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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: 2020

UCAS code

LL32

Institution code

Y50

Length

3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fees

£17,890 per year (2020/21)

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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 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, teamwork and leadership.
Kyle, BA Social and Political Sciences

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:

Year 1

Your 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.

Core modules

You'll study three core modules:

Option modules:

You'll choose one option module. Current options include:

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'll choose three modules from a wide range offered by the three departments. Current options include:

Department of Sociology

Department of Politics

Department of Social Policy

Year 3

Dissertation

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'll choose four option modules. Current options include:

Department of Sociology

Department of Politics

Department of Social Policy

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

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:

  • Make critical and analytical contributions to our collective understanding of emerging global issues and the changing social and political world by continually engaging with social scientific theories and research. Graduates will be equipped with the knowledge and expertise required for higher degrees in the social sciences and equivalent level qualifications.
  • Relate theoretical and applied knowledge in the social sciences to contemporary social and political problems and draw on insights from individual disciplines in the analysis of broader questions and challenges.
  • Design and undertake ethical and responsible research projects which draw upon appropriate research techniques and statistical expertise, in order to challenge commonly held assumptions, evaluate real-life interactions and test proposed hypotheses.
  • Operate as resourceful, self-directed and reflective professionals and researchers, reflecting critically on personal strengths and limitations, and continuing to learn and develop skills.
  • Synthesise and communicate complex, sensitive information and arguments to diverse audiences, in appropriate formats, via a range of media and digital technologies.
  • Work creatively with teams, multi-agency groups, institutions and the public in ways that are considered, and respectful of the views, values and cultural position of others.
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/EU International
£9,250 £17,890

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.

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.

Funding

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2020/21 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 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 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 based on an average student in an average 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.

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 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, BA Social and Political Sciences

Entry requirements

Qualification 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

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:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
PTE Academic 62 overall with no less than 51 in all components
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with 162 or better in each component
TOEFL 88 overall, with at least 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking, 17 in Writing
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 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.

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.

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School of Social and Political Sciences

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