Department profile

School of Social Sciences

Bangor University
2016/17 edition

About School of Social Sciences

Established in 1966, the School of Social Sciences is a thriving centre for teaching and research in the fields of criminology and criminal justice, social policy, social work, sociology and health and social care.

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We have a reputation for research of national and international excellence, and the products of this research are continually fed into our courses. Many publications and articles by staff have international reputation in particular fields. Academic staff also supervise MA, MPhil and PhD students in their own specialist areas. This means that students will be taught by tutors who are actively researching and publishing in the areas that they will study.

All of our postgraduate programmes offer a thorough training in the basic principles of social science, a wide choice of specialised subjects, training in the practice of social research and preparation for a wide variety of career opportunities.

We run a bursary scheme for MA and PhD students.

Strengths and expertise

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014), research conducted by staff within the School of Social Sciences was ranked within the UK top 20.

Research within the School has four main themes:

  • Health, Social Care, Welfare and Wellbeing;
  • Communities, Cultures, Language and Identities;
  • Crime, Criminal Justice and Society;
  • Cross cutting theoretical and methodological interests.

These have provided the platform for more focussed, collaborative activity based around the School’s research centres:

  • WKRU (Wales Kidney Research Unit)
  • National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing Research (NCPHWR), an all Wales Research Centre
  • Centre for Mental Health and Society (CFMHAS)
  • Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)

Academic areas

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A portfolio of Masters programmes is offered, reflecting the School's expertise and commitment to high level postgraduate teaching. These include a range of MA degrees, focussing in particular on comparative criminology and criminal justice; sociology; language policy and planning; social policy; criminology with law, and social work.

The Masters by Research, MPhil and PhD are higher degrees awarded on successful completion of advanced training and research leading to a thesis. The aim of a research degree is to provide broadly-based social science training, as well as specific training in specialised subject areas that are relevant to the research project. Overall, the training provides the context and the skills for the student to undertake an original investigation, culminating in the preparation of a thesis which represents an independent and original contribution to knowledge.

Career Prospects

A postgraduate qualification in Social Sciences prepares graduates for careers within sectors as varied as criminal justice, law enforcement, policy making and development, youth services, drug treatment centres, social policy and government agencies. Those pursuing the MA Social Work will find themselves equipped to work in a wide range of health or social care settings including hospitals, community development projects and non-statutory organisations (perhaps supporting refugees and asylum seekers, or working with young parents in need of support). Experienced social workers will be able to quickly progress into management and training in the care professions.

Masters graduates may also progress to research posts which may inform future policy, and to academic careers at universities.

Links with industry / work placements

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The School of Social Sciences is a member of WISERD (Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods), a collaborative venture between the Universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff, Glamorgan and Swansea. WISERD's mission is to strengthen social science capacity across Wales through co-operation, joint projects and associated links with centres across the UK and beyond. It brings together social scientists from across Wales who work together to develop a more detailed picture of the people of Wales through the collection, analysis and dissemination of data in areas from economic activity and growth to education, community participation, health and social care.

The School's industry links are a key element of the delivery of the MA Social Work, which is run in partnership with the local authorities of Gwynedd, Anglesey and Conwy. The partner local authorities contribute to teaching and assessment and also provide work placements as part of the programme.

Contact details

Contact name
School of Social Sciences
+44 (0) 1248 382 085
Bangor University
LL57 2DG
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