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Social Science

Social Science

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If we make you an offer for this course for 2022 entry, we guarantee to confirm your place even if one of your final A-level results is one grade below those you have received in that offer. Equivalencies and exclusions apply. Full details here.

Key information

Duration: 3 years full time

UCAS code: L301

Institution code: R72

Campus: Egham

UK fees: £9,250

International/EU fees: £18,100

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 practical experience of working with individuals and groups in society through a credited volunteer module, and there is also an optional year in industry module.

  • Combine a solid theoretical grounding with a vocational strand to maximise your future opportunities whether you are considering a professional career or further study
  • A rigorous and critical approach to understanding people in society
  • Practical experience of working with individuals and groups in communities
  • Broad academic training including social legal perspectives and applied ethics
  • Practical skills in evaluation and research
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience, and this is particularly the case as we continue to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.

Core Modules

Year 1
  • The first term will introduce you to key stakeholders and theoretical ideas involved in the regulation of society and take a problem-based approach to thinking about how ideology influences regulation and governance. The second term will enable you to understand how regulation influences important social institutions and settings and will explore the links between social policy and regulation.  You will engage with evidence, including empirical research, about other social sources of regulation such as church, family, and civil society.

  • This module examines social divisions within societies, and how social advantage and disadvantage in different areas of life and across different social groups are perpetuated and can be challenged. You will be introduced to sociological and political ideologies and how they link to key social policy issues. You will explore key debates about poverty, and affluence; ‘race’ and ethnicity; gender; disability and sexuality within an intersectional framework for understanding power relationships and the impact of inequalities will be examined.

  • What should we do for the best? Whose interests should we consider or ignore? In the first part of the module we will look at these ethical questions by considering established and emerging approaches to contemporary ethics. We will also consider the need to engage with social, political and economic considerations as aspects of applied ethical analysis. In the second part of the module we will explore and examine the ethical dimension of contemporary social questions and will consider such issues as artificial intelligence, the commodification of the body, animal welfare and environmental ethics.

  • 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.

Year 2
  • Lectures will introduce the welfare state, the stakeholders in public/private welfare provision and the development of the welfare state from antecedents to the contemporary welfare state and emerging welfare state theory.  Perspectives from the right, left and feminist theory will be introduced. Seminars will support you to understand the perspectives of key thinkers on welfare and to consider how welfare state theories apply to core welfare services.

  • This module will introduce you to the ways in which the legal system 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; Legal Aid and Access to Justice; 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 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
  • Lectures will build on the Year 2 module on the welfare state to introduce the idea of comparative methods in social policy analysis, introduce classic and contemporary models for welfare regimes, including welfare delivery environments such as devolution, the EU and Brexit, globalisation and migration.  Seminars will support students in integrating knowledge from lectures and will involve a problem-based learning approach to working with peers to develop their project essay.

  • This module explores how we appreciate the experience of marginalised groups. We will draw on classic and contemporary social theories to explore the social position of marginalised groups such as black and ethnic minority communities, asylum-seekers and people with disabilities, and consider the contribution of positional critiques of mainstream sociology.  Different theoretical positions often privilege different forms of evidence and knowledge and we will consider the insights of different forms of social knowledge — including reflexivity and positionality — can bring to our understanding of ‘marginality’ and ‘normality’. We will also consider and evaluate policy responses to marginality in public policy.

  • 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
  • Sociology of the Family
  • Youth in Society: The Sociology of Youth & Youth Culture
  • Public Law (Constitutional, Administrative and Human Rights Law)
  • Madness and Society
  • Critical Perspectives on Children, Families and Communities
  • Perspectives on Ageing and an Ageing Society
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Critical Readings in Sociology
  • Critical Readings in Criminology
  • 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.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of key debates in relation to children, society and risk, childhood, children's rights, citizenship and social harm. You will look at empirical and theoretical studies in these areas and understand the ways in which social policy, and criminal justics agencies, are adapting their responses to deal with crimes commited against children.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of the different criminological, sociological and psychological appraoches to the study of terrorism. You will gain an oversight of terrorism within the content of current policy and global governance, with specific reference to international law and human rights. You will examine debates on the threats posed by terrorism, considering the emergence of the new terrorism in Britain.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of terrorism on the global stage, examining different perspectives on its history and development, starting with the emergence of new terrorism in the post 9/11 era. You will analyse global repsonses to terrorism, considering the differentiated impact of terrorism on a global scale, and the way in which fear of terrorism can be used as an instrument of political power by various state agencies. 

  • In this module you will develop a knowledge of illicit drugs, their effects and how they have been used cross-culturally through time. You will gain an insight into the sociological and psychological theories that seeks to explain addiction and problem drug use, with practical knowledge of how drug users and drug markets have been controlled through policy, enforcement and legislation.

  • In this module you will develop an understanding of key sociological, psychological and criminal-legal approaches to gender and sexuality. You will think critically about how theories of gender and sexuality have informed the study of crime and shaped our understanding of sexual offences, and the relationship between gender, sexuality and criminal justice, from the 19thcentury to the present day. You will look at case studies that have shaped the study of gender, sexuality, and crime hisotrically and in the present day, such as the violations perpetrated against women through the diagnosis of 'hysteria', the development of the law of rape, sociological and psychological appraoches to sex offenders, and debates about the crimialisation of pornography.

  • International and Comparative Human Rights Law
  • Voluntary Work in the Community
  • ’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: ABB-BBB

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.

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**: £18,100

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 loansscholarships 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. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2021/22, the fee will be £9,250 for that year. The fee for UK undergraduates starting in 2022/23 has not yet been confirmed.

**The UK Government has confirmed that EU nationals are no longer eligible to pay the same fees as UK students, nor be eligible for funding from the Student Loans Company. This means you will be classified as an international student. At Royal Holloway, we wish to support those students affected by this change in status through this transition. For eligible EU students starting their course with us in September 2022, we will award a fee reduction scholarship equivalent to 60% of the difference between the UK and international fee for your course. This will apply for the duration of your course. Find out more

Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2021/22 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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