BA (Hons) Applied Social Science and Social Policy (Extended Degree)

UCAS code Typical offer Length
L401 N/A (See full entry requirements) 4 years full-time
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Course overview

Our Extended Degree is an open access route to study at the University of York. The Extended Degree in Social Policy and Applied Social Science is delivered in partnership with York College, offering those with non-traditional educational backgrounds a chance to study for a degree. This is a tailored course that will enable your progression right from the beginning without the requisite qualifications to meet the entry requirements to ending up a successful graduate from one of the top institutions in the country.

What is an 'extended' degree?

The extended element is an introductory foundation year. This foundation year, referred to as ‘Year 0’ is designed to prepare you with the necessary knowledge, skills and confidence to continue your studies to the first year of a BA (Hons) degree in either Social Policy or Applied Social Science (including the specialist pathways in ‘Crime and Criminal Justice’ or ‘Children & Young People’) at the University of York.

Though the foundation year will take place at York College, from day one you will be studying a University of York degree and will be one of our students with full access to all our support and learning resources and facilities (including accommodation). In years 1, 2 and 3 of the degree you will be taught on site at the University of York campus alongside all our other students.


The University offers substantial fee reductions to study for the foundation year known as 'Foundation Year Bursaries' (considerably reducing the standard fees). You can find out more about the fees and bursary packages on the Fees and Funding pages. Questions about fees and bursaries can be directed to Student Financial Support (contact details on the right of the Fees and Funding page, ensure you specify that you are interested in the Extended Degree). One of the advantages of enrolling on the Extended Degree is that you don’t have to make any immediate payments towards tuition.

Course content

What you'll study

Foundation year of study

Your foundation of study (Year 0) is at York College, where you will undertake an introductory programme that both develops your knowledge and understanding of the subject and equips you with the skills required to enter the BA programme. Year 0 is divided into two semesters, each lasting 14 weeks. Weekly timetables are set at the beginning of the academic year and change annually, however for indicative purposes only, the hours you are expected to commit to are approximately 3 days a week from 9am - 5pm.

Modules in Year 0 of the Extended Degree
All year
  • Preparatory Academic Skills
  • Information and Guidance
  • Studying with Technology
  • Personal Development and Self-reflection
  • Work-based Learning
1st Semester
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Policy
  • British Social and Economic History
2nd Semester
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociological Perspectives 
  • Poverty, Health and Social Care Policies

Continuing your programme

You will be assessed throughout the foundation year at York College and on successful completion of the course requirements you will automatically progress to study the remaining three years of the degree, delivered at the University of York. You will join the first year of the BA, along with other students in the Department.

The pages below will provide more specific information on the aims and course content for each programme:

Extended Degree students come to the Department having studied a wide range of subjects. The modules studied draw upon a range of social science disciplines - social policy, social psychology, sociology, economics and politics. In addition, throughout the first year students are introduced to the various approaches and practices used in social science.

The marks awarded in Year 0 and 1 are used to meet the progression requirements to carry on to studying at honours level. They are preparatory years to give you the grounding theory and knowledge to help you develop your key interests in time for year 2 and 3. All the assessed work in Years 2 and 3 is used to classify your final honours degree award.

Module choice in Years 2 and 3

In years 2 and 3, students have a high degree of flexibility in choosing a range of module options that reflect personal interests. There is also a compulsory core introductory module to research methods in the second year, which provides essential skills for conducting your own social research project for your third year dissertation.

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.


How you'll be taught

The degree uses a broad range of teaching methods, including: tutorials, lectures, practical work, self-study and workshops.

Year 0

During your foundation year of study at York College (Year 0), you will be taught in a small group of approximately 10 students. You will participate in classes, seminar style discussions, practical skill-based learning such as computing and also take on some work-based learning that will boost your CV as you begin to apply the classroom learning into the real world. You will also have a personal supervisor that will help guide you through the course and assist you with the Information and Guidance module, alongside any research tasks. See the 'Course content' tab for full details.

Years 1-3

The modules are traditionally delivered via lectures and smaller sized seminars.

You will have individual seminar groups and lectures for each module, your seminar groups will be 9-15 people and lectures can vary from 30-100.

Usually, in year 2 you will have one seminar and lecture a week per module which means you will have approximately f 8 hours of face-to-face contact time with tutors per week. Other direct contact with tutors occurs within the virtual learning environment (the contact level varies across the modules) and each individual tutor also has weekly office hours where you can pop in to see them on a one-to one basis. The rest of the time you will be expected to undertake independent study activities, for example following up recommended and key reading to be completed for seminars. The significance of independent, self-directed learning is one of the fundamental features of university-level study and is a vital skill for students to develop to enhance their future employment prospects.

Reading lists will be published at the beginning of term and lecture notes will often be available to access online prior to the lecture. Key readings for seminars will be in ‘key textbooks’ kept in the Library, available online as PDFs, or accessed online through the University Library's subscriptions to online journals and ebook providers.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures and seminars372 hours168 hours168 hours120 hours
Placement36 hours0 hours0 hours0 hours

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1200 hours a year learning.


How you'll be assessed

There is a broad range of assessments used across the degree programme. Assessments that are mainly coursework assignments can be in the form of reflective writing, reports, presentations, portfolios and work logs. Whereas a variety of traditional written assessments include:

  • Essays
  • Reports
  • Portfolios
  • Reflective Writing
  • Business Plans (dependent on module choice)
  • Exams (dependent on module choice)


  • Group work
  • Individual


  • Work logs
  • Work-based experience

Year 0

Typically there is one formal assessment at the end of the 14-week semester for each module. Students will have 4 modules per semester; assignments are released before the Christmas break and due in the first week of the second semester.

Years 1-3

See more information on the individual BA degree course pages. 

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Practical exams0%5%13%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.


Careers and employability

Many of our students use the expertise they gain from their degree to enhance their employment careers. Employment found by some of our recent graduates in Social Policy and Applied Social Science include working in areas such as:

  • Policy research in the House of Commons
  • Employment and training research
  • Work for specialist charities such as 'Shelter'
  • Work for a local authority
  • Graduate trainee with a national children’s charity
  • Commissioning children’s services for a local authority
  • Working as a Curricular Enrichment Coordinator for a college
  • Youth Development work with a Youth Offending Team
  • Trainee police officer with the Metropolitan Police
  • Trainee probation officer

Other graduates go on to develop their skills through:

  • Postgraduate MA level study in social policy and social research
  • Fast-track civil service training
  • Housing Management training sponsored by a Housing Association
  • Postgraduate training and study in social work, teaching or law

Some of the key skills that you will develop throughout your degree include:

  • Academic and evidence-based writing
  • Presentation skills
  • Information searching skills
  • Equal opportunities

You can view the careers information for each of the four Social Policy and Applied Social Science programmes to find out more about what each pathway can offer, through each course information page (links below).


How to apply

The Extended Degree is designed for students with a non-traditional educational background who do not meet the entrance requirements for our three-year BA degree programmes.

Students with traditional educational backgrounds and qualifications (such as A Levels and Highers) and who have recent study experience should apply to our standard BA programmes.


You will have to register with UCAS to submit an application.

York College and The University of York will accept applicants for the Extended Degree programme throughout most of the year, so it is worth applying even if you have missed the advertised UCAS deadline.

To use the UCAS course search, choose courses starting in 2018, select search by course code, then use the UCAS course code for the Extended Degree: L401. The University of York’s UCAS institution code is Y50.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact University admissions.

Once you have submitted an application

Our Admissions Tutor and the Programme Leader will look at your application and pay particular attention to your personal statement. In personal statements we are looking for students who have an academic interest in society, perhaps life experiences that are relevant to the degree courses e.g. family circumstances or employment, and have made a contribution to society through, for example, clubs and volunteering.

You may be invited to an interview, details of this will be sent to you after we have read your application. You can use this opportunity to tell us more about you, and you can ask our Admissions Tutor and Programme Leader any questions you may have about studying on the Extended Degree.

Useful information

Entry requirements

Mature students

York College and The University of York welcomes mature students and many have studied successfully with us (see our student profiles). An interest in Applied Social Science and Social Policy often arises through life experience, which we encourage you to share in discussions and enriches the course for all students.

Depending on your previous educational experience you may be considered for entry onto our degree programmes in Year 1 if you have previously attained a level 3 qualification (for example A levels).

If you have not attained any prior educational qualifications this will not be a problem as we welcome individuals with a variety of backgrounds who demonstrate the motivation to succeed.

Any questions?

Contact our admissions team if you have any questions about the Extended Degree programme:

Helen Chan
Programme Manager  

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