Contemporary Social Problems

Subject SOCI90004 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks.
Total Time Commitment: 10
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Sociology at Undergraduate level
Non Allowed Subjects: 166-525 Contemporary Social Problems
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Assoc. Prof. Jens Zinn
Subject Overview:

This subject combines sociological with social policy perspectives on social problems. The aim of the subject is to give students a good understanding of the social dimension of social problems as well as insights into recent debates in social policy. A number of different approaches and ways to see social problems will be introduced to sharpen the awareness of the influence of specific worldviews of our selection, understanding and responses to social problems. On this basis a number of recent social problems and a shift in understanding and dealing with social problems will be discussed.

  • A knowledge of contemporary social problem.
  • An ability to use theoretical models to consider social processes at work in contemporary social problems.
  • An ability to critically consider the ways social policy constructs our understanding of contemporary social problems.

A literature review of 1000 words (30%) due mid-semester, and a research essay of 4000 words (70%) due during the examination period.

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to qualify to have their written work assessed. Students who fail to meet this hurdle requirement will be deemed ineligible to submit the final piece of assessment for this subject. Regular participation in class is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 2% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Bookshop.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • research skills, through the competent use of library and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research.
  • an understanding of the social, ethical and cultural contexts of research.
  • critical thinking and analysis skills, through recommended reading, essay writing, and seminar discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument.
  • skills in written and oral communication, time management and planning, and group work, through completion of course requirements.
  • the capacity to think in theoretical terms, through class requirements and engagement with theories and methods of the social sciences.
  • the capacity to think creatively, through course work and course discussion, and by critical analysis of competing arguments.

SOCI90004 Contemporary Social Problems is a compulsory subject in the 2nd 100 points of the 200 point program of the Master of Social Policy, and a compulsory subject in the 100 point program of the Master of Social Policy.

Related Course(s): Master of Social Policy
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 point program - full time over 18 months
200 point program - full time over 24 months
Governance, Policy and Communication

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