Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) – 2020 entry
Why choose this course
At a time of growing inequality and increasing social and political unrest, it’s important to understand how political institutions can address some of the more deeply rooted problems in society. Our BSc Politics and Sociology course will let you discover and understand the interactions between social and political trends.
Our sociology courses are ranked top 10 in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.
What you will study
This course will provide 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’ll engage in a range of debates about the nature and impact of ‘social problems’.
Moreover, the study of policy making in practice will provide you with an overview of opportunities and constraints affecting the way that policy is formed and implemented.
You’ll split your time equally between politics and sociology, developing a sound understanding of both disciplinary traditions and cultures.
Professional Training placements
A Professional Training placement provides you with the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be adaptable, resilient, globally minded, confident, entrepreneurial and digitally savvy in the workplace. These qualities are widely recognised by employers and many of our students are offered employment on graduation by their placement provider.
The Professional Training placement year gives our students an insight into their subject and career potential, and early access to professional experience. It can be invaluable in developing work-based skills and helping them secure a graduate career.
Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.
Politics and Sociology placements
Following your second year, you’ll have the option of completing a Professional Training placement. You can either take a politics and sociology-related work placement, study politics and sociology overseas, or a combination of the two.
In all cases, the placement will allow you to apply and develop your understanding, as well as discover new approaches to your subject.
The distinguishing feature of our degree courses is their focus on application. You’ll be taught how to apply theoretical understandings of politics and international relations to world events and issues. We’ll also equip you with the skills necessary to find a placement.
The aim of our Professional Training placement is to provide you with first-hand experience of how politics operates in practice. Our students have completed placements in the voluntary sector, government departments, MPs offices, international organisations and the private sector.
Current placement providers for the Department of Politics include:
- Surrey County Council
- Defence Science and Technology Laboratory
- House of Commons
- European Chamber of Commerce
- British Embassy
- Metropolitan Police
- British Airways
- The Walt Disney Company
- BMW Group
- Virgin Media
- Eli Lilly UK.
Applying for placements
Professional Training placements are usually applied for and secured via our online placement opportunities platform called Surrey Pathfinder, within which students can select and apply for placement vacancies. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way. However, support is also provided to students wishing to source their own placement, subject to university requirements being met.
Students are generally not placed by the University, however they are given thorough support and guidance alongside access to the vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.
Recent graduates from the Department of Politics have secured roles such as:
- Outreach Manager, Houses of Commons
- Funding Manager, Latsis Organisation
- Researcher, Department for exiting the European Union
- Press Officer, Peoples Vote UK
- Graduate Intern, Deutche Bank
- Commercial Real Estate Manager, Wells Fargo
- Market Research Manager, GfK
- Business Development Executive, Screenpages Ltd
- Researcher, Westminster Forum Projects
- Graduate Intern, Ipsos MORI
- Corporate Finance Advisor, Department for Transport
- Bid Analyst, Serco Ltd.
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.
Study and work abroad
We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad.
In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.
View our study and work abroad exchange information to find out more and see where you can go.
Please note: the status of the Erasmus+ scheme is dependent on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
It is possible to spend half or all of your third year on study exchange with one of our partner universities. These include:
- La Trobe University
- Monash University
- Swinburne University of Technology
- University of Queensland
- University of Wollongong
- Brock University
- The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
- Aarhus Universitet
- Kobenhavns Universitet
- UInstitut d'Etudes Poliques d'Aix-En-Procence
- Otto-Friedrich-Universitat Bamberg
- Universitat Mannheim
- Universita degli Studi di Bologna 'Alma Mater Studiorum'
- Republic of-Seoul National University
- Universiti Malaya (UM)
- Maastricht University
- Victoria University of Wellington
- Nanyang Technological University
- Singapore Management University
- California State University
- George Mason University
- North Carolina State University
- Texas Tech University
- University of Maryland
- University of North Carolina
- University of Virginia
- Virginia Commonwealth University.
If you choose to study at a European partner, you may be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant.
There are lots of advantages to taking part in a study exchange, including 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 and international relations.
These challenges and experiences ensure that you will 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.
Politics research seminars
The Department of Politics sponsors a regular seminar series during term-time and brings together academic staff and postgraduate and undergraduate students from the University.
These research seminars provide a forum for the presentation of cutting-edge research papers and 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. The seminars may also include insights from practitioners; from overseas politicians to activists. All members of the University and wider public community are welcome to participate.
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
Academic year structure
The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Optional modules for Year 2 - FHEQ Level 5
Choose 2 Politics modules and 2 Sociology modules
Timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
We’ve always placed teaching at the centre of our work, helping students to develop their own understanding of the world. We focus on active learning, encouraging you to take the initiative in finding answers to your questions, and on developing your skills for research, presentation or self-reflection.
Our undergraduate courses offer intellectual and personal development, with each year building on those before. This not only means that you’ll leave with the knowledge and skills to be an independent and critical researcher, but also the confidence that those abilities are based on extensive practice and discussion.
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’ll engage with ground-breaking research being conducted by staff and you may have the opportunity to work on staff projects.
Research students will sometimes help to deliver your modules. These students will be researching in a similar subject to the module, and will have undertaken training prior to being invited to teach. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.
CHAPPELL LC Dr (Politics)
All taught students are assigned a personal tutor before beginning a programme of study. Personal tutors offer support and advice to students in the areas of:
- Academic progress
- Pastoral/welfare issues
- Personal/professional development and employability.
Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports. Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.
Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.
Learning and disability support
We have two services, Academic Skills and Development and the Disability and Neurodiversity Service which can help develop your learning.
Academic Skills and Development
Academic Skills and Development is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.
Find out more about the study support available.
Disability and Neurodiversity Service
The University’s Disability and Neurodiversity Service supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (including autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).
If you tell us about any conditions and register with us, we can give you appropriate support during your studies.
We can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and test you for dyslexia and dyspraxia. We can also offer regular study skills and mentoring support.
English language support
Our English Language Support Programme (ELSP) provides tailored English language support during your studies. It is particularly valuable to students who speak English as a second or additional language, but native speakers are also welcome.
What qualifications do you need?
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
We normally make offers in terms of grades.
If you are a suitable candidate you will be invited to an Applicant Day. During your visit to the University you can find out more about the course and meet staff and students.
If you can demonstrate exceptional academic performance in your schooling to date, you could be awarded an unconditional offer as part of the University’s Unconditional Offer Scheme.
Recognition of prior learning
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
UK and EU To be confirmed
Overseas To be confirmed
BSc (Hons) (with professional training year)
UK and EU To be confirmed
Overseas To be confirmed
Professional training To be confirmed
Overseas students: please note that annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.
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.
No additional costs.
Final year students may wish to participate in an optional trip to the Houses of Parliament or simulation exercises as part of certain modules - £30 approximately.
How to apply
Learn how to apply for an undergraduate course, see details about the UCAS application process and determine the steps you need to take if you receive an offer to study.
Our undergraduate admissions policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.
Campus locationStag Hill
Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught.
As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement which would require attendance off campus, depending on where you secure your placement.