Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) – 2018 entry

Why choose this course

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. Our Politics and Sociology programme is well suited to those intrigued by the interactions between social and political trends and wish to understand them.

Our Sociology programmes are ranked within the top fifteen in the UK by The Complete University Guide 2018 and ranked within the top ten in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.

What you will study

This programme 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 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.

Course facts

Qualification Course length Professional Training UCAS KIS code
BSc (Hons) 36 months LL23 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 48 months LL24 View KIS data set

Professional Training placements

As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement. These will give you 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 a significant proportion of placement students at Surrey are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.

Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.

Politics and Sociology placements

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.

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)

Applying for placements

Professional Training placements are usually applied for and secured via an open and free-to-all process, within which students can select and apply for numerous opportunities. 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 a 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.

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.

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. Visit our global exchanges pages to check where you can go.

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.

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.

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. All members of the University and wider public community are welcome to participate.

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. All taught modules are 15 credits. Project modules and dissertation modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60 credits.

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.


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.


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.


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.


This course is taught by academic staff from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Programme leader

THOMPSON L Dr (Politics)

Personal tutor

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

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.

Policies and regulations

Please refer to our academic regulations and student policies and regulations. These may be amended from time to time.

Learning and disability support

We have two services, the Student Personal Learning and Study Hub (SPLASH) and Additional Learning Support (ALS) which can help develop your learning.

Student Personal Learning and Study Hub

SPLASH 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.

Additional Learning Support

ALS is the University’s disability and neurodiversity service which supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (for example: dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (for example: autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).

If you have a disability, we encourage you to disclose your condition and register with the service so you can be appropriately supported during your studies.

The ALS team can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance and screen students for dyslexia and dyspraxia. Regular study skills and mentoring support is also available.

See the Additional Learning Support website for more information.

What qualifications do you need?


Overall: ABB.

Applicants taking an A-level science subject with the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass the practical element.

Please note: A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking are not accepted.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language at Grade C(4) and Mathematics at Grade C (4) (or equivalent). 

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

Overall: DDD.

GCSE or equivalent: English Language at Grade C(4) and Mathematics at Grade C (4) (or equivalent).

International Baccalaureate

Overall: 32.

GCSE or equivalent: English HL4/SL4 and either Maths HL4/SL4 or Maths Studies HL4/SL4.

European Baccalaureate

Overall: 78%.

GCSE or equivalent: Maths 6 and either English Language (1/2) 6 or English Language (3)7.

Access to HE Diploma

Overall: 45 Level 3 credits overall including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit. 

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent). 

Scottish Highers

Overall: AABBB. 

GCSE or equivalent: English Language: Scottish National 5 - C Maths - Scottish National 5 - C.

Welsh Baccalaureate

Overall: Pass overall with ABB from a combination of the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and two A-levels.

Applicants taking an A-level science subject with the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass the practical element. 

GCSE or equivalent: English Language and Mathematics at Grade C(4) (or equivalent). 

Science Practical Certificate

Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

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, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Select your country

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each 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. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.

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.

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.


Qualification Course length Professional Training UK/EU fees Overseas fees Professional Training fees
BSc (Hons) 36 months £9,250 £15,800 Not applicable
BSc (Hons) 48 months £9,250 £15,800 £1,800

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

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.

Additional costs

There are no associated costs with with programme.

Optional expenses

Final year students may wish to participate in an optional trip to the Houses of Parliament whilst studying the 'Perspectives on the UK Parliament' module - £30 approx.

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.

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.

Admissions information

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.

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