Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

BA / MA Social and Public Policy

Join us at one of our open days - 10 September and 8 October 2016

This Information is for 2017 entry only - to see the information for 2016 entry please see this page

This interdisciplinary course allows you to study social and public policy to Masters level.

You’ll learn about why social problems and inequalities exist and how society cares for its most disadvantaged members, immersing yourself in debates over how governments and other agencies make decisions that impact people’s lives. You’ll apply this knowledge to issues of public importance, analysing theories and responses to important public issues. Using examples from around the world, you’ll consider the experiences of people who receive welfare services and examine the effect of policy changes on different societal groups.

Drawing on the diverse expertise within the School of Sociology and Social Policy, you’ll choose from a wide range of optional modules to gain specialist knowledge in areas that suit your interests, and develop your research skills in your Integrated Masters year. You’ll be well-equipped for diverse careers and graduate with both a Bachelors and Masters qualification.

You’ll learn to think sociologically about various social issues and problems from the start of Year 1. A set of core modules will equip you with the research skills to study social policy and an understanding of the methods and techniques used in social research, as well as exploring the development and emergence of modern societies. You’ll also learn more about the formation of social policy in Britain over time and examine how social inequalities have been created.

In the following year you’ll develop your research skills through a compulsory module, and examine public policy in different countries around the world. Around this you’ll choose from a set of modules related to major social issues such as drugs, crime and disability studies. You’ll also complete a placement in a public, private or third-sector organisation based locally; either undertaking a piece of research for them or a work placement which allows you to consider the impact of policy decisions and implementation.

The dissertation you complete in Year 3 allows you to apply your research skills to a topic of your choice, which you’ll examine in depth with the support of your academic supervisor. In addition, you’ll choose from social policy modules on topics such as citizenship, childhood studies or protest movements.

In the final year, which is taught at Masters level, you’ll develop your skills in independent research and select an optional module on a social topic such as health, care or disability theory. You’ll also work with one of our external partner organisations from the public, private or third-sector to complete an independent project which is valuable to them. An academic supervisor from the School will support you throughout the process.

Course structure

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Understanding and Researching the City 20 credits
  • Understanding and Researching Contemporary Society 20 credits
  • Identities, Inequalities and Policy in Contemporary Society 20 credits
  • Formations of Modernity 20 credits
  • Social Policy: Poor Laws to the Present 20 credits

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Sociology and Social Policy Research Methods 20 credits
  • Key Debates in Social Policy 20 credits
  • Social and Public Policy beyond the Universtiy 20 credits

Optional modules

  • Comparative Public Policy 20 credits
  • Crime, Law and Regulation 20 credits
  • Disability Studies: An Introduction 20 credits
  • The Sociology of Gender 20 credits
  • Sociology of Health and Illness 20 credits
  • Crime, Race and Ethnicity 20 credits
  • Debates in Childhood and Youth 20 credits
  • Sociology of Work 20 credits
  • Racism, ethnicity, migration and decolonial studies 20 credits
  • Urban Disorders, Social Divisions and Social Control 20 credits

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Social Policy Dissertation 40 credits

Optional modules

  • Governing Cultures, Identities and Emotions 20 credits
  • Citizenship, Identity and Social Change 20 credits
  • Disability Rights and the International Policy Context 20 credits
  • Education, Culture and Society 20 credits
  • State Crime and Immorality 20 credits
  • Contemporary Children, Young People and Families 20 credits
  • Data and Society 20 credits
  • Protest and Social Movements 20 credits
  • Understanding Interpersonal Violence 20 credits

Year 4

Compulsory modules

  • Social and Public Policy Applied Project 30 credits

Optional modules

  • Quantitative Research Methods 30 credits
  • Qualitative Research Methods 30 credits
  • Issues in Social Policy Analysis and Research 30 credits
  • Researching Care in Comparative Perspective 30 credits
  • Evaluation Research 30 credits
  • From Conception to the Grave: Health in a Global Context 30 credits
  • Debates on Disability Theory and Research 30 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Social and Public Policy MArts, BA in programme catalogue

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you gain diverse skills. These will include seminars and workshops where you can discuss in more depth the topics set out in traditional lectures. We emphasise the importance of participation, presentation skills and group work.

The teaching structure varies depending on your level of study – for example, in Year 1 you might expect to have six or seven lectures and three or four seminars per week. However, independent study is also a vital element of the course, as it allows you to develop your research and critical skills while preparing for taught sessions.

You’ll also have a personal tutor – one of our academics – who will be on hand to offer you guidance and support on academic issues, such as module choices, as well as career and personal matters.


Modules will use a variety of assessment methods. As well as traditional exams, you could also be asked to complete projects based on essays and case studies, policy briefs, group presentations, work logs, research briefs, project proposals or development agency reviews. In your final year you’ll also submit a 12,000 word dissertation.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

GCSE: grade C or above in Mathematics.

A-level Sociology is not a requirement for any of our courses – we design Year 1 modules for students both with and without previous knowledge of the subject.

We accept A-level General Studies.

However, in general you should be in the process of studying Social Science, Arts and Humanities subjects for A-level. See our Accepted A-level subjects document to see which subjects we accept.

Alternate Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Complete 60 credits with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher.



Cambridge Pre-U

D3, D3, M1

International Baccalaureate

35 overall (6,5,5 higher)

Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)


Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AAAB overall (AB at advanced level)

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Sociology and Social Policy Undergraduate Admissions Team.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If youre unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

School of Sociology and Social Policy Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Fees are published in the September before the year of entry. They will be updated here after this date.

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, youll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Career opportunities

This is a new course which is designed to put you in a strong position to work in higher-level occupations in local or central government. Because the Integrated Masters year places emphasis on research methods and skills, you’ll also be well placed to progress to PhD-level study.

In addition, you’ll develop a wide range of transferable skills in communication, presentation, research, analysis, critical thinking and project work, as well as social, cultural and political awareness. These will stand you in good stead to pursue a variety of careers in diverse sectors and industries.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. Thats one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Placement opportunities

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. The University has partnerships with more than 400 universities worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

In Year 2 you’ll also have the opportunity to complete a placement with one of our external partner organisations, which could be in the private, public or third sector. This could take the form of a research project – for example, assessing the needs of a specific community. Alternatively, you could undertake a work placement where you can identify, reflect on and produce a report on the impact of policy decisions or implementation for the organisation or for the local community.

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