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Social Science

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Here's what you need in order to apply:

  1. Royal Holloway's institution code: R72
  2. Make a note of the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for:

    • Social Science BSc - L301
  3. Click on the link below to apply via the UCAS website:
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Social Science


Key information

Duration: 3 years full time

UCAS code: L301

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

The course

Social Science (BSc)

Our School has an intellectually challenging approach to research and education. Studying Social Science at Royal Holloway means that you will learn from leading experts from within sociology, criminology, law, social policy and social work who will share their research and experience so that you gain invaluable skills, such as research and data analysis, which are highly sought after by employers. 

The BSc Social Science will help you to take a broad view of current social issues, and explore them from a range of different perspectives. It will introduce you to understanding society and people in society, not only from sociological and social policy perspectives, but also from socio-legal and applied ethical viewpoints.

Our approach to social issues involves a practical approach to research which includes evaluating policy and service provision and undertaking practical research projects.

This degree course will also provide you with opportunities for practical experience working with individuals and groups in society through an optional credited volunteering module.

  • A rigorous interdisciplinary and critical approach to understanding people in society
  • A diverse range of optional modules in years two and three, offering opportunities to specialise in areas of interst or broaden your knowledge and skill base
  • Broad academic training including socio-legal perspectives, policy analysis and applied ethics
  • Practical skills in evaluation and research
  • Gain a solid grounding in how contemporarty welfare policy works in practice with the most vulnerable groups in society

From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.

Core Modules

Year 1
  • This module explores contemporary social issues, including poverty, inequality, unemployment and discrimination. You will learn about the foundations of the welfare state as well as social policies in areas such as education, housing, health and family life. Key questions to be discussed include: What are the most important social problems in contemporary society? Is the welfare state in crisis? Why are young people more vulnerable to unemployment? How does the media influence our perceptions of social problems?

  • This module will explore and examine how human behaviour and experience are influenced by social and interactional experiences and contexts across the lifespan.  Drawing on diverse theories and applying research evidence ‘Perspectives on People in Society’ will enable you to identify and critically analyse literature and research evidence on human development and to communicate on how life events and social contexts impact on people’s experiences.  You will explore social, biopsychosocial, psychological and ecological perspectives, focusing on the person in their environment. You will also explore how context, challenge and change impact on life experiences.

  • This module will introduce you to the academic study of politics and to the ‘real world’ of contemporary politics. As a foundational course, it will give you all the essential tools to understand the nature of politics and analyse the way different political systems work. You will be introduced to key concepts such as politics, power, rights, ideologies, democracy and representation, and will learn about the different actors, institutions and processes that make up politics today.

  • This module will introduce students to some key theories and problems in ethics. Ethical theories examined may include deontology, utilitarianism, moral sense theory, and virtue ethics. Theoretical issues may include the nature of value, theories of rights and responsibilities, and the role of competing conceptions of human nature. Practical topics may include euthanasia, abortion, poverty, personal relationships, equality, animal ethics, and punishment. The precise topics covered may vary from year to year, according to staff availability and interests. The module will lay the foundations for subsequent modules at Level 5 and 6, including ‘Ancient Ethics’, ‘Existentialist Ethics’, and ‘Philosophy of Medicine and Bioethics’.


  • This module is intended to introduce you to the ways in which the law functions in a social context. It is especially concerned with the ways in which law enables or acts as a barrier to equalities, human rights and social inclusion for a variety of social groups or at different points across the lifespan. This will be pursued in the following indicative areas: Introduction to the English Legal System, Sources of Law: Statute and Case Law; Equalities and Human Rights; Children and the Law; Families and the Law; Disability and the Law; Care, Vulnerability and the Law; Asylum and the Law.

  • This module will describe the key principles of academic integrity, focusing on university assignments. Plagiarism, collusion and commissioning will be described as activities that undermine academic integrity, and the possible consequences of engaging in such activities will be described. Activities, with feedback, will provide you with opportunities to reflect and develop your understanding of academic integrity principles.


Year 2
  • Lectures will introduce the welfare state and its development from antecedents to the contemporary welfare state and emerging welfare state theory. Perspectives from the right, left, feminist, green and critical race theory will be introduced. Welfare state models will be introduced to afford an international and comparative approach. The module will also analyse the contributions of welfare delivery environments such as devolution, the EU and Brexit, globalisation and migration.

  • This module provides you with an introduction to the philosophical issues in social research. You will look at ethics in social research and theory, quantitative versus qualitative methods, sampling, observation, interviewing, media analysis, and questionnaire design. You will be given the opportunity to work through the research process on a topic of independent study of your choosing.

Year 3
  • In this module you will demonstrate practical and applied social research skills.  You will choose a specialist topic and work with an allocated supervisor to undertake a research project.  You will critically assess different approaches to research, implement a research plan and evaluate research findings. There will be 3 dissertation workshops (one in the summer term of Year 2, and one each in the autumn and spring terms of Year 3) to support you to focus your research project, undertake a literature review and engage with research ethics in data collection and analysis.

Optional Modules

There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 2
  • Crime and the Law
  • Students will critically discuss the role, function and nature of the family in contemporary society as well as examining changing patterns of family life. The course also explores how social identities and different social positions (for example those related to class, gender, or ethnicity) impact upon the experience of family life. Families will also be discussed in relation to other areas of social life including education, the workplace and the community. Students will engage with questions such as: To what extent does the nuclear family remain seen as the ‘ideal’ family type? What are the experiences of lone-parent families in contemporary society? How easy is it for families to balance paid work and family life? What is the relationship between the family and social policy? The course will familiarise students with contemporary research related to families and family life and equip them to critically evaluate this material.

  • This professionally oriented module addresses students’ employability skills with providing them with foundational level competences (knowledge, skills, values and agency) in social care. The emphasis within this module is empowering, holistic, person-centred, individual level care which will be contextualised from the perspectives of professional multi-agency practice, diversity and service user involvement. The aim is to help the students to engage both with the theories and practices of person-centred social care and develop their communicative, dialogic skills and ethical sensitivity. This module includes practice placement of 40 hours during term 2 coordinated by the Royal Holloway Volunteering Team. Students can opt to volunteer in diverse health care setting as well depending on their professional interests.

  • Youth in Society: The Sociology of Youth & Youth Culture
  • This module will introduce you to key topics in madness studies. We will review different approaches to understanding and responding to madness. A key theme of the module will be the relationship between social factors and ideas of madness — and the roles of key state agencies and professional groups. We will consider how concepts of madness have changed over time and how they differ across cultures. We will also explore the relationships between social stress, social division and stigma and conceptions of madness.

  • This module will builds on the Level 4 module, ‘Perspectives on People in Society’. The lectures will introduce key theories, perspectives and diverse contexts for ageing in society, including family, work, care and caring, risk, citizenship and belonging. Students will also be introduced to the roles of key state agencies and professional groups working with older people in the welfare state. The seminar series will support students to gather a social history from an older person and to critically analyse this using theory and knowledge from the lecture series.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the most important features of the history of the development of the non-West. You will look at the distinctive political dynamics characterising the contemporary non-West and consider the thoughts of prominent non-Western political thinkers.

  • I in this module you will develop an understanding of contemporary British politics. You will look at the ways in which British government has evolved, how it continues to operate, and why it operates in the way it does. You will consider the causes and consequences of major political change in Britain and examine the underlying assumptions upon which theoretical disputes in political science are based.

Year 3
  • In this module you will develop an understanding of different sociological approaches to the study of health and illness, with an awareness of the social patterning and causes of ill health. You will critically examine debates in the sociology of health and illness, considering factors such as social class, gender and ethnicity.

  • The aim of this module is for students to be able to reflect on work placement experience in the wider context of career planning. Content of the module itself is very simple, the student being responsible for their own research and reflection, as guided by the Careers Service. Required preparatory work for the course is attending two workshops provided by the Careers Service, along with undertaking of a short-term work placement.

  • In this module you will develop a historical and sociological understanding of the study of race, racism and ethnicity, with an awareness of the way in which these interact with other social divisions and inequalities. You will anylse the extent to which race and ethnicity are central to how society is organised and structured, with knowledge of the models of race relations and the relevance of geography and politics.

  • Critical Perspectives on Children, Families and Communities
  • Interpersonal violence and harm
  • This final-year half module offers students the opportunity to obtain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the British parliament and its place in British democracy. It will help you to evaluate the work and role of Parliament and parliamentarians, appreciate ongoing debates about contemporary legislative practice, and engage critically with previous academic scholarship in this area. It will also help you to develop you own awareness and experience of conducting research.

  • ’You will complete 120 credits each year mainly made up either 15 or 30 credit units.’In the first year all units are compulsory in the second and third year there will some choice of optional units, including a 30 credit ‘Year in Industry’ unit.
  • Teaching will involve a range of methods including, lectures, seminars, individual tutorials, peer group work and practical activities (such as court visits and engagement with community groups) 
  • Assessment will involve a range of methods including, essays, examinations and tests and practical projects.
  • Throughout the course a tutor will be available to you to provide advice on the choice of courses and to offer pastoral support.
  • In the final year of the course you will undertake a research project and you will be allocated a specialist dissertation supervisor to support you with this.

A Levels: BBB-BBC

Required subjects:

  • At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics.

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.


We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:

  • AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
  • AAA – Distinction
  • BBB – Merit
  • CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
  • DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)

Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.

English language requirements

All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start.

The scores we require
  • IELTS: 6.5 overall. Writing 6.0. Reading 6.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
  • Pearson Test of English: 61 overall. 54 in writing. 54 in reading. No other subscore lower than 51.
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE III.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.

Country-specific requirements

For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.

Undergraduate preparation programme

For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.

Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.

The Social Science degree course will provide you with critical thinking and research method skills, which are paramount in a number of careers.

The degree course has a strong vocational strand running throughout, preparing you for your future career, whether you are interested in working in human services and social enterprise or want to move into professional roles or undertaking future training at Postgraduate level in areas such as social work, nursing, law and other related areas.

  • Gain experience in the workplace through our volunteering module and through other exciting careers opportunities.
  • Explore options to apply for a placement year working or volunteering locally or abroad.
  • Engage with learning activities designed to enable you to critically understand cultures and communities in modern Britain.

Career opportunities are extremely varied and can range from community work, education, youth work, health-related careers to the legal and advocacy sectors or social research.

Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £19,600

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.

**The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. The fee for the academic year 2024/25 is £9,250 and is provided here as a guide. The fee for UK undergraduates starting in 2025/26 has not yet been set, but will be advertised here once confirmed.

**This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, and is included as a guide only. The fee for EU and international students starting a degree in 2025/26 has not yet been set, but will be advertised here once confirmed.

Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees annually for overseas fee-paying students. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree. The upper limit of any such annual rise has not yet been set for courses starting in 2025/26 but will be advertised here once confirmed.  For further information see fees and funding and the terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this specific degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. General costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

Law, Criminology and Sociology Undergraduate Admissions



Admissions office: +44 (0)1784 414944

Choose modules

from sociology, politics, social policy, criminology and philosophy.

Source: Undergraduate social science degree, 2023

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