Undergraduate Course

BA Social Sciences

(Including Foundation Year)

BA Social Sciences

Overview

The details
Social Sciences (Including Foundation Year)
LY13
October 2024
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

Your first year at Essex will be with Essex Pathways. In your second year of study, you will join the Department of Sociology for the remaining three years of study

In a liberal society, can limitations on freedom of speech ever be justified? Do people pull together because they want to, or because they have to? Political, economic and social issues dominate domestic and international news, impacting on our day-to-day lives as well as shaping the future.

Studying topics in Sociology, Politics and Economics provides you with a greater understanding of the world around you. It teaches you about democracy and its relation to good government, how the economy functions, how people make decisions and how the economy impacts on the material wellbeing of human societies.

Our course provides a thorough training in the major areas of political science, economics and sociology, investigating the different kinds of social tensions, interactions and networks that make up everyday life. Offered at Essex by three of the UK's leading social science departments; the Departments of Sociology, Government and Economics. These three disciplines are fundamentally linked. Through developing your understanding of these fields, you explore and address the broadest questions about our society.

Due to the flexibility of our courses, you can choose from a broad range of areas including:

  • Public policy regarding health, the environment, crime and aging
  • Citizenship, multiculturalism and human rights
  • The nature of work and commercial culture
  • Political power
  • Obligations, freedom, rights and equality
  • Applied Economics and Policy
  • Micro and Macroeconomics
  • International Financial Institutions and Policy
  • Strategies of Economic Development

Our Department of Sociology was ranked 59th globally and 10th in the UK for sociology in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2023). Meanwhile our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, ranked 2nd in the UK for research outputs in politics and international studies (Grade Point Average, Research Excellence Framework 2021). The Department of Economics is 18th in the UK in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2023).


Why we're great.
  • Our teaching is underpinned by research - new ideas and theories are tested in the classroom.
  • You acquire a range of skills valued by employers including research, interpreting data and debating.
  • You develop the critical and inventive thinking skills necessary for many graduate jobs.

Our expert staff

You are taught by a team of award-winning internationally renowned scholars widely regarded as leading experts in their fields.

Our Sociology academics believe in doing research that matters and makes a difference; whether it's the battle between big data and human rights or the policing of sex workers, we embed our innovative and sometimes controversial research into your course.

Our Economics researchers are at the forefront of their field and have even received MBEs, with students coming from across the globe to study, research or work with us. Our Department of Economics is a richly diverse home to staff and students from all over the world who have a strong sense of belonging and want to think, learn and change the world together.

Core staff on this programme include:

  • Dr Carlos Gigoux

    Dr Carlos Gigoux is the Deputy Director of our Centre for Migration Studies. He participates in the Essex Migrant Agency Forum that brings together organizations that supports Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Migrants in the East of England. He is a member the Sanctuary University Network and has also advised parliamentary bodies on refugee and asylum policy, most recently the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

Specialist facilities

Facilities in Sociology

  • A unique Student Study Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students' work, and attend workshops on research skills
  • The Sociology common room is open all day Monday-Friday, has a hot drinks vending machine, water cooler and microwave as well as a small number of lockers available
  • Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
  • Our students' Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates

Take advantage of our extensive learning resources in Economics to assist you in your studies:

  • Extensive software for quantitative analysis is available in all computer labs across the university
  • Access a variety of economics databases and multiple copies of textbooks and e-books in the Albert Sloman Library

Some of our facilities in the Department of Government include...

  • Laboratories of networked computers featuring extensive software for political analysis
  • ESSEXLab provides opportunities for experimental lab research
  • Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN

Your future

A good sociology course, especially one from a recognised centre of excellence like Essex, can open many doors.

Sociology students are in demand from a wide range of employers in a host of occupations, including local and central government, NGOs, social work, market research, project management, fundraising, auditing, marketing, case-work, youth and community work, voluntary sector management and lobbying.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of high-profile companies including:

  • The Institute of Public Finance
  • Guardian Professional
  • United
  • Synergy Healthcare Research

We also work with the University's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you:

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer: Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each component, or specified score in another equivalent test that we accept.

Details of English language requirements, including component scores, and the tests we accept for applicants who require a Student visa (excluding Nationals of Majority English Speaking Countries) can be found here

If we accept the English component of an international qualification it will be included in the academic levels listed above for the relevant countries.

English language shelf-life

Most English language qualifications have a validity period of 5 years. The validity period of Pearson Test of English, TOEFL and CBSE or CISCE English is 2 years.

If you require a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

Pre-sessional English courses

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Pending English language qualifications

You don’t need to achieve the required level before making your application, but it will be one of the conditions of your offer.

If you cannot find the qualification that you have achieved or are pending, then please email ugquery@essex.ac.uk.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College

Structure

Course structure

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Becoming Enlightened Citizens: Foundations in Politics and Government
(30 CREDITS)

How did Plato and Aristotle influence Western political thought? How do you study class or gender today? What impact does globalisation have? Examine the history of social and political theory, critically analysing current issues. Understand key topics in politics and sociology for further study of the social sciences and humanities.

View Becoming Enlightened Citizens: Foundations in Politics and Government on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Introduction to Criminology and Sociology
(30 CREDITS)

This module covers a wide range of issues and topics concerning both how sociologists work and what it is that they study. It offers students an opportunity to engage with challenging debates, theories and topics that students who go on to study sociology at degree level will encounter in their first year as undergraduates.

View Introduction to Criminology and Sociology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Research and Academic Development Skills
(30 CREDITS)

This module is designed to support students in their academic subject disciplines and to strengthen their confidence in key skills areas such as: academic writing, research, academic integrity, collaborative and reflective practices. The students are supported through the use of subject-specific materials tailored to their chosen degrees with alignment of assessments between academic subject modules and the skills module.

View Research and Academic Development Skills on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: CORE WITH OPTIONS

IA129-3-FY or IA175-3-FY or IA179-3-FY or IA108-3-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: CORE

The Sociological Imagination
(30 CREDITS)

How can sociology help you understand the world in which you live? What are some of the major features and trends in present-day societies? Using sociological tools, you analyse key features of different societies, such as stratification, poverty, racism, consumption, multinational corporations, religion, and the gender division of labour in low-income countries.

View The Sociological Imagination on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Introduction to Economics
(30 CREDITS)

How do consumers make decisions? Or firms conduct different market strategies? What impact does government policy have on inflation? Or unemployment? Develop your knowledge of economics in relation to a range of contemporary issues. Learn how to apply both micro and macroeconomic principles to the analysis of such problems.

View Introduction to Economics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Introduction to Politics
(30 CREDITS)

What is “Politics”? How have people conceived of political analysis, the state, laws, wars and political parties, across cultures and over time? Gain an understanding of essential concepts in the study of politics and explore the economic, social and intellectual trends that have made democracy possible.

View Introduction to Politics on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Career Development and Making a Difference
(0 CREDITS)

This is a co-curricular module carrying zero credits but is compulsory. It is different from any other Sociology modules in the sense that there is no exam, and it runs over the whole of the three years of undergraduate studies. Upon the completion of the module, each Sociology student will have developed an understanding of their skills, interests, and goals and how these can be implemented to address the societal challenges of the future. Students will have to complete activities to fulfil the module assignment requirements at the end of Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 from any point after the final compulsory lecture in their year of study, up to the final submission deadline.

View Career Development and Making a Difference on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: OPTIONAL

Sociology option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

Economics option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Politics option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Sociology or Economics or Politics option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Career Development and Making a Difference
(0 CREDITS)

This is a co-curricular module carrying zero credits but is compulsory. It is different from any other Sociology modules in the sense that there is no exam, and it runs over the whole of the three years of undergraduate studies. Upon the completion of the module, each Sociology student will have developed an understanding of their skills, interests, and goals and how these can be implemented to address the societal challenges of the future. Students will have to complete activities to fulfil the module assignment requirements at the end of Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 from any point after the final compulsory lecture in their year of study, up to the final submission deadline.

View Career Development and Making a Difference on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

The Current Issues in Social Science
(30 CREDITS)

This module gives students an opportunity to apply social science to address key issues facing society at the local, national and global level. For example, what is the impact of the war in Yemen or in Syria? What is the impact of Brexit? How does global warming affect us? What are the major challenges in the 21st century? This module will tackle a different theme each term to better understand how Social Science can be used to understand the big issues.

View The Current Issues in Social Science on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

Sociology option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

Economics option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Politics options(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

Career Development and Making a Difference
(0 CREDITS)

This is a co-curricular module carrying zero credits but is compulsory. It is different from any other Sociology modules in the sense that there is no exam, and it runs over the whole of the three years of undergraduate studies. Upon the completion of the module, each Sociology student will have developed an understanding of their skills, interests, and goals and how these can be implemented to address the societal challenges of the future. Students will have to complete activities to fulfil the module assignment requirements at the end of Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 from any point after the final compulsory lecture in their year of study, up to the final submission deadline.

View Career Development and Making a Difference on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • From year 1, undergraduate students in the Department of Sociology typically attend a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each module per week. There are some variations in place depending on the module.
  • Teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience, with a focus on discussion and problem-solving
  • Lab sessions to improve technical research skills

Assessment

  • Assessed through a combination of written coursework and end-of-year examinations
  • Weighting is 50% coursework and 50% examinations
  • Complete a supervised dissertation on the topic that most inspires you

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250 per year

International fee

£19,500 per year

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2024 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full details on how to apply can be found on the filling in your UCAS undergraduate application web page.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Offer Holder Days

If you receive an undergraduate offer to study with us in October 2024 and live in the UK, you will receive an email invitation to book onto one of our Offer Holder Days. Our Colchester Campus Offer Holder Days run from February to May 2024 on various Wednesdays and Saturdays, and our Southend Campus events run in April and May. These events provide the opportunity to meet your department, tour our campus and accommodation, and chat to current students. To support your attendance, we are offering a travel bursary, allowing you to claim up to £150 as reimbursement for travel expenses. For further information about Offer Holder Days, including terms and conditions and eligibility criteria for our travel bursary, please visit our webpage.

If you are an overseas offer-holder, you will be invited to attend one of our virtual events. However, you are more than welcome to join us at one of our in-person Offer Holder Days if you are able to - we will let you know in your invite email how you can do this.

A sunny day with banners flying on Colchester Campus Square 4.

Visit Colchester Campus

Set within 200 acres of award-winning parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.


View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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