English and Sociology

BSc (Hons)

Discover how English works in society and make a real difference through harnessing the power of written and spoken word.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Entry requirements

BBC (standard offer)

BCC (contextual offer)


4 years with integrated placement year (international students may opt out of the placement year)

UCAS code(s)


Start date

Course overview

The BSc (Hons) English and Sociology course 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 spanning linguistics, literature, language education, inequality, racism, health, migration and more.

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. The programme delves into real-life experiences and their connections to larger social issues. You will explore the impact of social constraints, class, race, religion, and gender on inequality and life chances.

The integrated 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, work for a company or to teach, Aston University’s links with employers, schools and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability.

Together, both English and sociology will equip you with the knowledge and analytical skills that will enable you to think critically and work independently. 

Student holding laptop

“What I love about my modules within both subjects is that when it comes to assignments and essay writing you can often write about very niche topics regarding your areas of interest. I love the gothic genre, the uncanny and romantic poetry.”

Alisha Kumari
BSc (Hons) English and Sociology

Why English and Sociology at Aston University?

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Excellent prospects
Aston University was named runner-up in the University of the Year for Graduate Employment Award (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024)
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Our academics are clear
100% of students felt that teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (English and Sociology; National Student Survey, 2023)
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Earn more
Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, earning on average £36,100 five years after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2023)
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Here for you
100% of students said it was easy or very easy to contact teaching staff when they needed to (Sociology; National Student Survey, 2023)
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Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Gold - the highest possible rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)

Course description

BSc (Hons) English and Sociology

Our BSc (Hons) English and Sociology degree at Aston University will equip you with the expertise, in-depth knowledge, and practical insights needed to understand and address real-life social challenges in the 21st century.

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK’s second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you. You will benefit from applied learning, research-informed teaching and authentic assessment. As a student on this programme, you will be one of the first to know about advancements in topical research by staff across the department, even before it is published.

We are also an Adobe Creative Campus meaning you will have access to top-notch software licenses, including Adobe and Solidworks, commonly used in industry.

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies – understanding that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, a willingness to learn and an ambition and drive to excel. 

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What skills we teach
You will develop key analytical and critical thinking skills, hone writing proficiency, and unravel cultural complexities. Our graduates are articulate, creative and versatile communicators equipped with an appreciation for the written and spoken word, empowering their personal and professional growth.

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Placement year
We all know that taking a placement year will boost your employability – it’s what makes Aston University graduates some of the most employable in the country. It’s for this reason that we encourage every student to take one. The placement year gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills.

The placement year is compulsory for BSc (Hons) English and Sociology students. International students can request permission to opt out of the placement year, but we strongly recommend that it is completed where possible.

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Career prospects
As an Aston University English and Sociology graduate, you will be equipped for a range of different career options. Our recent graduates have gone on to work across the public, private and third sectors for organisations including: Airbus, BBC, Birmingham City Council, Department for Education, Deloitte, Refugee and Migrant Centre, IBM, West Midlands Police and Humankind Charity.

How you will learn

Our programme is designed to provide you with a dynamic and engaging learning experience that prepares you for a successful career in understanding and analysing complex social dynamics. Our teaching approach combines academic rigor with practical application, ensuring that you not only grasp sociological and linguistic theories and concepts but also develop communication, critical thinking and research skills that are highly valued in today's society.

You will participate in interactive lectures, small group seminars, and practical workshops led by experienced academic staff, encouraging lively discussions and exploration of diverse perspectives.

Applied modules, study trips, and the compulsory placement year will provide hands-on experience, enabling you to apply what you have learned in a professional context, whilst preparing you to tackle the complexities of a rapidly changing world.

What you will learn

Driven by the needs of industry and individuals, our course provides you with a comprehensive understanding of linguistic and sociological concepts and an ability to critically analyse these, alongside the opportunity to specialise in areas of sociology, language or literature that interest you.

First year

In your first year, you will gain knowledge of textual concepts and principles, understand how contexts affect writing and reading, explore literary and linguistic genres across time, and grasp sociological and academic principles. You'll develop critical thinking, research skills, and IT competence, while enhancing communication, collaboration, and self-reflection abilities, preparing for diverse career pathways.

Second year

Building on the first year, the second year focuses on honing communication and teamwork skills. You'll conduct empirical text reception research, incorporate diverse sources, and explore connections between literary studies and linguistics, creative writing, or genre-based theories. You will develop your understanding of academic research methods, statistical analysis, and diverse epistemologies.

Placement year

The Aston University placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills. Our award-winning careers and placements team are on hand to support you through every step of your placement journey.

Final year

In your final year, you will complete a research dissertation on an English or sociology topic of your choice, showcasing your ability to conduct independent research with a clear consideration of ethics, theory and methods. You will have the opportunity to specialise in topics you enjoy most by choosing from a range of optional modules.

Bethany Grice-Hanson English language and literature

My placement at The Prince’s Trust

Bethany Grice-Hanson discovered her passion for marketing during her placement year with The Prince’s Trust.

Course objectives

  1. Provides a syllabus with historical range, developing your knowledge and understanding of English language and literature through time.
  2. Develops your skills in close reading and text analysis, literary analysis and interpretation.
  3. Situates analysis and interpretation in historical, comparative, cultural and social contexts.
  4. Takes account of the impact of new technologies on change in linguistics theory and literary form.
  5. Provides you with the ability to analyse and understand social problems, social change and social structures.
  6. Familiarises you with key concepts in sociological theories.
  7. Familiarises you with key issues in contemporary societies.
  8. Provides you with an excellent learning experience that draws on the research and experience of Aston University academic staff.
  9. Provides training in techniques of sociological research and analysis.


Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

In your first year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
The Novel Through Time15
Introduction to Language Study30
Introduction to Social Theory30
Becoming a Social Scientist30

Year 1 outcomes

On successful completion of the first year, you will be able to:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding on concepts, terminology and principles for the study of texts.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the ways in which contexts of production and reception influence writing and reading.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the ways in which writers and readers make connections across and between texts.
  • Become familiar with the literary and linguistic genres and how these have been adapted across time.
  • Understand the underlying concepts and principles associated with sociology and English as an academic discipline, including key theoretical and ethical issues.
  • Be able to think critically and to develop lines of argument and analysis in accordance with basic social scientific theories and concepts.
  • Be able to evaluate and interpret research design, and qualitative and quantitative data and methods.
  • Have competence in the use of information technology for word processing, data handling, communication, and information gathering.
  • Be able to communicate accurately, effectively, and appropriately, presenting structured and coherent arguments, demonstrating awareness of professional norms.
  • Be able to demonstrate a range of transferrable academic skills, including an ability to reflect on your own learning and development, to engage effectively with feedback, and to work effectively and collaboratively with peers.
  • Be aware of a range of possible career pathways that graduates of the programme might pursue, and able to articulate the employability skills and attributes required in these careers.

Year 2 modules

In your second year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Reading and Society15
Written Text Analysis15
Advanced Social Theory15
Research Methods15

You will choose two of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Language and Style15
Post-apocalyptic Fiction15
Introduction to Corpus Linguistics15
Intercultural Communication15
Professional Communication15
The Language of the Law15
Literature in Film15
English Language Teaching15
Language at Work15
Spoken Discourse Analysis15
Language in the News Media15
Crime Fiction15

You will choose two of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Advanced Research Methods15
Global Society15
Embodiment and Feminist Theory15
Media and Society15
Kith and Kin: Family Lives in a Social Context15
Material Worlds: Culture, Objects and Practices15
CSI: Crime, Subversion and Injustice15
Contested Cities15

*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.

Year 2 outcomes

On successful completion of the second year, you will be able to:

  • Enhance your communication and team working skills.
  • Plan and carry out empirical work on the reception of texts and present your findings.
  • Gather, organise, and deploy wider reading from a range of sources and integrate these into your work.
  • Develop your knowledge of the links between literary study and the study of linguistics, creative writing, or genre-based theories.
  • Understand the main methods of enquiry in sociology and English as academic disciplines and have an ability to critically evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches.
  • Synthesise, explain, and evaluate different concepts, theories, and evidence to form compelling arguments.
  • Understand a range of basic descriptive and inferential statistics used in data analysis and key methods used in qualitative research.
  • Think critically and understand different epistemological approaches and how they influence analyses and interpretations.

Placement year modules

You will spend your third year on placement. You will be fully supported throughout the process by our award-winning Careers and Placements team.

Placement year

Module TitleCredits
Integrated Placement Year120

Placement year outcomes

On successful completion of the placement year, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate increasing personal and professional development through a placement.
  • Articulate key personal, cultural, professional and disciplinary knowledge and skills relevant to the placement experience and reflect on performance.
  • Clearly communicate the ways in which placement-related skills can be transferred to support ongoing personal, professional and academic development.
  • Gain experience in making informed decisions in matters related to your placement.

Final year modules

In your final year you must select one of the following core dissertation modules:

Module TitleCredits
Dissertation (Sociology)30
Dissertation (English)30

If you choose English as your dissertation subject, you will choose two of the following optional modules. If you choose sociology as your dissertation subject, you will choose four of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Cognition and Style  15
Marriage and Literature: Class, Race, Gender and Money15
Language and Literature in Education15
Ghouls, Goths and Vampires15
Leadership and Management Communication15
Advanced Leadership and Management Communication15
Language Contact and Globalisation15
Advanced Corpus Linguistics15
Reading and Wellbeing15
Learning English15
Creative Writing15
Language as Evidence15
Child Language Development15

If you choose sociology as your dissertation subject, you will choose two of the following optional modules. If you choose English as your dissertation subject, you will choose four of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Work, Organisations and Society15
Bodies, Power and Resistance15
Contemporary Social Movements15
Pregnancy and Politics15
Education for the 21st Century15
Religion and Society15
Corporate Power in a Globalised World15
Migration, Borders and Belonging15
Health Policy15
The Challenges of Climate Change15
Community Engagement15

*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.

Final year outcomes

On successful completion of the final year, you will be able to:

  • Broaden your knowledge of text genres, periods and concepts through advanced interdisciplinary study connecting the study of English to other fields of research.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time management, and pursuing continuous learning self-critically.
  • Plan, carry out and present investigations, culminating in an extended individual research study.
  • Have a systematic understanding of key aspects of sociology and English as academic disciplines.
  • Create and present sustained arguments backed up with evidence that reflects contemporary understanding of sociology and English as academic disciplines.
  • Design, undertake, and report independent social research with a clear consideration of theory, methods and ethical considerations.
  • Synthesise and critically evaluate the concepts, theories and methods used, and findings of, social scientific research.

We regularly review our modules to provide the best possible teaching and learning experience, incorporating academic developments, student feedback and employer feedback.

There may be some change to some of the modules on this course for 2025/26 entry.

We’ll make sure to let you know of any changes to modules at the earliest opportunity by updating our course webpages. 
We’ll do our best to provide as much optional choice as we can, but timetabling constraints may mean it isn’t possible to take some module combinations. The structure of some courses means that the order of modules or the streams you choose may determine whether modules are core or optional. This means that your core modules or options may differ from what’s shown here.


Entry requirements

  • A Levels

    BBC (standard offer)
    BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)
    BCC (contextual offer)

  • Contextual offers

    Aston Ready is our contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in.

Contextual offer criteria

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.

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

You must also have Standard Level grade 4 in Mathematics and grade 5 in English Language.

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.


The following T Levels are accepted qualifications for this course:

  • Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction - grade D
  • Digital Production, Design and Production - grade D
  • Education and Childcare - grade D
  • Onsite Construction - grade D
  • Building Services Engineering for Construction - grade D
  • Digital Business Services - grade D
  • Digital Support Services - grade D
  • Health - grade D
  • Healthcare Science - grade D
  • Science - grade D
  • Accounting - grade D
  • Finance - grade D
  • Management and administration - grade D
  • Design and development for engineering and manufacturing - grade D 
  • Maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing - grade D
  • Legal Services - grade D 

GCSE Maths – grade C/4

GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4

Year 1 entry: We may consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a first year degree elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A Level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
Year 2 entry: Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up to the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A Level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have successfully passed (or be expected to pass) your first year with 120 credits on an equivalent programme at another recognised university with very similar module content. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
Year 3 entry onwards: We will not be able to consider any application for Year 3 or final year. 

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose 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.

Qualifications in your country

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

International students can enter at Year 2 of this course having completed an undergraduate year one programme at the required academic level with approved teaching partners ONCAMPUS Aston or NCUK.

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.

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.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

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.

Graduate Immigration Route

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students

Annual tuition fees:£9,250
During placement year:£1,250

International students

Annual tuition fees:£18,250
During placement year:£2,500

Fees listed are for 2024 entry. For Sandwich courses the placement fee is £1250 for Home/UK students and £2,500 for International students. For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies. For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy.

For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.


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.

Explore our scholarships 


You will be assessed through a combination of written and oral examinations, class tests, individual and group coursework, projects, presentations and practical assessments. Special emphasis will be placed on authentic assessment.

Career prospects

Our BSc (Hons) English and Sociology programme will prepare you for a range of careers across the public, private and third sectors. Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, according to the 2023 Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO). This data shows that five years after graduation, employed Aston University graduates have the 15th highest median salary among all UK Higher Education Institutions, with a median salary of £36,100.

The transferable skills that our English and sociology programmes provide mean that our graduates are successful in finding employment in a wide range of roles such as:

  • Account executive
  • Communications officer
  • Copywriter
  • Direct sales executive
  • Domestic abuse support worker
  • Education consultant
  • Governance support officer
  • Graduate buyer
  • HR senior associate
  • Intensive family support worker
  • Management trainee
  • Marketing executive
  • Paralegal
  • Police officer
  • Policy adviser
  • Probation officer
  • Project manager
  • Research officer
  • Teacher

Our graduates have gone on to work at companies such as the BBC, Lloyds Banking Group, Allianz, Birmingham City Council, Deloitte, Department for Education, Humankind Charity, IBM, Nissan, Octopus Energy, Refugee and Migrant Centre, Severn Trent, Warwickshire County Council and West Midlands Police.

Parisa cover image

Making headlines around the world

English Language graduate Parisa Qurban shares how her experience at Aston University helped prepare her for her career within the BBC.

Our students achieve some amazing things during their time with us and after they graduate - whether it's setting up their own businesses, landing competitive graduate schemes, or making real differences within their communities.

Hear from our graduates


Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

Is Aston University a good place to study English?

Yes. If you're serious about studying a subject you enjoy but want the additional benefit of excellent career prospects and a quality student experience, Aston University is a great place to study English.

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.

How will a placement year benefit me?

Whether you choose to study abroad or do a work placement, Aston University’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.

Find out more

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham


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