The BA Social Policy and Sociology joint honours degree at Birmingham provides an excellent opportunity to explore the social changes reshaping the world today.
This degree provides the knowledge and skills to critically engage with key issues facing contemporary societies including globalisation; the changing nature of work and the family; gender roles and sexuality; multiculturalism; the impact of the media and information technologies; and new forms of politics.
In addition to these 'big picture' social theories we place a strong emphasis on developing social science research skills – so valued by employers – with research methods training in each year.
On the Social Policy and Sociology BA, you will also get the chance to take part in a range of in-house activities that vary by year. Examples of activites include:
- An annual Student Conference
- The Research Assistance Scheme, where students are paired with a member of staff to help them in specific research tasks
- Simulation exercises using real case examples
- Simulation events and research visits to local and national places of interest
Download our course brochure (PDF - 1.93MB)
Please be reassured that the vote to leave the European Union does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the UK university sector’s participation in EU programmes such as Erasmus and study abroad programmes. Visit our EU Referendum information page for more information.
Student, Sociology BA
“The lecturers are all researchers and are at the forefront of their respective fields. This is something that I have really benefited from; being taught by real experts makes your course so much more interesting. I have fulfilled my full potential at Birmingham, had so many new experiences, met great people and really enjoyed my course.”
A Joint Honours degree programme involves the study of two subjects to Honours degree level. If you study a subject as a Joint Honours programme, you work at exactly the same level and to the same academic standard as students taking that subject in a Single Honours programme.
Social Policy is an interdisciplinary degree, drawing on subjects such as sociology, politics, psychology, history, media studies, and philosophy. This degree is suitable for students currently studying a range of A level subjects. Social Policy joint honours degree programmes enable students to blend the interdisciplinary approach to Social Policy with the study of a complementary discipline.
Sociology seeks to understand how social relations and structures influence all aspects of our lives. Join us and explore the dynamic, unprecedented social changes reshaping the world today.
We pride ourselves on the quality of our teaching. Our staff are active researchers who want to share their enthusiasm for sociology and social policy with you. We believe teaching and learning should be both rigorous and enjoyable, and seek to involve students in continually developing our activities. The Social Policy and Sociology degree at Birmingham presents a balanced view of the subject. You will be given a broad grounding in the major approaches to both disciplines, with emphasis on the cultivation of research skills. Your degree will culminate in a dissertation on a topic of your choice.
This programme provides the knowledge and skills to critically engage with key issues facing contemporary societies including:
- The changing nature of work and the family
- Gender roles and sexuality
- The impact of the media and information technologies and new forms of politics
In addition to these 'big picture' social theories we place a strong emphasis on developing social science research skills – so valued by employers – with research methods training in each year. This culminates in a final year dissertation where you research and write an extended piece on a topic of your own choice, with the support of an expert supervisor.
Studying Social Policy at the University of Birmingham will provide you with a highly stimulating educational experience, support from academics whose work is internationally recognised, and your learning will take place in state-of-the-art, high-tech teaching and learning environments.
Social Policy degree programmes are interdisciplinary, and suitable for students who have studied a range of subjects at advanced level, including sociology, politics, history, philosophy and ethics and media studies. Our programmes are broad based and flexible and provide opportunities to specialise, enabling you to tailor your degree programme to your evolving academic skills and interest. Over the course of your studies you will be supported by our academic staff, who are highly committed to engaging in cutting edge social policy debates, contributing new insights and knowledge and enabling students to develop their confidence and skills to do the same. Our ethos of staff and student collaboration is embedded through our interactive approach to learning, staff-student committees, and our one-to-one approach both for personal tutoring and the supervision of students' research projects.
Modules in the first year
Core modules are:
Modules in the second year
Core modules are:
You can choose 20 credits from the following optional modules:
Social Policy modules
You can choose 20 credits from the following:
Modules in the final year
You can choose 40 credits from the following modules:
Sociology (20 credits):
Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2019. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.
For UK students beginning their studies in September 2019, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.
Learn more about
fees and funding.
Undergraduate Home/EU student fees 2019-20
Overseas students entering in 2019-20
Fee Band (Undergraduate)
Band 1 (Classroom)
At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.
The University offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of bursaries, grants and scholarships.
Learn more about our
scholarships and awards
- Number of A levels required:
- Typical offer:
- General Studies:
BTEC Extended Diploma accepted - grades required DDM.
BTEC Diploma accepted when combined with an A-level.
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma accepted when combined with 2 A-levels.
Typical offer grades are for guidance only, and will depend on the subjects you are combining. Please read the entries for both subjects. Where there is a disparity between the typical offer for Subject A and the typical offer for Subject B, the higher offer should be taken as the usual offer for the combination of the two.
Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements
International Baccalaureate Diploma: 5,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall
Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.
Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com using code: LL43.
Learn more about applying.
University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.
You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.
As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.
How will I be taught?
During your time at the School of Social Policy, your learning will be facilitated through a blend of teaching, learning and assessment methods, and you will experience teaching through a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, classes and tutorials.
Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).
You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
We have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.
Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.
Depending on the modules you select, each week you will have between 12 and 15 hours of lectures and classes, with lecturers on hand to answer additional questions outside of this timeframe.
Internships and work experience
We have developed a range of internships and funded work experience placements that will enhance both your professional and personal skills whilst giving you the practical experience that is required by almost all graduate employers. In addition to funding and support, we offer unique opportunities to help you to rise above the competition, with global internships and placements available.
Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this
transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.
You will be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations, laboratory-based work (depending on your chosen degree) and formal exams.
During your first year you will undergo a formal
'transition' review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.
At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you'll be assessed for that particular programme of study. You'll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from, and build on, what you have done. You'll be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.
Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.
Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our
Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.
Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive
work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with
global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning
Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline, all of which can be transferred into your studies.
Visit the University of Birmingham Careers pages for further information on how we are
investing in your future.
There are a number of job paths for you to take after graduating. There are graduate schemes in managing welfare services in health care, the third sector and local government which can be popular choices with our graduates. Since a degree in Social Policy is based upon how policy is made it is a great degree for working in the civil service, local government or for think tanks. Our graduate also gain students many transferable skills such as critical thinking, written and verbal communication and team work which give them the flexibility to go into a wide range of employment opportunities:
- NHS management trainee scheme
- Planning Officer
- Charity co-ordinator
- Marketing project manager
- Social enterprise co-ordinator
- Campaign manager for an MP
- Youth worker
- Communications officer
- Graduate land buyer
- Benefits Officer
Opportunities to secure a career that is right for you can be enhanced not only through experiences that are available to you on your degree programme, but also through our specialist
Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.
Clubs and societies
The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.
Shape your academic experience
Choose to study here and you will have a Student Representative, who works with the University and Students' Union on issues that directly affect students. You could even become one yourself. Not only would you be making a difference to the academic student experience, but you would also be developing transferable skills for the future.
Find out more on the Guild of Students website
Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.
The City of Birmingham
One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.
Our students fall in love with the city - over 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.