Contemporary Social Problems

Subject SOCI90004 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks. Repeat seminars will be scheduled, subject to enrolments.
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours





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:


Associate Professor Jens Zinn

Subject Overview:

This subject focues on social problems in a sociological perspective. The aim of the subject is to give students a good understanding of the social dimension of social problems as well as insights into the social construction and negotiation of social problems. 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.


On completion of this subject students should:

  • Have a knowledge of contemporary social problem;
  • Have an ability to use theoretical models to consider social processes at work in contemporary social problems;
  • Have 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. Regular participation in class is required.

Assessment that is submitted after the due date and up to 10 working days late without an approved extension will be marked on a pass/fail basis only. Assessment that is submitted later than 10 working days will not be accepted or marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Reading material will be made available online via the subject's LMS site.

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 Master of Social Policy.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Social Policy
150 point program - full time over 18 months
200 Point Master of Social Policy
200 point program - full time over 18 months
200 point program - full time over 24 months
Governance, Policy and Communication

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