BA Politics and Social Policy
In this Section:
This varied degree explores political ideas, structures and approaches with a specific focus on the ways in which governments deliver welfare to citizens.
You’ll examine how modern societies understand poverty, human need and equality and consider the experiences of the people who receive welfare services, to understand how policy decisions impact on their lives. Meanwhile, you’ll study the key theories that structure political systems in the UK and learn about the institutions and practices of modern political systems around the world.
Using examples from around the world, you’ll evaluate the education, housing and urban policies of governments and other agencies while examining the wider social, economic and cultural forces that shape political life. Diverse optional modules will also allow you to shape your degree to suit your own interests, with topics such as development studies, international relations, drug policy, security studies, crime and racism and ethnicity studies.
Core modules in Year 1 will give you a firm grounding in each subject. You’ll learn about different political systems around the world and be introduced to big ideas in political theory, examining how power really operates in society. At the same time, you’ll learn more about the processes that have shaped modern societies and the social, political, economic and cultural influences that have shaped the UK’s welfare state. A choice of optional module will equip you with the research skills you need in the social sciences.
In Year 2 you’ll take another two compulsory modules that cover key debates in social policy and build on your understanding of social research and also choose one from two political theory modules. You’ll also choose from optional modules covering issues in social policy and politics, such as drug policy or disability studies, and political systems around the world, including Africa, China, the US and EU. Further optional modules will allow you to gain specialist knowledge in more specific aspects of each subject, such as international relations, security studies, the sociology of health or crime and regulation.
By your final year, you’ll have the research and analytical skills to undertake your dissertation – an independently researched project on a social policy topic of your choice. You’ll build your course around this: you’ll choose another key debate module in social policy, and then select from a wider range of advanced modules in both subjects. These could allow you to focus on topics such as class divisions, gender and violence, protest movements or the rise of extreme right parties in across Europe.
These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.
- Comparative Politics 20 credits
- Freedom, Power and Resistance: An Introduction to Political Ideas 20 credits
- Formations of Modernity 20 credits
- Social Policy: Poor Laws to the Present 20 credits
- Understanding and Researching the City 20 credits
- Understanding and Researching Contemporary Society 20 credits
- Sociology and Social Policy Research Methods 20 credits
- Key Debates in Social Policy 20 credits
- Revolution and Reaction: Political Problems in the 20th Century OR Justice, Community and Conflict 20 credits
- North-South Linkages 20 credits
- Politics of Contemporary China 20 credits
- Security Studies 20 credits
- Disability Studies: An Introduction 20 credits
- Sociology of Work 20 credits
- Urban Disorders, Social Divisions and Social Control 20 credits
- Dissertation 40 credits
- British Foreign Policy 20 credits
- Violence and Reconciliation in Africa 20 credits
- Crisis Diplomacy: Coercion, Sanctions and the Use of Force in International Relations 20 credits
- Governing Cultures, Identities and Emotions 20 credits
- Postcolonialism and Critical Muslim Studies 20 credits
- Education, Culture and Society 20 credits
- State Crime and Immorality 20 credits
- Contemporary Children, Young People and Families 20 credits
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.
Our graduates secure employment with some of the biggest UK companies in human resources, communications management, broadcasting and advertising. They are also ideally equipped to work in the public and third sector including in the civil service, teaching, youth work, fostering/children’s services, probation services, social work, prison service, housing and homelessness prevention.
Graduates from this programme are well prepared for postgraduate study across a range of disciplines. Our recent graduates have gone on to study sociology, social Policy, teacher training, journalism, occupational therapy, human resources, marketing, town planning, social work, criminal justice studies and social research.
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.
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.
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.