UNIVERSITY OF KENT. Master of Arts in Political Sociology

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1 UNIVERSITY OF KENT Master of Arts in Political Sociology 1. Awarding Institution/Body University of Kent 2. Teaching Institution University of Kent at Canterbury 3. Teaching Site Canterbury 4. Programme accredited by: N/A 5. Final Award MA in Political Sociology 6. Programme Political Sociology 7. UCAS code (or other code) N/A 8. Relevant QAA subject Sociology and Politics benchmarking group/s 9. Date of production/revision 10. Applicable cohort/s 2003 onwards 11. Educational Aims of the Programme The programme aims to: 1. Provide students with an overview of political sociology and of theoretical and methodological debates about the character of political action and social and political order and the changing forms thereof 2. Develop students' capacities for the critical analysis of political action and social and political order 3. Introduce students to some of the principal methods of collecting and / or analysing data relevant to political sociological analysis 4. Provide students with opportunities to apply the perspectives of political sociological analysis to substantive problems of contemporary interest 12. Programme Outcomes The programme provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas. The programme outcomes have references to the subject benchmarking statement for Sociology and Politics. Teaching/learning and assessment methods and strategies used to enable outcomes to be achieved and demonstrated Knowledge and Understanding A. Knowledge and understanding of: 1. The historical development of political sociology and its relationship to both sociology and political science 2. Theories of collective behaviour, collective action, protest, and social and political movements 3. Theories of social and political order and social and political change 4. A variety of current and recent instances of contentious political action and emergent forms of political organisation 5. Methodological issues in political sociology 6. Methods of the collection and/ or analysis of data relevant to political sociological analysis Skills and Other Attributes B. Intellectual skills: 7. An ability to gather data and information from a variety of secondary and some primary sources 8. An ability to present reasoned arguments informed by the perspectives of political sociology The aims and objectives of this programme will be achieved through a combination of lectures and seminars in compulsory and elective modules. Students will be assessed through a combination of assessed coursework and a dissertation. The dissertation will provide students with an opportunity to design and carry out their own research project. Progress will be monitored through small group work and the Personal Academic Support System Assessed through coursework and dissertation 1

2 9. General research skills (including the option to take ESRC approved modules in social science research methods) 10. An ability to communicate opinions and ideas to a critical audience C. Subject-specific skills: 11. An ability to critically apply social science to the assessment and analysis of political sociological issues 12. An ability to explore the interrelationship between theory, method, and practice 13. An ability to critically evaluate the scientific significance and value of research data 14. Qualitative methods of data analysis: archival and documentary research, interpretation of texts, the use of electronic search materials appropriate for political sociological analysis 15. Quantitative methods of data analysis: introduction to measurement theory, analysis of official data and the processing and coding of sociological research data at the aggregate level D. Transferable skills: 16. Communication: communicate effectively and fluently in speech and writing (including where appropriate the use of IT); organise information clearly and coherently; use communication and information technology for the retrieval and presentation of information, including statistical or numerical information 17. Numeracy: make sense of statistical material; integrate numerical and nonnumerical information; understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information 18. Information technology: produce written documents; undertake online research; communicate using ; process information using databases 19. Working with others: define and review the work of others; work co-operatively on group tasks; understand how groups function; collaborate with others and contribute effectively to the achievement of common goals 20. Improve own learning: explore personal strengths and weaknesses; time management; review working environment (especially student-staff relationship); develop autonomy in learning; work independently, demonstrating initiative and self-organisation. Important research management skills include setting of appropriate timescales for different stages of the research with clear starting dates (through a dissertation); presentation of a clear statement of the purposes and expected results of the research; and developing appropriate means of investigating the use of time Teaching/Learning: All students receive initial guidance on how to identify, locate and use material available in the library. Comprehensive reading lists are provided for each module along with guidelines for the production of essays. Discussion of theoretical and conceptual issues are integrated into all modules. All students will be required to take either or both of modules in Research design and data collection and 'Using secondary and qualitative data' that form part of the ESRC-approved Faculty Research Training Programme Seminars and written submissions for modules and the dissertation are the principal means by which verbal and written transferable skills are developed. Although mastered in subject-specific contexts, many of the essential skills are of wide application Assessment. As above 2

3 21. Problem solving: identify and define problems; explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them 24. Personal career development: students are encouraged to proactively manage their own career progression and are supported in developing skills in researching and retrieving information on opportunities for internships and employment and continuing personal and career development 13. Programme structures and requirements, levels, modules, credits and awards The programme is offered on both a full-time and a part-time basis. Full-time students complete the programme in one year and part-time students normally in two years. The coursework component of the programme is divided into six of modules. Each module carries 20 credits. One credit corresponds to approximately 8-10 hours learning time. This includes all taught and supervised classes and all private study research. The programme is comprised of a total of 180 credits (120 credits from taught modules and a 60 credit dissertation). For a full-time student this year of study involves approximately 1800 hours of learning time. Each module is designated at Master s level (level M). Students will be required to take at least two of three core modules in political sociological analysis and at least one methods module, and will also be offered a range of optional modules from postgraduate programmes available in the Social Science Faculty. At its discretion the University allows for narrow failure in a small proportion of modules to be compensated by good performance in other modules or, in cases of documented illness or other mitigating circumstances, condoned. The structure of the programme and the modules that make it up, their levels, credits and the terms in which they are taught are shown below. Code Title Level Credits Term/s Year 1 Core Modules SO821 Social and Political Movements M 20 Michaelmas SA803 SO822 Politics and Sociology of the M 20 Michaelmas or Environment Lent Political Order and Social Change M 20 Lent Methods Modules S0816 Research Design and Data Analysis M 20 Michaelmas SO817 Using secondary and qualitative data M 20 Lent Optional Modules will be chosen by students from postgraduate programmes available within the social science faculty. Students will, in particular, be alerted to the options available to them from the MAs in Nationalism and Ethnicity, and those offered by the Department of Politics and International Relations. SO8 The Sociology of Violence M 20 Lent SE803 Nationalism, Ethnicity and Identity I M 20 Michaelmas SE804 Nationalism, Ethnicity and Identity II M 20 Lent SO8 Guided Study M 20 Michaelmas or Lent The Dissertation Dissertation M 60 3

4 15. Entry Profile 14. Support for Students and Their Learning Induction programme Handbook Library/skills package Library tours at the beginning of the academic year Generic library skills training Subject-specific library skills training sessions Training sessions on the use of online resources and data bases The subject library and the convenor of the programme can be consulted on an individual basis by telephone, or in person Student: staff ratio (approx. 8:1) Learning resources Long and short-term lending, access to online resources, interlibrary loans, video library Online book renewals and reservations More than1,300 study spaces in the library Students have access to 150 online full-text journals Online library resources available off-campus Academic support system Members of staff in SSPSSR provide advice on module choice and programme structure, academic difficulties, progression routes and individual progress Central support services Include a study centre, a medical centre, a Student s Union (including its Advice and Information service), a Careers Advisory Service, Counselling Service and Disability Support Unit Entry Route Students will be expected to have a good first degree (normally with first or upper second class honours) in a relevant subject. Holders of other qualifications, and/or with relevant work experience, will be considered individually in order to ensure that they are able to benefit from the programme. Students for whom English is their second language will be expected to show proof of adequate ability in spoken and written English. For fuller information, please refer to the University prospectus. What does this programme have to offer? an understanding of the theoretical problems of political sociological inquiry and their relationship to issues of contemporary interest familiarity with the procedures (quantitative and qualitative) used to investigate a range of substantive issues the opportunity to develop transferable employment-related skills through group work, presentations and the use of information technologies socialization into the research community through close working relationships between staff and students a capacity to undertake independent research. Personal Profile The candidate should have the ability and background to undertake an advanced course of study Candidates should be willing to work in groups and co-operate in group exercises Candidates should be willing to develop the skills required to study sociological and political problems in relation to risk analysis 16. Methods for evaluating and enhancing the quality and standards of teaching and learning Mechanisms for review and evaluation of teaching, learning, assessment, the curriculum and outcome standards Student evaluations Annual reports External examiners' reports Periodic programme review Annual staff appraisal QAA subject review Committees with responsibility for monitoring and evaluating quality and standards Staff/Student Consultative Committee of SSPSSR Departmental Learning and Teaching Committee of SSPSSR Faculty Learning and Teaching Committee 4

5 SSPSSR Learning and teaching Committee Research Quality Assurance Committee Board of Examiners Mechanisms for gaining student feedback on the quality of teaching and their learning experience Student evaluations Staff/Student Consultative Committee Student representation on other committees Staff development priorities include: PGCHE requirement Staff appraisal scheme Research-informed teaching Staff development courses Professional body requirements Programme team meetings Staff/student research seminars Conference attendance 17. Indicators of quality and standards There will be compliance with the University Code of Prac tice and Faculty Code of Practice in relation to quality assurance, quality enhancement and monitoring of student progress. Responsibility for the programme will be carried by the individual module convenors, by the programme convenor, and by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Head of SSPSSR The following reference points were used in creating these specifications: Subject Benchmarking statements for Sociology and Politics ESRC Postgraduate Training Guidelines University Plan/Learning and Teaching Strategy Departmental plan Report of the QAA Subject Review panel 5

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