Social and Political Sciences BSc

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2024

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Students in a seminar

This interdisciplinary degree combines the study of society with the cultural and political processes that shape human experience.

As a Social and Political Sciences student, you will study the organisation and structure of society and consider the changing nature of human action. You will also explore the theories that structure our political systems and the social forces that shape political life. You’ll gain expertise in analysis, research, critical reading and writing and more as you develop an understanding of key topics. 

In addition to areas such as comparative politics and central problems in sociology, you’ll use examples from around the world to gain a firm grounding in the institutions and practices of modern political systems. You will do this while exploring social values and the impact of social divisions. 

Within this flexible approach you will be able to construct your own course in line with your interests and skills.

Course highlights

  • Study in our world-ranked School of Sociology and Social Policy, and School of Politics and International Studies. 
  • Explore the latest real-world challenges across a range of social and political subjects and gain a global understanding of them.  
  • Learn from influential academics who are helping to shape policy and hear from inspiring guest speakers.  
  • Get the opportunity to study abroad and develop a global outlook or undertake a work placement to gain practical experience. 
  • Prepare for your future with careers and employability support. 

Why choose Leeds for Social and Political Sciences?

  • Join a diverse and welcoming global learning community.
  • Work together with our students and staff as we grapple with the grand challenges faced by human societies now and in the decades ahead.
  • Benefit from inclusive learning spaces, aligned with the themes of our research centres in gender, racism and disability.
  • Explore different ways to present your knowledge through our alternative methods of assessment, which include video ministerial briefings, research reports and assessments conducted beyond the university.

Studying in the School of Sociology and Social Policy

Course details

The course is structured around a 'core' module pathway that guarantees a platform of learning and training complemented by a wide range of optional modules. This enables you to develop your interests in specialist areas.

Within this 'optional' element, you will be able to construct your own course in line with your interests and skills.

You'll have the opportunity to study abroad – which will enable you to develop an international perspective on your subject – or undertake a work placement. This will help you to develop your skills and give you an insight into working life in a particular organisation or sector. Throughout the course you'll gain a diverse set of skills that will be valuable to you as a citizen, as well as for your future career plans.


The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information please read Social and Political Sciences BSc in the course catalogue.

Year 1 compulsory modules 

Comparative Politics (20 credits) - This module introduces you to key concepts in the comparative study of politics and government. You’ll understand why we compare different political behaviours and institutions, as well as how social and political scientists create and test theories about political life. You’ll also learn about the basic varieties of political institutions and political cultures, and why some political systems are more democratic than others.

International Politics (20 credits) - This module introduces you to today’s key international issues, covering some of world politics’ key developments along the way. You’ll learn what has shaped the world we live in, touching upon topics like war, terrorism and nuclear proliferation. You’ll also explore different facets of transnational politics (like human rights and international law) and specific parts of the world like the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

Making Sense of Society: Reading Social Theory (20 credits) - In this module, you’ll be introduced to several core concepts and theoretical approaches in sociology. While many of us know a lot about society (because we’re an important part of it) the module will give you the ideas (and perspectives) to turn your knowledge into a useful critical tool.

Formations of Coloniality and Modernity (20 credits) - This module sees you exploring coloniality and modernity including their key themes, how these ideas came to be formed and both classic and contemporary debates surrounding them. You’ll use decolonial thought and social theory to explore where modern societies came from and challenge the narratives around them as well.

Year 1 discovery modules 

You will also choose 40 credits of discovery modules. 

Year 2 compulsory modules 

Sociology and Social Policy Research Methods (20 credits) - In this module you’ll learn more about different approaches to social research. Topics include research design, ethical issues, creating questionnaires, conducting interviews and observing participants. You’ll also have the chance to attend a series of research seminars.

You will choose 20 credits from one of the below options:

Theories of International Relations (20 credits) - In this module you’ll receive advanced training in International Relations Theory. You’ll analyse rival theories and develop your critical thinking skills by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Lectures and seminars will help you understand how theory and practice relate to each other on an international level.

Revolution and Reaction: Political Problems in the 20th Century (20 credits) - In this module you’ll get to grips with some of the 20th century’s most important thinkers. You’ll learn about them in a wider context, understanding the contemporary problems that each one was trying to solve. You’ll also see how they sought to contest some of politics’ most established ideas, and how these thinkers are still relevant to today’s political problems.

Justice, Community and Conflict (20 credits) - This module explores how people with wildly different cultures, beliefs and moral values can live well together in society. It explores concepts such as justice, injustice, community and conflict, and how we can apply these ideas to social and political problems. You’ll also discuss specific issues like hate speech, pornography and the morality of political protest.

You will choose 20 credits from one of the below options:

Key Debates in Social Policy (20 credits) - In this part of the course you’ll explore several key areas of social policy concern. You’ll learn about ideological debates, comparative questions and how we make policy. You’ll also be able to apply theoretical ideas to understand how social policies work in real life, within and without the UK.

Central Problems in Sociology (20 credits) - This module focuses on some of sociology’s key thinkers, sharing their ideas and how they have influenced one another. You’ll also look at several ideas related to social integration including the individual and society, power and social change and the social basis of culture, beliefs and consciousness. These are applied to more familiar topics like religion, power, authority and sexuality, among others.

Year 2 optional modules

You will choose 60 credits of optional modules. You can select your own choice of options across a range of different topics. In previous years, this has included disability studies, policy in the EU, culture, decoloniality and security studies.

Year 3 compulsory modules 

Dissertation (40 credits) - Your dissertation is an extensive piece of written work that involves research into a topic of your choice. It’s an opportunity to pursue an area you’re interested in or explore a theme from your second and third-year modules in greater detail.

Research Skills for your Dissertation (20 credits) - This module will show you how to find a topic for your dissertation and turn that into a question you can research. You’ll then choose one of five pathways through the module (based on a particular methodological approach) while helping you develop the skills to carry it out. You’ll undertake a variety of different online tasks including quizzes, guided reading, short videos and participating in moderated discussion.

Year 3 optional modules

You will choose 60-80 credits (depending on your dissertation choice) of optional modules. You can either choose to continue a themed route from your second year, take modules from a new theme or select your own choice of options across different topics. In previous years, this has included international development and social policy, gender and security, crime and American foreign policy.

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you gain a diverse set of 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.

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.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


Modules will use a variety of assessment methods. As well as traditional exams, you could also be asked to complete essays, case study-based projects, policy briefs, group presentations, work logs, research briefs or project proposals. In your final year you’ll also submit a dissertation project.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

We do not require A-level Sociology or Politics for this course. However, in general you should be in the process of studying social science, arts and humanities subjects for A-level. See our accepted subjects document to see which subjects we accept.

When an applicant is taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) this can be considered alongside A-levels and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A-levels, this would be ABB at A-level and grade A in the EPQ.

GCSE: grade 4/C or above in Mathematics.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Complete 60 credits with 45 credits at level 3, including 30 credits at Distinction and 15 at Merit or higher.



Cambridge Pre-U

D3, D3, M2

International Baccalaureate

35 overall (6,5,5 higher)

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)


Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers or A in Advanced Higher and AABBB in Highers or AAAABB in Highers.


We will consider T-levels in appropriate subjects as they become available. In all cases applicants should have GCSE English at 4 or above.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Applicants offering the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (SCC) must obtain a grade A alongside AA at A-Level (excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking).

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is a contextual 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 contextual admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer:

If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, we offer a foundation year for UK students who meet specific widening participation criteria. Learn more about the BA Social Science (foundation year).


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For information contact the School of Sociology and Social Policy Undergraduate Admissions Team.

International foundation year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study a foundation year. Find out more about International 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.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 2024/25.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only, as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll 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.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our admissions guidance for common queries, information on how we will process your application, and advice on personal statements.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re 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

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of Sociology and Social Policy
School of Politics and International Studies

Contact us

School of Sociology and Social Policy Admissions Team


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, social work, criminal justice studies and social research.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s 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 about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners 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.