Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

BA Sociology and International Relations

Join us for our 2016 Open Days

In this Section:

Do you want to ...

  • discover how foreign policy is made
  • investigate globalisation
  • explore social values
  • examine how social structures shape your life and other people's lives?

If you do, then BA Sociology and International Relations could be the programme for you.


BA Sociology and International Relations combines the study of two disciplines to create a unique and fascinating programme.

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

Alongside this strand of study, you will also investigate how states interact. You will analyse the way states behave and what obligations they may have to wider conceptions of international society.

You will explore the political dynamics that influence interstate cooperation, and assess the specific role that international organisations, such as the United Nations, play in promoting international peace and security. You also have the option to study terrorism, strategic studies, international political economy and conflict in the Middle East.


Year One

Compulsory modules

International Politics introduces you to the complex changes currently underway in the international system and their political implications across the globe. We discuss the main ideas, concepts and philosophies that inform the contemporary world order. 

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.

Sociological Analysis of Contemporary Society examines the key features of contemporary British society and culture from a sociological perspective. We consider what aspects of our lives and the social world might be changing, and why such change may occur.

Sociological Thinking initiates you into the sociological way of seeing the world. We provide the conceptual tools that will enable you to perceive the social patterns beneath a society’s political rhetoric and media noise.

Optional modules

You will take two optional modules.

Discovery modules

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

Year Two

Compulsory modules

Theories of International Relations explores the major themes, concepts and debates in the discipline of International Relations, and analyses the strengths and weaknesses of each theoretical approach with reference to contemporary international developments.

Security Studies provides an introduction to the debates on security in international relations, examining the concept, role and making of security in the contemporary international system. You will explore the main theoretical approaches and conceptualizations used in security studies and analyse a selection of important challenges that have been framed as security threats.

Sociology and Social Policy Research Methods provides you with a thorough understanding of how to design and conduct your own sociological research, and interpret results in an accurate manner. We explore qualitative and quantitative approaches to social research, and cover issues from questionnaire construction to descriptive statistics.

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.

Optional modules

You will choose one of the following optional modules.

  • British Central Government
  • Politics and Policy in the EU
  • Comparative Politics of Pacific Asia
  • Politics of Contemporary China
  • State and Politics in Africa
  • United States Politics
  • Globalization: Equality and Diversity
  • Race and Hollywood Cinema
  • Drugs: Society, Politics and Policy
  • Racism and Ethnicity Studies: A Global Approach
  • The Sociology of Culture

Discovery modules

You will choose a discovery module from across the university.

Year Three

Compulsory module

You will study one of the following compulsory modules.

  • International Relations Dissertation
  • Sociology Dissertation

POLIS dissertation route

You will choose two of the following optional modules.

  • Citizenship, Identity and Social Change
  • Postcolonialism and Critical Muslim Studies
  • Contemporary Children, Young People and Families
  • Class in Everyday Life
  • Protest and Social Movements
  • Globalisation and the Sex Trade
  • Ethnicity and Popular Culture

You will then choose two more optional modules from the following list.

  • British Foreign Policy
  • Europe in the World
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Politics of Islamism
  • Israel: Politics and Society
  • The Responsibility to Protect and to Prosecute
  • Crisis Diplomacy: Coercion, Sanctions and the Use of Force in International Relations
  • Dirty War: Insurgency, the State and Cities
  • Terrorism and Security
  • Analysing Data in Politics, Development and International Relations

Discovery modules

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

Sociology dissertation route

You will study at least two modules from the following International Relations optional modules:

  • British Foreign Policy
  • Europe in the World
  • American Foreign Policy
  • Politics of Islamism
  • Israel: Politics and Society
  • The Responsibility to Protect and to Prosecute
  • Crisis Diplomacy: Coercion, Sanctions and the Use of Force in International Relations
  • Dirty War: Insurgency, the State and Cities
  • Terrorism and Security
  • Analysing Data in Politics, Development and International Relations

You will also choose up to two modules from the following Sociology optional modules:

  • Citizenship, Identity and Social Change
  • Postcolonialism and Critical Muslim Studies
  • Contemporary Children, Young People and Families
  • Class in Everyday Life
  • Protest and Social Movements
  • Globalisation and the Sex Trade
  • 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 Sociology and International Relations modules, please see our Programme and Module Catalogue.

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