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BA (Hons) Sociology & Politics

  • UCAS
    LL23
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: ABB/BBB
    BTEC: DDM/DMM
    IB: 33 points including three HL subjects
  • Length
    3 years full-time
  • Department
    Sociology, Politics and International Relations

Course overview

This degree gives you a thorough grounding in sociology and politics, in methods of social and political research, and in interdisciplinary approaches to political analysis.

Why study BA Sociology & Politics at Goldsmiths?

  • You'll be taught in one of the UK's top sociology departments; in the most recent official assessment we achieved joint first ranking for the world-class quality of our research
  • Our academics are responsible for actively shaping the discipline – they're pioneers in their fields, and write the books that are on your reading lists
  • Sociology at Goldsmiths achieved a high score of 91% and Politics and International Relations 92% for the overall quality of our teaching in the 2014 National Student Survey (NSS)
  • Our Department of Politics and International Relations has links with the Home OfficeDepartment for Transport, local government and the European Commission
  • You won't simply learn about politics in terms of what happens in the Houses of Parliament and conventional arenas of power, but also what happens on the streets, in art galleries, and in the non-Western world
  • We'll defamiliarise you from what you think you already know, and encourage you to look at the subjects from a different perspective
  • We have a lively events programme that attracts renowned speakers, meaning that you'll have the opportunity to hear the latest political and sociological arguments, theories and ideas
  • We've been recognised as one of the UK's top political universities as voted for by students (Which? University 2014)
  • Our graduates have gone on to a wide range of careers in media and marketing, business and management, arts administration, and the voluntary and charitable sector

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Brett St Louis or Dr Paul Gunn

Modules & structure

Overview

Taught jointly between the Departments of Sociology and Politics and International Relations, this degree’s main concern is with contemporary political issues, including the politics of race, gender, class and inequality, the state, nationalism, migration, social movements, the environment and new technologies.

In the first year you'll take sociology core modules that familiarise you with sociological research methods and with the distinguishing features of the subject. For the politics element you study key concepts in political theory – including the state, democracy, freedom, rights, power and authority. You also choose from three option modules.

In the second year you'll look at how to study a society, encompassing issues of agency and structure, class and conflict, political action and social change. The making of the modern world and its sociological context is also considered. Politics modules examine how the subject has become associated with social movements, environmentalism and globalisation, while theoretical debates on the concept of democracy are also studied. You also take a sociology option and a politics option.

In the third year you'll take a core module in theorising contemporary society and study for a dissertation. You also pick a sociology option and two politics options.

Level 4

Level 4 study gets you thinking sociologically and critically, and introduces the ways in which sociological knowledge of societies has been shaped by disputes about theories and methods. Modules address problems that have interested sociologists in their attempts to account for the world we live in. You will start to understand how the meaning derived from sociological investigations operates in cultural processes, and look at the methods that have been developed by sociologists to produce sociological knowledge.

You take three core modules – two from Sociology and one from Politics and International Relations (the first three in the list below). 

You are then able to choose one more of the Politics and International Relations options (the final three in the list below). 

Module title Credits
  Researching Society and Culture 30 credits
  Modern Knowledge, Modern Power 30 credits
  Political Theory and Ideologies 30 credits
  UK and European Comparative Governance and Politics 30 credits

Level 5

Core modules at Level 5 cover the main approaches to sociological thought, and their implications for understanding contemporary societies. You develop a rich knowledge of the variety of sociological reasoning and research.

You take four core modules (three from Sociology and one from Politics and International Relations):

Module title Credits
  Central Issues in Sociological Analysis 15 credits
  The Making of the Modern World 15 credits
  Social Change and Political Action 15 credits
  Modern Political Theory 30 credits

You will then choose one Politics and International Relations option from the following list:

Module title Credits
  An(other) Japan: Politics, Ideology and Culture 15 credits
  Chinese Politics: The Revolutionary Era 15 credits
  US Politics and Foreign Policy 15 credits
  Europe Since 1945 15 credits
  Ideologies and Interests: Political Thought in Modern Britain 15 credits
  International Trade 15 credits
  International Monetary Economics 15 credits
  Liberalism and its Critics 15 credits
  Life: A User's Manual 15 credits
  Modern Britain: Thatcher and After 15 credits
  Rough Politics 15 credits
  Political Economy 30 credits
  Politics and International Relations of the Middle East 15 credits
  Politics of Vision 15 credits

and one Sociology Option from a list that includes:

Module title Credits
  Leisure, Culture and Society 15 credits
  The Body: Social Theory and Social Practice 15 credits
  Social Change and Political Action 15 credits
  Crimes Against Humanity 15 credits

Level 6

At Level 6 we support a strong programme of research in social and political theory, gender studies, and cultural studies of politics and government.

You will choose one 15-credit Sociology option, and take two core Sociology modules: 

Module title Credits
  Theorising Contemporary Society 15 credits
  Dissertation 30 credits

You also choose Politics and International Relations options to the value of 60 credits.

Assessment

Assessment is through a combination of unseen exams, pre-released exams, assessed coursework and projects.

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

A-level: ABB/BBB
BTEC: DDM/DMM
International Baccalaureate: 33 points including three HL subjects

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:

Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
Scottish qualifications: ABBBC/BBBBC (Higher), ABC/BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 77%
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A2 B1/A1 A1 A2 B2

If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us. 

For this programme we require:

IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Selection process

We exercise flexibility where entry requirements are concerned, and make offers based on your enthusiasm and commitment to your subject, as shown by your application and personal statement, qualifications, experience and reference.

We frequently interview mature applicants (over 21) or those with alternative qualifications, and have a long tradition of encouraging students from all social backgrounds to study at our university. If you don't have academic qualifications may be invited to interview.

Find out more about our selection process.

Read more about our general entrance requirements

Department

Sociology at Goldsmiths is ranked:
8th in the UK and 35th in the world for this subject area**
9th in the UK for the quality of our research***

Sociology

The Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths is active, contemporary and inventive. We are interested in everything from the ‘global’ issues of poverty and injustice to the ‘micro’ issues of cultural identity and the presentation of self in a digital world.

Our staff are some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – they’re the pioneers who are pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. They’ve played a key role in developing social research methods, setting agendas in social and cultural policy, and linking theory to practice.

Through their world-leading research you’ll be at the forefront of current debates and will be encouraged to see the world differently.

Find out more about the Department of Sociology.

**QS World University Rankings by subject 2016
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings


Voted one of the top political universities in the UK by students**

Politics and International Relations

Politics and International Relations at Goldsmiths doesn’t just examine parliaments, voting systems and the formal arenas of political power. We explore ‘the politics behind politics’ – the major economic, social and cultural conflicts that are hidden by the formal veneer of institutions, but are central to everyday life.

We study politics and international relations for the 21st century, in which anarchism may be as important as liberalism, and in which Asia and Africa are as economically and geopolitically important as Europe and North America. 

Find out more about the Department of Politics and International Relations

**Which? University 2014

Learning & teaching

On this degree you'll attend lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills.

But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning in lectures and seminars, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.

This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of that are highly sought after by employers. 

Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials
  • Independent learning
  • Presentations
  • Assessments

Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.

Skills & careers

Throughout your degree you'll be encouraged to reflect on how the skills you are gaining can be useful to your future career.

We work closely with the Goldsmiths Careers Service, part of the University of London Careers Service – the biggest in the UK. Through the Careers Service you'll have access to a wide range of facilities to help you plan your future effectively. You'll have the opportunity to meet our Department’s graduates and find out how their sociology degree gave them skills intrinsic to careers development.

We also work closely with the College’s ’s Synapse programme, which provides workshops that will help you to develop both your employability and personal skills in critical and creative ways. In the context of a rapidly changing social and economic climate, these workshops provide you with valuable thinking time in which you can develop practical skills and also explore your ideas for your future.

Skills

The BA Sociology and Politics programme will help you develop the following skills:

  • an understanding of political processes
  • and understanding of current and emerging concepts and theoretical approaches that are central to sociology
  • the capacity to carry out sociological research
  • the ability to examine how social, public and civic policy can be influenced by sociological knowledge
  • the ability to investigate, appraise and communicate empirical information
  • research and problem-solving skills
  • communication skills

Careers

Sociologists enter careers that centre on the challenges and demands that members of a society face. This could be jobs in social services, education, criminal justice, welfare services, government, the voluntary sector, management, the creative industries, marketing and policy.

 

This degree enables graduates to go on to a wide range of careers, covering areas including:

  • television
  • the press
  • political research
  • national/local government
  • advertising
  • pressure groups and charities
  • business and management
  • market research

 

Students who achieve the best results during their undergraduate course may also get the chance to go on to postgraduate research for a higher degree with the aim of making a career in higher education either as a lecturer combining teaching with research or as a specialist researcher.

You can find out more about career options open to you after graduating on our Sociology careers page and by checking out options for Sociology employability. Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.

Student profiles

Adam

"I came to Goldsmiths because I knew that it was a creative university with a politically vibrant atmosphere."

"I came to Goldsmiths because I knew that it was a creative university with a politically vibrant atmosphere. Before I was a student I had a wide variety of jobs, from supermarkets to building sites to kitchens. The course I have just finished was brilliant and challenging and it has completely changed my outlook on life, not to mention my options. Now I will complete an MA, and hopefully after that a PhD. My eventual aim is to work in higher education.

For the last three years I have helped to run [smiths], the Student Union's student-led magazine. This was a great way to improve my CV, meet people and increase my writing and management skills, and I'll miss it very much."

Elettra

“Goldsmiths’ radical soul has made these three years a transformative experience that is now helping me shape the path for my future.”

"If I had to name one place in the world where I belong, heart and mind, it is Goldsmiths.

I was studying statistics back in Italy in 2011 when I realised that was not what I was meant to be doing. Thanks to the guidance and very good advice of a friend I applied through UCAS and got a place at Goldsmiths. It's been a life changing journey.

The people and professors I met, together with Goldsmiths’ radical soul, have made these three years a transformative experience that is now helping me shape the path for my future.

After graduation I am hoping study an Environmental Technology course at Imperial College, and after that possibly a job that will help make our environment healthier and our lives more sustainable." 

 

Athlyn

"The combination of Sociology and Politics complemented each other so well, and I loved that I was able to bring in a bit of each discipline in the work I submitted."

"I was born in Toronto, Canada and moved to the Nottinghamshire countryside 16 years ago. At the time of applying for university courses, I didn't really know much about Sociology as a discipline, but I was invited to meet with a senior lecturer at Goldsmiths; she really sold it to me and I made my mind up on the spot. In fact, the senior lecturer I met back in 2009 ended up being my 3rd year personal tutor and dissertation supervisor, Nirmal Puwar!

I absolutely loved my course. I found that the combination of Sociology and Politics complemented each other so well, and I loved how they intertwined and I was able to bring in a bit of each discipline in the work I submitted throughout my degree. After 1st year, I started to hone in on certain topics which I really enjoyed, and I was able to tailor my essays and projects to suit my personal interests. In the second term of 2nd year, I took an urban visual sociology module called 'London', which I found fascinating, introducing me to a discipline which I continued to explore throughout my time at Goldsmiths (and beyond!).

Goldsmiths campus is surrounded by such vibrant life and culture, so I decided to situate my final research project on Deptford Market, a space which I had become familiar with during my time living in South East London. I investigated the importance of the market in the formation and solidarity of feelings of 'sense of place' and connectivity in the area. Through the project, I spoke to several market traders and visitors to the market, who shared their experiences of Deptford, illuminating the ways in which people attach meaning to place, both personally and collectively.

I can't really pinpoint one main thing as my highlight of studying at Goldsmiths, but the array of events, lectures, conferences, performances (etc) that go on at the college is really wonderful - I've attended some great talks, and seen some excellent shows involving staff and students."

See more profiles for this programme

Fees & funding

Related content links

University statistics for this course