Gain experience for your CV with the integrated placement year
We’re ranked 1st in the UK for 'value added', comparing our students entry grades with their final degree result (Guardian, 2020).
Our teaching is informed by world-leading research, which saw politics at Aston University ranked 12th in the UK for 'research quality' (Complete University Guide, 2022).
Employed Aston University social science graduates earn £7,700 (31 per cent) more than the UK average, five years after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2021).
Course outline and modules
What you’ll learn
You’ll have the opportunity to explore major 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.
You will also learn about international politics, as well as investigating the forces which influence policy and give rise to conflicts between the achievement of economic, environmental and social objectives.
The sociology strand of the course is about real-life experiences and how they relate to bigger social problems. 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 what impact official politics has on such processes, how politics is intertwined with the profit-making aims pursued by big corporations and how their combined interests dominate our social imaginations. We assess public policy responses and where they are problematic.
Our teaching is informed by our research. 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. Our teaching is constantly updated in the light of our research findings.
Our programmes 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.
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.
For International Students intending to do a foundation year, visit ONCAMPUS.
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.
- Year 1
- Introduction to Studying and Researching Politics
- British Politics since 1990
- Introduction to Social Theory
- Becoming a Social Scientist
- The Making of the Modern World
- Introduction to the European Union
- What’s Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)
- Year 2
- Political Theories and Ideologies
- Comparative Government and Politics
- Advanced Social Theory
- Research Methods
- 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
- Advanced Research Methods
- Global Society
- Embodiment and Feminist Theory
- Media and Society
- Kith and Kin
- The Social Life of Stuff
- Crime, Subversion and Injustice
- Contested Cities
- Welfare States and Welfare Change
- Organising for Social Justice
- The Politics and Policies of the European Union
- Introduction to Political Economy: Institutions and Rational Choice
- Year 3
This course is available as a 3 year BSc without a placement, or a 4 year BSc with an integrated sandwich placement. Both options are available to home, EU, and international students.
- Final Year
- Dissertation (Politics or Sociology)
- 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 & ISI
- Political Parties
- 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
- Work, Organisations and Society
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.
- A Levels
BBC (standard offer)
BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)
BCC (contextual offer*)
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.
- 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.
- Further requirements
GCSE Maths – grade C/4
GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4
- Learn more about admission to this course
All applications are considered on an individual basis and the whole application is reviewed carefully, including previous and predicted qualifications, experience, reference and your motivation to study the course. 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.
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.
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.
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.
During your final year, you will get the opportunity to select the EuroSim optional module. EuroSim is an annual international intercollegiate simulation of the European Union (EU). The purpose of this module is to educate you about the inner workings of the European Union, which will provide you with a great experience of how to use politics in a real-world setting. Find out more about the module here.
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 to help you with your final year dissertation 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 is through a combination of written and oral exams, coursework, essays, individual and group projects, presentations, class tests, research reports and an extended dissertation during your final year. Exams take place in January and May/June.
Our degrees are designed to also give you a range of transferable and practical skills to succeed within your chosen career. The programme enables students to develop a set of analytical skills and an aptitude for domestic and international employment, important at a time when Britain is reconfiguring its global position. 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.
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.
Dr Yaprak Gursoy (Politics)
Dr Tom Mills (Sociology)
Politics and International Relations Research
Fees and scholarships
UK students (2022/23)
Annual tuition fees: £9,250
During placement year: £1,250
International/EU students (2022/23)
Annual tuition fees: £16,300
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.
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.
Politics and Sociology 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.
Aston University was recognised as the 'Best University Careers/Employability Service'.
The Careers and Placements team at Aston University won the 'Best University Careers/Employability Service' category at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2020 for its use of innovative ideas to engage a high number of students with the service in order to support them with their career planning.
Aston University has strong links with national and international organisations with over 200 employers interacting with students on campus each year.
Languages for All
Learn a language for free with Aston University's Languages for All programme...
First year students at Aston have the opportunity to learn one of the following languages for free at beginners, improvers or intermediate level:
- Mandarin Chinese
Frequently asked questions
- 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.
Chat with current students