Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

BA Interdisciplinary Social Policy and Sociology

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In this Section:

If you want to …

  • learn about big ideas and social problems
  • explore the changing nature of social relationships
  • learn about why social problems and inequalities exist
  • explore why some groups of people experience discrimination
  • study what social unrest and protest say about society and power
  • examine education, housing and urban policies

… then BA Interdisciplinary Sociology and Social Policy at Leeds is the course for you.


BA Interdisciplinary Social Policy and Sociology is an interdisciplinary degree that provides the opportunity to combine the subject areas of Sociology and Social Policy.

Social Policy explores how poverty, health, housing, education and crime amongst others come to be viewed as social problems. Sociology examines the interconnections between individuals and wider society.

Our interdisciplinary course examines the interconnections between individuals and wider society and how these impact on one another. It entails the bridging of big ideas and practical problems.


BA Sociology and Social Policy invites you to start thinking sociologically about the nature of various social issues and problems.

From an early stage, you will consider how the big issues and problems that we face in society ranging from crime, education, health, inequality and poverty can be understood with reference to established and contemporary styles of thought and from this how we can start to critique existing responses and thinking about how new ones can be developed.

In partnership with us, you will discover key concepts and debates within social policy, giving you a broad foundation for your studies at Years Two and Three.

Year One

Compulsory modules

Identity, Difference and Inequalities investigates how we acquire our social identities, differentiate ourselves from other people and comprehend inequalities. We investigate how far the world of ideas can shape peoples' sense of themselves, and how differences in gender, race, sexuality, disability and age can shape the way we perceive each other.

Sociological Thinking initiates you into the sociological way of seeing the world. We introduce you to some of the big ideas on which our programmes are centred. Furthermore, we provide the conceptual tools that will enable you to perceive the social patterns beneath a society’s political and media rhetoric.

Central Debates in Welfare introduces you to two prominent themes within welfare theory: dependency and citizenship. We explore how issues such as social exclusion, race, demographic change, globalisation and the so-called 'underclass' challenge perceptions and policy directions about who deserves what and why.

Social Science Skills is designed to enhance your existing study skills, introduce new skills required at undergraduate level and provide transferable skills that can be used outside of university in future employment.We draw from our expertise in research to provide you with essential training as a social scientist by teaching you practical skills as well as how to undertake real world research and think critically about the social world around you.

Current Issues in Society builds from the Social Science Skills module, through a series of practical engagements with the evidence and theory which underpins a social scientific response to a current issue in society. You unpick and analyse a set social scientific studies before applying your sociological imagination to an original social problem. In doing so, you will use a range of evidence, argument and presentational formats.

Social Welfare and Social Change investigates the social, political, economic and cultural influences that shaped the post-war welfare state. We examine how the classic 1940s welfare state rested on false assumptions about the family, work and nationhood and what the implications of this have been for subsequent generations

Discovery modules

You also choose a discovery module from across the university.

Year Two

Compulsory modules

Central Problems in Sociology focuses on the important thinkers and traditions within the history of the discipline developing on the Sociological Thinking module at Level One. Central Problems explores how thinkers have elucidated their main ideas and influenced each other. We cover the themes of social integration, power, social change, the individual and society, as well as examining forms of culture, beliefs and consciousness.

Sociology and Social Policy Research Methods allows you to build bridges between big ideas and social problems. Drawing on the research skills developed at Level One, the module provides you with a thorough understanding of how to design and conduct your own social research, and interpret results in an accurate manner. We explore qualitative, quantitative and mixed method approaches to social research, providing for how these can be applied in routine and rare contexts.

Optional modules

You then choose one of the following key debates modules.

  • Globalisation: Equality and Diversity
  • Disability Studies: An Introduction
  • Welfare and Crime: Continuity, Conflict and Change
  • Drugs: Society, Politics and Policy

You then choose two of the following modules.

  • Crime, Law and Regulation
  • Race and Hollywood Cinema
  • Drugs: Society, Politics and Policy
  • Disability Studies: An Introduction
  • Welfare and Crime: Continuity, Conflict and Change
  • Race, Gender and Culture
  • Debates in Childhood and Youth
  • Tourism and Culture
  • Emotions, Power and Contemporary Society
  • The Sociology of Culture
  • The Sociology of Gender
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Racism and Ethnicity Studies: A Global Approach
  • Urban Disorders, Social Divisions and Social Control
  • The Sociology of Culture

Discovery modules

You also choose a discovery module from across the university.

Year Three

Compulsory module

The Sociology or Social Policy Dissertation brings together the conceptual and research skills developed over the course of your studies. It allows you to complete a significant piece of research on a policy topic of your choosing.  An academic expert will act as your supervisor mentoring through all stages of the research process. The dissertation will be between 10,000 and 12,000 words.

Optional modules

You choose one or two of the following key debates modules.

  • Disability Rights and the International Policy Context
  • Governing Cultures, Identities and Emotions
  • Organised Crime, Violence and the State

You then choose one or two modules from the following sociology optional modules list.

  • Sexualities and Society
  • Governing Cultures, Identities and Emotions
  • Citizenship, Identity and Social Change
  • Postcolonialism and Critical Muslim Studies
  • Disability Rights and the International Policy Context
  • Education, Culture and Society
  • Contemporary Children, Young People and Families
  • Class in Everyday Life
  • Protest and Social Movements
  • Sex Work: Theory, Policy and Politics
  • Ethnicity and Popular Culture
  • Gender, Technologies and the Body
  • Sociology of Capitalism and Modernity

Discovery Modules

You also choose a discovery module from across the university.

Further information

It is also possible to study this programme through a part-time route, the programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. For more information about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience, please visit the Lifelong Learning Centre’s website.

For more in-depth information on BA Sociology and Social Policy modules, please see our Programme and Module Catalogue.

Taught by experts

In the School of Sociology and Social Policy, we draw upon our research strengths to provide an inspirational student experience. Throughout, you will be taught by academic experts working a variety of fields and traditions. The curriculum is centred around innovative ways of analysing both the most pressing issues of the day and the problems we face from one generation to the next.

Staff publish their work widely in books, leading academic journals and make major contributions to the policy-making process. The school has a strong commitment to the public face of our disciplines, engaging widely in the established and social media settings. It is here that staff members in the School build bridges between big ideas and practical problems.

Working in Partnership

We promote a meaningful partnership between academic staff and students.  Through paid internships connected to particular research projects students have the opportunity to be involved in research activities throughout their time at Leeds. Such opportunities extend beyond the curriculum and provide essential employability skills.

We work closely with our students through the student-staff forum to ensure that we respond quickly to study needs and that curriculum remains innovative, relevant and exciting. Undergraduate students in the School of Sociology and Social Policy run a group that offers advice and support, and can help you with course choices, module options, careers advice and employability. The group acts as an official link between students, academic staff and the School’s dedicated Student Experience Manager.

Our research focuses on both the national and global context and so will your curriculum. Academic staff in the School of Sociology and Social Policy have research partnerships across the globe and internationalisation is embedded in our work. With this in mind, as part of your degree programme, you will have the opportunity to study abroad as part of our extensive Study Abroad programme coordinated by Dr Shona Hunter.

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