BSc Politics and Sociology

Why choose this course?
  • Politics & International Relations as Aston is ranked 13th in the UK by the Sunday Times League Table, 2016
  • Politics & International Relations is ranked Top 20 in the UK for Student Satisfaction (Complete University Guide, 2017)
  • Politics at Aston is ranked 11th for Teaching Quality in the Sunday Times League Table 2016.
  • 78% of Aston’s Politics graduates enter graduate level destinations, according to the Guardian University Guide 2017
  • Sociology at Aston is ranked Top 20 in the UK for Research Quality (Complete University Guide, 2017)

  • Aston's Sociology course is ranked Top 25 in the UK in the Sunday Times League Table, 2016.

Download the Politics and International Relations subject brochure.  

Download the Sociology subject brochure. 

3 years full time or 4 years with integrated placement year

UCAS Code: LL42

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

If your predicted grades are close to those stated in Aston's typical offers and if you are interested in Aston University and the courses we offer we encourage you to apply to us as one of your 5 UCAS choices. In addition to your predicted grades, when making offers we also consider your previous academic performance (eg AS grades, 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.

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.

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. 

Subject guide and modules

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.
The Sociology strand of the course will provide you with an in-depth understanding of social processes, social change, organisational dynamics and inter-group relationships.  You will complete introductory and intermediate modules in research methods in preparation for designing your own independent research project in the Final Year. You will also take courses that deal with more complex issues including the relationship between science and ‘race’, reproductive politics, corporate power, climate change, ageing, religion and media power.

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.

The Sociology strand of the course will provide you with an in-depth understanding of social processes, organisational dynamics and inter-group relationships. 

They combine an introduction to specific skills such as research design and use of comparative method, with an emphasis on social change. Strengths of the programme include its focus on key contemporary social issues, social policy and decision making, and international comparisons of social structures and policies.

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 Theory 1
Becoming a Social Scientist

Year 2

Core modules:
Comparative Government and Politic
History of Political Thought

Research Methods
Contemporary Social Theory

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

Advanced Contemporary Social Theory
Advanced Research Methods
Global Society
Embodiment and Feminist Theory
CSI: Crime, Subversion and Injustice
Media and Society
Kith and Kin: Family Lives in a Social Context
The Social Life of Stuff
Health Matters
Race and Racisms
Contested Cities and Changing Neighbourhoods

Year 3

Optional placement year

Final Year

Core modules:
Research and Dissertation Skills

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 Balkan
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

Ageing, Society, and Policy
Work, Organisations and Society
Racism, Class and Gender
Contemporary Social Movements
Corporate Power in a Globalised World
Sport, Culture and Society
Pregnancy and Politics
Food and Society in a Global Context
Learning to Labour: Education and Society
Religion and Society
Popular Music and Society
International Migration and Policy
Health Policy
The Challenges of Climate Change
The Citizen and the State

The Placement Year is optional for students studying Politics and Sociology. If you choose to take a placement year, this will take place during your third year at Aston and is worth 10% of the final degree result. Unlike some other universities, the placement year at Aston is not a ''bolt-on'' year, it is an integral part of your degree for which you are prepared in your second year. 

A distinctive feature of our placement year is the flexibility that we offer. You will be able to choose between undertaking a paid work-experience placement with a company, or working as a teaching assistant in a school (either in the UK or abroad) - you might even choose to combine two of these options.  

We are extremely proud of the high level of preparation, orientation and support that we provide before and during your year abroad. We have a full-time Placements Team who will give you plenty of individual help and advice, and even come and visit you during your time away.  

Find out more about the Placement Year.

You will be involved in lectures and seminars, small group work projects and independent study. Many of your modules will be in workshop format, alternating theoretical input with practical analysis, and allowing you to test out your understanding in discussion with other students and your tutor. There are also opportunities fro group and collaborative work. Students undertake a major piece of independent research in Final Year.

You will be allocated an academic supervisor for this work and a Personal Tutor who can provide you with help and advice throughout your studies.

Assessment is through a combination of exams, project-based course work, essays, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year.

Our graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers who value their understanding of different organisations, their communication skills and motivation for team work.  

For information on graduate destinations please see the careers service:  


Professor John Gaffney - Professor of Politics

John Gaffney

“I became interested in politics because, when I was younger, I realised everything was political in some way – whether you could afford to go to university, for example – or whether you could afford not to! I became particularly interested in how leaders persuaded us of what we should do about injustices in the world, and how to make things better. All my teaching and research are about leadership and persuasion and how the world works politically. One really fascinating thing to do is to compare different countries to see similarities and differences between their histories and political cultures. My favourite place (outside the UK!) is France, and I often appear on British and French TV and radio, and I blog, and write in letters to The Guardian and do opinion pieces for New Statesman, Cnn.opinion, huffington post etc to try and persuade people I am right!”

Dr Chrissie Rogers - Senior Lecturer in Sociology

Chrissie Rogers

“Sociology enables us to understand the personal and private lives of individuals and engage with the messy nature of everyday life. All of this can then be viewed in the context of the public sphere. For example, one of my areas of research is around the impacts of inclusion and exclusion for children and young people and in the UK ‘Every Child Matters’ promotes a meaningful sense of well-being for all children and ‘Education for All’ positions a global inclusive education strategy. These are just two of the policy contexts that address education as a means to promote inclusion and meaningful learning. But do they? Large numbers of pupils are not included, have poor educational experiences and are either marginalised or demonised. Education is failing children and young people. Not least of all because they are disengaged, alienated and excluded from a meaningful learning process. League tabling and competitive schooling is stifling. We need to address these divisions as sociologists. This focus is just one area that within teaching sociology we can really get to the heart of understanding difference and diversity. More broadly, as a sociologist I have written Parenting and Inclusive Education, Critical Approaches to Care (with Susie Weller) as well as working on Intellectual Disability and Social Theory.”

Contact Details

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

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Keep In Touch

Student Profile

Student Profile

Michelle Lee

BSc Politics and Sociology

My placement year was spent in one of the busiest cities in the world, Central London. This gave me an incredible insight into the Consulting world and a fantastic opportunity to network across the globe. IBM sets their standards well above the average and gave me challenging roles that truly provided me with an invaluable life experience.


Graduate Profile

Graduate Profile

Chloe Piper, Graduate 2013

BSc Sociology

During my Placement Year I worked full time in a homeless centre in Central London. I worked as a fundraiser and also helped to run activity sessions in creative writing, ICT and art. My Placement Year helped me discover what field I want to go into after I graduate.




Outstanding graduate career prospects


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