability to interpret both research
data and official statistics.
You gain the following subject-specific skills:
- identifying and using theories and concepts in social policy to analyse social issues
- handling and interpreting statistical data relevant to social issues.
- undertaking an investigation of an empirical issue, either on your own or with other students
- distinguishing between technical, normative, moral and political questions
- constructing criminological arguments using quantitative empirical evidence.
You gain the following transferable skills:
- studying and learning independently, using library and internet sources
- 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
- developing skills in time management by delivering academic work on time and to the required standard
- developing interpersonal and teamwork skills to enable you to work collaboratively, negotiate, listen and deliver results
- appropriately using analytical methods – including advanced methods – in handling, analysing and presenting statistical data in diverse
This programme aims to:
- produce thoughtful, well-trained and flexible social scientists
with an up-to-date knowledge of social welfare provision in industrial
- help students to link theoretical knowledge with empirical enquiry
and to identify and understand different ideological positions on
- 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 students with the statistical and analytical tools to
independently and successfully conduct advanced quantitative research
- help students make persuasive arguments using quantitative
research, and to critically assess the arguments made by others in the
course of social life
- help students link theoretical knowledge with empirical enquiry, so that they understand how to conduct and critique social research in the real world.