Politics and Sociology

BSc (Hons)

Are you ready to unravel complex societal structures and influence our collective future through the power of politics?

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Full-time
Entry requirements

BBC (standard offer)

BCC (contextual offer)

Duration

3 or 4 years

UCAS code(s)

LL42

Start date

Course overview

Studying BSc (Hons) Politics and Sociology at Aston University will develop your sociological imagination whilst honing your critical thinking and analytical skills to understand global politics and the broader implications of individual actions in society.

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.

You will have the opportunity to explore major political topics going beyond the UK and Europe, covering Africa, Asia and North America. You will delve into international politics, analysing the dynamic political, economic and social forces that shape policies, cause conflicts and facilitate cooperation.

You will be taught by research-active staff who are experts in their respective fields and who constantly update their teaching based on the newest research findings. Opting for the placement year will provide you with invaluable real-world experience, boosting your employability.

Why Politics and Sociology at Aston University?

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Our academics are clear
96% of students felt that staff were good or very good at explaining things (Politics programmes; National Student Survey, 2023)
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Our full attention
We were ranked 7th in the UK for ‘student to staff ratio’ (Politics; Guardian, 2024)
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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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Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Gold - the highest possible rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
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Safe in our hands
Sociology at Aston University was ranked 14th in the UK for ‘graduate prospects – on track’ (Complete University Guide, 2024)

Course description

BSc (Hons) Politics and Sociology

Our BSc (Hons) Politics and Sociology degree will give you an in-depth understanding of some of the biggest political topics in the modern era, alongside social processes, social change, organisational dynamics and inter-group relationships.

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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 be equipped with the knowledge and analytical skills which will enable you to think critically and address big questions around how society is organised. Our graduates are empathetic, culturally-aware changemakers who are equipped with the right skills to make an impact in their chosen careers.

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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 optional for BSc (Hons) Politics and Sociology students. Even if you choose not to opt for the placement year, you will still benefit from some of the employability-focused modules within your second and final year.

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Career prospects
As an Aston University Politics 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: Civil Service, Birmingham City Council, National Citizen Service, Trafford Housing Trust and Solihull Community Housing.

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 political and sociological theories and concepts but also develop critical thinking and research skills essential in today’s world.

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 option for a placement year will provide hands-on experience and enable you to explore everyday issues, preparing you to tackle the complexities of a rapidly changing world.

At the start of your course, you will be allocated a personal tutor who can offer individual study advice and guidance. You will also benefit from access to the University Library's extensive collection of over 25,000 books and electronic journals.

What you will learn

Driven by the needs of society and future employers, our course provides you with a comprehensive understanding of key political and sociological concepts and the ability to critically analyse these, alongside the opportunity to specialise in areas of politics and sociology that interest you.

First year

In your first year, you will grasp the foundational principles and concepts associated with politics and sociology, including key theoretical and ethical issues. You will identify key perspectives in modern social theory, explore theoretical approaches to social inequalities and identities, and engage with examples of current political affairs. 

Second year

Building upon the foundations acquired in your first year, in your second year you will delve deeper into concepts and theories of politics and sociology. You will analyse political ideas and issues of security and political economy, and you will grow your understanding of regional power dynamics whilst developing your analytical and communication skills.

Placement year

The placement year is optional for BSc (Hons) Politics and Sociology students. While we recognise the significant employability benefits that come with opting for a placement year, it's important to highlight that for this programme it's entirely your choice. Aston University graduates are renowned for their employability, and we highly recommend considering a placement year. 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 a topic of your choice relating to politics or sociology, showcasing your ability to conduct independent research with a clear consideration of ethics, theory and methods. You will specialise in topics you enjoy most by choosing from a range of optional modules.

Sheena Desai

My placement year at Agilent Technologies

Sheena Desai took every opportunity available to her at Aston University which has supported her to grow and thrive in her career today.

Course objectives

  1. Provides you with an excellent learning experience that draws on the research and other expertise of academic staff.
  2. Equips you as a well-qualified and highly employable graduate with key skills for lifelong learning.
  3. Provides you with an understanding of the theories, values, structures, relationships and decision-making procedures of government and society at local, regional, and national level.
  4. Develops your use of different methods of political analysis drawing on history, political philosophy and the social sciences.
  5. Encourages you to think critically about events and ideas.
  6. Provides you with a gamut of intellectual tools for addressing a wide range of questions of public concern.
  7. Provides you with a good understanding of the history of sociological thought, and sociological theories and methods.
  8. Provides you with the ability to analyse and understand social problems, social change and social structures.
  9. Develops your familiarity with key concepts in sociological theories.
  10. Develops your familiarity with key issues in contemporary societies.
  11. Provides training in techniques of sociological research and analysis.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

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

Module TitleCredits
Introduction to Studying and Researching Politics30
British Politics since 199015
Introduction to Social Theory30
Becoming a Social Scientist30
Total105

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
The Making of the Modern World15
What’s Trending (Current Affairs in Politics and International Relations)15

Year 1 outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the nature and significance of politics as a human activity in national, regional/European and international or global frameworks.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic theories and methods, including philosophical and historical approaches, used in the study of politics as applied to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices.
  • Present, evaluate and interpret research design and qualitative and quantitative data and methods, in order to develop lines of argument and make sound judgements in accordance with basic theories and concepts of social and political science.
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches to solving political problems, including European ones.
  • Demonstrate experience in working independently and managing time.
  • Understand the underlying concepts and principles associated with sociology and politics as academic disciplines, including key theoretical and ethical issues.
  • Think critically and develop lines of argument and analysis in accordance with basic social scientific theories and concepts.
  • Demonstrate competence in the use of information technology for word processing, data handling, communication, and information gathering.
  • Communicate accurately, effectively, and appropriately, presenting structured and coherent arguments, and demonstrating awareness of professional norms.
  • Demonstrate a range of transferable 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 others to achieve common goals.
  • Demonstrate awareness of a range of possible career pathways that graduates of the programme might pursue, and 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
Political Theories and Ideologies15
Comparative Government and Politics15
Research Methods15
Advanced Research Methods15
Total60

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Politics and Society of the Middle East15
West European Politics and Society15
North American Politics and Society15
East Asian Politics and Society: China and Japan15
South Asian Politics and Society15

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
The Politics and Policies of the European Union15
Introduction to Political Economy: Institutions and Rational Choice15

You will choose two of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Social Theory for a Changing World15
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
Racisms15
Contested Cities15
Welfare15
Health and Society15

*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:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding of the theories of politics as applied to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and practices.
  • Understand different national and regional/European political systems; the nature and distribution of power in them; the social, economic, historical and cultural contexts within which they operate, and the relationships between them.
  • Apply the concepts and principles of political science in contexts outside of which they were first studied, including an employment context.
  • Use established techniques to construct reasoned argument, gather and synthesise relevant information, evaluate different concepts, theories, and evidence and exercise critical judgement to form compelling arguments.
  • Communicate information, arguments and analysis in a variety of forms effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences and deploy key techniques effectively.
  • Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management skills.
  • Understand the main methods of enquiry in politics and sociology as academic disciplines and have an ability to critically evaluate the appropriateness of different approaches.
  • 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

The placement year is optional for BSc (Hons) Politics and Sociology students.

If you opt for an integrated placement year, 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:

  • Apply knowledge, skills and competencies within a real work-based situation, and/or in a foreign context.
  • 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 and on practical applications of subject knowledge.
  • Communicate clearly the ways in which placement-related skills can be transferred to support ongoing personal, professional and academic development.

Final year modules

In your final year you will study at least one of the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Research Skills and Politics Dissertation30
Dissertation (Sociology)30

If you take the politics dissertation, or both dissertations, you will choose two of the following optional modules. If you take the sociology dissertation only, you will choose four of the following optional modules*:

Module TitleCredits
African Politics: From the Colonial Period to the Present Day15
America in the World15
The American Presidency15
Chinese Politics and Society15
Conflict and Intervention15
Diplomacy and Soft Power15
EuroSim: Learning Negotiation through Simulation Games15
Gender and Politics15
Interest Groups and Lobbying15
Politics and Islam: Past and Present15
Politics and Protest in a Globalised World15
Politics of Development15
Religion and Politics in Contemporary Europe15
Sport and Politics15
Technology and Digital Politics15
The International Relations of East Asia15
The Populist Radical Right in Europe15
Debates in Contemporary British Politics15
Political Parties15

If you take the sociology dissertation, or both dissertations, you will choose two of the following optional modules. If you take the politics dissertation only, you will choose four of the following optional modules*:

Module TitleCredits
Work, Organisations and Society15
Bodies, Power and Resistance15
Contemporary Social Movements15
Corporate Power in a Globalised World15
Pregnancy and Politics15
Education for the 21st Century15
Religion and Society15
Migration, Borders and Belonging15
Health Policy15
The Challenges of Climate Change15
Community Engagement15
Elites15

*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:

  • Demonstrate systematic and critical knowledge of the key theories, methods, and applications of political science.
  • Identify a research question and design, execute and report an empirically-based research project.
  • Synthesise and critically evaluate the concepts, theories and methods used, and findings of, social scientific and advanced political science scholarship.
  • Exercise personal initiative and responsibility, and make informed decisions in complex and unpredictable contexts.
  • Communicate ideas, problems, solutions and research results effectively to both specialist and non-specialist audiences.
  • Demonstrate systematic understanding of key aspects of sociology and politics as academic disciplines.
  • Create and present sustained arguments backed up with evidence that reflects contemporary understanding of sociology and politics as academic disciplines.
  • Design, undertake, and report independent research with a clear consideration of theory, methods and ethical considerations.

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
(2024/25)

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

International students
(2024/25)

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.

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.

Explore our scholarships 

Assessment

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) Politics 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 politics and sociology programmes provide mean that our graduates are successful in finding employment in a wide range of roles such as:

  • Graduate project manager
  • Governance support officer
  • Legislation officer
  • Domestic abuse support worker
  • Business development consultant
  • Policy adviser
  • Equality engagement officer
  • Financial well-being apprentice
  • External relations officer
  • Democratic and electoral service officer
  • Teacher

Our graduates have gone on to work at companies such as: Aldi, Birmingham City Council, Civil Service, Octopus Energy, National Citizen Service, IBM, ThinkYoung, Trafford Housing Trust and West Midlands Police.

L'myah Sherae - Politics and Sociology graduate

One of the best decisions I made

L’myah Sherae knew she wanted to work in race relations and politics from a young age. She completed her placement year at the Houses of Parliament and now runs her own political campaigns company.

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

Alumni

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

Why study politics or international relations?

Why study politics or international relations? Dr Laura Southgate, a lecturer at Aston University, explains the benefits of studying this discipline.

Read more

 

Why study sociology or social policy?

You will get to explore, debate and discuss some of the biggest issues in society whilst applying what you have learnt to real-world current debates and challenges. You will get hands-on experience in undertaking your own research locally, developing your critical thinking and analytical skills.

At Aston University, sociology and social policy is about real life, everyday experiences. We explore how social structures such as class, gender, ethnicity, religion and identity, impact our lives and how they intersect with powerful discourses, interests and organisations to translate social issues into policy problems.

You will also have the option to undertake a placement year or study abroad, equipping you with the skills and experience needed beyond graduation.

 

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

 

Register your interest