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BA (Hons) Applied Social Science

Social science and its real-world application with a degree you can tailor to your interests

Year of entry: 2019

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time

Typical offer

BBB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2019/20)

International fees

£17,120 per year (2019/20)

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Combine a broad and balanced foundation in the social sciences with an exploration of a range of social problems such as poverty, unemployment, crime, child abuse, pollution and environmental damage.

With the breadth of knowledge and transferable skills you'll gain on this course, you'll be well placed to pursue a career in a number of fields, especially in the public and voluntary sectors as a policy advisor, policy analyst, researcher, campaigner, journalist or civil servant.

I decided to keep my degree as open and flexible as possible, opting for the BA in Applied Social Science. This allowed me to structure my degree around my emerging preferences and each of the modules I undertook felt relevant and absorbing. The quality of teaching was excellent with many of the lecturers being real experts in their field and obviously passionate about their subject.
Clair, BA Applied Social Science (2011)

Social city

The city of York has a long tradition of social reform and was the site of the world's first scientific study of poverty.

Course content

This degree allows you to study a wide range of social science disciplines. You'll find it's suitable if you want to address social issues such as poverty, social exclusion and child wellbeing. It will also help you explore public policy and how social, economic and political decision-making influences people's lives.

You'll study core modules designed specifically for this course that will give you a thorough grounding in social sciences. From your second year you'll choose from a selection of modules which allow you to tailor your degree to your own interests.

Between your second and third year you have an option to undertake a placement which is an ideal way to experience the way policy is implemented on the ground.

Study abroad

Spend a few weeks or a whole summer on a short course, volunteering programme, or career-related summer school with one of our international partners.

Year 1

In your first year you'll study four core modules that will give you a broad introduction to a range of core social science subjects.

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In your second year you'll study one core module and choose three option modules.

Core module

Social Research Methods (30 credits)

Option modules

You'll choose three option modules from a list including: 

Year 3

In your third year you have a choice of four option modules or three option modules and a work placement. You'll also complete a dissertation (40 credits)

Optional modules

You'll choose three modules from our third year modules, from a list including: 

Placement  (20 credits)

In the summer holiday before the third year starts you can undertake a work-shadowing placement that lasts around 80 hours. This will allow you to learn from professionals in a field you're interested in. Watching professionals at work is a completely different learning experience which many students find useful in developing their dissertation and follow in the development of their own careers.


The third year dissertation is a great opportunity to apply your knowledge and understanding in independent supervised research on a topic of your interest. Previous dissertation titles include:

  • The dilemma of advocacy in mental health
  • Has racism been institutionalised within the structures of English football?
  • Domestic violence and why abused partners stay with their abuser
  • Globalisation, unemployment and social security – what China can learn from the UK
  • Family break-up, lone parenthood and educational attainment

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

York is a great student city with lots of activities to take part in on & off campus. The teaching is very engaging and there’s a friendly atmosphere.
Lydia, BA Applied Social Science (2016)

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2019 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year.

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £17,120

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

We emphasise small-group working: you'll mainly be taught in lectures of 50-100 students and take part in seminars of 12-15 people. In the second and third years the lecture groups will be smaller as you begin to specialise.

You'll also take part in group-based workshops. Some will involve scenario-based role play and some will be practical sessions examining data to help you understand a specific issue in depth. You'll also hear from external speakers about the latest issues in policy and practice.

You'll be supported by your personal supervisor with one-to-one meetings twice a term. Our staff have weekly office hours when you can make an appointment to discuss issues on a one-to-one basis.

Overall workload

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

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars168 hours168 hours120 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.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work on Campus West. Your teaching will take place in various locations around Campus East and Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You'll be assessed in a variety of ways, with emphasis on continuous assessment. The most common form of assessment is by essay, and you'll be supported with seminar sessions on writing academic essays. You may also be assessed by presentation, group workshop reports, data analysis exercises and portfolios of work. There is minimal use of closed examinations.

Your dissertation will be 10,000 words long and you'll be supported by a supervisor who specialises in the subject you're interested in.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Practical exams5%13%0%

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

My lecturers know me personally and the department is really friendly. As students you feel like you are an important part of the department, not just there to be preached at. The staff are always asking for our views and opinions and adapting to our needs. I feel like our opinions are really valued.
Katherine, BA Applied Social Science (2016)

Careers and skills

A high proportion of our graduates are employed within six months. The nature of our degree means you can pursue career-related interests throughout your study and the optional work-based placement is a useful way to demonstrate your knowledge and skills to future employers.

We have a list of career profiles and mentoring opportunities for our students. You can view the stories of our alumni and learn where their degree has taken them. Login as a 'friend' to view the profiles. 

Career opportunities

Recent employment destinations include:

  • Working with a local authority
  • Working with a national charity
  • Police officer
  • Trainee TV producer
  • Political marketing and campaigning consultant
  • Hotel management

Other students have chosen to continue developing skills through postgraduate training or masters degrees.

Transferable skills

  • Communications skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Data analysis
  • Time management
  • Project management
  • Independent study and research
  • Teamwork skills.

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

BBB. We accept General Studies and Critical Thinking.

Access to Higher Education Diploma 21 credits at Distinction and 24 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma: DDM
Cambridge Pre-U M2, M2, M2
European Baccalaureate 75% overall
International Baccalaureate 31 points overall
Irish leaving Certificate H3, H3, H3, H3, H3, H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AABBB at Higher level

If you achieve a C or higher at EPQ, you will be eligible for a reduced offer, one grade below our typical offer.

English language

If English is not your first language you may be asked to provide evidence of your ability. We accept the following qualifications:

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall, with 5.5 or better in each section
  • Pearson PTE Academic: 61 overall with no less than 51 in all components
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): grade A

Other accepted tests and qualifications


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

We pay particular attention to your personal statement and we look for students who have an academic interest in society. This could come through family circumstances, employment or other contribution to society such as school clubs or volunteering.

You will not be invited to interview, but we invite you to attend a visit day in Spring term to give you an opportunity to learn more about us.


Next steps

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Social Policy and Social Work

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