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Course Code: ML23

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Course Code: L3FY

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Why choose the School of Applied Social Sciences

Over 95% of our Health and Social Care graduates are in employment or further study 15 months after graduating (HESA Graduate Outcomes, 2023)

Our Health and Social Care courses rank 1st in their subject table for graduation prospects – outcomes (CUG, 2024)

With our Change Maker programme we ask you to take an active role in bringing about change and working towards social justice

About the course

Calling on a wide range of disciplines from law and politics to health and psychology this course gives you the knowledge and skills to be a global social scientist with employability across many sectors.

Delivering the most up-to-date theory and practice Criminology and Sociology reflects both national and international developments in these ever-changing fields. It gives you the critical-thinking skills and intellectual confidence to develop your own position on such important issues as individual and social responsibility crime and punishment and global social dilemmas.

In the first year you learn the foundations of both subjects as well as core skills in social sciences and research. Your second and third years build on this foundation while providing you with opportunities to explore special interests through optional units such as the politics of migration; youth and crime; and crime and the media. The final year also includes an independent research project of your choice.

Why choose this course?

  • It has an overall student satisfaction rating of 100% (NSS 2022)
  • Learn to explore different theoretical perspectives developing your ability to interpret and evaluate evidence research and make informed reasoned arguments
  • Study with expert staff from a variety of social science backgrounds including forensic psychiatry policing offender management social work and youth justice
  • All staff are actively involved in research in areas such as human rights safeguarding policing social justice public policy youth crime and violence and offender management
  • Voluntary work is embedded into course units so you learn through real-life situations and see policy in action
  • Take the course over four years and include an optional year’s placement in industry (see below) allowing you to gain practical skills build your CV and make contacts
  • If you need to step up into higher education start with a Foundation Year (see below) which guarantees entry to the undergraduate course

with Professional Practice Year

This course has the option to be taken over four years which includes a year placement in industry. Undertaking a year in industry has many benefits. You gain practical experience and build your CV, as well as being a great opportunity to sample a profession and network with potential future employers.

There is no tuition fee for the placement year enabling you to gain an extra year of experience for free.

*Only available to UK/EU students.

with Foundation Year

A Degree with a Foundation Year gives you guaranteed entry to an Undergraduate course.

Whether you’re returning to learning and require additional help and support to up-skill, or if you didn’t quite meet the grades to pursue an Undergraduate course, our Degrees with Foundation Year provide a fantastic entry route for you to work towards a degree level qualification.

With our guidance and support you’ll get up to speed within one year, and will be ready to seamlessly progress on to undergraduate study at Bedfordshire.

The Foundation Year provides an opportunity to build up your academic writing skills and numeracy, and will also cover a range of subject specific content to fully prepare you for entry to an Undergraduate degree.

This is an integrated four-year degree, with the foundation year as a key part of the course. You will need to successfully complete the Foundation Year to progress on to the first year of your bachelor’s degree.

Why study a degree with a Foundation Year?

  • Broad-based yet enough depth to give you credible vocational skills
  • Coverage of a variety of areas typically delivered by an expert in this area
  • Gain an understanding of a subject before choosing which route you wish to specialise in
  • Great introduction to further study, and guaranteed progression on to one of our Undergraduate degrees

The degrees offering a Foundation Year provide excellent preparation for your future studies.

During your Foundation Year you will get the opportunity to talk to tutors about your degree study and future career aspirations, and receive guidance on the most appropriate Undergraduate course to help you achieve this; providing you meet the entry requirements and pass the Foundation Year.


Course Leader - Deborah Spring

I have been teaching sociology, criminology, psychology and criminology and child and family studies in a number of educational settings since I qualified with a degree in Sociology and Criminology and a master’s degree in Criminology in 2015. I developed a keen interest in many areas such as the family, mental wellbeing, crime issues and I have been involved in important research to human trafficking.

Course Leader - Deborah Spring

I have been teaching sociology, criminology, psychology and criminology and child and family studies in a number of educational settings since I qualified with a degree in Sociology and Criminology and a master’s degree in Criminology in 2015. I developed a keen interest in many areas such as the family, mental wellbeing, crime issues and I have been involved in important research to human trafficking.

What will you study?

Understanding Societies, Identities And Structures

The aim of this unit is for you to develop knowledge and critical understanding of substantive areas of contemporary society and acquire knowledge and critical understanding of competing accounts of the evolution of the discipline of sociology. The major traditions of modern sociological theory with initial focus on the work of the ‘founding fathers’ of sociology will commence. The unit moves to focus on 20th century theories such as various neo-Marxisms, symbolic interactionism, ethnomethodology, feminism and post-modernism. The unit will also explore patterns and processes of social divisions and inequality throughout human history and how they are formed, maintained and challenged. The unit thus includes the debates about the relative influences of biology, the economy and culture in relation to the concepts of social class, power, gender, patriarchy, ‘race’, ethnicity and racism and disability rights. The unit will provide students with a critical understanding of the relationships between sociological theory, social structures and social identities.

Introduction To Criminology

This Unit provides you with an introduction to the discipline of Criminology. It is expected that you will be new to the subject and the Unit traces the development of Criminology as a distinct discipline, highlighting the theoretical approaches that have been forwarded to explain crime, deviance and offending behaviour. Each of the theoretical positions is examined in outline, and introduces you to the language and terminology of the discipline together with examples of the research frameworks used. Having established the principles behind theoretical explanations the Unit begins to explore the responses society makes to offending behaviour through an evaluation of the Criminal Justice System. Thus the development of the main controlling mechanisms – courts, police, prisons and government agencies, such as probation and Youth Offending Panels – will be introduced and explained. Current and future development will also be highlighted towards the end of the Unit. The main themes of this unit will be explored in greater detail at Level Five and so should be considered as a starting point to the study of Criminology.

Introduction To Research And Social Enquiry

The unit will prepare you for degree level study by promoting your understanding of how and why we carry out research in the social sciences. The unit seeks to introduce you to some of the methodological debates and social theories which inform and underpin social investigation and to link those debates to different approaches in social research. You will consider topics such as ‘the nature of society’, its essential characteristics, and on that basis how best to go about investigating social life. Firstly, we will consider the issue of social investigation and science Secondly, we will examine specific areas of social life, such as crime/education/immigration/health status- in order to illustrate how answers to the questions raised in part one will tend to shape approaches to social research. We will also discuss relevant research procedures, in particular those associated with "positivism" and with "anti-positivism" or ethnography.  We will introduce alternative views - those of critical theory and post-modernism - which have a bearing on social enquiry. Thirdly you will gain an understanding of quantitative and qualitative research procedures and their methodological implications.

Whilst studying the above topics you will be developing your academic writing skills, learning how to construct your written work and learn how to source and correctly reference relevant research/academic material such as; journal articles, policy papers, official statistics and books. This will be excellent preparatory work for all your assessments and especially the level 5 Research Approaches unit.

The assessment strategies are designed to help you to develop the academic skills required of higher education and to further develop your understanding of what it means to ‘study society’.

Career Planning For Social Scientists

This unit recognises the investment made by SASS students in coming to university to study a degree and is designed to begin the conversation about possible graduate destinations. It will also provide a lens through which the opportunities within your degree can contribute to your aspiration and the achievement of your graduate goal and by embedding Personal Development Planning as integral  to your future success


Within a student’s career journey, it is important to undertake activities that allow for the understanding of personal values, strengths, and developing a realistic vocational or employment self-concept. This unit will introduce these frameworks and enable you to consider your career planning in an informative and structured approach as you continue through your studies by recognising and most importantly, valuing, your lived experience. 


This unit aims to:

·       To give  students an opportunity to begin plotting their personal development journey over their three year degree course 

·       Provide career development  interventions to assist students’ ability to identify their transferrable skills and articulate their experience, skills and attributes in a confident, meaningful and positive manner.

Introducing Academic Skills

Constructive oral and written communication, and the effective and ethical management and presentation of knowledge and information, are essential for both academic work at degree level and your professional practice. This unit will enable you to develop your understanding of the skills and conventions of academic study in higher education and within your discipline, and recognise their transferability to and relevance for your work with service users and professional colleagues. You will be encouraged to identify your own academic strengths, areas for development, and strategies to support your academic growth.

By the end of the unit the students will have gained an understanding of key academic skills such as assessment planning, how to effectively use BREO, searching for and sourcing academic material, learning to reference and how to construct essays, presentations and consideration of the differences between academic work and professional report writing.

Modern Political Thoughts And Governance

The aim of this unit is to introduce students to different political philosophies/ thoughts and ideologies. Through a historical approach, students will be able appreciate key ideas of the thinkers and influences of these political thoughts on political processes and governance- identifying both continuities and changes overtime. This unit will look at the works of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Grotius, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Burke, Mills, Kant, Hegel, Marx and Engels, Nietzsche, Arendt, Oakeshott, Herbamas, Rawls, Foucault, Edward Said, Noam Chomsky etc. The unit will also provide an introduction to politics and governance, through the lenses of these political thoughts. This unit also considers non- western political ideas and thoughts. The unit will explore the impact of the different western political ideologies on matters such as social justice, inequality, diversity and inclusion

The relevance of this unit is how it focuses on political structures, institutions, governance and the society. This unit will serve as a foundation for social science students and help them develop a broader understanding of the state and its activities and a range of political and social issues that will be covered at Level 5 and 6. 

Sociology Of Health And Illness

The Sociology of Health and Illness studies the interaction between society, individuals, health, and illness. The unit is designed to allow you to study substantive topics such as end-of-life care, genetics and bioethics, biomedical and professional power, experiences of chronic illness, health consumerism and managerialism, and main concepts such as the sick role and the insanity role, stigma and labelling, medicalisation, biomedicalisation, pharmaceuticalisation, amongst others. These topics and theoretical frameworks will be studied in detail.

Patterns of global change in healthcare systems make it more imperative than ever to research and comprehend the sociology of health and illness; with the continuing changes in demographics, economy, politics, therapy, and technology, studying how these changes impact the way communities and societies view and respond to the health needs of individuals is important. The changes in healthcare provision and understanding causes of health and illness within social life have proven to be dynamic in definition and therefore debating and advancing information is vital; as patterns evolve, the study of the sociology of health and illness constantly needs to be updated and studied. 

This unit takes a global approach because the influence of societal factors varies throughout the world. In this unit, you will learn how to develop your sociological thinking/imagination in order to promote social change and justice and sustain equality, diversity and inclusion. 

Gangs And Serious Youth Violence

This unit examines and critically evaluates research evidence and sociological and criminological theory to explore the nature, extent and impact of gang offending and serious youth violence and how we might respond effectively to it. In doing so, the unit examines the historical, social, economic, political and cultural forces that have shaped both violent group offending and gang proliferation in the UK and elsewhere and considers the evidence base of current practice to address questions of policy, strategy and intervention.  

The unit will provide students with the opportunity to analyse the implications and complexities of researching ‘gangs’ and serious youth violence. It also equips students with the conceptual tools and knowledge base to critically assess policy and practice in relation to youth offending, particularly amongst culturally, economically, socially and politically marginalised young people and will enable students to link the study of youth group violence to broader themes explored in the core units.  

Refugees, Displacement And The Politics Of Migration

Voluntary and forced migration of people across the globe is an enduring theme of human history. International migration is also a key dynamic of contemporary globalisation. Some authors have suggested that we now live in an ‘age of migration’ and that this is a defining characteristic of the twenty-first century. This unit addresses fundamental questions about the voluntary or forced contexts of contemporary migration. The unit focusses on the forced displacement and migration of people across the globe. It will look at why the protection of forced migrants is critical in the twenty- first century; what are the legal, policy-based and human rights issues involved; where are the world’s forced migrants; and how do forced migrants find belonging and recreate their worlds in the face of increasingly restrictive policy and practice. Throughout the unit, contemporary forced migration is examined and students are introduced to the complexities involved. This will include looking at protection available for internally displaced people, the international system for refugee protection, human trafficking, the shrinking space for asylum in the UK and what happens to separated children seeking sanctuary in the UK. The unit is theoretically and empirically grounded, necessarily focussing on inter- disciplinary research that is topical and relevant. The unit also addresses the practical and ethical implications of working with displaced populations.

Rehabilitation Of The Offender: Probation, Restoration And Social Justice

This unit aims to achieve in students’ knowledge and understanding of rehabilitative practice within the 21st Century.  Rehabilitative practice is focused upon the promotion of desistance, deterrence and reducing recidivism within offenders.   Current practices within both the national and international framework are considered, in addition to the links between and comparisons of private, state, voluntary and third sector provision of rehabilitative practice.  Therefore, this unit aims to focus upon the identification of the complex needs of offenders, how these are managed effectively and how desistance and rehabilitation work to prevent reoffending. The unit is informed by a social justice narrative because it is focused on the social inclusion and rehabilitation of those in conflict with the law, and thus aims to reflect diversity and inclusion in the curriculum. 

The Social Sciences At Work

The graduate job market is a highly competitive arena. As such, it is essential for students preparing for graduate employment to have a realistic awareness of, the ways in which the professional work place operates and the skills, knowledge and experiences that are expected and desirable for their passport and successful transition into graduate level employment. This unit builds upon the Level 4 unit which requires students to have begun their thinking about their intended graduate destination and undertaken a level of career development planning at the end of their first year. 


During this unit, students will undertake work based opportunities with an organisation or service that is appropriate to their degree subject.  The expected length of time for this placement is a minimum of 15 hours.

Students will engage with personal development planning, to reflect on their own development as a professional and to gain insight into the breadth and complexity of graduate professional roles. They will be encouraged to complete the Bedfordshire for Success award as they progress through the unit by engaging with the Careers and Employability Service in the development of their individual career readiness.

Theorising Crime, Punishment And Justice

This unit will build on that knowledge gained through your studies at level 4.  Compared with level four, lectures will be more discursive, highlighting debates, controversies and issues that students will pursue further through seminars and independent study. 

The aims of the unit are as follows:

1. To analyse and evaluate crime and offending and the mechanisms used to control crime through the use of different theoretical perspectives. 

2.  To analyse and evaluate Non-Western concepts of crime, justice and punishment. 

3. To examine and critically evaluate justifications of punishment in order to identify a progressive position on punishment.

4. To examine the main features of penal systems.

5. To assess the usefulness of different theoretical frameworks in explaining the origins of crime, offenders engagement with crime and disorder, state responses and efforts towards crime control and development of penal systems over time.

6. To examine and evaluate changes in policing practices in relation to selected forms of criminal behaviour in the post-war years.

Addictions And Society

The unit is designed to provide you with an introduction to a range of (co)addictive behaviours, such as gambling, gaming, substance misuse, sex and pornography, food, medicines and pharmaceuticals, relationships, consumerism, among many other, analysing the similarities and the differences between them. Additionally, it will provide you with a foundation knowledge of a range of theoretical perspectives on addiction and addiction language. It aims to develop a contextual understanding of addictive behaviours, within a political, social, cultural and historical framework, crucial when engaging with service users and the human services in contemporary society.

Research 1: Collecting Data

The unit will equip you with the key skills to be an independent researcher in the social sciences. You will develop an understanding of qualitative and quantitative data, different methods of collecting data and sources of collected data. This unit builds on the Level 4 Introduction to Research and Social Inquiry, which introduced some methodological debates and social theories, which inform and underpin social investigation.

You will learn about the different methods of collecting data and the importance of choosing a suitable method for data collection in social research. These aspects will be covered during lectures and workshops where you will have the opportunity to practice this knowledge.

The skills you will acquire from this unit are transferable and will be a useful asset to have for another Level 5 research unit, Research: Exploring data.

This unit will prepare you for the final year independent project unit at Level 6 as it allows you to familiarise yourself with the different methods for collecting data using both qualitative and quantitative research approaches.


The unit will introduce students to the complex world of cyber-crime and issues related to cyber-technology and the transformation of crime in this information age. It aims to develop an understanding of different types of groups of cybercrime that are emerging as problematic i.e. cyber terrorism, cyberbullying, and cyber hate. It will permit students an opportunity to examine and conceptualise some of the key debates around crime, policy, human rights, crime prevention, security, and policing.

The module will work well alongside the other modules related to child protection, organised crime, crime and media, and terrorism where students will examine the rationale of cyber-crimes. It will explore, within a (grounded) criminological conceptual framework, theoretical understandings of crime in the information age. It will also develop the students’ knowledge of how cyber-crime emerges and provide the context by which students can develop a critical awareness and systematic understanding of this area within the criminal justice setting.

Research 2: Exploring Data

The unit will equip you with the key research skills for social scientists relating to data interpretation and analysis. You will learn about different ways of exploring and analysing both quantitative and qualitative data during the lectures and gain practical experience of carrying out data analysis during the workshops.

  Building on the level four unit ‘Introduction to Research and Social Inquiry’, you will also enhance your knowledge and understanding of the entire process of a research project and individual steps involved in conducting research. You will be encouraged to consider why and how we analyse data and how the stage of data analysis fits within the whole research process. This unit is designed also to help you understand the use of theory in research and gives the opportunity to be involved in the exercise of identifying appropriate theories that can be utilised when creating your own research project.

This unit will prepare you for the final year project unit at level six. You will have developed the skills and knowledge required for you to confidently take forward your research idea, develop your proposal, carry out your chosen research methodology and create a worthwhile, structured and academically sound final year project.

Power In Political Thought

A key aim of this unit is for students to explore the role of power in explaining and shaping our social world. Interdisciplinary in scope, the unit provides vital knowledge and a set of practical, analytical skills designed to help students investigate and address key social issues and dilemmas. Power shapes our daily life in manifold ways and there are many different ways of understanding power: economic, political, cultural, interpersonal, derived from gendered or racial categories and more. Building upon the Level 4 units Sociology of Modern Britain, Understanding Society, Identities and Structures and Modern Political Thought and Governance this unit will provide a link between theory and practice through the concept “power” and cover a whole range of topics, including political behaviour, public policy, the economy, social justice, identity, culture and gender. The central question the unit explores is: how does power and inequality shape our lives and the world we live in?


The relevance of the unit is its focus on providing a conceptual understanding of a key social science concept and explored how this has been and can be applied to practical analysis. In particular, students will be asked to think conceptually about a range of contemporary social issues and to consistently revise and re-evaluate highly relevant questions which affect their day-to-day lives. The unit will look in detail at issues which students care about, with an emphasis on social justice, poverty, austerity, and the politics of gender and race. In keeping with the international focus of their degree, students will be asked to think about these issues not only in their own societies, but all over the world, including in historical societies and the Global South. The unit aims to give students the tools to think critically about the forces which shape their world and to begin to question how it can be changed.

Childhoods In A Global Context

As practitioners we work with children and families from a range of social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. This unit will encourage you to critically reflect on the nature of experience and practice in the UK and internationally with a view to improving services for vulnerable children, young people and families. You will be introduced to a framework of Global Childhoods, locating aspects such as care, education, health, support and well-being  as constructed within particular social, political, economic and cultural contexts, and consider the different theoretical models and approaches through which this diversity can be examined.  The unit teaching will make clear links with underpinning research and theoretical knowledge, to the study of childhoods, through international research, policy and practice.  

This unit will encourage you to investigate and analyse a range of approaches, and reflect on the relevance and significance of these for your own future practice in the UK and/or internationally. Throughout the unit you will be actively encouraged to examine  diversity and inequalities in childhoods. You will also be encouraged to reflect on your own experience and knowledge of childhoods in connection with the global and local childhoods you have explored. 

Forensic Mental Health

The aim of this unit is to provide the theoretical, ethical, political and legal underpinnings of forensic mental health practice.  Further, this unit aims to develop students’ knowledge of the origins, development and future of forensic mental health practice and service provision.

The syllabus will engage with key questions such as what is forensic mental health? how is it underpinned by theoretical, ethical and political frameworks? Why is it important to understand how the legal system deals with the mentally disordered offender; how is forensic mental health practiced in the UK and globally and what role does the criminal justice system play in the field of forensic mental health.

This unit has been designed to develop and broaden knowledge of the diverse needs of the mentally disordered offender. You will gain an understanding of the principles of mental health legislation with specific attention paid to the utilisation of the law in the social justice and care of mentally ill individuals within the criminal justice system. 

This Unit seeks to equip you with an understanding of key comparative models and debates; therefore, a global comparison of other countries’ responses to the mentally ill offender is imperative and will provide you with opportunities to develop the skills of comparative analysis.

Crime And Media

The unit’s aim is to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the contested cultural meanings and central role played by the media in the construction of the crime problem. Crime occupies a principal place in public concerns. The unit explores how definitions of criminality are taken at face value.  Nonetheless, for the most part, public knowledge of crime and criminal justice is filtered through the media in all its forms. In the context of this unit, students will have the opportunity to examine the multifaceted relationship between the media, crime and culture. Print crime journalism, crime novels, movies and TV dramas will provide the primary empirical sources for the unit

Sass Change Maker Project Dissertation

This capstone experience provides students with an opportunity to join a community-based organisation and deliver a project that will encourage students to be reflexive about their role in social worlds relevant to their discipline.  They will develop skills through relevant partner training as well as project management, research and presentation skills which will make a positive impact to service users or the organisation/community more widely. In particular, the intention will be to create change and address inequality by responding to identified needs and promoting social justice.


By undertaking this unit you will have an opportunity to negotiate, plan, execute and evaluate your work, whilst monitoring your personal development against an agreed Personal Development Plan (PDP) in order to hone your employability skills. 


In order to complete this unit successfully, students will need to have presented a Project Proposal which receives approval as assessment 1 before the project is undertaken. Alongside this, the Student-Sponsor Agreement (including the agreed final method of assessment and evidencing a clear risk mitigation strategy) and the Personal Development plan are required at the end of the first 6 weeks. 

Terrorism In A Global Context

Sass Change Maker Research Dissertation

The aim of the unit is to consolidate and apply the knowledge gained from the previous years by demonstrating the ability to make sense of potentially complex and possibly contradictory findings and apply them to an area or issue related to your subject discipline. The Research Dissertation will allow you to examine contemporary social contexts and issues by applying subject-specific knowledge, theory and appropriate methodologies to the analysis of your chosen topic and consider how your work can contribute to the promotion of social justice. This requires the capability to inquire into complex issues systematically and critically and thus allows you to move from critical acceptance of knowledge to the critical constructor of that very knowledge and its broader application in society.

The Research Dissertation gives you an opportunity to develop a research proposal, consider the ethical implications of your project and to undertake an in-depth focused research enquiry relevant to your course and to your individual personal and professional interests and career intentions. It will take the form of either of the following: 

·       Primary research

·       Substantive literature review

·       Desktop research - secondary analysis project that addresses a proposition you wish to analyse in-depth

·       Content Analysis of policy documents, print media, social media, TV and/or film 

·       A Discourse Analysis 

The unit is additionally designed in part fulfilment of the University’s requirements for all award courses to provide opportunities for you to develop your personal development planning skills and evidence your abilities in independent learning. The predominant aim is to offer you the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to complete a sustained piece of individual research on an appropriate topic in ways that also enhance your personal and professional development skills and that can be relatable to your future employment. 

In order to complete this unit successfully, students will need to have presented a Research Proposal which receives approval as assessment 1, before any research commences.

You will undertake this project under supervision in order to maximise the opportunity to fulfil your potential in these areas.   

Green Criminology: Environmental Crime And Ecological Justice

This unit explores the wide range of challenges posed by environmental crime. This unit will introduce students to the study of environmental crime and critically evaluates perspectives on green criminology, and crimes against the environment. Taking a ‘Glocal’ approach, environmental crimes and exploitation would examined at community, national, and international level. It considers contemporary perspectives on green offending, the regulation of environmental problems, and global perspectives on green crimes, green criminality and the effectiveness of justice systems in resolving environmental problems. 

Additionally, key theoretical debates surrounding the legal notions of harms against the environment and the classification of non-humans as victims of crime an introduction to a range of approaches to policing different types of environmental crimes and the legal, financial and practical problems these present for governments and enforcement agencies.

Urban Crime

The advancement of liberal ideology expressed through popularised maxims such as neoliberalism, free market and capitalism, has exposed the lacuna between ideology and practice. The liberalization and deregulation of markets and its negative effects are more pronounced in the urban areas with issues such as social justice, inequality and exclusion dominating the debates. This unit aims to provide students with the critical understanding of the various complexities associated with urban areas as it pertains to crime, social harm and disorder. The unit will explore the various debates on urban criminology using broad analytical and theoretical frameworks, e.g. historical, political, economic, social and cultural. The unit will also cover themes such as urban management by state, local government, and the community, urban economics, disorder management, impact of   globalisation, urbanisation, victimisation, social structures and global crime management. There is a global element to this unit as examples will be drawn from across the world. 

Work And Welfare In The 21St Century

Why do we have to work? What is the relationship between the work we do and the social benefits we receive? Who is included in welfare systems and who is excluded? Why? How will work and welfare change in the 21st Century? 


These questions inform the key themes of this unit which explores the relationship between work, welfare and our daily lives. Covering all of the main areas of welfare: health and social care, education, housing and pensions, students are asked to think about the relationship between the (global) economy and their own lives. The unit draws together themes which students will be familiar with from Levels 4 and 5, especially welfare, migration and inequality, but asks students to think about these in new and different ways with a particular emphasis on identifying and explaining structural causes.

Human Rights And Global Governance

The aim of this module is to introduce students to what is an emerging field in sociology. Human rights within the disciplines of law, politics and philosophy are well-established. There is, however, far less on human rights explicitly in the field of sociology. This module examines the role for sociology in understanding human rights and the role of sociology within the inter-disciplinary field of human rights and human rights theory and practice.   The growing interest in the idea of human rights within sociology is a reflection of the increasing prominence of human rights in political discourse in recent years as well as the need for inter-disciplinarity to address global and local challenges within a human rights frame. Yet, the idea of human rights has a long pre-history, even if that pre-history is much debated within human rights scholarship as a continuous or discontinuous enterprise. 


This unit aims to develop students’ critical knowledge of the origins, development and future of the international human rights framework. It further aims to critically engage students in contemporary political and theoretical sociological knowledge, such as globalisation, citizenship, global capitalism, nationhood, statehood, borders and identities, post-colonialism, etc, to deepen their understanding of human rights abuses and solutions. The unit further engages with sociology to reflect on the relationship between human rights and social structures / processes, and in this respect whether human rights are the solution or the problem amidst global and local human suffering.  


Using thematic case studies, the unit will introduce students to some of the most pressing human rights issues of our time and students will be asked to reflect on the value of human rights, human rights institutions,  NGO networks and domestic constitutions and processes for the redress of abuses. 


Overall, the unit will encourage students to reflect on the complex identity of human rights and human rights practices and fields, and all their promises and problems. The unit will draw on current literature and research, teaching from people with first-hand experience of human rights violations and human rights redress and activism across different global contexts, and It will also draw from the international research that characterises the research institutes in the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences.  

Individuals And Society

The aim of this unit is to examine the particular perspective of sociology; how sociologists view the relationship between the individual and society. To do this we first need to establish what is meant by 'society' and how it affects and is affected by the construction of identity. This will help you to understand the relative influence of social, political, economic and cultural factors on the formation of social structures and social identities.

By studying this unit you will be able to understand the different social Issues, practices and institutions within society and the impact that they have on individuals. It will also build your knowledge and understanding of how sociologists explain, resolve and debate sociological issues within social practices and institutions.

Skills For Work And Personal Development

This unit will concentrate on the skills that develop your Graduate employment prospects, alongside developing the skills needed for success in the workplace. The unit offers you opportunities to learn these skills through a variety of workshop exercises that are linked to developing your employability and personal skills.

To achieve this you will build on and develop further your knowledge and understanding of the skills and abilities required for study at Higher Education and those required in the work place. You will draw upon the learning and development of essential academic skills learnt in the semester one unit Skills for Higher education. To demonstrate your skills development you will build a portfolio of evidence which will allow you to transition into level 4 with both the knowledge and evidence of those areas for improvement and those of success. 

The unit will help you to develop those soft employability skills and to begin to build your aspirations for graduate employment once you have completed your degree. It will help you to develop self-confidence and you will have the chance to work on practical skills that relate to the world of work.

Skills For Higher Education

Good study skills can increase your confidence, competence, and self-esteem. Study skills are skills all students use to study effectively, whatever their subject area. All students have them; it’s really about recognising them, developing them, refining them and using them more effectively.

This unit is designed to provide you with an array of practical skills in order to support your journey through the degree. 

The Unit aims to:

  • Support students in identifying what skills, attributes and experiences they are bringing to higher education and what skills are required when taking a social sciences degree 
  • It will introduce you to a range of practical skills that will enable you to produce a portfolio of work which will provide evidence of your skills development and preparations for level 4 study. 

Contemporary Society

This unit aims to highlight contemporary social issues which impact communities and the wider society.  A contemporary issue refers to an issue that is currently affecting people or places and that is unresolved.


The unit builds on the sociological theories learnt in semester one unit Individuals and Society. You will be studying topics that are current and topical and will gain a good grounding in identifying and understanding those issues that those in society. These issues will reflect both national and international social issues. This unit will provide a foundation of knowledge for those students doing social studies degrees at level 4.

How will you be assessed?

The diversity of assignments will enable students to practise and demonstrate their acquisition of knowledge skills and abilities. Assessment methods used across the course include: Written essay assignments - Oral presentations - Examinations - Viva Voce - Poster presentations - Application exercises - Reflective accounts Dissertation A range of formative assessments (ungraded) will take place to allow students to practice and receive feedback. At the end of the course success in the assessments will demonstrate the student's ability to analyse evaluate and synthesise knowledge and to communicate that knowledge in both written and oral presentational formats. They will be able to demonstrate sought after transferable critical skills by employers as evidenced in the course learning outcomes. The support mechanisms in place for students personal and academic developments are personal and academic tutors peer assisted leaders and the universitys student support services.


Because of the subject specialist knowledge and transferable skills gained you will be able to function effectively in any of the sectors indicated below:

Youth work Social work Early intervention Special needs education Teaching assistant Residential work Youth custody Migration/asylum support Third sector organisations Family support worker Learning mentor Youth Justice Residential work Policy advisor Probation service Victim support worker Research Substance Misuse Worker Teacher/Lecturer/Education Roles Equality and Diversity Officer Victim Care Officer MI5/ MI6 Counter terrorism Crown Prosecution Service Immigration centre Private security Human resources Local Govt Civil Service Private Sector Housing sector Advocacy and advice roles Forensic science Journalism Care delivery/management Prison Psychologist Customs and Border Roles Intelligence Analyst International Aid/Development Worker Legal Careers Counselling and Mental Health Roles etc.

Entry Requirements

96 UCAS tariff points including 80 from at least 3 A-levels or equivalent

Entry Requirements

48 UCAS tariff points including 32 from at least 1 A-level or equivalent

Fees for this course

UK 2024/25

The full-time standard undergraduate tuition fee for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £9,250 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees. You can also apply for a maintenance loan from the Government to help cover your living costs. See

Merit Scholarship

We offer a Merit Scholarship to UK students, worth £2,400* over three academic years, which is awarded to those who can demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, through scoring 120 UCAS tariff points or more.

Bedfordshire Bursary

If you aren’t eligible for the Merit Scholarship, this Bursary is there to help UK students with aspects of student living such as course costs. The Bursary will give you £1,000* over three academic years, or £1,300* if you are taking your course over four academic years (including those with a Foundation Year).

Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding please email


The full-time standard undergraduate tuition fee for the academic year 2024/25 is £15,500 per year.

There are range of Scholarships available to help support you through your studies with us.

A full list of scholarships can be found here.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email

Fees for this course

UK 2024/25

The full-time standard undergraduate tuition fee for the Academic Year 2024/25 is £9,250 per year. You can apply for a loan from the Government to help pay for your tuition fees. You can also apply for a maintenance loan from the Government to help cover your living costs. See

Merit Scholarship

We offer a Merit Scholarship to UK students, worth £2,400* over three academic years, which is awarded to those who can demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, through scoring 120 UCAS tariff points or more.

Bedfordshire Bursary

If you aren’t eligible for the Merit Scholarship, this Bursary is there to help UK students with aspects of student living such as course costs. The Bursary will give you £1,000* over three academic years, or £1,300* if you are taking your course over four academic years (including those with a Foundation Year).

Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding please email


The full-time standard undergraduate tuition fee for the academic year 2024/25 is £15,500 per year.

There are range of Scholarships available to help support you through your studies with us.

A full list of scholarships can be found here.

Alternatively if you have any questions around fees and funding, please email

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