Module code: SOC3040

Module Overview

We begin this module by surveying ‘mental health’ within the 21st Century. This will include a review of definitions, diagnostics and policy; a look at who the key stake holder and professionals are; and an examination of the epidemiology of (inequalities in) mental health;   From here, the module moves to examine sociological work on ‘mental health’.  This includes sessions on sociological debates surrounding definitions and concepts used, sociological explanations of mental health/illness/disorder, and sociological critiques of the ways in which mental health is ‘organized’ and responded to within late modern societies.  


Module provider


Module Leader

MEADOWS Robert (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Mental health policy

  • Stakeholders and key professionals

  • Epidemiological measured inequalities in mental health

  • Sociological debates surrounding concepts, definitions

  • Sociological explanations of mental illness/disorder

  • Sociological discussions of how mental health practices are organized within ‘late modern’ societies

  • Future directions in the ‘genetic’ age

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of the core ideas and can draw upon these ideas in a reflexive and critical way.  The assessment strategy also takes into account two further things:

  • Mental health can be an emotive thing for many of us and asking students to ‘reflect’ on issues can be overly personal. Assessments therefore ask students to ‘reflect’ on others’ stories

  • Bird and Erickson (2010) advocate the use of ‘constructive controversy case studies’ – which are essentially designed to: (i) Present a complex series of social interactions; (ii) Encourage students to establish an original interpretation; (iii) Engage students in active problem solving in the context of real life. Whilst not directly replicating their methods, the current assessment pattern is built on many of their ideas

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A case study exercise (10%).  Students watch a video in class.  The lecturer stops the video half way through and asks the students to reflect on whether any of the characters are mentally ill.  The video then continues.  Students are asked to write a short story from the point of view of one of the characters and annotate this story using one of the core explanations on what ‘causes’ mental illness.

  • Critical case study 1 (40%) – students are asked to read a story and identify core concepts within that story. Once identified, students write a review of one concept.

  • Critical case study 2 (50%) – students are asked to engage with whether or not mentally disordered offenders should be treated differently.  They write this up as if it is a hearing with two opposing experts.

Formative assessment and feedback

After each summative assessment, students receive written feedback and are invited for one to one sessions on how feedback can also be used to feedforward.

Module aims

  • To introduce students to the ways in which mental  health/illness/disorder are defined within contemporary society
  • To introduce students to epidemiological data on inequalities in mental health
  • To offer a thorough discussion of sociological literature on the contested nature of definitions, concepts and measurement
  • To offer a thorough discussion of sociological explanations of mental health/illness/disorder and critiques of how mental health is organized and responded to within late modern societies.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Have a thorough understanding of mental health care policy and practice K
2 Have a thorough understanding of epidemiological work on inequalities in mental health KT
3 Be able to draw upon sociological writings on concepts and definitions used in mental health practice to critique current policy and research KC
4 Be able to use sociological discussions of explanations of mental health/illness and the ways in which mental health is ‘organized' to engage with current policy and practice KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: introduce students to the core literature in a way which also encourages them to think and reflect on how the ideas relate to their everyday lifeworlds.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 22 hours of interactive lecture/seminars

  • An optional movie club

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC3040

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Liberal Arts and Sciences BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
English Literature with Sociology BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology with Psychology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.