Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

BA Politics and Sociology

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In this Section:

If you want to …

  • debate what democracy and freedom mean
  • explore social values
  • investigate the impact of social divisions
  • and examine the great ideological revolutions of modern times

...then BA Politics and Sociology could be the right course for you.


BA Politics and Sociology combines the study of sociology at the School of Sociology and Social Policy with the study of politics at the School of Politics and International Studies.

The course offers you the opportunity to engage with the complexity of society, and learn about the social, cultural, economic and political processes that shape human experience. You will explore the organisation and structure of society, and examine the changing nature of human action.

You will also study the main political theories that structure our political systems, the wider social forces that shape political life, and gain a firm grounding in the institutions and practices of modern political systems.

You will examine British politics, and analyse international issues. You can explore the political systems of other countries, and track the evolution of global politics from the rise of the modern state to the present day.


Year One

BA Politics and Sociology Year One introduces you to key concepts and debates within sociology and politics, and gives you a broad foundation for your studies at Year Two and Three.

Compulsory modules

Comparative Politics explores the political systems of three different nations from across the globe, focusing on their respective political histories, political economies, party systems, social movements and foreign policies.

Freedom, Power and Resistance: An Introduction to Political Ideas provides you with a critical introduction to Western political thought. It focuses on the work of five influential thinkers, investigating the historical context in which they wrote, the ideas and theories they developed, and the potential application of their thought to pressing political questions in the modern world.

Sociology of Modern Societies provides an introduction to some of the main concepts and traditions in sociology. It will will involve ‘thinking with history’ in order to understand the present. You will learn how contemporary society has grown out of earlier societies and points beyond itself to a diversity of possible futures. 

Formations of Modernity is concerned with the process of formation that led to the emergence of modern societies, and which stamped them with their distinctive character. It sees modern societies now as a global interconnected phenomenon and the modern world as the unexpected and unpredicted outcome of, not one, but a series of major historical transitions.

Optional modules

You will choose one of the following optional modules.

  • Understanding and Researching the City
  • Understanding and Researching Contemporary Society

Discovery modules

You will choose two discovery modules from across the university.

Year Two

Compulsory modules

Central Problems in Sociology focuses on the important thinkers within the history of the discipline, and explores how they 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 examine the social basis 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 will choose one of the following optional modules.

  • Revolution and Reaction: Political Problems in the 20th century
  • Justice, Community and Conflict

You will choose another optional module from the following list.

  • British Central Government
  • North - South Linkages
  • Politics and Policy in the EU
  • United States Politics and Foreign Policy
  • Comparative Politics of Pacific Asia
  • Politics of Contemporary China
  • State and Politics in Africa
  • Theories of International Relations
  • Security Studies
  • Revolution and Reaction: Political Problems in the 20th Century
  • Justice, Community and Conflict
  • Appraoches to Political Science
  • Career Planning for POLIS Students

You choose a final optional module from the following list.

  • Globalization: Equality and Diversity
  • Crime, Law and Regulation
  • Race and Hollywood Cinema
  • Dtugs: Society, Politics and Policy
  • Disability: An Introduction
  • The Sociology of Gender
  • Sociology of Health and Illness
  • Racism and Ethnicity Studies: A Global Approach
  • The Sociology of Culture
  • Urban Disorders, Social Divisions and Social Control

Discovery modules

You will choose a discovery module from across the university.

Year three

Compulsory module

The Sociology Dissertation for Joint Honours allows you to choose a topic of personal or professional interest for study. An academic member of staff will act as your supervisor. The dissertation will be between 5,000 and 6,000 words.

Optional modules

You will choose two of the following optional modules.

  • Elections and Voters
  • British Political Parties
  • British Foreign Policy
  • The End of British Politics?
  • The Politics of National Identity in the UK
  • Land, Fuel and Agriculture
  • The Politics of Aid
  • Gender and Violence
  • Violence and Reconciliation in Africa
  • Extreme Right Parties in Contemporary Europe
  • Besides the Sea: Politics, Culture and Society
  • Britain and the EU
  • Europe in the World
  • Politics of Islamism
  • Israel: Politics and Society
  • Political Psychology: on Authoruty and Obedience
  • Radical Political Ideas: Marx, Nietzsche, Schmitt, Foucault
  • Philosophy of Human Rights
  • Feminist Challenges to Political Theory
  • Video Games: Politics, Society and Culture

You will then choose one of the following optional modules.

  • Sexualities and Society
  • Critical Mixed Race Studies - Global Perspectives
  • 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
  • Discipline and Punish
  • Sociology of Consumerism
  • Class in Everyday Life
  • Protest and Social Movements
  • Sex Work: Theory, Policy and Politics
  • Understanding Interpersonal Violence
  • Ethnicity and Popular Culture

Discovery modules

You will choose up to two discovery modules from across the university.

Further information

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

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