Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

BA Sociology and International Relations

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This course explores the organisation and structure of society alongside the ways in which states interact with each other.

You’ll examine social values and the changing nature of human action, and learn about the social, cultural, economic and political processes that shape human experience. Meanwhile, you’ll analyse the behaviour of states and what obligations they may have to wider conceptions of international society, alongside the specific roles played by international organisations like the UN.

Benefiting from the diverse research interests of both the School of Sociology and Social Policy and the School of Politics and International Studies, you’ll also have the freedom to shape your course to suit your interests. A wide range of optional modules will give you the chance to gain specialist knowledge of topics such as terrorism, class division, drug policy, globalization and political systems around the world.

Year 1 encourages you to think sociologically, examining the processes which led to the formation and emergence of modern societies. You’ll also gain an understanding of the current system of international politics and compare the systems used within different states. A choice of optional module will equip you with the skills you’ll need to conduct sociological research.

This provides the foundation for the following year, when you’ll explore the important thinkers and traditions in the history of sociology and developing your understanding of research methods in the subject. In addition, you’ll learn about key theories in the study of international relations and focus on debates around security in particular. You’ll complete the year with a choice of optional modules on topics in both subjects such as US politics, policy-making in the EU, the sociology of culture or racism and ethnicity studies.

In your final year, you’ll research a topic of your choice in depth to complete your dissertation, showcasing the skills you’ve gained throughout the course. You can choose to focus on a topic in either subject. Around this, you’ll choose further optional modules in both areas, examining issues such as sex work, terrorism, class divisions, using sanctions in international relations, British foreign policy and protest movements.

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

  • Comparative Politics 20 credits
  • International Politics 20 credits
  • Sociology of Modern Societies 20 credits
  • Formations of Modernity 20 credits

Optional modules

  • Understanding and Researching the City 20 credits
  • Understanding and Researching Contemporary Society 20 credits

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Theories of International Relations 20 credits
  • Security Studies 20 credits
  • Sociology and Social Policy Research Methods 20 credits
  • Central Problems in Sociology 20 credits

Optional modules

  • British Central Government 20 credits
  • Politics and Policy in the EU 20 credits
  • Comparative Politics of Pacific Asia 20 credits
  • Politics of Contemporary China 20 credits
  • State and Politics in Africa 20 credits
  • United States Politics 20 credits

Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Dissertation 40 credits

Optional modules

  • The Responsibility to Protect and to Prosecute 20 credits
  • Crisis Diplomacy: Coercion, Sanctions and the Use of Force in International Relations 20 credits
  • Terrorism: Concepts, Debates, Cases 20 credits
  • Citizenship, Identity and Social Change 20 credits
  • Contemporary Children, Young People and Families 20 credits
  • Sex Work: Theory, Policy and Politics 20 credits

For more information on typical modules, read Sociology and International Relations 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

Alternate Qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Complete 60 credits with 45 credits Distinction grade at Level 3.



Cambridge Pre-U

D3, D3, M1

International Baccalaureate

35 overall (6,5,5 higher)

Irish Highers (Leaving Certificate)

(Leaving Certificate): AAAAAB

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AAAAB overall (AB at advanced level)

Other Qualifications

We don’t require A level Politics or Sociology for any of our degrees and we welcome applications that include vocational A level subjects such as AVCE (single or double awards). Any combination of these with A levels is acceptable.

In general we expect applicants to have two ‘traditional’ academic subjects at A-level. See our Accepted A-level subjects document to see which subjects we accept.

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.

International foundation year

If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

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.

It is also possible to study this programme part time. The programme content is the same but you will study at a lesser intensity. Find out more about how to apply, support available and the part-time student experience at the Lifelong Learning Centre.

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: See fees section below

International: £16,000 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU students starting in 2017, the fee for 2017/18 will be £9,250, subject to parliamentary approval of changes to higher education funding. We anticipate that we will be able to confirm the 2017 fee in late 2016. 

The fee may increase in future years of your course, as permitted by law. Although the basis of future fee increases is not guaranteed, we expect the government to allow fees to increase in line with inflation. For example, the increase of 2.8% for 2017/18 was based on the governments forecast for the RPI-X measure of inflation.

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students starting in 2017 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans for the duration of their course. Read the full government statement

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.

Part-time fees are normally calculated based on the number of credits you study in a year compared to the equivalent full-time course. For example, if you study half the course credits in a year, you will pay half the full-time course fees for that year.

Additional cost information

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs

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

Graduate destinations

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.

Postgraduate opportunities

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.

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.

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