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BA (Hons) Social and Political Sciences

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

Year of entry: 2023/24

UCAS code

LL32

Institution code

Y50

Length

3 years full-time

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2023(semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£21,950 per year

Meet us

Find out more about life at York, online and on campus.

Discover York

BA Social and Political Sciences allows 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.

Contribute to our 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.

I was the SPS Department Representative in my final year. This supplemented my academic experience, which cultivated key skills including critical and interdisciplinary thinking, leadership and public speaking.
Chris, BA Social and Political Sciences

Seminar series

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.

Course content

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

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Placement year

The placement year provides you with an opportunity to gain experience in a wide range of fields while putting your academic learning into practice. You could apply to roles that are related to your degree, such as the House of Commons Placement Scheme or a placement with Yougov, or to a business-related placement in a wide variety of organisations and industries.

Year 1

Your first year will provide a strong foundation in politics, sociology and social policy. You'll take introductory modules across the three departments plus Contemporary Issues in Social and Political Sciences, which provides you with a strong interdisciplinary grounding.

Core modules

  • Policy, Power and Social Progress
  • Contemporary Issues in Social and Public Policy
  • Political Analysis
  • Social Evils in the Chocolate City
  • Theorising Social Worlds
  • Option from Politics, Social Policy or Sociology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Academic integrity module

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

Year 2

You'll study our core interdisciplinary module and have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of option modules. You'll need to study at least one module from each of the three departments during your final two years.

Core modules

Option modules

You will also study four option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

Department of Sociology

Department of Politics

Department of Social Policy

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Year 3

Core module

Your dissertation will engage you in independent research in social and political science. You’ll work closely with a personal academic supervisor who will help to guide your research and keep your project on track, helping you to develop valuable transferable skills for future research and careers.

Option modules

You will also study four option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:

Department of Sociology

Department of Politics

Department of Social Policy

The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Draw on politics, social policy and sociology to develop critically-reasoned and analytically coherent contributions to our collective understanding of emerging local, national and global issues and the changing social and political world
  • Engage with and demonstrate a high level understanding of a broad range of social scientific theories and research in order to understand and offer critical reflections on the major challenges confronting nations and our world.
  • Design and undertake research projects that draw upon appropriate research techniques to investigate global issues, nation states, societies and/or individuals.
  • Operate as resourceful, self-directed professionals and researchers equipped with the demonstrable ability to learn and develop a broad range of social scientific skills.
  • Synthesise and communicate complex information and arguments to diverse audiences in appropriate formats.
  • Communicate ideas effectively and sensitively in a way that promotes equality and celebrates diversity and is respectful of the views, values and cultural position of others.
  • Work collaboratively, constructively and creatively in teams in a manner which values difference and recognises diverse needs, views and values
At school I really enjoyed all of my Humanity based A level subjects and struggled with the thought of having to restrict myself to just one for university. SPS has allowed me to further develop my analysis of the world through political, economical, sociological and philosophical dimensions.
Bel, BA Social and Political Sciences

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £21,950

UK (home) or international fees?

The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

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.

Additional costs

Although students may decide to purchase some textbooks or other resources, we have an extensive physical and electronic library, so that there is no requirement to do so.

Funding

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

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 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 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.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures6-7 hours per week
Seminars5-6 hours per week
Workshops0-4 hours per term

These figures are representative of a typical week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during term time. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.

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 with feedback on your work for every module.
  • 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 exams28%30%0%
Coursework59%70%100%
Practical exams13%0%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17. Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

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

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.

Career opportunities

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

  • Finance
  • Management
  • Social research
  • Public administration

Transferable skills

  • Problem solving
  • Analysis of complex ideas
  • Time management
  • Communication and reporting
I studied at the University of Lund in Sweden via SPS European exchange. 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, BA Social and Political Sciences

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAB

Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2
European Baccalaureate 80% overall
International Baccalaureate 35 points
T levels We will consider a range of T Level qualifications for entry. Please visit our dedicated T Levels page for a full list of accepted T Levels.
International foundation programme Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve C or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.
Core Maths If you achieve B or higher in Core Maths, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS (Academic and Indicator) 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

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 English language test 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.

Applying

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.

Next steps

Contact us

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School of Social and Political Sciences

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