B.A. (Honours) in Social, Political & Community Studies

Code: PC405

Level: 8

Credits: 240 ECTS

Points: 300-425

Duration: 4 years

Overview

 

B.A. (Honours) in Social, Political and Community Studies

This programme was renamed in July 2018 to better reflect the content.

The B.A. (Honours) in Social, Political and Community Studies is a 4 Year Level 8 Programme designed to engage learners in exploring sociological and political issues, human rights, equality and social change at a local, national and international level.

The programme provides students with the relevant knowledge, skills and competencies to engage in professional work in the community and non-profit sectors, as well as further postgraduate study, if desired.

 

A broad-ranging and exciting programme

Through a comprehensive exploration of political and sociological theory, the programme aims to deepen the student’s awareness of political, social, ethical and environmental issues.

The course includes practical projects, working with different communities, learning skills in community arts and social media, project planning and management, research and critical analysis, reflective practice, strategic thinking, problem solving, mediation and facilitation.

 

What can you expect to learn?

The programme is particularly strong in relation to the opportunities for developing knowledge and skills through working on practical student-led projects with communities and the internship which gives students the opportunity to gain practical experience in an area of work that is of interest to them.

 

Where can you expect to go?

Graduates of this programme find employment in in the broad field of community, voluntary and non-profit work, including rural and urban community development, social justice, advocacy, equality and rights-based approaches, health and well-being, environmental and ecological, community and development education and overseas development.

Community Engagement within the Programme

Structure

Social, Political, Community & Praxis

Social
Introduction to Sociology

Political
Contemporary Society

Community
Introduction to Political Ideology

Praxis
Irish Government and Politics

General Ethics: Guiding rules

General Ethics: The Good Life

Citizenship and Civil Society

Community Concepts

Approaches to working with communities

Communication and Personal Development

Academic and Digital Skills

Group Dynamics and Facilitation

Social, Political, Community & Praxis

Social
Irish Social Policy

Political
Social Psychology

Community
Economic and Social Analysis

Praxis
Equality and Diversity Legal Studies 1

Human rights: A Philosophical Approach Advocacy

Community Psychology

Community Arts: Theory and Practice

Advocacy Skills in Practice

Social, Political, Community & Praxis

Social
Media and Communications 1

Political
International Development: From Colonialism to Development

Community
Political Philosophy and Secular Belief systems

Praxis
Political Philosophy: From Enlightenment to Communitarianism

International Peace and Conflict studies

International Legal studies (elective)

Youth and Community (elective)

Leadership and Management: Theory (and Practice)

Internship

Social, Political, Community & Praxis

Social
International Development: From Development to Globalisation

Political
Social movements, Activism and Social Change

Community
Media and Communications 2 (elective)

Praxis
Religion, Conflict and Peace

Mediation, Negotiation and Peacebuilding

Sustainability and Community Resilience

Community Mental health and Well-being (elective)

Dissertation and Seminar

Project Management and Evaluation

Creativity and Social Media

Module Information

Year 1

Semester 1

Academic and Digital Skills

This module aims to introduce learners to the expectations and conventions of a higher education learning environment and to enhance their personal effectiveness as learners. Through the development of key academic and digital skills, an independent and reflective approach to learning is encouraged which will enable the learner to confidently manage their academic coursework at degree level.

100% Continuous Assessment

Communication and People Skills

This module is designed to support the learner to develop an understanding of communication (in its various modes), active listening, self and other, in order to develop required skills and competencies.

100% Continuous Assessment

General Ethics: Guiding Rules

This module introduces learners to fundamental moral theories that underpin western political theory and concepts of the self. It presents learners with the principles and arguments that underpin these theories and introduces them to the skills of analysis and theoretical critique.

30% Continuous Assessment
70% Exam

Community Concepts

The module examines the concept of community and introduces theories of community from sociological and political perspectives. The changing nature of community in Ireland is explored from historical and contemporary positions. The module will also consider different models of communities (individualistic, collaborative, identity, virtual) and their relevance to mainstream society.

40% Continuous Assessment
60% Exam

Introduction to Political Ideology

This module introduces learners to the theoretical basis of political ideologies. It explores connections between political ideology, policy and service provision and in doing so aims to enhance learners' sense of citizenship and develop their understanding of the structure and function of politics in Ireland.

30% Continuous Assessment
70% Exam

Introduction to Sociology

By studying sociology, learners gain an insight into why social problems exist, and can make sense of them. Sociology offers some important social theories which provide explanations and critiques of human behaviour, social actions and interactions, as well as the institutions and structures of society. This encourages active citizenship.

30% Continuous Assessment
70% Exam

Semester 2

Group Dynamics and Facilitation

An understanding of and capacity to facilitate group work is important for the working with communities and groups in a professional context. This module is intended to introduce learners to the skills and knowledge needed for group work.

100% Continuous Assessment

Citizenship and Civil Society

The module develops the capacity of the learner to think critically and analytically in relation to the evolving nature of citizenship and how citizenship, civil society, citizenship education, democracy, participation, inclusion and community are interlinked.

100% Continuous Assessment

General Ethics: The Good Life

This module introduces learners to fundamental moral theories that underpin western political theory and concepts of the well lived human life. It presents learners with the principles and arguments of these theories and develops skills of analysis and theoretical critique.

100% Continuous Assessment

Approaches to working with Communities

This module provides an introduction to social, political and educational models and processes relevant to working with communities, including associated practices and underlying principles. This is a foundational module supporting learners to develop their knowledge and understanding of the practical application of approaches to working with communities in Ireland.

100% Continuous Assessment

Irish Government and Politics

This module examines the Public Administration system in Ireland. It explores connections between political ideology, policy and service provision and in doing so aims to enhance learners' sense of citizenship and develop their understanding of the structure and function of politics in Ireland.

100% Continuous Assessment

Sociology and contemporary Society

Introduction to Sociology 2 builds on the macro level of sociology taught in the previous semester by examining the more micro level sociological areas such as social institutions, social stratification, social change and the environment. Learners should develop an understanding of how society is structured through key social institutions, and how issues such as power, justice and inequality impact on social relations.

40% Continuous Assessment
60% Exam

Year 2

Semester 1

Community Arts: Theory and Practice

Community Arts are a key element of community development and an important mechanism for developing community self-advocacy and awareness raising on issues of concern.
This module aims to explore the community arts from a theoretical perspective in the first semester and in the second semester the theory gained in semester one is put into practice through placements with community groups.

40% Continuous Assessment
60% Supervised Project

Introduction to Economic and Social Analysis

This module aims to introduce learners to the key concepts and theories of economics and economic development. The module will also explore the potential impact of specific economic policies on social and community development.

30% Continuous Assessment
70% Exam

Equality and Diversity

As learners preparing to work with socially excluded individuals and communities, learners will become aware of the power differentials and power structures which exist in society. One of the underlying principles of the module is that knowledge and exposure to the 'lived experience' of peoples' situations promotes a richer understanding of complex issues.

100% Continuous Assessment

Introduction to Advocacy

The module aims to introduce learners to the principles and practice of advocacy in community, voluntary and non-profit work. The module will identify the principles and ethics of advocacy and explore their practical application. The set of skills required for advocacy work will be a key focus.

100% Continuous Assessment

Community Psychology

The learner will be introduced to community psychology. Following an overview of the historical roots of this subject, learners are introduced to a wide range of topics such as social movements within community psychology, social change and action research, stress and resilience within community psychology, the perception of declining resources, and citizen participation and prevention.

100% Continuous Assessment

Semester 2

Legal Studies Advocacy Skills in Practice

Building on the 'Introduction to Advocacy' module in semester 1, this module will move closer to increasing skills in defending the rights of individuals. It will work on enhancing advocacy skills among the participants in the module thus ensuring that groups and individuals who face discrimination and a denial of their rights will potentially receive full impartial advice, information and assistance within a framework of professionalism and social justice.

100% Continuous Assessment

Social Psychology

The rationale of this module is to present the learner with an overview of the key themes and perspectives in social psychology. The learner will be introduced to social psychology. Following an overview of the historical roots of this subject, learners are introduced to a wide range of topics such as social influence, aggression, self and identity, attitudes, prejudice, and social cognition.

30% Continuous Assessment
70% Exam

Human Rights: A Philosophical Approach

This module introduces learners to the principles, concepts and problems of Human Rights theory. It develops skills of analysis, critical reflection and the ability to formulate independent arguments through close reading of primary texts and analysis of Human Rights' dilemmas.

100% Continuous Assessment

Irish Social Policy

The aim of this module is to introduce learners to key social policy concepts and issues and to examine the main areas of social policy delivery in Ireland.

40% Continuous Assessment
60% Exam

Year 3

Semester 1

International Development: From Colonialism to Development

The module provides a historical framework to locate international relations and geo-political relationships which has relevance in our contemporary world. This module supports learners to make connections between conceptual arguments in the broad field of international development and the more localised practices and ideological basis of community development.

100% Continuous Assessment

Media and Communications 1

This module supports learners to develop an understanding of communication offering an introduction to the dynamics of interpersonal communication to examining intercultural communication within the context of a globalized and networked world. The module offers learners a comprehensive analysis of how human experience is mediated in the 21st century.

100% Continuous Assessment

International Peace and Conflict Studies

The module introduces learners to the study and analysis of conflict and peace and the process of conflict resolution. The module aims to examine the nature and characteristics of conflict and peace in the international context; incorporating theoretical analysis of the causes and dynamics of conflict, supported by reference to empirical examples.

40% Continuous Assessment
60% Exam

Political Philosophy and Secular Belief Systems

This module introduces learners to the history and concepts of political theory as it has developed in the Western tradition. It focuses on the changing ideas of the appropriate relationship between individual and the political entity. It develops the learners' awareness of the historical situatedness of political concepts and their critical ability to understand abstract theory and texts.

100% Continuous Assessment

Leadership and Management: Theory and Practice

This module develops knowledge of theory, practice and principles for effective organisational management and leadership. For new graduates, entering the professional workplace can be demanding at both a practice and organisational level. This module offers learners the opportunity to develop an understanding of how organisations work and how management and leadership impacts on the workplace.

100% Continuous Assessment

Research Methods

This module prepares learners to think in terms of evidence-based practice by involving them in relevant, contemporary approaches to research, and by providing them with the tools to evaluate their own practice. Research is useful in determining the needs of an individual, group or community, and also contributes greatly to overall best-practice.

100% Continuous Assessment

Semester 2

Internship

The module aims to develop the learner's professional practice in a community/non-profit placement context. The module aims to support learners to develop their knowledge, skills and competencies through the practical application of principles and practices / methods through extensive observation and engagement in the field of community/voluntary/NGO work. Staff mentorship, feedback, collaboration, team-work and problem solving skills will be a feature of this module.

100% Continuous Assessment

Political Philosophy 2: From Enlightenment to Communitarianism

The key focus of the module is to trace the development of European political philosophy from the defining period of Social Contract theory and the various communitarian responses to it from Hegel to contemporary autonomous Marxism. The central theme is the articulation of philosophical thought between the various strains of organicism and of atomistic individualism.

100% Continuous Assessment

Community Mental Health and Well-being (elective)

The Health Promotion Strategic Framework (HSE, 2012) acknowledges the community as one of the key settings for promoting positive mental health and well-being. Awareness of mental health challenges is increasing in communities across Ireland evidenced by media campaigns and a mental health strategy. It is imperative as learners preparing to work with communities they have an awareness of the challenges and also be aware of the tools, strategies and supports available to vulnerable communities.

100% Continuous Assessment

International Legal Studies (elective)

Media and Communications 2 (elective)

The module provides a learning environment to critically examine and engage with communication models in the mass media of the 21st century. Engaging with major concepts and theories of this changed media environment learners will explore how production, distribution and consumption of mediated communication operates.

100% Continuous Assessment

Youth and Community Studies (elective)

The aim of this module is to provide the learner with the theoretical and practical skills required to guide the practice of Youth and Community work. This in turn will enable them to become reflective, efficient and competent practitioners.

100% Continuous Assessment

Year 4

Semester 1

Sustainability and Community Resilience

The study of sustainability and community resilience are key themes in sustainable and effective development. Knowledge and expertise of resilience and sustainability in communities is an important focus for our contemporary world.

100% Continuous Assessment

Dissertation and Seminar

The aim of this module is to give learners the experience of completing a research dissertation and to guide and support them at each stage of the research process. This module is undertaken throughout the academic year.

100% Continuous Assessment

International Development: From Development to Globalisation

The module traces the evolution of the development paradigm post-1945 and considers the core dilemmas associated with underdevelopment, the possibilities and limitations of the development model equated to economic growth. This module supports learners to develop an insight into the key development issues of the early stages of the 21st century including; environmental concerns; human security; aid versus trade; gender; violence, conflict and peace.

30% Continuous Assessment
70% Exam

Mediation, Negotiation and Peacebuilding

This module supports learners to develop an understanding of the concepts and practice of mediation and negotiation in the context of conflict resolution in social and political contexts at local, national and international levels. The module includes a significant focus on interpersonal and intergroup conflict; resolving disputes, problem solving, mediation and facilitation, third party intervention, practical and theoretical approaches to conflict resolution.

100% Continuous Assessment

Creativity and Social Media

This module introduces learners to theories of creativity and the potential of social media mechanisms as they apply to professional community work practice and/or further academic study. It focuses on the analysis, interpretation and affordance of contemporary social and political online phenomena, thereby enhancing the learner's skills in supporting civic engagement and professional work in a twenty-first century context. It presents public and professional engagement online as a core skill alongside the potential for crowdfunding, advocacy and lobbying on a global scale.

100% Continuous Assessment

Social Movements, Activism and Social Change

The study of social movements and their significance with regard to models of citizen participation is a key issue in the consideration of civic engagement and social change. This module facilitates the development of an appreciation and understanding of the value of social movements, their specific dynamics and tactics.

100% Continuous Assessment

Semester 2

Project Management and Evaluation

This module develops knowledge of theory, practice and principles for effective project management in the context of strategic planning in the not-for profit sector. Learners will become familiar with the systematic process of project management and the inherent complexities of project implementation, problem solving and the management of change.

100% Continuous Assessment

Religion, Conflict and Peace

The module enables the learner to understand how and why religions can operate as a catalyst for conflict as well as a peacebuilder. It will introduce the learners a range of case studies where major religious traditions are involved both in conflict and peacebuilding. This will help learners to appreciate the role of religion in the public sphere in a balanced way.

30% Continuous Assessment
70% Exam

Community Mental Health and Well-being (elective)

The Health Promotion Strategic Framework (HSE, 2012) acknowledges the community as one of the key settings for promoting positive mental health and well-being. Awareness of mental health challenges is increasing in communities across Ireland evidenced by media campaigns and a mental health strategy.

100% Continuous Assessment

International Legal Studies (elective)

Media and Communications 2 (elective)

The module provides a learning environment to critically examine and engage with communication models in the mass media of the 21st century. Engaging with major concepts and theories of this changed media environment learners will explore how production, distribution and consumption of mediated communication operates.

100% Continuous Assessment

Youth and Community Studies (elective)

The aim of this module are to provide the learners with the theoretical and practical skills required to guide the practice of Youth and Community work. This in turn will enable them to become reflective, efficient and competent practitioners.

100% Continuous Assessment

Opportunities

The programme aims to meet educational requirements for employment in the broad field of community, voluntary and non-profit work. Staff on the programme have extensive experience of working in the sector and continue to have excellent working relationships with many community and non-profit organisations which provides an added benefit to learners in relation to placement and career opportunities. The research undertaken for this programme demonstrates that the non-profit sector is a diverse field of work inclusive of:

  • Service provision
  • Rural and urban community development
  • Social justice, advocacy
  • Equality and rights based approaches
  • Health and well-being
  • Environmental and ecological
  • Community and development education
  • Overseas development work.

Further study opportunities

On completion of the degree programme, there are a wide range of postgraduate study options for students. Students may choose to specialise in any of the core areas of the programme by undertaking further study in social or political science, youth and community work, leadership and management in the non-profit sector. Education - primary/secondary teaching.

Stories - Graduate Profiles

500

Ciara Connick

2017 Graduate of the B.A. (Honours) in Citizenship & Community Studies Currently completing a Professional Masters of Education in Primary Education.

I chose Carlow College because I liked the idea of attending a small college with smaller class sizes as I enjoy interacting with new people. I wanted to be part of a collaborative and welcoming environment. What I enjoyed the most about attending a small college was the idea that you were a name and not a number. The lecturers get to know you on a personal level and as a result are always there to support, guide and encourage you.  I was very lucky, I had wonderful lecturers who supported me through my four years.  Everybody knew each other and there was always a lovely atmosphere in the college. The staff and students were great!. Carlow College has a strong sense of community and as a Citizenship and Community Studies student, this was hugely important to me.

I loved my programme, I always wanted to work with people and the course allowed me to work in group settings. Citizenship and Community Studies gives you the opportunity to complete three work placements and therefore gives you the opportunity for hands on experience.

My course helps me every day in my working life as a student teacher, where I work at the heart of the community. Not only do I support the development of children, I am constantly encouraging the children in my classroom to get actively involved in their local community by participating in community games or community projects. I am a big supporter of citizenship education.

I remember the Students’ Union telling us on our first day that four years was going to be gone in a flash and to just simply enjoy your time as students. I laughed to myself and thought ‘four years is like a lifetime’ but they were right, four years just slips by and before you know it you’re wearing a cap and gown! Carlow College has provided me with so many opportunities, I was privileged to be nominated and picked to be a student representative for four years in a row. This was an important part of my college experience as I was given the responsibility to represent my class and to ensure that their voices were always heard. I was given the opportunity to meet new people and make lifelong friends.

My time at Carlow College was a wonderful and life changing experience. I have grown as a person and as a professional. Carlow College is not only a highly academic college but a wonderful place where dreams turn into reality. I absolutely loved my time at Carlow College. I spent four years of my life here and I can honestly say that this college made me who I am today.

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