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BSc Politics and Social Policy  

Radhika Madlani - Politics and IR

One main reason Aston stands out is the the placement year. It can be life changing."

Radhika Madlani 
Parliamentary Affairs Officer, Industry and Parliament Trust

Entry requirements

ABB from 3 A-levels. General Studies accepted.


This course examines the major political, economic and social issues facing governments across the world, and the policies developed and delivered by governments and other organisations.

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Social Policy at Aston is ranked 3rd in the UK for Graduate Prospects (Complete University Guide, 2017)
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Politics & International Relations as Aston is ranked 13th in the UK by the Sunday Times League Table, 2016
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78% of Aston's Politics graduates enter graduate level destinations, according to the Guardian University Guide 2017
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Politics & International Relations is ranked Top 20 in the UK for Student Satisfaction (Complete University Guide, 2017)

3 years full time or 4 years with integrated placement year

UCAS Code: L201

Typical Offers
A-levels
: ABB from 3 A-levels. General Studies accepted. 

Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with predicted grades that fall below these entry requirements if the application is of a high standard. However, any offer made will not be lower than stated above.  In addition to your predicted grades, when making offers we also consider your previous academic performance (eg GCSEs), your school/college reference and the commitment and motivation you demonstrate for your chosen course via the personal statement. Applicants and their teachers/advisers are welcome to contact us with individual queries about entry qualifications via lss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk.  If you already have your grades and would like to check your suitability for one of our courses please contact us via e-mail.  Applicants and their teachers/advisers are welcome to contact us with individual queries about entry qualifications via lss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk. 

View our Admissions Policy. 

IB: 33 points in the IB diploma including TOK/Bonus points. Standard level Maths and English 5 required.
Access: Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in each module.  Humanities or Social Sciences Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis.
BTEC: National Extended Diploma DDD.  Mix of Diploma/ Subsidiary Diploma/A-levels acceptable.

We accept a wide range of UK, EU and International qualifications: please contact us for further advice.

Specific subject requirements:
GCSE English Language and Maths Grade C.

The information contained on this website details the typical entry requirements for this course for the most commonly offered qualifications. Applicants with alternative qualifications may wish to enquire with the relevant admissions teams prior to application whether or not their qualifications are deemed acceptable. For less commonly encountered qualifications this will be judged on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the academic admissions tutor.

Tuition fees 2017/18: £9,250 (£1,250 during placement year) for UK/EU students. £14,000 (£2,500 during placement year) for overseas students. More on fees. 

Applicants receiving offers are invited to an open day.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements. 

The placement year is an opportunity for you to set your studies in context and gain valuable professional experience. It is highly attractive to potential employers and many of our students are offered graduate jobs by their placement employer.

You can choose whether your placement has an international relations or a business focus and may be in the UK or abroad. Placements taken by Aston students are generally paid, with the average salary being around £16,000.

You will participate in lectures, tutorials, seminars, group and individual project work.  Traditional teaching is supported by a virtual learning environment that is used to host a range of electronic supporting materials.

The course deals with many topical issues, and as a result we try to incorporate current media coverage and public debates into class discussions and to link these to academic research and commentary wherever possible.

There is a much stronger emphasis on reading and on your own private, independent study than at pre-degree level. To help you manage your learning, we set out your work for the year in an online student guide. This includes full details of all modules including week-by-week lecture breakdowns, reading lists and all coursework assignments for the year with the relevant deadlines. The University offers training courses in study skills, and the Library’s Learning Development Centre provides one-to-one instruction, workshops and study guides for academic research and writing.

We use a range of assessment methods and most modules are assessed with a combination of coursework and an end of year examination. Coursework includes essays, research reports, individual and group projects, statistics assignments, class tests and both individual and group presentations. 

The School of Languages and Social Sciences has a dedicated Learning Support Team and excellent facilities including:

  • 70 computers in 4 rooms
  • Free DVD library (French, Spanish, German, English)
  • Audio and video-editing tools
  • corpus linguistics tools (Wordsmith and Antconc)
  • research software (NVIVO and PASW/SPSS)

The Social Policy strand of the course examines the major economic and social issues facing governments across the world, and the policies developed and delivered by governments and other organisations. It builds upon various A-levels, including Politics (e.g. the role of the Government), Sociology (e.g. modern forms of power), Economics (e.g. market failure), Geography (e.g. globalisation) and Business Studies (e.g. Government support for enterprise). 

The Politics strand of the course is concerned with the study of government and political action. In year one you will study introductory modules in Politics, the European Union, and governance. At the core of your second year are modules dealing with the history of political thought, as well as a focus on British, foreign and domestic policy. In your final year a politics research dissertation on an agreed topic of your choice counts for a substantial and challenging part of your programme. 

Sample module options: The modules below are indicative only. When an offer is made, students will receive a detailed programme specification which forms part of our terms and conditions.

Year 1

Core modules:
Introduction to Studying and Researching Politics
British Politics since 1945
Introduction to the European Union

Social Issues
From Social Problems to Public Policies
Becoming a Social Scientist


Year 2

Core modules:
Comparative Government and Politics
History of Political Thought

Welfare States and Welfare Change
Research Methods

Optional modules:
Introduction to Political Economy
Security Studies in a Changing Worl
Regional Politics and Society

Environmental Policy
Government and Management
Global Society
Advanced Research Methods
CSI: Crime Subversion and Injustice
Health Matters


Year 3

Optional placement year


Final Year

Core modules:
Dissertation
Research and Dissertation Skills

International Migration and Policy
Health Policy
Ageing, Society and Policy
The Challenges of Climate Change
The Citizen and the State
Corporate Power in a Globalised World

Optional modules:
EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games
The International Relations of East Asia
Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe
Political Communication
The American Presidency
Nationalism & Political Power
Political Parties and Party Systems
Conflict and Politics in Contemporary Balkans
Contemporary Conflict
Diplomacy and Soft Power
The Far Right in Europe
The Politics of Climate Change
Understanding Foreign Policy
Northeast Asia: From Conflict to Cooperation
Gender and Politics
Interest groups and lobbying
Regions and Regionalism in Europe
Contemporary Political Theory
Political Leaders: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives
Intellectuals and Politics
Power and Parliamentary Decision-Making
Ethics and International Politics

Work, Organisations and Society
Racism, class and gender
Contemporary Social Movements
Learning to Labour? Education and Society
Religion and Society
Sport, Culture and Society
Pregnancy and Politics: Cultural Norms and Family Policy
Popular Music and Society
Food and Society in a Global Context

Contact Details

Tel: 0121 204 3777
Email: lss_ugadmissions@aston.ac.uk

"Interested? I'd love to hear from you."

Balazs Szent_Ivanyi
Dr Balazs Szent-Ivanyi - Course Director

What's next?

Accommodation
Student finance
Birmingham
Open days