Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses>Social and Political Sciences (BA)

Overview Use expertise from three world class departments to understand the pressing social and political issues of our time

UCAS code


Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)


3 years full-time

A BA in Social and Political Sciences will allow you to study a flexible choice of modules from a huge range offered by three highly respected academic departments. You'll be taught by world-leading academics and study the most up-to-date theories in social and political sciences. As your studies progress you'll have the flexibility to tailor your degree to allow you to focus on your own interests, whether that's globalisation, human rights, the future of the welfare state, migration, equality or social justice.

You'll have the opportunity to contribute to your own high-profile seminar series and become involved in the dynamic student-run SPS Society. You'll be encouraged to take up an internship or work placement: in which you'll get first-hand experience of the work you're interested in.

Our seminar series attracts leading academics from across the country and covers the key themes of our taught courses, giving you the opportunity to engage with the leading research in your field.

For 2017 entry you can opt to add a year to your course between Years Two and Three and study abroad at one of the best universities in the world.

Course content What you’ll study


You'll start by studying the core Political and Social Science disciplines. You then go on to choose from a wide range of modules offered across Politics, Sociology and Social Policy. You can study a varied range of modules across the three years. Or you can focus on specific topics, and take modules from different departments which relate to those topics. These topics might include:

  • Cultural Identity
  • Global Justice
  • Social Inequalities.
  • Migration
  • The Future of the Welfare State
  • Human Rights
  • Social Justice

Year 1

The first year will provide a strong foundation in politics, sociology and social policy. You'll take a year-long introductory module in each of the three departments and a fourth module chosen from one of the departments.

Introductory modules:

Choice of module from:

Please note that the modules above are indicative of those running for our current students.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.

This module will:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.

Year 2

The second year is a mix of one interdisciplinary compulsory module and the flexibility to choose from a wide range of optional modules.

Compulsory module:

You'll be able to choose three modules from across a range offered by the three departments. You'll need to study at least one module from each of the three departments during your final two years.

Choice of modules from the Department of Sociology:

Choice of modules from the Department of Politics:

Choice of modules from the Department of Social Policy:

Please note that the modules above are indicative of those running for our current students.

Year 3

In the third year you'll again be able to choose four modules from a large range across the three departments.

You'll also undertake a dissertation, which will engage you in independent research in social and political science and allow you to develop valuable transferable skills for future research and careers.

Modules from the Department of Sociology:

Modules from the Department of Politics:

Modules from the Department of Social Policy:

Please note that the modules above are indicative of those running for our current students.

Study abroad

For 2017 entry you can opt to add a year to your course between Years Two and Three and study abroad at one of the best universities in the world. Adding an international experience to your course will help enhance your CV, enable you to experience a new culture, develop your language skills and make new friends along the way. To transfer onto the four-year course you will need to ensure you obtain a minimum mark in Years One and Two. 
There are many other international opportunities for you to get involved with at York through our Centre for Global Programmes.
My time studying in Rome has been of immense value towards my experience and development at Uni. Not only did I greatly improve my language skills, but I saw a completely different way of life. The experience has enriched me culturally and left me with friends I will keep for life. I am so grateful for the consistent and kind support offered to me at York in helping make this dream a reality!
SPS graduate 2016

The three departments you'll study with are all highly regarded research departments in the UK. In the last Research Excellence Framework exercise (2014):

  • The Department of Sociology was the top rated department in the UK.
  • The Department of Social Policy and Social Work was ranked third in the UK for research quality.
  • The Department of Politics was ranked eighth in the UK for research quality.

Teaching and assessment How you’ll be taught and assessed

Teaching format

You'll attend a mix of lectures, small group seminars and workshops, with an increasing emphasis on independent work in later stages. You'll actively define what you want to learn, and be supported by your personal tutor in exploring these issues in greater depth.

  • You'll be taught by world-leading academics from each of the three departments.
  • Our research-led teaching means you can focus on the latest ideas and debates.

The student-run SPS Seminar Series will allow you to engage with leading academics from across the country.


Assessment will be by a mixture of essays, projects and examinations. In your third year you'll do a 10,000-word dissertation on a subject you want to investigate and you'll construct the questions you want to answer under the supervision of a tutor.

  • You'll receive a report with feedback on your work for every module.
  • You'll be assigned a supervisor who will give academic and pastoral support.
I was president of the student SPS society last year. Working with the committee and the school on guest speaker events and organising trips has supplemented my academic experience. It's also cultivated skills such as: project management, team work and leadership.
Kyle, current SPS student

Careers Where you’ll go from here

Over 85 percent of our graduates are working or in further study six months after completing their studies. Many of them secure jobs as a result of their first-hand experience from their internships and work placements.

Career opportunities

Graduates go on to a wide variety of careers across the public and private sectors including finance, management, social research and public administration. The flexible nature of this degree also makes it a good springboard to postgraduate study across specialist areas in Social and Political Sciences. Other graduates take conversion courses for law and teaching and many go on to work for international organisations.

Transferable skills

  • Problem solving
  • Analysis of complex ideas
  • Time management
  • Communication and reporting
I studied at the University of Lund in Sweden via the SPS Erasmus programme. It gave me the opportunity to learn a new culture and language, make friends from around the globe and study at a world class university. I've also been an intern on Wall Street, shadowed a Secretary of State and worked at a FTSE 100 company. It's great work experience that shows how valuable the course is for employers.
Tom, SPS graduate (2015)


Many of our students organise work placements out of term time in an area that interests them. We encourage you to do this so you can gain workplace experience and a deeper insight into issues that interest you. Placements have ranged from an internship at the US House of Representatives to work experience in a London hedge fund and an internship in a global investment bank.

Entry requirements How to get here

Course entry

All applications must be made through UCAS.

Mature students are welcomed and applications considered individually.

A-levels and GCSEs


Other UK qualifications

Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers

  • AAAAB at Higher level and AB at Advanced Higher level

BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF)

  • DDD

Cambridge Pre-U

  • D3, D3, M2

Access to Higher Education

  • Obtain Access to HE Diploma with 30 credits achieved from units awarded Distinction and 9 awarded Merit or higher

International options

International Baccalaureate

  • 35 points

Irish Leaving Certificate


European Baccalaureate

  • 80 per cent overall

English language


  • score of 6.5 overall, with 5.5 or better in each section

Pearson (Academic PTE)

  • 61 overall with no less than 51 in all components

CAE and CPE (taken from January 2015):

  • 176, with 162 or better in each component


  • 87 overall, with at least 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking, 17 in Writing

Trinity ISE III:

  • Merit in all components

Unistats for this course

Enquire Contact our admissions tutor if you have any questions