Politics and Social Policy BSc 2021

Study the BSc Politics and Social Policy degree course at Aston University to examine the major political, economic and social issues facing governments and societies across the world, and how the policies they develop impact on all our lives.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

 

Course type

Full-time

Course format

Placement year (UK/abroad)

Duration

4 year with integrated placement year / 3 year course without integrated placement.

UCAS code(s)

L201

Start date

Overview
Explore Politics and Social Policy BSc at Aston University

Here's for the ones who do things differently and carve out their own path

Max Avard Politics and Social Policy

“I’ve really loved my time at Aston. The content of the Politics and Social Policy course always varied and the lecturers were passionate, professional and responsive to my needs. The year in industry has helped me feel so much more confident moving into the jobs market and most of all Birmingham is a city full of life and opportunities too!”

Max Avard

BSc Politics and Social Policy

Max Avard Politics and Social Policy

“I’ve really loved my time at Aston. The content of the Politics and Social Policy course always varied and the lecturers were passionate, professional and responsive to my needs. The year in industry has helped me feel so much more confident moving into the jobs market and most of all Birmingham is a city full of life and opportunities too!”

Max Avard

BSc Politics and Social Policy

Course outline and modules

What you’ll learn

On this course, you’ll have the opportunity to explore political topics going beyond the UK and Europe, covering North America, South Asia, China, Japan or the emerging global powers. You will not only study the traditional subjects of the discipline, such as security, political economy or democratisation but also have the chance to delve into ethics, sports, gender, protests or religion.

Social Policy

On the social policy strand of the course, you’ll examine why governments take decisions in key policy areas and develop a detailed understanding of processes of policy making at global, national and local levels of government.

Through our flagship ‘Becoming a Social Scientist’ module and beyond, you'll be equipped with the skills you need, such as research design, use of the comparative method and written and oral presentation skills, to research what matters to you.

You will also study the nature of policy delivery and management by various organisations, such as local governments, schools and businesses. Finally, and most importantly, the programme explores in depth the outcomes and consequences of various government policies on the economy and society in areas from education to the environment.

An optional 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’s links with employers, schools and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability and explore the world of work.

If you choose to take a placement year, this will take place during your third year at Aston and is worth 10 per cent 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 and in your second year we'll make sure you're ready to get the most from this opportunity. 

You will also have the opportunity to produce a substantial piece of individual work in the form of a dissertation on an agreed topic of your choice.

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 and our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

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 and 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.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020 at universities with a track record of compliance with immigration policy. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

Modules

Year 1

Core modules:

  • Introduction to Studying and Researching Politics
  • British Politics since 1990
  • Critical Debates in Society and Policy
  • From Social Problems to Public Policies
  • Becoming a Social Scientist

 

Optional modules:

  • The Making of the Modern World
  • Introduction to the European Union
  • What’s Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)
Year 2

Core modules:

  • Political Theories and Ideologies
  • Comparative Government and Politics
  • Critical Policy Analysis
  • Research Methods

 

Optional modules:

  • West European Politics and Society
  • Russian and East European Politics and Society
  • North American Politics and Society
  • East Asian Politics and Society: China and Japan
  • South Asian Politics and Society
  • Environmental Policy
  • Welfare States and Welfare Change
  • Global Society
  • CSI: Crime Subversion and Injustice
  • Contested Cities
  • The Politics and Policies of the European Union
  • Introduction to Political Economy: Institutions and Rational Choice
Year 3

Integrated placement year - find out more about the Aston placement year.

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • Dissertation (Politics or Social Policy)

 

Optional modules:

  • A Great Misunderstanding: Britain and the EU
  • African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day
  • America in the World
  • The American Presidency
  • BRICS and Emerging Power Shifts in World Politics
  • Chinese Politics and Society
  • Conflict and Intervention
  • Democracy, Authoritarianism and Regime Change
  • Diplomacy and Soft Power
  • Ethics and International Relations
  • EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games
  • Gender and Politics
  • Interest Groups and Lobbying
  • International Institutions
  • Nationalism and Political Power
  • Political Communication
  • Leaders and Leadership: Case Studies and Comparative Perspectives
  • Politics and Islam: Past and Present
  • Politics and Protest in a Globalised World
  • Politics of Development
  • Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe
  • Sport and Politics
  • The International Relations of East Asia
  • The Populist Radical Right in Europe
  • Understanding Foreign Policy
  • Debates in Contemporary British Politics
  • Changing Patterns of Warfare
  • Intelligence Agencies and the Modern World – MI6, CIA and ISI
  • Political Parties
  • Migration, Borders and Belonging
  • Health Policy
  • The Challenges of Climate Change
  • Corporate Power in a Globalised World
  • Work, Organisations and Society
  • Bodies, Power and Resistance
  • Contemporary Social Movements
  • Education and Digital Society
  • Religion and Society
  • Pregnancy and Politics: Cultural Norms and Family Policy
  • Community Engagement

 

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-CCC from 3 A Levels. General Studies accepted.

BBC in 3 A Level subjects

BCC with B in Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or Core Maths

CCC in 3 A level subjects for our contextual offer scheme*

We welcome applications from students who have tried to improve their examination grades by taking resits. We treat these applications in exactly the same way as other applications.

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

BTEC

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM  

BTEC Diploma (QCF/National) with A Levels - Distinction, Merit (DM) and Grade B at A Level

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma (QCF) or Extended Certificate (national) with A Levels – Distinction (D) and grades BC at A Level.

IB

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

Standard level Maths and English grade 5 required in lieu of GCSE English and Maths grade C/4.

Access to HE & other

Pass Access to HE Diploma with Merit in each module. Humanities, Social Sciences or Business Access course preferred, but other courses considered on an individual basis.

EPQ: A Level applicants who meet our offer criteria will be made the standard offer for their programme of choice.

Other qualifications: If your qualification is not listed, please contact us using the form at the bottom of the page.

International qualifications: International students can discover more about the qualifications we accept on our international pages. 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.

Foundation Programme in Social Sciences (Aston University): For students with good A-level (or equivalent) grades, but who narrowly miss our standard requirements, it is also possible to gain entry to this course by completing a Foundation Year, although please note the progression requirements.

GCSE

GCSE English Language and Maths grade C/4.  

 

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 Year may be offered as an alternative to the degree course if lower entry grades are achieved.

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

In addition to your predicted grades, when making offers we also consider your previous academic performance (e.g. GCSEs), your school/college reference and the commitment and motivation you demonstrate for your chosen course via the personal statement.

Application for second year entry will be considered by the programme director if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, successful applicants for second year entry will:

  • Have A Level (or equivalent) qualifications similar to those required for first year entry
  • Have gained (or be expected to gain) 120 credits on an equivalent programme at another recognised university
  • Obtained (or be expected to obtain) an overall average of 60 per cent or above on an equivalent programme at another recognised university
  • Have not previously attempted the second year of a programme elsewhere

Individual programmes may have additional requirements in addition to those stated above. These will be clarified upon application.

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.

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.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching

You will be involved in lectures, tutorials, seminars, e-seminars, small-group work, project work and independent study. Many of your modules will be in a 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 for group and collaborative work. Students undertake a major piece of independent research in the final year.

Study skills

The scheduled contact hours are only part of your learning and development journey. 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 an academic supervisor for this work and 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 online student guides and module handouts, which include full details of all modules including week-by-week lecture breakdowns, reading lists and all coursework assignments for the year.

 Assessment

Assessment is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, individual and group projects, research reports, presentations and an extended dissertation during your final year. Exams take place in January and May/June.

Personal development

Our degrees are designed to also give you a range of transferable and practical skills to succeed within your chosen career. We make extensive use of group working and presentations to prepare you for the reality of working life. This experience will develop your team working and negotiating skills.

The optional placement year can give you genuine practical work experience to add to your CV, which will further boost your employability.

Placement Year

The integrated placement year gives you the genuine, practical work experience that is invaluable in developing an appreciation of issues such as office politics, which cannot be replicated in the lecture room.

We have a dedicated Employer Team within our Careers and Placements department who have links with local, national and international organisations and advertise vacancies to students through an online platform exclusively for Aston students and graduates.  

Find out more about the Aston placement year, and view the careers and placements page.

Programme Director(s)

Dr Yaprak Gursoy (Politics)

Dr Tom Mills (Social Policy)

Fees and scholarships

UK students (2021/22)

Annual tuition fees: £9,250

During placement year: £1,250

International students (2021/22)

Annual tuition fees: £15,950

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 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. When undertaking a placement year a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

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

Politics and Social Policy graduates go on to a range of professions with recent roles including Broadcast Journalist, Editorial Assistant, Civil Service Administrator, Human Resources Officer, Marketing Trainee, Policy Officer, Research Assistant, Solicitor, Languages Teacher, Account Manager, Analyst, Business Analyst, Corporate Engagement Executive, Public Policy and Strategic Relationships Intern.

Potential employers include Morgan Stanley, the Department for International Development, HSBC, Bosch, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Economic Commission.

Frequently asked questions

Why should I study Politics and Social Policy at Aston?

The BSc Politics and Social Policy joint honours degree programme at Aston 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) with an optional placement year to enhance your global employability.  Teaching is informed by world-leading research that saw Politics ranked 12th in the UK for Research Quality (Complete University Guide, 2020).

Why should I do a placement year with Aston?

Aston is one of the leading universities for professional placements abroad. A placement year at home or abroad gives 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 on many of our undergraduate programmes. 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’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.

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.

 

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