Page Navigation

Module Descriptors

This page displays the selected Module Descriptor.

Printer friendly version Printer friendly version

Session: 2022/23

Last modified: 07/07/2022 12:35:39

Title of Module: Drugs & Culture

Code: CDAS11003 SCQF Level: 11
(Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework)
Credit Points: 20 ECTS: 10
(European Credit Transfer Scheme)
School:School of Education & Social Sciences
Module Co-ordinator:tbc 

Summary of Module

Culture structures the way people view the world. This module explores how culture influences beliefs, norms, values and behaviours about alcohol and other drugs (AOD) and the people who use them. We assess how people’s identity, (including race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic status, and the intersections between them) impacts on substance use and on how this use perceived and problematised by society, and understood in a historical context.

Taking a critical social science perspective, this module examines; the normalisation of illicit leisure in society and in popular culture; the differentiated problematisation of licit and illicit drug use and users across social groups; and the role of the media in constructing representations of AOD consumption and AOD consumers. Different concepts of risk and harm - risk factors, risk groups and risk environments – are critiqued. Contested issues on drug dealing, social supply, internet drug markets, and drug-related violence will be discussed and critically explored.

Using a range of theoretical perspectives, and cross-disciplinary research and case studies, students will develop a critical awareness and evidence-based understanding of the often poorly understood and contested social phenomena of substance use. Students will be encouraged to participate in face-to-face and on-line debate and discussion drawing on classic drug and alcohol texts to inform and develop their critical understanding of these contemporary issues.

Module Delivery Method
Face-To-FaceBlendedFully OnlineHybridCHybridOWork-based Learning
check markcheck mark

Term used to describe the traditional classroom environment where the students and the lecturer meet synchronously in the same room for the whole provision.

A mode of delivery of a module or a programme that involves online and face-to-face delivery of learning, teaching and assessment activities, student support and feedback. A programme may be considered “blended” if it includes a combination of face-to-face, online and blended modules. If an online programme has any compulsory face-to-face and campus elements it must be described as blended with clearly articulated delivery information to manage student expectations

Fully Online
Instruction that is solely delivered by web-based or internet-based technologies. This term is used to describe the previously used terms distance learning and e learning.

Online with mandatory face-to-face learning on Campus

Online with optional face-to-face learning on Campus

Work-based Learning
Learning activities where the main location for the learning experience is in the workplace.

Campus(es) for Module Delivery
The module will normally be offered on the following campuses / or by Distance/Online Learning: (Provided viable student numbers permit)
Paisley:Ayr:Dumfries:Lanarkshire:London:Distance/Online Learning:Other:
check mark





check mark


Term(s) for Module Delivery
(Provided viable student numbers permit).
Term 1


Term 2check markTerm 3


[Top of Page]

Learning Outcomes: (maximum of 5 statements)

On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

L1. Demonstrate understanding of how alcohol and drug consumption are understood across different social and historical contexts.

L2. Evaluate how claims about alcohol and drug issues as social problems are communicated and represented in contemporary society drawing on appropriate theory and evidence.

L3. Construct an understanding of alcohol and drug consumption rooted in social cultural and political economy contexts .

L4. Demonstrate critical understandings of classic texts in the field.

Employability Skills and Personal Development Planning (PDP) Skills
SCQF Headings During completion of this module, there will be an opportunity to achieve core skills in:
Knowledge and Understanding (K and U) SCQF Level 11.

Students will be able to demonstrate detailed knowledge of the consumption of alcohol and other drugs historical and contemporary contexts.

A critical understanding of a range of perspectives on drug and alcohol use.

Practice: Applied Knowledge and Understanding SCQF Level 11.

Develop the ability to critically evaluate how discourses and issues surrounding drugs and alcohol have been constructed.

Generic Cognitive skills SCQF Level 11.

Oral presentation and writing skills will be developed alongside the ability to evaluate and critique relevant social research and policy.

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills SCQF Level 11.

Communicate information effectively using appropriate methods, to different audiences.

Use a range of ICT applications to support and enhance work in areas such as information retrieval and data analysis and presentation.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working with others SCQF Level 11.

The module offers students the opportunity to participate in assessed group work where team work is crucial and peer marking is introduced.

There is also an individual assessment where working independently is required.

Pre-requisites: Before undertaking this module the student should have undertaken the following:
Module Code:
Module Title:
Co-requisitesModule Code:
Module Title:

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

[Top of Page]

Learning and Teaching
Learning Activities
During completion of this module, the learning activities undertaken to achieve the module learning outcomes are stated below:
Student Learning Hours
(Normally totalling 200 hours):
(Note: Learning hours include both contact hours and hours spent on other learning activities)
Lecture/Core Content Delivery36
Tutorial/Synchronous Support Activity20
Personal Development Plan20
Asynchronous Class Activity24
Independent Study100
200 Hours Total

**Indicative Resources: (eg. Core text, journals, internet access)

The following materials form essential underpinning for the module content and ultimately for the learning outcomes:

Bancroft, A. (2009). Drugs, intoxication and society. Cambridge: Policy Press

Babor T etal 2010 Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity. Oxford University Press

Coomber, R., McElrath, K., Measham F. and Moore, (2013). Key Concepts in Drugs and Society. London: Sage

Shapiro H 2021 Fierce Chemistry: a History of UK Drug Wars. Amberly Publishing.Stroud UK

Parker, H., Aldridge, J., & Measham, F. (1998). Illegal leisure: The normalisation of adolescent drug use. London: Routledge.

(**N.B. Although reading lists should include current publications, students are advised (particularly for material marked with an asterisk*) to wait until the start of session for confirmation of the most up-to-date material)

Engagement Requirements

In line with the Academic Engagement Procedure, Students are defined as academically engaged if they are regularly engaged with timetabled teaching sessions, course-related learning resources including those in the Library and on the relevant learning platform, and complete assessments and submit these on time. Please refer to the Academic Engagement Procedure at the following link: Academic engagement procedure

Where a module has Professional, Statutory or Regulatory Body requirements these will be listed here:
All fulltime students (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries) are required to attend all scheduled classes and participate with all delivered elements of the module as part of their engagement with their programme of study. Consideration will be given to students who have protection under the appropriate equality law. Please refer to UWS Regulations, Chapter 1, 1.64 – 1.67, available at the following link:

[Top of Page]

Supplemental Information

Programme BoardSocial Sciences
Assessment Results (Pass/Fail) No
Subject PanelPG Social Sciences
External ExaminerL Williams
Accreditation Details
Version Number


[Top of Page]

Assessment: (also refer to Assessment Outcomes Grids below)
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Paper: 1000 words: 40%
Essay: 3000 words: 60%
(N.B. (i) Assessment Outcomes Grids for the module (one for each component) can be found below which clearly demonstrate how the learning outcomes of the module will be assessed.
(ii) An indicative schedule listing approximate times within the academic calendar when assessment is likely to feature will be provided within the Student Handbook.)

Assessment Outcome Grids (Footnote A.)

Component 1
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Review/ Article/ Critique/ Papercheck markcheck markcheck markcheck mark400

Component 2
Assessment Type (Footnote B.) Learning Outcome (1) Learning Outcome (2) Learning Outcome (3) Learning Outcome (4) Weighting (%) of Assessment ElementTimetabled Contact Hours
Essaycheck markcheck markcheck mark 600
Combined Total For All Components100% 0 hours

A. Referred to within Assessment Section above
B. Identified in the Learning Outcome Section above

[Top of Page]

  1. More than one assessment method can be used to assess individual learning outcomes.
  2. Schools are responsible for determining student contact hours. Please refer to University Policy on contact hours (extract contained within section 10 of the Module Descriptor guidance note).
    This will normally be variable across Schools, dependent on Programmes &/or Professional requirements.

Equality and Diversity

Aligned with the overall commitment to equality and diversity stated in the Programme Specifications, the module supports equality of opportunity for students from all backgrounds and with different learning needs. Using Moodle, learning materials will be presented electronically in formats that allow flexible access and manipulation of content (part-time and distant learning students should check with their programme leader for any queries). The module complies with University regulations and guidance on inclusive learning and teaching practice. Specialist assistive equipment, support provision and adjustment to assessment practice will be made in accordance with UWS policy and regulations. The University’s Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Policy can be accessed at the following link:

Our partners are fully committed to the principles and practice of inclusiveness and our modules are designed to be accessible to all. Where this module is delivered overseas, local equivalent support for students and appropriate legislation applies.

(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

UWS Equality and Diversity Policy
(N.B. Every effort will be made by the University to accommodate any equality and diversity issues brought to the attention of the School)

2014 University of the West of Scotland

University of the West of Scotland is a Registered Scottish Charity.

Charity number SC002520.