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Civil Society, NGO and Non-Profit Studies - PDip, MA

Course Description

The Civil Society, NGO and Non-profit Studies PDip/MA provides you with an advanced understanding of social science debates, theories and concepts relevant to organised civil society.

Strengthening the profile and capacity of civil society is now seen as a top priority by political commentators, social scientists and policy-makers all over the world. There has never been a greater need to develop a critical yet constructive understanding of the actions, behaviours and institutions that populate the space between states and markets, ranging from local voluntary associations to national social enterprises and transnational charities.

This programme draws deeply on the unique combination of scholarly and practical knowledge of the third sector, social movements and philanthropy situated in the School. You develop an in-depth understanding of the evolution of the meanings of civil society across time and space and the role its organisations and institutions play in political, social and economic life.

Teaching imparts country-specific as well as cross-national and transnational empirical and theoretical knowledge of the historical and contemporary challenges faced by these organisations.

You are also engaged in analysing how third sector organisations relate to ongoing social, political and economic transformations. In particular, your capacity to think sympathetically, but critically, about third sector contributions to policy through welfare systems and in other public policy arenas is developed.

Visit the website https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/113/civil-society-ngo-and-nonprofit-studies


The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year. Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. Current compulsory modules for this programme are: Design of Social Research; The Idea of Civil Society and Organised Civil Society and the Third Sector.

You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

SO833 - Design of Social research (20 credits)
SO838 - The Idea of Civil Society (20 credits)
SO876 - Organised Civil Society and the Third Sector (20 credits)
SO885 - Social Suffering (20 credits)
SO894 - The Family, Parenting Culture and Parenting Policy (20 credits)
SO938 - Governing Science, Technology and Society in the 21st Century (20 credits)
SO839 - Fundraising and Philanthropy (20 credits)
SO854 - The Sociology of Risk (20 credits)
SO867 - Foundations of Sociology (20 credits)
SO872 - Comparative Social Policy (20 credits)
SA803 - Politics and Sociology of the Environment (20 credits)
SO813 - Sociology of health, illness and medicine (20 credits)
SO823 - Social Change & Political Order (20 credits)
SO998 - Dissertation (60 credits)


Assessment is by coursework, plus the dissertation (for the award of the MA).

Programme aims

This programme aims to:

- provide you with an advanced understanding of social science debates, theories and concepts relevant to organised civil society (OCS), where the latter includes the ‘third sector’ of NGOs, social movements and other formations between the market and the state, and refers to the institutions and practices of philanthropy, altruism and reciprocity

- impart country-specific as well as cross-national and transnational empirical and theoretical knowledge of the current challenges and processes of transformation applying to this sphere of society, and the organisations within it

- develop your understanding of, and capacity to think critically about, the key policy contributions of, and roles fulfilled by, OCS as a significant policy actor in welfare and broader public service system functioning and development

- develop your skills in research design and data collection in areas relevant to, or forming part of OCS

- familiarise you with using primary and secondary data to develop cutting-edge research in the field of OCS studies.


Building on Kent’s success as the region’s leading institution for student employability, we place considerable emphasis on you gaining specialist knowledge in your chosen subject alongside core transferable skills. We ensure that you develop the skills and competences that employers are looking for including: research and analysis; policy development and interpretation; independent thought; writing and presentation, as well as time management and leadership skills. You also become fully involved in the professional research culture of the School. A postgraduate degree in the area of social and public policy is a particularly flexible and valuable qualification that can lead to many exciting opportunities and professions.

Our graduates obtain a range of transferable skills and report high levels of being in employment or further study within six months of graduation across all of our degree programmes.

Recent graduates have pursued careers in academia, journalism, local and central government, charities and NGOs. Our Social Policy related programmes are ranked sixth in the UK for career prospects (2015 Complete University Guide).

Find out how to apply here - https://www.kent.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/apply/

Visit the Civil Society, NGO and Non-Profit Studies - PDip, MA page on the University of Kent website for more details!

Student Profiles

Taught Postgraduate Scholarships - 20+ Awards

The school will award £500 to all First Class honours degrees (or their non-UK equivalents) and to very good upper 2.1 (i.e., 68%+), and is subject to academic transcript, references and personal statement. All applicants, who have accepted a place on one of the following programmes, will be automatically considered for a scholarship. There is no need to make a separate application.•MA Civil Society, NGO and Non-Profit Studies
•MA Criminology
•MA Criminology with a semester abroad
•MA International Social Policy
•MA Methods of Social Research
•MA Political Sociology
•MA Sociology
•MSc Environmental Social ScienceThis award of £500 is in addition to the Kent £1000 loyalty discount available to those who have finished their undergraduate studies in the previous academic year and who are going straight into postgraduate study at the University of Kent.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Home, EU and International fee paying students with First Class honours degrees (or their non-UK equivalents) and to very good upper 2.1 (i.e., 68%+) are all eligible.

Application Procedure

While there is no formal closing date, we recommend you apply for your chosen course as soon as possible, before the end of July 2016.Awards are subject to academic transcript, references and personal statement. If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

Further Information



The Templeman Scholarship - No. of awards TBC

This scholarship covers the tuition fees for one year of a full-time taught postgraduate programme at the University of Kent.

Value of Scholarship(s)

Full-time taught postgraduation tuition fees for one year


•Applicants must be University of Kent Graduates.
•Applicants must already hold, or be expected to achieve, a first class honours degree from the University of Kent.
•Applicants must have received, and accepted an offer for a full-time taught postgraduate degree (any subject) at the University of Kent for 2016-17.
•Full-time UK (home), EU and overseas fee paying students are invited to apply.

Application Procedure

Email the Scholarships Unit ([email protected]) with the following:•Subject line: Templeman Scholarship
•Include in the email: ◦ full name
◦student application number or current student ID number
◦previous University of Kent undergraduate student ID number
•Attach a covering letter addressing "Why I wish to pursue my chosen postgraduate degree at Kent".

Further Information



Graduate School Scholarships - No. of awards TBC

The University of Kent offers a broad variety of postgraduate study and research opportunities across a range of superb locations in Canterbury, Medway, Brussels and Paris. Our postgraduates benefit from teaching and supervision by world-leading researchers and have access to excellent facilities and training opportunities. The Graduate School Scholarship Scheme was established in 2009 to celebrate the founding of the University's Graduate School, which is responsible for the strategic development of graduate education and research within the University. The scholarship provides a £1,000 reduction (£500 per annum for part-time students, for 2 years) in tuition fees to University of Kent 2015 graduates who earn a Bachelors degree with honours (or undergraduate Masters degree) and register for a postgraduate degree at Kent by 1 October 2015.Candidates can hold the Graduate School Scholarship in conjunction with other awards except where these awards offer full fees and a Research Council UK equivalent maintenance grant. The Graduate School Scholarship cannot be held in conjunction with the University's loyalty discount.

Value of Scholarship(s)

£1000 towards tuition fees


Exclusively for 2015 Kent graduates who are registered at Kent by 1 October 2015 for a self-funded postgraduate degree programme.

Application Procedure

There is no need to make a separate application. The tuition fee reduction will be provided to all eligible 2014 graduates on registration.

Further Information



Music Scholarships - 15 Awards

The University of Kent recognises the role that music and culture plays in the development of the individual and the benefits cultural activities bring to the wider University community. It offers Music Performance Scholarships of up to £5,000 each year to talented instrumentalists and singers studying for any degree. The scholarship is intended to encourage excellence and development in music performance, and includes instrumental/vocal tuition with experienced teachers. Around fifteen scholarships are awarded to new applicants each year. In return, recipients are expected to make a major contribution to the musical life of the University. Scholarships will normally be allocated only to those students whose musical interests and talents can be supported within the University community.

Value of Scholarship(s)



Music Scholarships/Awards are intended to recognise and encourage excellence. Applicants would usually be expected to demonstrate some or all of the following criteria when submitting their written application:•an advanced ABRSM grade (or equivalent, including RockSchool, Trinity or other international musical qualifications)
•a significant musical profile whilst in school / college / university or the local community
•appropriate performing experience at county or national level / conservatoire, e.g. youth choir, county orchestra, wind band, jazz or big band
•experience in giving public performances, e.g. gigs or solo recitals, major role in musical theatre productions

Application Procedure

There is no deadline prior to the start of the academic year, but early application for is advisable. If you would like to discuss the Music Scholarship/Award Schemes prior to your application, contact Susan Wanless, Director of University Music, Tel 01227 823305.

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A 2.1 or higher university degree in a social science or related discipline. For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages (View Website).

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