The MA in Gender, Culture and Society draws on sociology, feminism, cultural studies, gay and lesbian studies, history, social policy and development studies. It offers a thorough knowledge of major debates in the sociology of gender, specialist knowledge of selected option areas, and advanced analytical and research skills.
Modules and Options
The lists of modules below represent the range of options available for each year of study. This may not be a complete list of the options you will study, and may be subject to change, so please contact the department for further details.
COLONIALISM, CULTURE AND GLOBALIZATION
CONTEMPORARY DEBATES IN SOCIOLOGY
CONVERSATION ANALYSIS AND THE DYNAMICS OF REAL-TIME SOCIAL INTERACTION
Core: DYNAMICS OF HOME AND WORK IN GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE
Core: GENDER DIVISIONS AND FEMINIST THEORY
Core: MA DISSERTATION
Core: SOCIOLOGICAL RESEARCH DESIGN
CULTURAL STUDIES: THEORY AND HISTORY
CURRENT CONTROVERSIES IN CRIMINOLOGICAL RESEARCH
FORMATIVE DEBATES IN CRIMINOLOGY
GAY, LESBIAN AND QUEER LIFE: GENDER, SEXUALITIES AND CHANGE
GAY, LESBIAN AND QUEER LIFE: HISTORY AND VISUAL CULTURE
GENDER, JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT
GLOBALIZATION, INTERNATIONAL MIGRATION AND ETHNICITY
INTERVIEWING AND QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS
QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS FROM UNIVARIATE TO MULTIVARIATE METHODS
SOCIAL MOVEMENTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
SOCIETY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: THE GLOBAL CHALLENGE
SOCIOLOGY OF DEVELOPMENT IN THE AGE OF GLOBALISATION
SOCIOLOGY OF HUMAN RIGHTS 1
SOCIOLOGY OF HUMAN RIGHTS 2: SELECTED SPECIAL TOPICS
TEXTS, DOCUMENTS AND ETHNOGRAPHY
THE CONTEMPORARY NATION STATE
THE DYNAMICS OF GLOBALISATION
THE USE OF CULTURE: KNOWLEDGE, POWER AND DIFFERENCE
Teaching and Assessment Methods
A: Knowledge and Understanding
A1 : An advanced knowledge of the ways in which gender is constituted in contemporary society as a major social division in relation to other social divisions, such as class, 'race', ethnicity, sexuality
A2 : Advanced knowledge of current sociological debates and issues concerning gender in contemporary cultures and societies
A3 : Advanced knowledge of differing theories on gender within the field, including feminist theory
A4 : An advanced understanding of the relationship between theoretical concepts and empirical research
A5 : An advanced comprehension of basic principles of research design and strategy and the ethical and political dimensions of research
A6 : An advanced understanding of the differing epistemological foundations of research and the necessity of reflexivity in research design and execution
A7 : In depth knowledge of a chosen field through independent and original research
A8 : An advanced appreciation of the centrality of research questions and hypotheses in structuring sociological enquiry
The scheme is designed to provide an understanding of contemporary theories concerning gender, and methodological approaches to research in the field, delivered respectively across the two core modules. All students on the programme also have to carry out independent work for a research project for their MA dissertation, for which they receive individual supervision. The compulsory modules SC552 and SC551 are designed to provide students with the knowledge and understanding outlined in A1 to A4. The compulsory module SC905 provides the outcomes A5 and A6, while the compulsory dissertation is designed to synthesize all these abilities and specifically tests that required of A7. SC552 and SC551 use two hour, lectures/seminar classes to present ideas, data and arguments in a clear and structured manner, mapping the field of feminist scholarship and debates on gender. Classes provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the modules. In addition, student learning takes place through the work they do preparing for their presentation and essay/s. The scheme aims to develop students' knowledge and awareness of the concepts and theories that inform contemporary understanding and analysis of gender and gender divisions, in both western and more global societies. These theories are elaborated through case studies, presented by both the tutor and the students. The substantive case studies enable students to develop their own interests in gender. The issues and arguments covered in lectures are explored further in seminar discussion and through the designation of key readings each week, which students are required to read prior to class. SC905 is designed to develop student's advanced understanding of epistemological traditions and the process and logic of research design, and provide them with the capabilities to develop their own research project through the dissertation. The dissertation provides students with the opportunity to develop all seven competencies through the production of a piece of independent research.
Outcomes A1 to A7 are assessed through coursework. Coursework includes oral presentations and assignments (SC905) as well as essays. In addition, the assessed work for all MA students includes a dissertation, which specifically assesses outcome A8.
B: Intellectual/Cognitive Skills
B1 : An advanced ability to search, summarise, and critically review literature on gender
B2 : An ability to identify, analyse and compare the strengths and weaknesses of competing theories and concepts in the field of gender studies
B3 : An ability to interpret and synthesise evidence from a range of sources
B4 : An ability to construct an original analytical argument
B5 : An abillity to formulate a researchable sociological question
B6 : An ability to design and conduct a feasible small-scale research project
Students develop the above intellectual skills primarily through their assessed work for modules, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example. Preparation for classes, class presentations and assignments in SC552 and SC551 involves the reading, interpretation and evaluation of sociological texts in the field and the understanding and analysis of theoretical and empirical data. Class tutors provide feedback on all student work through comment and discussion. In addition, tutors are also available to see students outside the classroom during office hours, appointments, and increasingly more often by email. The preparation of essays and other assignments develops students' abilities in the listed intellectual and skills independently. Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development. The dissertation enables students to master a particular sociological question, as well as developing their understanding and skills in how to conduct an independent research project.Additionally, MA students, along with PhD students and staff, are encouraged to attend the two-day annual residential Graduate Conference, which is held in February off-campus. Addressing a different topical theme each year, it provides a stimulating forum for intellectual debate and discussion.
Outcomes B1 through B4 are judged and evaluated by essays in the substantive modules. B5 and B6 are evaluated in SC905 through both practical skills based assignments and essays. All six outcomes will be assessed once more in the MA dissertation. Demonstration of advanced intellectual skills is a key criterion in awarding distinctions for essays and dissertations.
C: Practical Skills
C1 : An advancd ability to identify and retrieve relevant sociological literature on gender and gender theory using library and online services
C2 : A practical ability to summarise and evaluate sociological arguments concerning gender
C3 : A comprehensive understanding of the principles of research design, and an understanding of the merits of different methods
C4 : An ability to define a specific research question and write an advanced sociological research proposal
C5 : An ability to choose and apply an appropriate method of research to a particular research topic
C6 : A capcity for self-direction in the planning, management, co-ordination and presentation of an independent, small-scale sociological research project, making judgements about the best use of time and data
Throughout the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and presentations. Specifically, outcomes C1 and C2 are developed in SC552 and SC551 through preparation for the presentation and essays. The remaining outcomes are developed in SC905 and the dissertation. The dissertation also provides the opportunity for students to synthesize all seven practical skills within the remit of one final, independent piece of research. Throughout their preparation of coursework, students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations. Students who have a particular interest in extending or deepening their practical sociological skills may do so by choosing from a range of further methods modules (such as SC504, SC523, SC520, SC620) when deciding on their optional modules.
Skills C1 and C2 are specifically assessed in two SC905 assignments, but also form part of almost every piece of assessed course work. While all the modules assess an understanding of C3 through C6, the full range of these skills is assessed in the marking of the MA dissertation.
D: Key Skills
D1 : An advanced ability in presenting ideas and evidence to others orally, in a clear and concise manner and an advanced ability to present ideas and evidence to others in writing, in a clear and concise manner
D2 : An advanced ability to collect and present materials using information technology
D4 : A good self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems
D6 : An essential understanding of how to plan, set appropriate time schedules and assess the feasibility of projects; a keen awareness of the need to reflect on their own work and to respond constructively to the comments of others
Key skills are taught and learned throughout the scheme through a range of strategies, such as requiring students to give oral presentations, through giving them specific assignments such as carrying bibliographic and web searches, through specific writing assignments and essays, and through class discussion and class and essay preparation. Issues of dissemination are discussed in SC905. Students learn to manage their own research projects through the support and advice of supervisors. They are given feedback on all their coursework and on their dissertation research and are encouraged to reflect on their own work and improve on it. Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in the classes for every module.
Key skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed modulework. Oral communication skills (D1) and IT skills (D3) are specifically assessed on SC905, and written skills (D2) and constructive response (D6) by most by modulework and the dissertation. The MA dissertation is an overall assessment of communication, research management, and problem solving skills.