Sociology and Social Policy BSc 2021

Explore the social structures and issues that have shaped your own life and learn not just how to understand the world, but how to change it. Understand some of the biggest debates in society and develop the skills you need to research what matters to you.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Full-time (Hons)

Course format

Placement year (UK/abroad)

Duration

4 years with integrated placement year /

3 years without integrated placement year

UCAS code(s)

LL24

Start date

Overview
Explore Sociology and Social Policy at Aston University

Why study sociology alongside social policy?

Dr Tom Mills gives a quick one-minute insight into the Sociology and Social Policy course at Aston University.

Rianna Carter BSc (Hons) Sociology and Social Policy

“From meeting friends for life, to the many socials and working on some amazing projects that I would never have imagined I’d be on, Aston has provided me with so many amazing memories that I’ll be forever grateful for.”

Rianna Carter

BSc (Hons) Sociology and Social Policy

Best University Careers Service Award

Here to support you.

Aston University recognised as the 'Best University Careers/Employability Service' at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2020.

Monique Gunter BSc (Hons) Sociology and Social Policy

“Studying Sociology and Social Policy at Aston was a great experience! The modules I studied were very diverse and interesting and covered topical subjects in society. The lecturers were very supportive and provided a range of teaching methods.”

Monique Gunter

BSc (Hons) Sociology and Social Policy

Monique Gunter BSc (Hons) Sociology and Social Policy

“Studying Sociology and Social Policy at Aston was a great experience! The modules I studied were very diverse and interesting and covered topical subjects in society. The lecturers were very supportive and provided a range of teaching methods.”

Monique Gunter

BSc (Hons) Sociology and Social Policy

Course outline and modules

What you’ll learn

Through reflective learning, you’ll explore the social structures and issues that have shaped your own life, you’ll be equipped with the skills you need to research what matters to you and you’ll even have the chance to do your own research into city life in the neighbourhoods of Birmingham.

You will investigate the economic, social and political forces which influence government decision-making, and which give rise to conflict between the achievement of economic, environmental and social objectives. You’ll also examine why governments take particular decisions in key policy areas and develop a detailed understanding of processes of policy making at a global, national and local levels of government.

Study the nature of policy delivery and management by various organisations, such as local governments, schools and businesses, which will equip you for a range of career paths. Most importantly you will explore in-depth, the outcomes and consequences of various government policies on the economy and society.

For example, you will learn about the social inequalities in global education and the importance of inclusion and meaningful learning. Additionally, you will explore reasons why league tabling and competitive schooling is stifling, and why better understanding of difference and diversity is needed to bring communities together.

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’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 Social Theory
  • Becoming a Social Scientist
  • Critical Debates in Society and Policy
  • From Social Problems to Public Policies
  • Identities and Inequalities I
  • Identities and Inequalities II
Year 2

Core modules:

  • Research Methods
  • Advanced Social Theory

 

Optional modules:

  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Critical Policy Analysis
  • Embodiment and Feminist Theory
  • Media and Society
  • Kith and Kin: Family Lives in a Social Context
  • The Social Life of Stuff
  • Racisms
  • Organising for Social Justice
  • Welfare States and Welfare Change
  • Environmental Policy
  • CSI: Crime Subversion and Injustice
  • Global Society
  • Contested Cities
  • French (Beginners/Improvers/Intermediate)
  • Spanish (Beginners/Improvers/Intermediate)
  • German (Beginners/Improvers/Intermediate)
  • Arabic (Beginners/Improvers/Intermediate)
  • Mandarin Chinese (Beginners/Improvers/Intermediate)
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.

Find out more about the Aston placement year.

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • Dissertation (Sociology or Policy)

 

Optional modules:

  • Work, Organisations and Society
  • Bodies, Power and Resistance
  • Contemporary Social Movements
  • Pregnancy and Politics
  • Religion and Society
  • Community Engagement
  • Corporate Power in a Globalised World
  • Education and Digital Society
  • Migration, Borders and Belonging
  • Health Policy
  • The Challenges of Climate Change

 

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

Entry requirements

Typical offers:

A Levels

BBC (standard offer)

BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)

CCC (contextual offer*)

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.

BTEC, Access & other

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM (standard offer)

BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM (contextual 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.

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

Further requirements

GCSE Maths – grade C/4

GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4

Learn more about admission to this course

View our Admissions Policy.

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.

*Click here for details on our Aston Ready contextual offer scheme.

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.

International students

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements.

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

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

Learning, teaching and assessment

Our close employer links and focus on practical experiences to transfer to the workplace means you’ll get a blend of learning and teaching experiences that will equip you for your career. You’ll also get the opportunity to undertake your own research in the heart of Birmingham.

Learning and teaching

As a Sociology and Social Policy student at Aston, you will experience our innovative approach to teaching, which combines a range of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, tutorials, group and individual project work. 

Traditional teaching is supported by our virtual learning environment that is used to host a range of electronic supporting materials.

Because this course deals with many topical issues, we incorporate current media coverage and public debates into class discussions and link these to academic research and commentary wherever possible. 

Study skills

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

We use a range of assessment methods and most modules are assessed with a combination of coursework and an end of year examination. Coursework includes essays, research reports, individual and group projects, statistics assignments, class tests and both individual and group presentations.

Students who are made an offer will receive a detailed programme specification which forms part of our terms and conditions.

Personal development

You will develop a range of skills that transfer to the workplace, such as critical thinking and being able to develop, undertake, analyse and evaluate research. You will develop an informed opinion on some of the biggest issues in modern society and we also make extensive use of group working which helps you to develop team working and negotiating skills.

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

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 Tom Mills (Sociology and Policy)

Fees and scholarships

UK students (2021/22)

Annual tuition fees: £9,250

During placement year: £1,250

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

More information on fees

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

Our Sociology and Social Policy graduates are in demand from a wide range of employers who value critical and analytical skills, problem solving abilities and social awareness. 

You’ll understand people and community dynamics, have excellent communication and teamwork skills, fantastic problem solving, critical and analytical skills, including being able to design, conduct and evaluate research.

Recent graduates

You can pursue a wide range of career paths including social, teaching and local government with the public and private sectors.

Recent graduates have gone on to work in, caring and social careers, human resource management and teaching for organisations including: Hays, Bosch, British Gas, The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Interserve, Airbus, Solihull Care Housing Association, Imperial College London, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Roles have included; Business Analyst, Corporate Engagement Executive, Insurance Broker, Mental Health Support Worker, National Project Coordinator, Person Centred Support Worker and Procurement Manager.

Best University Careers Service Award

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:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Spanish

Fancy learning French?

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Dr Nathalie Mrgudovic...

Click here to find out more

Give German a go!

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Dr Stefanie Kreibich...

Click here to find out more

Make the most with Mandarin!

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Dr Qiaochao Zhang...

Click here to find out more

Strengthen your prospects with Spanish!

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Elena Cancelas-Rodriguez...

Click here to find out more

Frequently asked questions

Why study Sociology and Social Policy at Aston?

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

Our teaching brings social theory to the study of pressing social issues such as migration, climate change, welfare, crime, health and sexuality. In class, we explore the inequalities, injustices and dependencies that pattern our lives.

What kind of jobs does a degree in Sociology and Social Policy lead to?

With a Sociology and Social Policy degree you can explore a breadth of career paths in both the private and public sectors.

Recent graduate roles include Business Analyst, Corporate Engagement Executive, Insurance Broker, Mental Health Support Worker, National Project Coordinator, Person Centred Support Worker and Procurement Manager.

Employed social studies graduates earn £5,800 (28 per cent) more than the UK average three years after graduation (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2019).

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

 
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