Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) – 2017 entry

Politics and Sociology is an exciting new course that Surrey now provides. Despite being one of the first students to take the course, I'm finding that it incorporates both subjects well and that the content is coherent and interesting.

What you'll study

At a time of growing inequalities and increasing social and political unrest, it is important to figure out how political institutions can address some of the more deeply rooted problems in society. This degree programme is for you if you want to understand the interactions between social and political trends.

Programme overview

This programme provides you with extensive knowledge of the interactions between ideology, policy making, power and social structures. Looking at social policy from the perspective of political institutions, as well as the sociology of political structures, you will engage in a range of debates about the nature and impact of ‘social problems’.

Moreover, the study of policy making in practice provides you with an overview of opportunities and constraints affecting the way that policy is formulated and implemented.

You will split your time equally between Politics and Sociology, therefore acquiring a sound understanding of both disciplinary traditions and cultures.

Programme structure

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

In your first year, you will study a number of compulsory modules. These will provide you with a solid background in political, international and policy studies, in economics, and in fundamental academic skills.

Compulsory Politics modules:

Compulsory Sociology modules:

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

In your second year of study, you will build on the previous level by studying a number of compulsory modules, and will also choose a number of optional modules where you begin to develop your own interests.

Compulsory Politics modules:

Optional Politics modules:

Compulsory Sociology modules:

Optional Sociology modules:

Professional Training placement (optional)

All our BSc programmes have the option of a Professional Training placement after your second year. You can either take a politics and sociology-related work placement or study politics and sociology overseas, or a combination of the two.

In all cases, the placement allows you to apply and develop your understanding, as well as discover new approaches and elements.

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

In your final year, you will have much more choice in the modules you study and will be encouraged to follow your own interests.

Compulsory Politics modules:

Optional Politics modules:

Optional Sociology modules:

By the end of the programme, you will have acquired a deep understanding of your chosen field and the skills to use that knowledge to best effect. With our broad range of learning and teaching strategies, you will gain a well-rounded and coherent appreciation of the key questions and approaches to this vital and vibrant subject.


The Department of Politics' excellence in teaching has been recognised with a number of awards and fellowships. The most recent awards include the Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award (Maxine David, 2012) and the Higher Education Academy Nano-Teaching Award (Simon Usherwood, 2012).

The Department has been awarded a number of fellowships through initiatives promoting excellence in Professional Training and enhancing students’ experience through enquiry-rich approaches to develop negotiation-based learning (Simon Usherwood, 2007), to incorporate survey design in teaching political psychology and electoral behaviour (Tereza Capelos, 2008), to develop enquiry-based learning and to establish an enquiry-based learning group (Maxine David and Roberta Guerrina, 2008).

As part of the Teaching with New Technologies (TeNT) scheme – which encourages lecturers to experiment with emerging technology – the Department of Politics has received awards to work with interactive whiteboards (Simon Usherwood, 2007), to use Second Life to collect public opinion data (Tereza Capelos, 2008), to use social networking websites, and to develop a wiki for EU self-study (Roberta Guerrina and Maxine David, 2008).

Finally, we maintain an active involvement with social media as a tool for teaching and learning, and strive to apply innovative teaching methods through interactive learning, direct observation and simulation games.

You will benefit from inclusion in and engagement with research projects that our academic staff are currently undertaking.

Contact hours

The following represents an indicative estimate of how you can expect your time to be split on this programme, based on the information available at the time of publication (February 2016):

  • 1 per cent personal tutorial/small group teaching
  • 6 per cent medium group teaching
  • 8 per cent large group teaching
  • 85 per cent studying and revising in your own time

Professional Training placements

The distinguishing feature of our degree programmes is their applied nature. You will be taught how to apply theoretical understandings of politics and international relations to world events and issues. Additionally, we equip students with the skills necessary to find a placement. 

The aim of our Professional Training placement is to provide you with a chance to experience first-hand how politics operates in the ‘real world’, at a voluntary sector organisation, a government or local authority department, an MP or MEP’s office, or an international organisation.

Current and previous providers include:

  • CityYear
  • Citizens’ Advice Bureau
  • Save the Children
  • Cape Town Refugee Centre
  • Runnymede Trust
  • The Shadow Defence Secretary's Office
  • A range of political parties (Conservative, Labour and the Socialist Workers Party)

Study placement and Erasmus

It is possible to spend your third year on study exchange with one of our European partner universities. These include:

  • Aarhus University
  • University of Copenhagen
  • University of Maastricht
  • Seoul National University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Brock University
  • Swinburne University
  • Monash University

If you choose to study at a European partner you will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant.

The advantages of participation in the exchange scheme are numerous. They include exposure to a different culture and the challenges of living in a new country, and the opportunity to learn a new language and experience new teaching practices and approaches to political science/international relations.

These challenges and experiences ensure that you emerge from the year abroad with increased self-confidence and widened employment opportunities that derive from your improved language competencies and communication skills.

You will also acquire a fresh perspective on your subject matter that significantly improves performance in your final year.

Learn more about the Erasmus programme or discover where our global opportunities can take you.

Politics research seminars

The Department of Politics sponsors a regular research seminar series, which meets every two weeks during term-time and brings together academic staff and postgraduate and undergraduate students from the University.

The purpose of the research seminars is to provide a forum for the presentation of cutting-edge research papers and to increase awareness among our students about developments in diverse themes of research in the field today.

We regularly invite high-profile UK and international scholars to present their work, and we encourage discussions with the audience. All members of the University and wider public community are welcome to participate.

Student support advisor

You might be faced with any number or type of issues unrelated to your academic work, which nevertheless have repercussions for your academic performance. Our student advisor provides a listening ear, co-ordinates a response or puts in place a practical programme of action when necessary.

Personal tutors

Entering your first year at university and making the step up to degree study in a new environment is meant to challenge you, but we ease this transition by allocating you a personal tutor from amongst the permanent staff in the Department.

Your personal tutor builds a one-to-one relationship with you, offering appropriate advice and support regarding personal or work-related issues, and becoming a first point of reference. In most cases you will have the same personal tutor throughout your degree programme.

Active in outreach

The Department of Politics is engaged in several stimulating outreach projects and opens its doors to students of local schools and colleges.

Regular activities involve:

  • Giving research-related talks to secondary education institutions and neighbouring universities
  • Contributing to the Education Liaison programme
  • Hosting a politics conference for schools
  • AS and A2 revision lectures and a Question Time event, incorporating an essay competition with a prize
  • Organising a Politics Month which includes a number of politics events
  • Launching a survey of British politics and electoral preferences in the wider Surrey community

Graduate prospects

Graduates over the last few years entered employment in companies, organisations and public life such as:

  • Houses of Parliament
  • Deloitte
  • Snapdragon Consulting
  • City Year
  • YMCA
  • International Institute for Strategic Studies
  • Surrey County Council

In addition, many of our graduates have gone on to study for Masters degrees in a range of programmes and countries. We are also proud of our record of alumni who have continued education up to doctoral level and become academic scholars in their own right.

2017 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



Access to HE Diploma

QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 39 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 6 Level 3 Credits at Merit

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


European Baccalaureate

75 per cent

International Baccalaureate

35 points required

Scottish Highers

Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB

Welsh Baccalaureate

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent)

One social science or humanities subject preferred. There is no requirement for an A-level in Politics.

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades.

Suitable candidates will be invited to an Applicant Day. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.

English language requirements

6.5 IELTS minimum overall

6.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

See 2018 entry information

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BSc (Hons) 3 Years LL23 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 4 Years LL24 View KIS data set

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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