module specification

SS4039 - Introduction to social problems (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Introduction to social problems
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
192 hours Guided independent study
108 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 10%   Short answer questions (500 words)
Coursework 40%   Literature review (1500 words)
Coursework 50%   Analysis of a social problem (2000 words)
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year (Spring and Summer) North Monday Morning
Year North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

- Analyse the social construction of a social problem

- Collate information on the location and scale of a social problem

- Reflect upon sociological interpretations of a particular social problem

- Outline policy responses to a particular social problem

Prior learning requirements



Week 1-3:  Introduction to social problems; competing explainations; common sense & social problems; the social construction of social problems LO1

Week 4-5:  Study Skills LO1

Weeks 6-10:  Migration; asylum seekers; multiculturalism and anti-racism LO2

Weeks 11/12:  Study Skills LO2

Weeks 13-17:  Work: Unemployment;The Future Labour Market LO2

Weeks 18/19:  Study Skills LO2

Weeks 20-25:  Social Exclusion, Poverty, Childhood Poverty, Homelessness, Poor Neighbourhoods LO3

Weeks 26/27:  Study Skills LO3 

Weeks 28-30:  Ideologies & social problems; revisting the construction of social problems; the institutionalisation of discourses, power & social problem LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The teaching and learning strategies are situated around the acquisition by students of analytical tools that can help them unpack social problems in the context of policy responses.  To do this teaching takes place along the lines of examining and evaluating social problems  in terms of relevant modes of explanation, research and policy analysis.  The module is delivered using a strategy of blended learning i.e. a mixture of traditional and online methods are used.  Basic content is typically delivered via lectures, but students are expected to read relevant material before and/or after the lecture which is available via Weblearn.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1      Identify areas and themes around the general terrain of social problems using appropriate sociological perspectives.

2      Use theoretical and empirical knowledge, in an appropriate way for analysis of the social problems that have been studied.

3     Discuss the key social problems associated with the restructuring of contemporary society

4     Discuss the policy implications of differing definitions and perspectives concerning social problems

Assessment strategy

  1. Reflective learning account (500 words), due in Week 4
  2. Literature review (1500 words), due Week 21
  3. Analysis of a social problem (2000 words), due in Week 28


Identify core and additional reading


Core reading


Isaacs S et al, (2015) Social Problems in the UK: An Introduction London: Routledge

Geddes, A. (2003) Politics of Migration...In Europe, London: Sage.

George, V. (2002) Globalization & Human Welfare, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

May, M., Page, R. & Brunsdon, E. (Eds) (2001) Understanding Social Problems: Issues in Social Policy, Oxford: Blackwell.

Modood, T. (2005) Multicultural Politics: Racism, Ethnicity and Muslims in Britain, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Pilkington, A. (2003) Racial Disadvantage & Ethnic Diversity in Britain, Basingstoke: Palgrave.

Additional reading

Reich, R. (2001) The Future of Success: Work and Life in the New Economy, London: Heinemann.

Ward, I. (2006) Shabina Begum and the Headscarf Girls, IN Journal of gender studies., 15(2), 119-131.