Understanding Social Problems

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Understanding Social Problems

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Criminal Justice

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course 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
    Course Introduction
    This course aims to introduce students to the broad spectrum of social theory and emphasises critical
    analysis of established theories that explain human experience. The course is divided into four parts. Part 1 (weeks 1-4) introduces the central themes and concerns that define ways of thinking about social problems. It explores competing definitions of social problems and outlines the major theoretical perspectives employed by sociologists to understand social life and problems in the social world. Part 2 (weeks 5-7) focuses on, and attempts to explain, the social problems that people experience in their day-to-days lives. This includes, problems of health and well-being, family problems and the so-called 'problem of crime'. Part 3 (weeks 8-10) explores social inequalities, examining how inequality pervades the social world and how this has an impact on people's lives. Part 4 (weeks 11-12) explores the nature of social change in the 'global village'. It examines how and why our world is changing so rapidly and considers the implications of this for the future. Globalisation has complex consequences and the course will conclude with a critical consideration of how the sweeping forces of globalisation affect our everyday lives, for better or worse.
    Course Aims
    This course offers a comprehensive and wide-ranging introduction to the sociology of social problems. The key aim is to enable students to gain a full and rounded understanding of social problems, such as crime, in social context. Students will be introduced to different ways of thinking about social concerns and will be encouraged to reflect upon aspects of their own biographies and the inter-relationships between themselves and the wider society.
    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should 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

    Assessment Task

    Weighting/Marked out of

    Test or quiz
    Online Theory Quiz


    Assignment - Written Assignment


    Exam - constructed response
    Final Exam


Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.