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Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses 2019/20>Social and Political Sciences with Philosophy (BA)

BA (Hons) Social and Political Sciences with Philosophy

Understand the social, political and philosophical challenges facing human societies using expertise from four world class departments

Year of entry: 2019

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (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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This degree is designed for students who would like to develop a strong philosophical dimension to their study of social and political sciences.

You'll be taught by world-leading academics across four departments 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, from globalisation, human rights and the future of the welfare state to migration, equality and 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.

The disciplines entailed in SPS complement each other perfectly and the addition of philosophy only further aids the thorough exploration of these subjects. In particular, philosophy has given me the skills to critically assess the debates studied in my modules, enabling me to complete assignments to a higher standard.
Antony, currently studying Social and Political Sciences with Philosophy

Course content

You'll start by studying core Political and Social Science disciplines and a choice of Philosophy modules to develop your philosophical skills. You can then go on to choose from a wide range of modules offered across Politics, Sociology and Social Policy alongside your continuing study of Philosophy. You can study a varied range of modules across the three years or select from focused clusters of modules. These topics might include:

  • war and peace
  • cultural identity
  • global justice
  • moral philosophy
  • green politics
  • political economy
  • social inequalities

Study abroad

You can apply to study abroad during your second year, for the whole year. We also offer a four year course which includes a year abroad.

Year 1

You'll take 120 credits in Year 1, which will provide a strong foundation in Philosophy, Politics, Sociology and Social Policy.

You'll take a year-long introductory module in Sociology, one in Politics and another in Social Policy. You'll also choose two modules from the Department of Philosophy as well as following an online Philosophy skills tutorial.

Core modules

You'll study three core modules:

Option modules (Philosophy only)

You'll choose one of the following:

You'll also choose one of the following:

Academic integrity module

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

Year 2

You'll take 120 credits in Year 2. You'll study an interdisciplinary compulsory module, a choice of Philosophy modules and you'll have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of option modules. You'll need to study at least one module from each of Politics, Sociology and Social Policy during your final two years.

Core modules


In the second year you'll choose:

  • one Key Ideas module (20 credits)
  • one option module (10 credits) or one short Key Ideas module (10 credits)

Current Key Ideas options include:

Current short Key Ideas options include:

Current option modules include:

Please note: some Year 2 Philosophy modules require you to have studied 'Reason & Argument' in Year 1.

Option modules

You'll be able to choose three modules from across a range offered by the three departments. All option modules are 30 credits each.

Department of Sociology:

Department of Politics:

Department of Social Policy:

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

Year 3

You'll take 120 credits in Year 3. You'll complete a dissertation and choose more option modules from a large range across the four departments, one of which must be from the Department of Philosophy.

Core modules

Your dissertation will engage you in independent research in social and political science and allow you to develop valuable transferable skills for future research and careers.

Option modules

You'll choose four option modules. All modules are 20 credits. 

Department of Sociology: 

Department of Politics:

Department of Social Policy:

Department of Philosophy: 

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

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

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.

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
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 study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. 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

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 the four departments.
  • The 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.

Overall workload

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

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars216 hours180 hours144 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 1,200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based at the School of Social and Political Sciences on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place nearby.

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

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 for every module that provides feedback on your work.
  • You'll be assigned a supervisor who will give academic and pastoral support.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams38%20%0%
Practical exams13%0%0%

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

As an active researcher in the areas of environmental policy, sustainable development and social inclusion, I often discuss real life research issues with my students. Students benefit from engagement in current research while I find their input extremely valuable.
Dr Carolyn Snell, personal supervisor and lecturer in Social Policy

Careers and skills

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.

Career opportunities

Graduates go on to a wide variety of careers across the public and private sectors including:

    • Finance
    • Management
    • Social research
    • Public administration

Many of our graduates secure jobs as a result of their first-hand experience from their internships and work placements.

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)

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels


Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC BTEC National Extended Diploma (QCF): DDD
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2
European Baccalaureate 80% overall
International Baccalaureate 35 points
Irish leaving Certificate H2,H2,H2,H2,H3,H3
Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers AAAAB at Higher level and AB at Advanced Higher level

English language

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

PTE Academic: 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

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

Trinity ISE III: Merit in all components

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


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

Mature students are welcomed and applications considered individually.

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School of Social and Political Sciences

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