Social Science (BSc)

Our Social Science BSc is an excellent way to obtain the maximum benefit from your time studying in one of the UK's largest and most successful centres of social science.

The course embraces sociology, psychology, anthropology, criminology, education and social policy. You will select an interdisciplinary topic to study in greater depth. These special areas reflect current research strengths and include psychology, anthropology, children and childhood, crime and punishment, social work, educational policy, European governance and policy, identity and subjectivity, gender and sexualities, health and medicine, and business and economic development.

All students on the social science route start with a solid foundation in the range of social science perspectives and methods that make up the School of Social Sciences. Over the course of your degree, you can then build on this foundation by choosing modules that reflect your own academic and career interests.

Key facts

UCAS CodeL301
Entry pointSeptember 2016
Duration3 years
Typical places availableThe School typically has 280 places available
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 1250 applications
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 offer32-34 points
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Specific admissions and selection criteria for this degree programme can be found online.

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


Admissions tutor(s)

Dr Miguel Arribas-ayllon, Course Administrator

Dr Miguel Arribas-ayllon, 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.

Our Social Science BSc provides an opportunity for a truly interdisciplinary degree in the social sciences. By organising your studies thematically you can study the same topic from number of different perspectives such as sociology, psychology, anthropology, criminology, education and social policy. In this way you are able to gain a more holistic understanding of complex social phenomena.

Because of its broad scope, this programme is a very good way to obtain the maximum benefit from your time in one of the UK's largest and most successful centres of social science. Your chosen specialism will make up at least a quarter of your final degree and will allow you to learn from leading experts in that domain.

Single or Joint honours?

Given the nature of the scheme, the Social Science route is only available as a single honours option. It is, however, characterised by a minimal number of core modules and the flexibility to great flexibility and pick-and-mix modules from all the other undergraduate schemes in the School of Social Sciences.

Whichever route you choose through the Social Science degree scheme you will benefit from teachers who are leading experts in their fields. By developing an inter-disciplinary understanding of a topic that interests you, you will also have the chance to build a programme of study that plays to your strengths and really works for you.

I enjoyed Social Science because the subjects I learnt were relevant, topical and current.

Guy Pilbeam, Social Sciences Student

Year one

All degrees schemes within the School of Social Sciences put great emphasis on the combination of theory and method that is needed to apply social science work to real world problems. Our degree schemes are developed with this in mind and provide a solid foundation in core concepts and methods before moving on to more independent and critical thinking about their application in specific contexts.

For the Social Science degree, this progression is accomplished as follows. In year one, all students, take two core modules.

They then complete their programme of study by choosing any four modules from those offered by the Sociology, Social Policy, Education or Criminology schemes.

Year two

In years two and three, students consolidate their understanding of core methodological and theoretical issues in the social sciences and choose the specialist pathway that will guide their module choices. Each pathway consists of a pair of modules, one is taught in year two and the other in year three. Students are then able to build their degree around these modules by choosing their remaining modules from those on offer across the Sociology, Psychology, Social Policy, Criminology and Education degree programmes. The degree programme this creates is highly flexible and allows students to combine insights from experts across the School of Social Sciences.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Social Research MethodsSI003020 credits

Year three

All final year students have the opportunity to undertake dissertation project in which they will be able to design and conduct a small scale research project under the supervision of a member of academic staff.

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.

In the School of Social Sciences you will learn from scholars who are shaping the future of their fields. Our courses reflect both the core ideas of their disciplines and contemporary debates, theories and research.

In year one you will lay the foundations for later specialist study, taking a number of core modules and following a study skills programme designed to help you make the transition to higher education. In years two and three, you will be encouraged to study and learn more independently, giving you the opportunity to read more widely and to develop your own interests

Assessment methods vary from module to module but, across the degree scheme as a whole, you can expect a mixture of exams, essays, practical work, presentations, and individual and group projects. Depending on your degree scheme, you may also undertake a final year dissertation that will give you the opportunity to focus on one topic in depth and further develop your research and analytic skills.

As social science develops in response to the social world, so too our curriculum changes.  Our students play an important role in these developments, with the Staff-Student Panel being consulted about major changes and all students completing module evaluations and an annual student survey.

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.

Turning theory into practical application and providing experience of the working world are important facets of preparing our graduates for life outside of education.

We encourage our students to think about life beyond University from day one, offering modules and support to give you a competitive advantage on graduating.

Our dedicated Placements Manager offers advice on available work placements, internships, work experience and opportunities to enhance your CV and broaden your horizons. Support with job applications and interview techniques is also available.


3 Year(s)

Next intake

September 2016

Places available

Typical places available

The School admits 340 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes 

Applications received

Typical applications received



QAA subject benchmark

QAA subject benchmark


Overview and aims of this course/programme

Leading universities from around the world now attach special value to interdisciplinarity (combining theory and methods of separate disciplines to increase knowledge and understanding). The Social Science degree provides an opportunity for students to undertake an interdisciplinary degree of study taught by experts from across the social sciences.

Students choose from a range of modules from across the social science disciplines - including sociology, psychology, social policy, criminology and education. Whatever combination you choose, we will help you to become a social scientist with a solid foundation in research methods, in-depth knowledge of a range of disciplines and a practical understanding of how they can work together. In this way you will acquire knowledge and skills which you can combine in flexible ways to meet a variety of challenges in your subsequent career.

Degree programmes in SOCSI reflect the National Qualification Framework and benchmark standards of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

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:

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.

In SOCSI 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.

If you choose to undertake a dissertation this provides a means to further develop and demonstrate a broad range of skills.  The outcomes of the dissertation will be made available to a wider audience at a conference when you will be expected to make a presentation of your work. The research project provides the opportunity for independent study supported by a one to one relationship with a supervisor. Supervision sessions provide the opportunity to negotiate individual learning outcomes. This will develop collaborative, time-management, communication and presentational skills.

What should I know about the preliminary year?

Each year of study consist of 120 credits, usually taught as six 20 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 examinations;

· Class tests;

· Written reports;

· Oral presentations;

· Dissertation or extended essay.

There are also opportunities for formative assessment: assessments which do not formally count towards the final grade and are therefore an opportunity for you to gain insight on you progress. We place a particular emphasis on formative assessment in the first year.  Alternative provisions may be made for students with disabilities.


You are provided with oral and written feedback on formative and summative assessment tasks which will identify areas of strength and areas where improvement is needed. In addition, staff provide you with an analysis of overall achievement on any one assessment task.

Other information

Students will be allocated a personal tutor 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:
  • Information Literacy Resource Bank:
  • Careers Advice and Guidance:

Distinctive features

A typical graduates from this programme will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of the social sciences and their application to a range of specific issues and topics
  • Demonstrate a capacity to adopt a comparative perspective in issues that relate to the social sciences (e.g., crime, culture, education or health)
  • Demonstrate an ability to consider the links between the theoretical foundations of the social sciences and practice in a variety of contexts
  • Demonstrate a capacity to construct, sustain and present a reasoned and coherent argument about social science issues
  • Demonstrate intellectual independence, critical engagement and responsibility for your own, and others, continuing learning
  • Demonstrate applied research skills in the social sciences, appropriate to undergraduate study
  • Demonstrate personal and academic communication skills

How will I be taught?

The distinctive features of the Scheme 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 
  • the opportunity to study abroad

Admissions tutors

Dr Miguel Arribas-ayllon, Course Administrator

Dr Miguel Arribas-ayllon, 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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