Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2020-2021 (archived)

Module SOCI44215: Placement

Department: Sociology

SOCI44215: Placement

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2020/21
Tied to L3KC09
Tied to L3KF09


  • All students must provide evidence of a successful DBS check (or equivalent) before they are permitted onto the module.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module aims to enable students to engage in advanced application of sociological and/or criminological understandings within the particular context of a specific organisation. In doing so, the module will enable advanced reflection by the student on how theory, evidence, policy and practice may relate together within specific public/applied settings, and how leaders using the resulting understandings may develop organisational practice and inform policy engagement within those settings.


  • Taught content to prepare students for engaging in an organisational context, including critical consideration of:
  • Different issues and constraints facing organisations in particular contexts;
  • Different ways to understand the theory, evidence, policy and practice relationship in particular organisational contexts;
  • A range of barriers which limit the effectiveness of these relationships.
  • Substantial engagement with a specific organisational context agreed with the module convenor, to explore how sociological and/or criminological understandings may make a difference within that context.
  • Comparative frameworks for reflection that support the development of both self-understanding and sharing of learning between different organisational contexts.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Different models of change within particular organisational and policy contexts.
  • Advanced understanding of the relationship between sociological and/or criminological theory, evidence, policy and practice.
  • An applied knowledge and understanding of key theories and evidence relevant to the particular organisational setting in which the student has engaged.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Ability to engage with an agency that is engaging with issues appropriate to consideration using public/applied sociological and/or criminological theory and evidence.
  • Ability to reflect on and critically analyse (at an advanced level) an aspect of an agency’s existing practice engagement with a social issue using sociological and/or criminological theory and evidence.
  • Ability to apply this wider theory and evidence to consider implications and possible recommendations for further developing the agency’s practice and policy engagement.
  • Ability to critically compare and contrast different examples of approaches within specific organisations to making connections between theory, evidence, policy and practice, and reflect on their effectiveness.
Key Skills:
  • Advanced levels of written and verbal communication skills commensurate with a Masters degree module.
  • Ability to reflect on qualities and skills required for supporting change within particular contexts, and the student’s strengths and areas for further development to achieve these.
  • Ability to negotiate working patterns and outcomes to complete the learning requirements of the module within the time available.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The portfolio will provide a means for students to evidence and reflect on their engagement with the agency.
  • The agency report/policy brief will provide a means for the students to reflect on ways in which their wider learning on their programme relates to the work of the fieldwork agency within its broader social and political context, and ways in which their sociological learning might make a difference within that context. Students will have a choice of either an agency report (where they wish to focus on the implications for the organisation’s own practice) or a policy brief (where they wish to focus on the organisation’s external policy engagement and policy campaigning activity). In either/both cases, the analysis will include consideration of how understanding from their studies may help overcome existing limitations and/or barriers to effectively addressing a particular issue at the forefront of that field.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Fieldwork As agreed with placement organisation 40
Introduction, briefing and reflection taught group sessions 5 initial 3 sessions in first term, then termly 2 hours 10
Individual tutorials 2 Termly 30 minutes 1
Preparation and Reading 99
Total 150

Summative Assessment

Component: Agency Report or Policy Brief Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Agency Report or Policy Brief 1,500 words 100%
Component: Portfolio Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Portfolio Maximum 10 A4 pages 100%

Formative Assessment:

Initial student self-reflection on their previous experience, and fit with the agency, including what they might contribute as part of their placement and desired learning goals.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University