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 Office, Department 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
Modules & structure
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 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 30 credits from the Politics and International Relations options (the final five in the list below):
|Researching Society and Culture||30 credits|
|Modern Knowledge, Modern Power||30 credits|
|The Politics of Other Cultures||30 credits|
|UK and European Comparative Governance and Politics||30 credits|
|World Politics||30 credits|
|Introduction to Political Economy||15 credits|
|Introduction to Economic Policy||15 credits|
|Political Theory and Ideologies||30 credits|
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):
|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:
|Making Modern Japan||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 of Vision||15 credits|
and one Sociology Option from a list that includes:
|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|
|Migration in Context||15 credits|
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:
|Theorising Contemporary Society||15 credits|
You also choose Politics and International Relations options to the value of 60 credits.
Assessment consists of coursework, extended essays, reports, presentations, practice based projects or essays/logs, group projects, reflective essays, and seen and unseen written examinations.
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.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2
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 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.
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.
Sociology at Goldsmiths is ranked:
1st in London* 6th in the UK and 37th in the world**
9th in the UK for the quality of our research**
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.
*Guardian University Guide League Tables 2017
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
***Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
Voted one of the top political universities in the UK by students* and ranked in the world's elite**
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 2016
**QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
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:
- Independent learning
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.
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
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:
- the press
- political research
- national/local government
- 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.