English and Sociology BSc

Study a BSc (Hons) English and Sociology degree course at Aston University and you’ll learn not just how to understand the world, but how to change it.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Full-time (Hons)

Course format

Placement year (UK/abroad)

Duration

4 years with integrated placement year /

3 years without integrated placement year (option only available for international/EU students)

UCAS code(s)

QL33

Start date

Overview
Explore English and Sociology at Aston University

From journalism and writing to teaching and marketing, our students are all here for a reason. Discover how you can become an expert communicator with an English degree at Aston University.

Dr Graeme Hayes, Head of Department for Sociology and Policy, discusses some of the big topics and questions you'll be exploring on a sociology or policy course, here at Aston University.

NUE careers award

The Careers and Placements team at Aston University has been voted ‘best university placement team’ in the National University Employability (NUE) Awards 2022.

Society matters podcast

Whatever the matter,
Society matters.

Hear about some of the fascinating academic research taking place into current issues facing our society.

Click here to listen now.

Course outline and modules

What you’ll learn

In English, you’ll harness the power of the written and spoken word to discover how English works in society and become an expert communicator. The English programme has been designed with your future in mind, linking your studies to professionally relevant contexts with practical applications. It is directly informed by the research expertise of our staff, who specialise in disciplines including literary linguistics, forensic linguistics, language education, workplace communication, corpus linguistics, and contemporary and historical literature.

We study everything from poetry and plays to news reporting and social media, providing you with the opportunity to develop skills in linguistic analysis, while exploring literary genres from Shakespeare to post-apocalyptic science fiction, considering periods from the seventeenth century to the present day. You’ll study literacy as a social practice and explore how and why people read and write at all levels of society. You’ll develop theoretical knowledge, cutting-edge linguistic skills, and techniques in close reading and literary analysis, with applications in legal, educational, and business contexts and beyond. We will train you to critically engage with a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, and you’ll have the chance to develop your skills as a writer through our creative writing module.

Meanwhile, sociology is about real-life, everyday experiences. Our research-led teaching brings social theory to the study of pressing issues in the modern age, such as migration, climate change, welfare, crime, health, and sexuality. We focus on key contemporary issues, social policy and decision-making, global trends, and international comparisons.

In sociology, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of social processes, organisational dynamics, and inter-group relationships. We explore the social constraints we encounter in our everyday lives and how they are reinforced by class, race, religion, and gender. To understand how these issues perpetuate existing inequalities and unequal life chances, we analyse how policy is intertwined with the profit-making aims pursued by big corporations and how their combined interests dominate our social imaginations. When learning about contemporary topics such as inequality, racism, health, migration, sexuality, identity, education, the media, crime, and climate change, you will be taught by experts in these fields.

Together, both English and sociology will equip you with the knowledge and analytical skills that will enable you to think critically and work independently. This includes how to design a research project, collect empirical data, handle complex datasets (e.g., through applying coding techniques) and, most importantly, develop an advanced analytical mindset. This training will be essential for your final-year dissertation, during which you will carry out your own individual research project. This experience will provide you with a skillset that is highly desired in a wide range of industries and areas of work.

International students

Information for international applicants

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different countries chose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

For more information on applying as an international student, visit our webpage: www.aston.ac.uk/international/students-applying

 

Post-study work visa

Graduate Immigration Route

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Find out more information about the Graduate Immigration Route.

Foundation programme

Choosing to start your Aston journey with our foundation programme in social science will help you develop specialist knowledge to ensure that you are fully prepared to study your chosen undergraduate course. During your foundation year, you’ll have excellent support from academics while group projects will give you the chance to meet new people, make new friends and build a network of peers who will share your university journey. We also have a Learning Development Centre that can provide additional support and offer pre-sessional English language programmes.

For International Students intending to do a foundation year, visit ONCAMPUS

 

Modules

Year 1

Core modules:

  • The Novel Through Time
  • Stylistics
  • Introduction to Language Study
  • Introduction to Social Theory
  • Becoming a Social Scientist
Year 2

Core modules:

  • Reading and Society
  • Written Text Analysis
  • Advanced Social Theory
  • Research Methods

 

Optional modules:

  • Language and Style
  • Post-apocalyptic Fiction
  • Sociolinguistics
  • Introduction to Corpus Linguistics
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Professional Communication
  • The Language of the Law
  • Literature in Film
  • English Language Teaching
  • Language at Work
  • Spoken Discourse Analysis
  • Language in the News Media
  • Crime Fiction
  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Global Society
  • Embodiment and Feminist Theory
  • Media and Society
  • Kith and Kin
  • Material Worlds: Culture, Objects and Practices
  • CSI: Crime, Subversion and Injustice
  • Racisms
  • Contested Cities
  • Welfare
  • Organising for Social Justice
Year 3

The Aston placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and is compulsory for all home students. International/EU students can request permission to opt out of the placement year, but we strongly recommend that it is completed where possible.

Find out more about the Aston placement year.

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • Dissertation (English or Sociology)

 

Optional modules:

  • Cognition and Style
  • Marriage in Literature: Class, Race, Gender and Money
  • Language and Literature in Education
  • Ghouls, Goths and Vampires
  • Leadership and Management Communication
  • Advanced Leadership and Management Communication
  • Language Contact and Globalisation
  • Advanced Corpus Linguistics
  • Reading and Wellbeing
  • Learning English
  • Creative Writing
  • Language as Evidence
  • Child Language Development
  • Work, Organisations and Society
  • Bodies, Power and Resistance
  • Contemporary Social Movements
  • Pregnancy and Politics
  • Education for the 21st Century
  • Religion and Society
  • Corporate Power in a Globalised World
  • Migration, Borders and Belonging
  • Health Policy
  • The Challenges of Climate Change
  • Community Engagement
  • Elites

 

Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Entry requirements

Typical offers:

A Levels

BBC (standard offer)

BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)

BCC (contextual offer*)

IB

29 points overall with grades 5, 5, 4 in 3 higher level subjects.

Standard level Maths and English grade 4 required in lieu of GCSE English and Maths grade C/4.

BTEC, Access & other

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM (standard offer)

The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate/BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry onto degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that are equivalent to three full A2 Levels.

We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 45 credits at Level 3. You must obtain a minimum of 30 distinction and the rest must be at merit or distinction. Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement.

T Levels

The following T levels are accepted qualifications for this course:

  • T-Level - Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction Grade D
  • T-Level - Digital Production, Design and Production Grade D
  • T-Level – Education and Childcare Grade D
  • T-Level – Onsite Construction Grade D
  • T-Level – Building Services Engineering for Construction Grade D
  • T-Level – Digital Business Services Grade D
  • T-Level – Digital Support Services Grade D
  • T-Level – Health Grade D
  • T-Level – Healthcare Science Grade D
  • T-Level – Science Grade D
GCSEs

GCSE Maths – grade C/4

GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4

Learn more about admission to this course

View our Admissions Policy.

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, initial offers will not be lower than stated above).

Entry onto our Foundation Programme may be offered as an alternative to the degree course if lower entry grades are achieved. Aston University welcomes applications from students with a wide range of qualifications from the UK and overseas, including combinations of qualifications. If your qualifications are not listed here and you wish to check whether they meet the entry requirements for this course, please contact the university.

Please note that General Studies does not contribute towards the UCAS points requirement but is welcomed as an additional qualification.

International students

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.

For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage. 

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston. Find out more.

*For details on our Aston Ready contextual offer scheme, please see here.  

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching

You will engage in a range of learning activities including lectures, tutorials, seminars, e-seminars, group work, project work, and independent study. Many of your modules will be taught in a seminar format, bridging theoretical input with practical activities, and allowing you to develop your understanding in discussion with your tutor and fellow students. You will complete a major piece of independent research (a dissertation) in the final year.

Study skills

At university, there is a much stronger emphasis on reading and on your own private, independent study than at pre-degree level. 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. You will be allocated a personal tutor who can provide you with help and advice throughout your studies.

To help you manage your learning, we set out your work for the year in a standardised online learning environment, which provides full details of all modules, including week-by-week breakdowns, reading lists and all coursework assignments for the year.

Assessment

Assessment is through a combination of exams, coursework, essays, portfolios, presentations, and an extended dissertation in your Final Year. Exams take place in January and May/June.

Programme Director(s)

Dr Robbie Love (English)

Dr Tom Mills / Dr Sarah-Jane Page (Sociology)

Fees and scholarships

UK students (2024/25)

Annual tuition fees: £9,250

During placement year: £1,250

International/EU students (2024/25)

Annual tuition fees: TBC

During placement year: £2,500

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as home students. Further information can be found here.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees and funding

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs. Find out more about our scholarships here.

Career prospects

The course will develop your communication, critical thinking, team working and presentation skills - all of which are in high demand by employers across a range of sectors and industries. What’s more, you’ll undertake an integrated placement year during the course to further boost your employability.

English graduates go on to a variety of professions in industries including publishing, marketing, education, journalism, entertainment, politics, and law. Sociology graduates go on to a range of professions, with recent graduate roles including Business Analyst, Digital Marketer, Corporate Engagement Executive, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Languages Teacher, Project Manager, Recruitment Administrator, Insurance Broker, Mental Health Support Worker, National Project Coordinator, Support Worker, and Procurement Manager.

Recent graduates have gone on to work at companies including IBM, Capgemini, Virgin Active, Hayes, Bosch, British Gas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Airbus and The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

NUE

Aston University was recognised as the 'Best University Placement Service'.

The Careers and Placements team at Aston University won the 'Best University Placement Service' category at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2022. This was achieved by launching Virtual Employability Festivals and recognising the power of peer-to-peer communication by pairing 500 students looking for placements with 500 students who had completed placements.

Frequently asked questions

Why study English and Sociology at Aston University?

Employed Aston University English graduates earn £5,300 (23 per cent) more than the UK average, five years after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2021). English at Aston University was ranked 2nd in the UK for ‘graduate prospects’ (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2021). A whole range of potential careers are available after graduating, across the public, private, and third sectors.

Why do a placement year at Aston University?

The innovative Aston University placement year offers the chance to apply your learning in a work or study placement in the UK or overseas. Whether you choose to study abroad or do a work placement, Aston’s links with employers and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability and explore the world of work. Our work placements give you the opportunity to apply what you have learnt on your course while gaining valuable professional and paid experience. It can enhance your graduate employment prospects and help you to make more informed career decisions. Around one in five of our placement students are offered graduate jobs by their placement employer.

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study – it is also a great place to live.

Aston University's professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence, and opportunities, and as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career.

Choosing to start your Aston University journey with our Foundation Programme in Social Sciences will help you develop specialist knowledge to ensure that you are fully prepared to study your chosen undergraduate course.

Chat with current students

 
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