The University of Southampton
Social Sciences: Sociology, Social Policy & CriminologyPart of Social Sciences

LL34 BSc Sociology and Social Policy (3 years)

How should we deal with educational failure, crime, racism, poverty, homelessness? Why do inequalities related to gender, race and class persist? What role should identity, family, community and the nation state play in our globalising world?

Introducing your degree

Are you fascinated by social change and how it might be brought about? Do you want to play a part in this process by developing an expertise on how social institutions (governments, NGOs) seek to advance human welfare at national and global level? A degree in Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Southampton provides you with a big step towards this goal.
The course focuses on social institutions, social inequalities and social transformations. It allows students to explore how inequalities of power within society shape social outcomes and what steps might be taken to transform this situation. With a range of highly accessible modules, the BSc Sociology and Social Policy degree prepares graduates for a career in a range of sectors, from NGOs to government to teaching. You will leave this course as a highly skilled social scientist with an acute awareness of national and global social issues and how they might be addressed.


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You will be taught by experts who are active researchers and passionate about their subjects. They are also experienced teachers who enjoy engaging students. Moreover, we emphasise employability and practical applicability throughout the degree. A range of specialist options from other disciplines enables you to create a tailor made degree that is geared towards a variety of professional careers.

Your core modules will cover an introduction to social problems, an introduction to social policy principles and the organisation of the welfare state, the history of social policy, and comparative social policy, which examines the differences and similarities of social policies and their social contexts in different countries. This will be complemented with core modules from sociology, including classical and contemporary social theory and comparative sociology. The programme also covers research methods and research skills.

In addition, you can choose option modules from sociology, anthropology, criminology, social psychology and other programmes across the University. Combining sociology with social policy helps you gain a better understanding of the relationship between social organisation and institutions, social issues, policy formations and their developments over time.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

All applications for full-time study should be made through UCAS:

Programme Structure

Sociology and social policy degree courses are of three years' duration. Each year is divided into two 12-week semesters over three terms. Students complete a dissertation in year three, which is the equivalent of two modules and is a major part of the final year. There is a common year one for Sociology and Sociology and Social Policy students, designed to provide a general introduction to the study of sociology and social policy.

Key Facts

Although sociology and social policy can be seen as disciplines in their own right, they are also linked to a range of other disciplines such as criminology, anthropology, social psychology, politics, economics and history.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

GCSEAll applicants must have GCSE mathematics and English at grade C or above.
A Levels:
GCE A-level

ABB, or BBB with grade A in the Extended Project Qualification. General studies is not accepted.

International Baccalaureate32 points overall, 16 at higher level
Alternative qualifications

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Access/Foundation). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard to an A level applicant or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University. Contact us for further information on equivalencies for these qualifications and others not listed here.

International applications

We welcome applications from international students. Helpful information on applying, meeting a University representative in your country or improving your English language levels can be found on the International Office website. If English is not your first language, you will be required to pass an approved English test. We normally ask for a score of IELTS 6.5.

Please note that we cannot accept applicants from Greece on the basis of the Apolyterion alone; it must be supplemented by A levels or an equivalent qualification or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students. If you will be over 21 at the start of your proposed degree programme, you are eligible for exemption from our normal entry requirements. However, you will be required to provide evidence of having completed recent serious and successful study (eg Access, Return to Study, Open University foundation courses) and of your capacity to pursue the course.

All students are required to have GCSE grade C in English and mathematics.

Where feasible, you will be called for an interview. You may find it helpful to discuss your plans with us before applying through UCAS. This will allow you to make sure your chosen course is right for you and give you time to pursue additional academic qualifications if required.

Contextual Admissions

The University of Southampton is committed to widening participation and ensuring that all students with the potential to succeed, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply to study with us. The additional information gained through contextual data supports our admissions teams to recognise a student’s potential to succeed in the context of their background and experience. Students who flagged in this way will be made an offer which is lower than the typical offer for that programme.

A typical contextual offer is BBB from three A levels or an equivalent standard in other qualifications approved by the University.

Please see our contextual admissions pages for more information.


Selection process:

We usually make our decisions based on your UCAS form alone. Only candidates who require special consideration, for example on grounds of age or non-standard entry qualifications, are interviewed.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not currently meet our entry requirements may be able to join this course on successful completion of our International Foundation Year. For more information visit the IFY course page.


Please note:

In exceptional circumstances we will consider applicants for direct entry into the second year if they have met the entry criteria and have already completed part of the course at another institution. Please note that such requests are considered on an individual basis and at the discretion of the Admissions Tutor. We do not accept applicants for direct entry into Year 3.


This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

Sociology and social policy degree courses are of three years' duration. Each year is divided into two 12-week semesters over three terms.

Year 1

Our first year programme will introduce you to the study of Sociology and Social Policy, including a focus on everyday lives & the sociological imagination, social problems & social policy global social change over the past century, social theory and research methods.

In addition to this, our Curriculum Innovation Programme offers our students the chance to take optional modules outside their core disciplines. This allows you to personalise your education, to develop new skills and knowledge for your future.

Semester One

In semester one you will also choose two optional modules. Your available optional modules can be sociology and social policy modules, but they may come from disciplines across the university for example anthropology, criminology, demography, economics, politics and international relations, social statistics modern languages, law, psychology, physics, history etc.

Understanding Everyday Life
Social Problems and Social Policy
Human Rights, Wellbeing and Politics
Human Origins
Introduction to Criminology
Introduction to International Relations
Introduction to Economics For Non-Economists
Population and Society

Year 2

In your second year you will take four compulsory modules. In these you will study in detail qualitative and quantitative methods in order to be well prepared for your final year when you will conduct your own research as part of your dissertation. You will also study social theory and the post-war history of the British welfare state. In addition, you will have the opportunity to take four optional modules from a list, two in the first semester, and two in the second. These will come from a broad range of social science disciplines: Sociology and Social Policy, Anthropology, Criminology, Politics, Education, Geography.

Year 3

In year three you will study different societies from a comparative perspective – how and why have they become modern and industrialised, what social problems emerged and how did countries develop different social policies to address them? You will also conduct your individual research project in a double-module dissertation. In addition, you will be asked to chose four modules from a wide range of options, most of which will be taught in student-led seminars.

Semester One
Comparative Sociology
Comparing Welfare States - Evolution, Politics & Impact

In addition to a range of options (examples below), students are required to take a paired grouping from Collective Action & Social Change/Project: Collective Action & Social Change or Focusing on Families/Project: Focusing on Families.

Sexuality & Intimacy
Anthropology, Film and Representations of the Other
Issues in Law Enforcement and Social Control
Global Crime and Justice
Youth, Crime & Society
The Deserving & the Undeserving: Victims & Scroungers in Criminology & Social Policy
Cyber Lives? New Technologies and Social Change
Class Structure & Social Inequality
Environment, Development and Society
Children and Society
Migration in a Globalising World

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

NameYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternationalChannel Islands
BSc Sociology and Social Policy2018Full-time£9,250£16,536£9,250
View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculator: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570 This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and copyingIn some cases, coursework such as essays, projects and dissertations will be submitted online. However, in some cases students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:
PlacementsPlacements (including Study Abroad Programmes): Social Sciences partners with academic departments in a number of other countries to provide study abroad opportunities. Please contact the International Office for information about the expected costs of participating.
OtherOptional visits: Some modules may include optional visits (museums, conferences, prisons [Criminology]). You will normally be expected to cover any costs such as travel and admission, unless otherwise specified in the module profile.

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Career Opportunities

Employability is embedded into modules from the first year onwards and right from the first lecture. We explain the degree skills which are taught throughout the modules and offer a number of optional employability modules.

Transferrable skills are an integral component of our programmes, making them highly relevant and valued in today’s jobs market. Our graduates are well placed in government, policing, teaching, retail and voluntary organisations.

Read more about the careers and employability support we offer.

Learning & Assessment

Our degrees are three-year, full-time honours programmes. All aim to provide our students with knowledge of the key concepts and arguments in the relevant subjects together with the capacity to apply this knowledge in a variety of contexts.

In addition, a key objective of the programmes is to ensure that all of our students are able to use both qualitative and quantitative research techniques appropriately and effectively.

Programme structure

The overall programme structure is a flexible one, allowing you to discover and pursue your own interests – either by choice of options or, if appropriate, by changing degree programme at the end of year one.

Lectures and classes

Teaching takes place during two semesters, the first running from October to February and the second from February through to May. Eight subject modules (compulsory and option) are taken per year – four per semester.

Teaching comprises both lectures (one to three per week, depending on the module) and weekly or fortnightly small-group classes. Towards the final year modules become more student-led, and some in the third year modules are based on student presentations and group projects. In a typical semester, you would spend about 12 hours per week attending lectures and classes. In addition, we expect about 28 hours of self-study (preparing for classes, writing essays and so on), bringing the weekly total to 40 hours.


Assessment in year one is primarily by examination and essay. Most year two modules are also assessed by examination, but in combination with other methods of assessment such as short essays, group and individual presentations and/or poster presentations.

In year three, most modules are assessed either by a single long essay or by a shorter essay in combination with individual or group presentations, poster presentations or some other method of assessment.


Our resources for teaching and learning are excellent. The University library, which is located close to the Division, contains a comprehensive collection of books and journals. Computer workstations are available both on the campus and at halls of residence, in many cases offering round-the-clock access. In addition, every student is provided with an email account and all rooms in halls of residence have a telephone/internet connection.

Breakdown of study time and assessment

Proportion of time spent in scheduled learning, teaching and independent study
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Scheduled learning & teaching study20%18%12%
Independent study80%82%88%
Placement study0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Written exam assessment58%39%17%
Practical exam assessment13%0%15%
Coursework assessment29%61%68%

Study Locations

Hartley Library

Highfield campus

Social Sciences is based on the main campus of the University in the M...Find out more

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