Sociology and Social Policy BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Jt Hons Sociology and Social Policy
UCAS code
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
None specific
IB score
Course location
Course places
We are still currently taking applications for 2018 entry


Taught by researchers with international reputations in their respective fields, this course explores social problems and welfare issues with social theories and research methods.
Read full overview

Social policy deals with interventions, or the ways in which people deliberately try to bring about social change. These interventions often try to solve wicked problems - so called because they have complex interdependencies and are resistant to resolution. Trying to solve one problem can often give rise to others. Examples are areas such as climate change, inequalities, pandemic planning, social justice and welfare.

Social policies do not always succeed: they can be a tool for the promotion of social justice but equally they may exacerbate social problems and sometimes even cause them meaning that questions about how we judge those policies are ultimately matters for political and moral debate. Social policy is thus a fascinating and dynamic area of interdisciplinary study which draws on the insights of a range of social and political sciences.

This course will enable you to understand the causes of social problems, both globally and nationally, and what can be done about them. It brings sociological analysis to bear on the complex social problems that social policy concerns itself with and upon other issues that fundamentally affect the welfare of society and individuals.

Year one

In the first year, you will explore significant traditions and ideas in the disciplines of sociology and social policy in your core modules. A range of optional introductory modules introduce you to important themes and topics such as deviance, contemporary culture and human rights.

Year two

Year two will develop your understanding of the theoretical and methodological foundations of sociology and social policy. We will encourage you to explore these through core modules focusing on research design, classical and contemporary sociology, and political and moral theories of social policy. Optional modules are chosen from both sociology and social policy.

Year three

Year three provides the opportunity to develop your skills and knowledge through researching for and writing a dissertation on a topic of your choice. There will then be a choice of optional modules allowing you to specialise in your areas of interest.

Key facts

  • 5th in the UK for social policy according to The Complete University Guide 2018
  • Our teaching is often recognised by awards such as a University Chancellor's Award for teaching quality
  • Opportunities to study abroad in locations such as Australia, China, Germany and the USA
  • One of 18 institutions in the UK to have been selected to participate in the Q-Step programme, committed to developing students' quantitative expertise

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB excluding general studies, critical thinking and CIE thinking skills

English language requirements

IELTS: 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

International applicants

For country-specific information including entry requirements, contact details and representatives, see our website. If you need a visa to study, the University can provide all the information and advice you need.

Mature students

At the University of Nottingham we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information in our guide for mature students.

Alternative qualifications

Our admission process recognises that applicants have a wealth of different experiences and may have followed various educational pathways. Please view the alternative qualifications page for details.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

Notes for applicants

We are looking for students who have the ability and motivation to benefit from our courses and who will make a valued contribution to the school and University. We will take into account a wide range of factors including post-school experience and breadth of interests as well as examination results.

Our degree courses require a combination of different skills, and an ability to engage with new subjects and ideas. These qualities in part relate to academic performance, but we will also look at your interests and experience.



The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules

Core modules

Citizenship and Rights in a Globalised World

This module first focuses on matters of citizenship and pays particular attention to which groups are included and entitled to citizenship and who is excluded.

It also enables you to develop an understanding of the key theoretical approaches and concepts associated with the analysis of processes of globalisation (social, economic and political) and their implications for human rights. Finally, a third strand is devoted to human rights.

Identity in Popular Culture

The study of culture illuminates how we understand ourselves and others and the meanings we attribute to the world around us. By examining culture we see that many of the 'common sense', 'normal' or 'natural' understandings we have of what it means to be male or female, gay or straight, white or black, middleclass or working-class, are specific to our particular society, and are also laden with implicit judgements about the relative worth of these identities.

This module considers a range of cultural forms, from the everyday popular culture that surrounds us in our daily lives, such as Hollywood films, reality TV and 'ethnic' cuisine, and explores the ways in which social identities and social relations such as class, gender or racial difference are represented and played out in popular culture.

Introducing Social Policy

Focusing on the main concepts and approaches to social policy, this module assumes little or no background knowledge. It looks at the means by which something is framed as a social problem, with particular reference to poverty and issues of exclusion.

You will be introduced to the main areas of social policy, mainly in the UK, and explore how different social groups experience social policies, the interaction of public, private, voluntary and informal sectors in welfare provision, and ways in which it is financed.

Investigating Social Worlds

This module introduces you to philosophical debates on the production of knowledge about the social world, examining the interlocking philosophical and ethical problems that can arise when the methods of the natural sciences are applied to the study of the social world.

It then introduces two of the major research traditions within the social sciences, positivism and interpretavism and explores their links to some basic methods of data gathering employed in the social sciences, including survey methods, interviewing, and observation.

You will be given opportunities to gain some preliminary practical experience of working with a variety of sources and methods.

Understanding Contemporary Society

This module introduces you to a range of approaches in social analysis. Through introductions to key concepts, theorists and research studies in the disciplines of sociology, cultural studies and social policy, you will be equipped with the skills necessary for more advanced study of contemporary society.


Optional modules

China: Civilisations, Cultures and Societies

This module is designed to encourage you to critically engage with current, as well as past, debates around the nature of Chinese 'culture' and 'civilisation', and indeed, to question these very notions. It is a multidisciplinary module which will draw on humanities and social science scholarship from fields such as sinology, anthropology, sociology, geography, philosophy and history.

By the end of the module, you will be familiar with key debates in the research on Chinese culture(s). You will also be better equipped to critically engage with key ideas in the study of Chinese society and culture, Confucianism, ancestor worship, patriarchy, folklore, Chinese 'ethnicity', literati culture, Diaspora, and so on.

Crime Stories: Crime, Justice and the Media

What is the relationship between crime, justice and the media? Does media depiction simply reflect public interests and attitudes, or help to shape them? Does media representation of 'crime', 'criminals' and criminal justice impact penal and social policies?

These are some of the questions we will debate through drawing on theory, research and illustrative media examples.

Introduction to the Criminal Justice 'System' in England and Wales

This module seeks to introduce and contextualise the function and processes of agencies and institutions that operate within the criminal justice system. It will encourage you to identify tensions and inequalities that lead criminologists and criminal justice practitioners to promote reform.


Typical year two modules

Core modules

Applied Ethics and Society

The module will explore the application of moral philosophy and applied ethics to various social issues including, but not limited to, addiction, abortion, euthanasia, migration and global justice. 

It will review the main ideas and theorists from the fields of consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics and it will introduce students to the contemporary state of various socially and ethically problematic topics.

Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory

This module examines selected work by major 19th and 20th century social theorists in relation to three main themes:

  • What were the major arguments and conceptual innovations introduced by classical sociologists? 
  • How can classical sociological theory illuminate contemporary social debates? 
  • On what grounds should certain thinkers be described as 'classical'? What determines whether or not a theorist belongs to the canon of sociological thought? How does social and political context shape the development of sociological theory?
Political Theory and Social Policy

As an academic subject, social policy is underpinned by a wide variety of social, political and economic theories. Without an understanding of these theories our analyses of both society and of welfare systems are likely to be inadequate. For instance, we may overlook the extent to which policies and welfare reforms are sometimes based upon weak theoretical foundations and assumptions.

This module explores a range of both traditional and contemporary themes and concepts, including liberty, equality, citizenship, needs, class, old and new welfare ideologies, as well as recent developments in welfare theory.

Research Design and Practice (Qualitative Methods)

This module will introduce you to the principles of research design, practice and ethics in relation to qualitative research, and provides experience in designing a qualitative research project.

Research Design and Practice (Quantitative Methods)

This module will introduce you to the principles of research design and ethics in relation to quantitative research, and provides you with experience in designing and conducting your own small-scale research project.


Optional modules

Belief, Spirituality and Religion

This module examines the key sociological issues and debates in relation to the religion/spirituality and non-religious belief systems.

They include:

  • transformation of religion
  • the spiritual revolution
  • fundamentalism
  • atheism
  • secularism
  • scientism
  • freedom of expression vs. sanctity of religion
  • religious dress
  • religion/spirituality and sexuality
  • religion/spirituality and youth
  • religion/spirituality and consumerism
The Body, The Self and Others

This module explores the ways in which social identities and subjectivities can be created, maintained and expressed through the body and with reference to 'Others'. It particularly considers:

  • existing sociological theories of identity and 'Otherness'
  • the sociologies of various 'geographies' of the body, including the sociology of food and diet; body modification and adornment; extreme sport
  • presentations of 'self' through work, especially 'bodywork'
  • the corporeal 'mapping' of class, gender, ethnicity and sexuality
  • surveillance discourses and the Foucauldian body
Chinese Society and Culture: Beyond the Headlines

This module emphasises sociological theories of culture with reference to current events in the Chinese world. Topics include:

  • nationhood, identity and ethnicity
  • gender, family and social welfare
  • inequalities, social capital and development
  • education, aspirations and popular culture
  • crime, deviance, and justice
Dynamics of International Social Policy

This module introduces you to comparative analyses of different welfare state models and approaches to social policy; institutions, issues and debates in international social policy; and methods of cross-country comparative analysis. Topics include:

  • perspectives of international social and public policy
  • the origins and development of international social rights and standards
  • welfare state typologies and cross-national comparisons
  • international institutions
  • regional social policies
  • globalisation and welfare
  • welfare in less developed countries
  • international migration and the boundaries of welfare
  • discrimination in a multicultural world
  • international cooperation, policy learning and policy transfer
  • comparative research methodology
Ethnicity, 'Race' and Everyday Life

This module examines the intersection of three key concepts in contemporary sociology - ethnicity 'race' and everyday life. It particularly considers:

  • existing sociological theories of everyday life concerning its political relevance and historical specificity as well as methodological issues as to how 'the everyday' has been researched
  • sociological models of ethnicity and 'race', the construction of ethnic boundaries and identities, the relationship between 'culture' and 'ethnicity', and its relevance in the contemporary world
  • a series of empirical case studies illustrating the experience and complexities of ethnic and racial identities in the realm of everyday life
Families and Social Divisions

This module considers sociological approaches to the family ranging from early functionalist accounts to the feminist problematisation of such accounts. Attention will be paid to the ideological construction of the family and the role of social divisions in shaping family life.

Starting from feminist critiques of the family the first part of the module will explore issues of gender, power and patriarchy. Drawing on second-wave feminism, the second part of the module will consider issues of diversity in family practices.

Topics covered will include gender and families; families and class; families and race; migrant and transnational families; sexuality; age and generation. Contemporary debates around the breakdown, democratisation or continuity in contemporary families will also be addressed.

History of British Social Policy

How has the nature of social provision been conceptualised over time? How much continuity and how much change has there been in our social welfare system?

This module offers a critical review of some of the key issues in the development of British social policy, including the shift from the Poor Law to an income maintenance scheme, the impact of philanthropy and the changing role of the State in the 20th century.

Human Rights and Child Rights

This module will introduce you to sociological debates on human and child rights. In principle, virtually everyone is in favour of human rights. But in practice, there is disagreement about what kind of rights we should enjoy by virtue of our common humanity and about who is included in the category of 'human'.

The module starts by introducing students to debates on the foundation, nature and scope of human rights.

Introduction to Cultural Theory

This module is focused on the conceptual issues that are at stake when we seek to study culture and concentrates on current themes in the study of culture. Through focusing on topics of subjectivity and identity, performativity, memory, emotions and the senses you will be introduced to the work and thinking of a range of cultural theorists, such as: Butler, Freud, Hall, Said, Sedgewick and Williams.

The module will also cover issues such as the formation of hegemonic and marginalised identities, hybridity and globalisation, queer theory, and the relationship [or not] between social structures and individual agency.

Police, Policing and the Police

This module is concerned with the sociology and politics of policing. The main focus will be on England and Wales but the module will draw on literature and experiences from other jurisdictions around the world and from the United States of America in particular. It will cover a range of topics such as:

  • the meaning of, and differences between, police, policing and the police
  • the history and development of policing and the policesince the 18th century
  • the occupational and organisational cultures of the police
  • the governance and accountability of the police
  • police powers
  • specialisation in policing eg crime detection, traffic policing, public order policing, terrorism and political policing
  • policing strategies and tactics
  • policing and the media
  • police ethics
  • policing social diversity
  • the pluralisation of policing
Prisons and Society

This module focuses on the relationship between imprisonment and society, paying specific attention to the England and Wales prison estate and UK Society. The module requires reading, questioning, and evaluating of the following topics:

  • Notion of a criminally deviant act and consequent ramifications (for example, imprisonment)
  • Relationship between welfare provision and imprisonment rates (for example, social exclusion issues)
  • The political and historical natures of punishment (for example, overt versus covert practices)
  • Prisoner population demographics in England and Wales
  • Roles, responsibilities, and issues for Her Majesty’s Prison Service
  • Prison culture (both staff and inmate)
  • Institutionalisation theory and the nature of imprisonment
  • Provision and receipt experiences of prison mental healthcare
  • Sociological research in prisons (for example, (in)famous ethnographies/contemporary analysis)
  • Future directions for imprisonment (for example, reducing reoffending strategies)
Social Research and Community Engagement

This module provides you with an opportunity to apply the insights and skills of social science to enhance your understanding of the role of the voluntary sector in contemporary society with special reference to the city of Nottingham. At the heart of the module is a one-semester community engagement opportunity where you will spend on average eight hours a week, but varying from week to week, with a local community organisation.

The placement enables you to experience at first-hand the challenges, dilemmas and opportunities to make a difference that local organisations face every day. They will have the opportunity to deploy social research skills and academic knowledge to assist the organisations in question.

The teaching element of the module will provide the following: at the very start an overview of the role of the voluntary sector in contemporary society, theories of civil society, and an introduction to some of the models of community organising and public sociology a two day training package in the autumn semester on models of community organising delivered by Nottingham Citizens an opportunity to reflect on progress with the community engagement advice on how to construct the assessment.

The module will also draw on two outside speakers from local community organisations to provide rich, first-hand accounts from within the voluntary sector.

#Sociology: Identity, Self and Other in a Digital Age

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Sociology of Health, Illness and the Body

When a person is deemed to be mentally or physically sick, this involves taking on a particular social role and coming under the care (or power) of others. This module examines the power relations of medical care, cultural meanings (and thus 'treatment') of different illnesses, and the impact that illness has on our personal and social identities.

Youth Crime and Justice

This module explores the phenomena of youth, crime and justice. Analysis of official statistics and self-report survey data will be placed within a broader understanding of the social construction of youth, drawing on political, media and other sources. The module will critically assess explanations of youth crime and desistance, including major theoretical explanations and developmental/life course perspectives.

The second half of the module considers social responses to youth crime and the role of the youth justice system in particular. The various discourses which inform youth justice will be compared and the ways in which they have been applied in different jurisdictions will be assessed. Finally, the module will consider the recent focus on early intervention, emerging arguments for minimum intervention and the potential for youth justice reform.


Typical year three modules

Core modules


For the dissertation, you will explore a topic of your choice under the supervision of a designated dissertation group tutor. Work on the dissertation extends over both semesters in the third year. The subject matter must be relevant to your honours subject and approved by the tutor.

The study may be entirely based on the analysis of secondary literature; alternatively it may involve the collection and analysis of primary data, including documentary or textual data, on a scale appropriate to the work-load involved.

During the autumn semester, you should identify a topic and decide on an appropriate strategy of enquiry and analysis. Initial reading and planning for the dissertation should be undertaken mostly in the autumn semester, including literature reviews. A dissertation plan is submitted by the end of November. Any empirical investigation should be substantially underway by the end of the autumn semester.

In the spring semester analysis of the literature and any primary material should be completed and the dissertation written up by early in the summer term.


Optional modules

Analysing Public Policy

The module examines how public policy is made within government. It provides a critical understanding of how policy is formulated, implemented and evaluated.

The module focuses on key phases of the policy process, from agenda-setting to policy impact. The module provides an applied understanding of policy analysis by examining relevant case studies (eg child abuse, ageing population).

Another Country: Crime and Crime Control in South Africa

This module looks at crime and ways of controlling it in South Africa (SA), a country with a different history and social structure to the UK. The focus will vary from year to year but is likely to include the:

  • impact of colonialism and white minority rule on crime and crime control in SA since the country's transition to democracy in 1994
  • relationship between forms of criminal and transitional justice and the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in coming to terms with violations of human rights under apartheid
  • nature and extent of crime in contemporary SA with a focus on contemporary problems such as gangsterism and organised crime, (sexual) violence against women and children and violent xenophobia
  • usefulness of criminological theories developed in different social contexts (primarily in the US and the UK) in understanding and explaining crime in SA, and in suggesting ways of controlling it
  • political economy of crime and crime control in one of the most unequal societies in the world and the relationships between crime and other forms of social harm, criminal justice and social justice, crime prevention and social policy
  • history and development of policing and the response to crime including the reform of the state or public police, the pluralisation of policing and the 're-segregation' of South African society since the end of apartheid 1620
Capitalism and Social Justice: Moral Economies of Inequality

The module addresses debates over the nature and meaning of inequality in contemporary society. It considers these debates from the perspective of historical sociology, also discussing substantive topics of race, gender, class and the impact of colonialism (and post-colonialism) on the formation of Western welfare states. This module concludes with a discussion of sociology as critique of liberal public reason.

Climate Change and Society

This module deals with the interface between climate change, energy systems, society and culture, focusing on:

  • the making of climate science; understanding controversy over the role of climate science in public policies
  • the social, policy and cultural meanings and communication of climate science and climate change
  • the impact of climate change concerns on energy systems
  • the social, economic and ethical issues raised by energy production technologies including sustainable energy
  • social practices and energy consumption
  • climate, energy and society from a global perspective
Contemporary Developments in Welfare Policy

The module will explore the contemporary developments and debates in the provision and delivery of welfare services. The module will examine theories of welfare, the funding of the welfare state and key changes in welfare policies, such as the increasing focus on markets and consumer choice, partnerships, the personalisation of service delivery, and the increasing role of the not for profit sector in service delivery.

Cults and New Religious Movements: Power, Belief and Conflict

This module serves as an introduction to the study of new religious movements, including groups sometimes referred to as 'cults', and the theoretical concepts used to understand them. A particular focus will be on the degree of tension such groups exhibit with their broader social and religious environments, as well as how they are conceived, both in academia and the media.

It will also consider how issues discussed more broadly in sociology, such as deviance, authority, violence, modernity, globalisation, sex and gender, and group dynamics, bear on our understanding of new religious movements.

Education and Society

This module seeks to connect the historical and more contemporary debates in education to a critical understanding of society. The main focus is through a discussion of sociological, philosophical and policy based issues to explore the purpose of education in a modern globalised world. This however only becomes possible if we question more neutral and instrumental approaches to education and seek to more explicitly explore its connection to more normative values and concerns.

In this respect, the module will seek to connect ideas in education to a diversity of ways of conceiving of citizenship now and within the past. Most of the module is informed by European, North and South American traditions within sociology although it will also draw on examples and ideas from elsewhere.

Evaluating Public and Social Policy

Using examples from UK and international policy evaluation, this module considers:

  • what we mean by policy evaluation, how it has evolved, its role in the policymaking process and how it relates to the use of evidence in policymaking
  • strengths and weaknesses of different approaches, theories and models of policy evaluation: topics include theories of change, realistic evaluation, impact evaluation, economic evaluation, process evaluation, systematic reviews and participatory evaluation 
  • different evaluative research designs 
  • politics and ethics of policy evaluation
Exploring Social and Cultural Life Through Films

Using different genres of film, this module examines contemporary theoretical and empirical debates in relation to a host of issues closely associated with theproduction and contestation of identity, culture, and everyday life. Underpinning by the central theoretical theme of cultural production, consumption, and practices.

The module will illustrate the problematics of culture through the sociological exploration of social condition, identity, consumerism, consumption, consumer culture, slavery, choice, voluntary simplicity, intimacy, body, embodiment, sexual culture, desire, sexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism, dress, fashion, multiculturalism, human rights and social inclusion/exclusion.

Gender and Media

This module will explore key debates and issues around contemporary representations of gender in the Anglo-American media. It will draw on case studies from a range of media genres, including television, men's and women's magazines and newspapers, as well as considering questions of audience, pleasure and spectatorship.

It will examine how mediated representations of gender intersect with other axes of difference such as 'race', class and sexuality, further exploring how changing mediated gender representations might be linked to wider social change.

Gender, the Family and Social Policy

Introducing feminist approaches to social policy, this module considers how social policy and the development of the welfare state have been underpinned by ideas around gender difference and the structure and responsibilities of the family.

We will examine feminist perspectives on welfare, considering how policy might reflect and perpetuate the gendered division of labour in the family and society more broadly. For example, we will examine whether the 'male breadwinner' model has been replaced by a policy commitment to gender equality.

The module will thus examine how social policy excludes or incorporates women at the intersection of the public/private divide, problematising the terms 'justice', 'citizenship' and 'inequality' in relation to gender. Throughout, we will also consider how gender intersects with other axes of difference and inequality, such as 'race' and class.

Global Tourism and its Complexities

The module will explore contemporary theoretical debates in the sociology of tourism, with particular emphasis on how tourism locations are constructed, developed and sustained; the powers and dangers of the 'tourist gaze'; tourism labour markets; tourism and identity; tourism and risk; and social/cultural change.

Governance and Policy in Africa and Asia in International Comparative Context

This module examines responses to challenges facing social policy makers in Africa and Asia taking a comparative case study approach. Topics include:

  • approaches to the study of international comparative governance and policy
  • designing and delivering inclusive and sustainable healthcare, social security, education and criminal justice systems in countries with large rural and informal urban sectors
  • good governance and building institutions to challenge corruption
  • rural-urban migration and the challenges of creating urban infrastructure and sustainable cities
  • food security and famines
  • indigeneity and social policy in contested spaces
  • social policy in failed states and during conflict and war
  • working with international agenciesInternational comparative research methods
Migration and Transnationalism

This course examines key issues and concepts connected to the movement and settlement of people in Europe and beyond. Informed by a transnational studies perspective, the module considers migration debates and practices in a critical, comparative and historically informed manner.

The first part of the course explores the political, social and economic factors that cause people to move in an increasing interconnected world. The second part of the course is dedicated to the examination of the different theories of integration and settlement and processes of inclusion and exclusion.

The key issues and concepts addressed will include those of transnationalism and diaspora; gender and intersectionality; transnational families and global care chains; multiculturalism, integration and assimilation; identity, home and belonging.

Nationalisms: the Politics of Belonging and Exclusion

This module provides a series of historically contextualised and theoretically informed discussions of nation-states and various nation-centred or nationalist politics and discourses of identity. Topics covered include:

  • the significance of 'the nation' to classical sociology
  • an engagement with a variety of theoretical paradigms and conceptual frameworks pertaining to the historical origins and institutional as well as symbolic 'workings' of nations and nationalisms
  • discussion of different and competing models of national belonging and exclusion
  • a focus on the changing historical contexts of modernity and post-modernity and their respective impact on nation-states and the politics of national identity
  • discussions of the contemporary relevance of globalisation and the European Union
  • analyses of the place of nationalism in everyday life, of the role of memory in the politics of national identities, and of ethnic pluralism
Rehabilitation, Risk and Desistance

This module aims to develop critical understandings of:

  • the concepts of 'offender' rehabilitation and the changing nature of rehabilitative enterprises over time
  • the role of risk in the organisation of the criminal justice system and responses to offending
  • research about desistance from crime and its relationship to rehabilitation and risk

The module will explore the role of key agencies involved in rehabilitation including the National Probation Service and Community Rehabilitation Companies and the experiences of those subject to community justice.

Religion and Society in Modern China

This module will introduce you to Chinese religion as a social phenomenon, and provide an overview of the officially-recognised belief systems comprising China's religious landscape.

It will examine the doctrines, practices and institutions of different religious groups, while also considering the unofficial traditions that play an important role in modern Chinese religiosity. Major topics covered include:

  • Chinese Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Protestantism and Catholicism
  • folk belief and new religious movements (NRMs)
  • China's ongoing Confucian revival
  • policies affecting the governance of religion, and their history
  • the social dimensions of modern Chinese religion
Restorative Justice Theory and Practice

This module aims to explore the purpose and application of various restorative approaches which address crime and conflict within various social contexts. This includes:

  • theoretical underpinnings and related practices
  • risks, opportunities and threats to participants
  • practical applications within various contexts, such as community, schools, workplace and the penal system
  • application across the range of criminal behaviours from simple offences to complex and sensitive case examples
  • evaluation of international/localised developments
  • applications of restorative models and policy from a variety of jurisdictions
Sex, Crime and Society

Topics covered in this module include:

  • History: a historical case study of sexual practices and labelled deviances (sexuality in Renaissance Venice)
  • Today: emergent social issue case studies (child sexual abuse and male rape)
  • Public parlance, mass media, and the press with sex as subject 
  • Sex offenders within and outside society: Probation and prison 
  • Sex crimes and the criminal justice system in England and Wales: specific focus on recidivism 
  • Religion and sexual practice: immoral acts? 
  • Man and beast as partners: historical and contemporary perspectives 
  • Sexuality, feminism, and the law 
  • Sex as trade: sex trafficking and slavery 
  • Adolescent experimentation: young people, sex, and consent
  • Sexual violence: survivors' narratives
Terrorism and Extremism in the United Kingdom

This module examines terrorism and extremism as a contemporary and contentious issue in criminology. Consequently, you will examine the United Kingdom's response to terrorism and extremism.

The module explores the case study of Northern Ireland and seeks to place current security threats to the United Kingdom in context. As a result the following indicative issues (subject to change) will be examined:

  • Definitional debates
  • The fear of terrorism
  • Examination of a range of historical and contemporary terrorist threats to the UK
  • The role of the criminal justice system in responding to and preventing terrorism and extremism
  • Counter terrorism: The balancing of security and rights to liberty and privacy; the ethics of counter terrorism
Work, Employment and Society

This module considers:

  • historical and comparative study of work (paid and unpaid), employment and society
  • the changing nature and meaning of work in society
  • social inequalities in work such as class, gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality
  • heoretical and empirical understandings of work

Study abroad

On this course, you can apply to spend a semester studying abroad at one of our partner institutions in locations such as Australia, China, Germany and the USA.

You will get the opportunity to broaden your horizons and enhance your employability by experiencing another culture. You can choose to study similar modules to your counterparts back in Nottingham or expand your knowledge by taking other options. Teaching is typically in English; however, there may be opportunities to study in another language if you are sufficiently fluent.



Graduates with a social policy component in their degree typically pursue careers as managers, administrators and practitioners in the public and voluntary sectors.

Our students have gone on to careers in:

  • the NHS
  • housing departments and associations
  • education and teaching
  • welfare advice services
  • local government
  • non-profit organisations

Many also find work in the private sector, particularly in the service industries where jobs in management, retail, IT, marketing and the media are becoming more common destinations. This career destination is likely to grow as the private sector delivers more welfare services.

In addition to the subject-specific knowledge that you will build throughout this course, you will develop key transferable skills that are in high-demand by employers. These include written and verbal communication, IT skills, statistical analysis, time management and motivation, critical evaluation and teamwork.

We support our students' employability through careers talks and events. Your academic and personal development will also be facilitated by your personal tutor, who will be both your academic tutor and provide pastoral support.

Employability and average starting salary

94.5% of undergraduates from the School of Sociology and Social Policy had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,330 with the highest being £26,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates who were available for work 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

How to use the data

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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Student Recruitment Enquiries Centre

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
w: Frequently asked questions
Make an enquiry