Understanding Social Problems - 2016

This page is for past year, View 2017 unit details.

Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 1
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: Yes
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2016: SP1 , SP3
  • Assessment: Essay - Essay (40%) , Invigilated Exam - Exam (40%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2016 Fees
Domestic 782.00
HECS 782.00
International 1,032.00

This unit introduces students to the importance of understanding social problems, such as crime, in social context. It addresses key questions about the society we live in and provides a critical analysis of the ways in which social problems become defined. This includes an exploration of the combination of objective and subjective criteria that vary across societies, among individuals and groups in society, and across historical time periods. In so doing, it will demonstrate that social problems may be seen as socially and historically constructed categories.

Students will be introduced to different ways of thinking about social problems and these different perspectives will be applied to a variety of social concerns (for example, illegal drug use, domestic violence, terrorism, environmental pollution). Students will develop skills in understanding and analysing a range of concepts, theories and perspectives on social life. A key objective is to foster a critical and interpretive understanding of the dynamic relationship between the individual and society.

Note: Students who have already completed SGY14 Social Sciences in Australia as part of the Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice do not need to complete this unit. Assessment details will be advised at the beginning of the unit offering.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in sociology and the study of social problems
  2. Apply these concepts and perspectives to an analysis of social problems in everyday life, problems of social inequality and problems associated with globalisation.
  3. Demonstrate how a sociological imagination might be applied to key concerns within criminology and criminal justice
  4. Provide evidence of effective research and information searching skills
  5. Express yourself clearly in written language and present your work in accordance with appropriate academic standards
  6. Undertake positive and productive study skills and effective time management.
  • Essay — Essay (40%)
  • Invigilated Exam — Exam (40%)
  • Quiz — Online Quiz (20%)
For more information on invigilated exams see Exams and results

Equivalent units

You cannot enrol in this unit if you have successfully completed any of the following unit(s) because they are considered academically equivalent:

  • Broadband access

This unit addresses the following topics.

1What is sociology?
2Thinking about social problems 1
3Thinking about social problems 2
4Thinking about social problems 3
5Problems of health and well-being
6Family problems
7Crime and social control
8Poverty and economic inequality
9'Gender', 'sexuality' and the problem of equality
10'Race', ethnicity and marginalisation
11Environmental problems
12Conflict, war and terrorism

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture

Online materials

  • Audio/Video - Streaming
  • Printable format materials
  • Resources and Links

This unit is a core requirement in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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