The Current Issues in Social Science

The details
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 27 June 2025
10 June 2024


Requisites for this module
CS316, GV831, SC390, SC830, SC831, SC832



Key module for

BA LP33 Media and Digital Culture,
BA LP33TO Media and Digital Culture,
BA LP34 Media and Digital Culture (including Placement Year),
BA P300 Media and Digital Culture (Including Foundation Year),
BA PL33 Media and Digital Culture (including Year Abroad),
BA LY10 Social Sciences,
BA LY11 Social Sciences (Including Placement Year),
BA LY12 Social Sciences (Including Year Abroad),
BA LY13 Social Sciences (Including Foundation Year)

Module description

This module gives students an opportunity to apply social science to address key issues facing society at the local, national and global level. For example, what is the impact of the war in Yemen or in Syria? What is the impact of Brexit? How does global warming affect us? What are the major challenges in the 21st century?

This module will tackle a different theme each term to better understand how Social Science can be used to understand the big issues.


Module aims

The aims of the module are:

  • to understand the contemporary theories of how key topics intersect with politics, sociology, psychosocial analytic studies, economics, marketing, business, and language and linguistics

  • to develop student’s ability to critically assess and discuss a variety of issues in different disciplines

  • to understand the effect that a variety of current issues have had on shaping behaviour and institutions

  • to adjudicate between competing theories or arguments, giving credit to perspectives other than their own

  • to improve students’ abilities to write objectively and persuasively

  • to improve general writing skills in a concise fashion

  • to learn how to gather data and analyse it in a concise fashion

  • to learn how to present information orally

  • to learn how to work in large teams


  • Engage students in their own employability and development

  • Enable students to develop a thorough understanding of the range of careers and their ability to access and utilize resources effectively

  • Engage students with the purpose of developing employable skills and understanding why these specific skills are essential

  • Develop student’s understanding of the recruitment process and what their ability is to influence this process

  • Develop students’ ability to articulate their personal brand, skills and attributes in a positive, confident and professional manner.

Transferrable skills:

  • Identifying, gathering, assessing and organizing evidence

  • Understanding the different disciplines use different approaches to understanding current events; Critically comparing alternative perspectives on current events

  • Working in groups with other students from a range of different disciplines; developing inter-personal skills, people management, and ability to coordinate with others and negotiate

  • Exercising judgement on the relevance and reliability of information

  • Verbal, written and online communication

  • Effective time management and organising tasks to meet deadlines

  • Technical skills in putting together online content

  • Complex problem solving and critical thinking

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students will be expected to be able to:

  1. Develop a detailed knowledge of the main theoretical and empirical concepts in social science1. To develop a detailed knowledge of the main theoretical and empirical concepts in social science

  2. Gain an in-depth understanding of how social science applies to the big issues facing our world and the main findings of social science 

  3. Develop a comprehensive knowledge of developments, issues and debates in social sciences and the sources of information for studying social science from an inter-disciplinary perspective

  4. Apply analysis and research to solve and explore common issues in social science

  5. Develop skills in teamwork and technical presentations

  6. Deliver successful planning and project implementation through strong organisational skills

  7. Develop understand how to undertake independent research, to learn important research techniques, writing and critical thinking.

  8. Critically engage with social science data, and understand how to gather/access sources of data in social science

Module information

Module topic list

Topics: The Environment

  • Week 2 Introduction

  • Week 3: Food waste and Food Security

  • Week 4: Environment and Natural Disasters

  • Week 5: Environmental Law

  • Week 6: Sustainable Consumption and Social Difference

  • Week 7: Environment and Disease

  • Week 8: Environment and Conflict

  • Week 9: Workshops

  • Week 10: Workshops

  • Week 11: Poster presentation and discussion

  • Topics: Diversity, Inequality and Injustice

    • Week 16: Government (Inequality, Injustice and Development)

    • Week 17: Economics (Economic Inequality)

    • Week 18: Linguistics (Linguistic Diversity

    • Week 19: PPS (Diversity of Touch and Human Interactions)

    • Week 20: Reading Week

    • Week 21: Linguistics (Decolonising language)

    • Week 22: Sociology/PPS (Protests and Injustice)

    • Week 23: Employability

    • Week 24: Presentations

    • Week 25: Presentations

Learning and teaching methods

Most modules in Sociology are divided into lectures of around 50 minutes and a class of around 50 minutes. Some are taught as a 2hr seminar, and others via a 50-minute lecture and 2-hr lab. Lectures, classes, labs and seminars will be taught face-to-face.

Please note that you should be spending up to eight hours per week undertaking your own private study (reading, preparing for classes or assignments, etc.) on each of your modules (e.g. 32 hours in total for four 30-credit modules).

The lectures provide an overview of the substantive debates around the topic of the week, while the classes will give you the opportunity to reflect on your learning and actively engage with your peers to develop your understanding further.

You are strongly encouraged to attend the classes as they provide an opportunity to talk with your class teacher and other students. The classes will be captured and available via Listen Again. However, if you want to gain the most you can from these classes it is very important that you attend and engage. Please note that the recording of classes is at the discretion of the teacher.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Creative group assignment     15% 
Coursework   Poster     5% 
Coursework   Blog    10% 
Coursework   Creative assignment individual contribution     20% 
Coursework   Log book & Final Reflection    30% 
Practical   Workshop    5% 
Practical   Individual contribution to poster & Workshop    15% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Prof Andrew Canessa, email:



External examiner

Dr Paul Gilbert
University of Sussex
Senior Lecturer in International Development
Available via Moodle
Of 471 hours, 8 (1.7%) hours available to students:
463 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information
Sociology and Criminology

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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