Politics and Sociology (BSc Econ)

Combining Politics with Sociology enables you to acquire a broad understanding of society.

Politics is a fascinating subject that has a significant impact on our everyday lives. The field of politics allows students to explore how parliaments and governments function and evaluate political ideas such as power, freedom, democracy, conflict, legitimacy or accountability. Modules are varied, allowing you to explore how politics works in Britain and further afield as well as investigate how public policy is made. Other strands of work discuss justice, democracy, human rights and international relations; providing you with a broad understanding of politics tailored to your own particular needs.

Sociology has been described as a theoretical and empirical investigation of the relationship between ‘personal troubles and public issues’. It is a discipline (increasingly interdisciplinary in nature) dedicated to the study of social life as found organised in groups, institutions and societies. Indeed, sociology provides critical tools for handling the analysis of all aspects of social conduct, from the intricacies of face-to-face interaction to the ways in which economic forces shape and are shaped by global society. In addressing these concerns sociology develops and adopts a wide range of methods from observational and ethnographic through to statistical and historical research and, of course, research that combines the strengths of different approaches.

This may make sociology appear vague in its remit and enterprise. This breadth of topic – matched by that of sociological theory and method – is, however, a reflection of the complexities of social life. Sociology is an incredibly vibrant and relevant discipline focusing upon changing societies and making critical descriptions and interventions in the relationship between society and, for example, emergent technologies and formations (social media and digital society, urban governance and vulnerability, and medicine and bio-science) and the (re)production of pervasive inequalities (in the workplace, in relation to cultural practice and consumption and contemporary experiences and stratification of ‘race’ and ethnicity, gender and the life-course). Sociology at Cardiff is characterised by rigorous theoretically informed empirical research.

Our courses are taught by experts with an international reputation for their work.

In your first year you will concentrate on core modules. In your second and final year you choose from a wide range of optional modules.

Key facts

Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration3 years
Typical places available
Typical applications received
Typical A level offerABB-BBB, excluding General Studies
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerGrade A in the Core, plus grades BB at A-Level
Typical International Baccalaureate offer32 points overall, to include 6,6,6 at higher level and English at subsidiary level 6
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark


Admissions tutor(s)

Ms Rachel Swann, Course Administrator

Ms Rachel Swann, Admissions Tutor

Mr Jonathan Kirkup, Admissions Tutor

Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published in June 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.

Year one

The first year is an introductory year. It is the results of the second and final years of study that determine your degree classification. The degree is made up of compulsory modules as well as optional modules, allowing you to tailor it to reflect your specific interests. A particular feature is the option of writing a dissertation in your final year. This is highly regarded by employers because it indicates that you can do original research.

Year two

In Years 2 and 3 you will choose half your modules (in terms of credits) from Politics and half from Sociology. Please note that the lists of modules below are indicative only and that module availability may vary from year to year.

Year three

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Lectures provide a broad structure for each subject, introduce key concepts, and convey relevant up-to-date information. These are outlined in course syllabi.

Seminars provide an opportunity to ask questions and discuss key ideas in a small group environment. Their purpose is to assist you to integrate the information and ideas you receive from lectures and readings and to explore issues critically and in depth. Set questions and readings form the basis for discussion by directing your attention to relevant aspects of the subject matter and to various types of sources of information. Giving presentations develops your capacity to gather, organise and synthesise relevant information and ideas and to communicate these in a logical and concise manner. Tutor-led and student-led discussion hones logical skills and gives you practice in applying different concepts, theories and methods to the subject-matter at hand. It also exposes you to different interpretations of political ideas and events. Group problem-solving helps to develop collaborative skills.

Essays and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments. Prior advice and written feedback (for essays) are used to help you understand what is required.

In 2013/14, 96% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.

Politics at Cardiff is a respected recruitment pool for a variety of employers within this sector with the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, the Department for Education, Oxford City Council, the UK Border Agency and a range of political parties all recruiting from the last graduating year.

Outside of the political sector, the degree is of interest to employers in both the public and private sectors, with graduates taking up management training opportunities within EY, Enterprise Rent A Car, Zurich Insurance and King Worldwide.

School of Social Sciences
In 2013/14, 95% of School of Social Science graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.


3 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics admits around 230 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

The School of Social Sciences admits around 300 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Applications received

Typical applications received

The School of European Languages, Translation and Politics - 1300

The School of Social Sciences - 1500


QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark


Overview and aims of this course/programme

The Politics and Sociology BSc Econ degree programme is designed to equip you with an understanding of how these two closely-related disciplines complement each other as well as an appreciation of their distinctive approaches. Sociology modules are taken in the School of Social Sciences (SOCSI) and Politics modules in the School of European Studies (EUROS). Both Schools offer modules that will develop your understanding of, and interest in, contemporary and classical political and sociological theories, debates and processes.  

Your Sociology modules will help you to make sense of the social and cultural contexts in which political systems are rooted and to which political debates respond – such as the changing nature of governance, shifts in the nature of work, leisure and family life, transformation in institutions such as the education, welfare, political and legal systems, shifts in the ethnic make-up of Britain, the continuing significance of class and gender inequalities, and debates over increasing globalisation and new forms of technology, media, scientific innovation and medical intervention. Sociology modules will help you to understand pressing political questions of our age, such as why people seem to be less interested in voting and whether it is really the case that we are becoming a more affluent and individualised society.

Key concepts in Sociology relate to theoretical concerns that are central to politics, including the nature of power, freedom, conflict, legitimacy and risk; the relationship between individuals, the State and society; the social implications of capitalist and consumerist forms of exchange; concepts of mobility, solidarities, communities and networks, and value-systems such as environmentalism and community activism. Sociology also trains you to identify and assess the evidence supporting or refuting claims made by politicians and the media about the changing nature of society. A defining feature of Sociology at Cardiff is the strong emphasis placed on research methods, enabling you to learn about and apply a range of practical techniques for answering your own questions about the social world.

Degree programmes in SOCSI and the School of Politics and International Relations reflect the National Qualification Framework and benchmark standards of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) (www.qaa.ac.uk). 

What should I know about year five?

Most modules are 20 credits. Students are expected to allocate 200 hours of study time to each of them: this is made up of lectures (22-24 hrs in Years 2 and 3, 44-48 in Year 1), tutorials/seminars/workshops (8-10 hours), independent study and time spent on assessment tasks. Students should attend all lectures and are required to attend all seminars.

Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study, which can be found at: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/govrn/cocom/equalityanddiversity/dignityatwork/index.html

Students are also expected to maintain regular contact with the personal tutor and, where appropriate, inform the School of any extenuating circumstances that might affect their academic performance.

At Cardiff University we take the responsibility we share with you to support your learning seriously and if you have any particular requirements it is important that you let us know. In some instances you may just want to talk to your personal tutor or a member of the teaching team on a particular module. We also have a Disabilities contact and work closely with the Student Support Service.

How is this course/programme structured?

This is a 3 year full time programme, consisting of 120 credits a year.

What should I know about year four?

No specific equipment required

What should I know about year three?

Students will acquire and develop a range of skills, including both discipline specific and generic employability skills. These include: communicating and presenting oral and written information, arguments and ideas (individually and as part of a team); using ICT (word processing, data bases, internet communication, information retrieval and on-line searches); interpreting and presenting relevant numerical information through compulsory year 1 and 2 research methods modules; demonstrating interpersonal skills to enable team/group work; recognising, recording and communicating skills and knowledge to achieve personal/career goals; managing learning and performance (including time management); demonstrating a commitment to continuing learning and development.

What should I know about the preliminary year?

Each year of study consist of 120 credits, usually taught as a combination of 20 or 30 credit modules. In each academic year, there will be a number of core modules that provide the essential foundation for the degree scheme plus a number of optional modules that allow you to tailor your academic work to your own strengths and interests. In the third year, students have the opportunity to undertake a dissertation. The dissertation is counted as a double module and provides the opportunity for independent study and research supported by an academic supervisor.

A diverse range of teaching and learning styles are used throughout the degree. Students will attend lectures, participate in tutorials or seminars and carry out practical tasks as individual or group activities. Seminar and practical work is particularly important as it provides an opportunity to student to obtain feedback on their progress and understanding throughout the academic year.

You will receive formal feedback on your assessments in a variety of ways. You will receive individual, written feedback on coursework, the purpose of which is to improve your understanding of the subject and develop transferable skills that can be applied elsewhere. General feedback will also be given on examinations, with individual feedback available for students who have failed the module and require a resit. Many modules also offer formative assessments, which enable you to develop your skills and obtain feedback without affecting your final module mark.

Some teaching will take place within the School of Social Sciences and some will be in other locations within the University campus.

What should I know about year one?

Each of the taught modules within the programme will be assessed using one or more of the following in-course assessments:

  • Essays and coursework;
  • Formal seen and unseen examinations;
  • Class tests;
  • Written reports;
  • Group presentations
  • Oral presentations;
  • Dissertation.

There are also opportunities for formative assessment: assessments which do not formally count towards the final grade and an opportunity for you to gain insight and feedback on your progress. We place a particular emphasis on formative assessment in the first year.

Alternative provision may be made for students with disabilities.


Other information

Students will be allocated two personal tutors -- one for sociology, one for politics -- for the duration of their studies. Tutors make themselves available for scheduled meetings to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance, but they can also be called upon when needed.

All modules within the programme make use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard, on which students will find course materials, links to related materials and information relating to assessment tasks. Additional module-specific support is provided by seminar tutors, lecturers and/or module convenors. Support for the dissertation is provided by a supervisor who will meet with students regularly.

Opportunities for students to reflect on their abilities and performance are also made available via the University’s central services, which include:

  • Academic and Skills Development Centre: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/academicskills/
  • Information Literacy Resource Bank: https://ilrb.cf.ac.uk/
  • Careers Advice and Guidance: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/careers/

Distinctive features

A typical graduate from this programme will be able to:

  • understand key concepts and theoretical approaches that have been developed and are developing within Sociology and Politics
  • appraise sociological and political theories and assess them in relation to evidence
  • demonstrate an awareness of social change, the nature of social processes underpinning them and their implications for social diversity and inequality
  • appraise and use a range of qualitative and quantitative research strategies and methods
  • demonstrate awareness of the distinctive character of sociology in relation to the discipline of politics and also its relationship to everyday explanations.
  • demonstrate intellectual independence, critical engagement, personal and academic communication skills.

How will I be taught?

The distinctive features of the programme include:

- the opportunity for students to learn in a School that was ranked 3rd in the UK for research quality in sociology and 5th for education in the 2014 Research Excellent Framework (REF)

- the involvement of research-active staff in Scheme design and delivery

- the emphasis on independent learning in a research-led environment

- the variety of modules on offer in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary School

- progression through core and specialist option modules

- an emphasis on developing practical research skills that will serve students well in the future

- the opportunity to study abroad

Admissions tutors

Ms Rachel Swann, Course Administrator

Ms Rachel Swann, Admissions Tutor

Mr Jonathan Kirkup, Admissions Tutor

Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.


Get information and advice about making an application, find out when the key dates are and learn more about our admissions criteria.

How to apply
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