Social Science (BSc)

Entry year

2018/19 2019/20

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 BSc in Social Science allows you to study across the social science spectrum - criminology, education, psychology, sociology, social analytics, social policy - and think outside of conventional disciplinary boundaries. It is an excellent opportunity to study an interdisciplinary degree, allowing you to combine the theories and methods of the different disciplines to increase your knowledge and understanding.

This programme will introduce you to a range of social science perspectives and methods. You can build on this foundation by choosing modules that reflect your own academic and career interests.

Distinctive features

  • This course is characterised by a minimal number of core modules and the flexibility to pick-and-mix modules from across the other undergraduate schemes offered by the School of Social Sciences
  • This flexibility allows you to either sample a broad mix of topics from across the range of available options or to organise your studies thematically
  • Opportunity to study a credit-bearing placement module
  • The opportunity for you 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 teaching
  • The emphasis on independent learning in a research-led environment
  • The variety of modules on offer in a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary School
  • The opportunity to study abroad.
  • The option to extend to a four year programme with the option to spend year 3 on a professional placement or studying abroad

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

Guy Pilbeam, Social Sciences Student

Key facts

UCAS CodeL301
Next intakeSeptember 2018
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has 280 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives 1250 applications.

Entry requirements

Typical A level offerBBB, excluding General Studies
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerThe Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer17 points in 3HL subjects.
Alternative qualificationsAlternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Social Sciences admissions criteria pages.
English Language requirementsIf you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.
Other requirementsAny specific GCSE requirements (other than standard Grade C in English): No BTEC Extended Diploma offer: DDM Access to HE Diploma offer: 60 credits overall with a minimum of 45 at level 3 to include a minimum of 15 distinctions and 30 merits. Offers for other qualifications (inc Scottish Highers, Irish Leaving Certificate, Cambridge Pre-U, etc.): Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. IELTS offer: Applicants whose first language is not English are required to obtain a minimum overall IELTS score of 6.5 and at least 5.5 in all other sub-sections. TOEFL iBT offer: 90 with a minimum score of 17 for writing and listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking. Offers for other qualifications: Pearson Test of English (PTE A) = 62 with a minimum of 51 for all communicative skills.

We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2018 and this page will be updated by end of October 2018 to reflect the changes.

This is a three-year, full-time course, consisting of 120 credits a year. You’ll study six 20-credit modules a year, with the opportunity to take a 40-credit dissertation in year three. Each year includes a number of optional modules that allow you to tailor your studies to suit your own interests and skills. The final degree classification that you are awarded is based on the grades you achieve in the modules that you take in years two and three.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018. You are advised to check the final module descriptions when they are available to ensure that the programme meets your needs.

Year one

You will take five core 20-credit modules in Year One. These are designed to introduce you to the key ideas and research in your chosen area and to teach you the skills needed to succeed at university. You will also have the opportunity to take one additional 20 credit module from within the School to make up the full 120 credits you need to complete Year One.

Core Modules

  • Becoming a Social Scientist (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Social Science Research (20 credits)
  • Key Ideas in Social Science (20 credits)
  • Philosophy and Methodology of the Social Sciences (20 credits)
  • Social Science and Social Issues (20 credits)

Optional Modules

  • Sociology, Society and Social Change (20 credits)
  • Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Social and Public Policy (20 credits)
  • Foundations of Contemporary Criminology (20 credits)
  • Introduction to Social and Development Psychology (20 credits)
  • An Introduction to Education (20 credits)

Year two

You will take one core 20 credit module in social research methods and choose your five remaining 20 credit modules from a selection spanning the social sciences, as listed below.

You will consolidate your understanding of core methods and theories in the social sciences and have the option of using your module choices to create a specialist pathway that will become the focus of your studies. If you prefer, you may choose a more interdisciplinary combination.

Your personal tutor will help you to choose modules that best suit your interests and future career choices.

Students must take:

  • Social Research Methods (20 credits)

Students must take 80 credits from:

  • Responses to Crime (20 credits)
  • Offending and Victimisation (20 credits)
  • Sociology of Education (20 credits)
  • What Happens in Schools: Assessing Policy in Practice (20 credits)
  • Human Development (20 credits)
  • The Uses and Abuses of Social Psychology (20 credits)
  • Real World Research (With Placement) (20 credits)
  • Social Policy Analysis (20 credits)
  • Poverty, Social Security in the UK (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Inequalities (20 credits)
  • Working Knowledge (20 credits)
  • Gender Relations and Society (20 credits)
  • Children and Childhood (20 credits)
  • Migration, ‘Race’ and Ethnic Relations (20 credits)
  • Social Theory (20 credits)

Students must take 20 credits from:

  • Discourse and Interaction Analysis
  • Knowing the Social World – Online and Offline Surveys
  • Secondary Data Analysis
  • Evaluating Social Practice, Policy and Innovation
  • Researching Culture
  • Ethnography and Everyday Life
  • Interviews and Focus Groups

Year three

You will take six 20 credit modules in Year three, or you will have the option to undertake a 40 credit dissertation project, designing, conducting and writing up a small-scale research project supervised by a member of academic staff, plus four 20 credit modules from a selection spanning the social sciences, as listed below.

When choosing your year three modules, you should consider what would be most appropriate based on your year two choices. Your personal tutor will help you with this.

Students must take 120 credits from:

  • Dissertation (40 credits)
  • Crime, Security and Justice in the City (20 credits)
  • Violence in Context (20 credits)
  • Prisons and Prisoners (20 credits)
  • Green Criminology: Environmental crimes and their regulation (20 credits)
  • Radical Education (20 credits)
  • Work and Skills in the 21st Century: an international perspective (20 credits)
  • Issues in Social and Cultural Psychology (20 credits)
  • Cognitive and Biological Psychology (20 credits)
  • Identity and Individual Difference (20 credits)
  • Psychological Selves: Therapeutic Culture and Emotion in Historical Perspective (20 credits)
  • Experiments in Knowing (20 credits)
  • Analysing Social Change (20 credits)
  • International and Comparative Social and Public Policy (20 credits)
  • Comparative and International Education Policy (20 credits)
  • Power, Politics and Policy (20 credits)
  • Sociology on the Move (20 credits)
  • The Sociology of Stigma (20 credits)
  • Live Theory (20 credits)
  • Society and Genetics (20 credits)
  • Unequal Chances: educational inequality, social mobility and family life (20 credits)
  • Religion and Society: Politics, Identity, Education (20 credits)
  • CRUSH (20 credits)
  • Engaging in a Healthy Society: Research and explanation on environments and human health (20 credits)
  • Cymdeithas Gyfoes yng Nghymru/Contemporary Society in Wales (20 credits)
  • Digital Society: Theory, Methods and Data (20 credits)
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.

How will I be taught?

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.

Teaching methods include a mixture of lectures, seminars, independent study and self-directed learning that draw use of on-line resources, individual work and group tasks. Lectures generally provide an overview of the relevant topic, introducing key concepts or research, and highlighting contemporary issues or debates. An increasing number of lectures are now recorded. In contrast to lectures, seminars give you the opportunity to discuss particular readings, research or topics in detail. This allows you to consolidate your understanding and get feedback on your individual learning. Seminars also enable you to hone your communication, presentation and collaborative skills as you take part in group discussions and other tasks.

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

How will I spend my time? (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




How will I be supported?

A personal tutor will guide you for the duration of your studies. The tutors are available to discuss progress and provide advice and guidance on your academic studies. The Student Hub, located in the Glamorgan Building, is also open every day and can provide advice on how to access university services.

All modules within the course make use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) Blackboard, on which you will find course materials, links to related materials and information relating to assessment tasks including, for example, assessment criteria, links to past papers, and guidelines for submitting assessments.

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 you regularly.


How will I be assessed?

All modules are assessed by at least two different assessment tasks. Typical assessment formats include individual and group assignments, coursework, presentations and exams. We take care to ensure that all degree schemes include a range of different assessment types and that deadlines are spread throughout the academic year.

Feedback is provided on assessments and other learning in order to provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their current or recent level of attainment.  It can be provided individually or to groups.  It can take many forms.  It is responsive to the developmental expectations of our programmes and disciplines.


The range of feedback includes one-to-one individual feedback; generic feedback; peer feedback; informal feedback; self-evaluation to submit along with the assessment.

Academic staff and peers can use a variety of methods to deliver these types of feedback: written feedback; annotation of a text; oral feedback; seminar discussion.

Formative Feedback

Formative feedback is feedback that does not contribute to progression or degree classification decisions.  The goal of formative feedback is to improve your understanding and learning before you complete your summative assessment. More specifically, formative feedback helps you to:

  • identify your strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work;
  • help staff to support you and address the problems identified with targeted strategies for improvement.

Formative feedback is routinely provided in seminars as seminar work often contributes to the module assessment. In addition, all modules include a specific formative assessment that is designed to help you prepare for the subsequent summative assessment.

Summative Feedback

Summative feedback is feedback that contributes to progression or degree classification decisions.  The goal of summative assessment is to indicate how well you have succeeded in meeting the intended learning outcomes of a Module and will enable you to identify action required (feed forward) in order to improve in future assessments.

All feedback on coursework is provided electronically to ensure it is readily accessible and easy to read. Verbal feedback is provided for presentations but written feedback will also be provided where the presentation makes a significant contribution to the module mark.

Feedback on exams is usually provided as written feedback for the whole class but you are also able to discuss your individual exam paper and the mark it was awarded with the module convenor.

All marks and feedback are made with reference to the module specific marking criteria.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 2

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 3

Written exams


Practical exams




What skills will I practise and develop?

Knowledge & Understanding:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • An understanding of the key ideas, theories and concepts used in social science and their relationship to themes, theories and findings from cognate disciplines.
  • An understanding of the main research methods used within the social sciences and the philosophical issues that inform their application and use in research settings.
  • A critical and in-depth understanding of research and theory in selected sub-fields of social science and the relevance of this work to contemporary social debates, issues or problems.
  • An understanding of the role empirical evidence plays in the creation and constraint of theory, and how theory guides the collection and interpretation of empirical data.

Intellectual Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Critically evaluate existing knowledge, scholarship and research in social science and use this knowledge to reach a balanced judgement about the merits and relevance of competing claims and theoretical perspectives.
  • Critically evaluate the use of evidence in social science disciplines and policy debates, drawing on both broad methods training and subject specific knowledge
  • Utilise knowledge and skills to understand and explain social phenomena of interest to social science and apply this understanding to new or novel questions

Professional Practical Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • Design and use a range of data collection instruments needed to explore and understand the social world
  • Critically evaluate, synthesise and interpret primary and secondary data generated using different methods, using specialist software where necessary
  • Work both collaboratively and individually on theoretically informed and empirically-grounded projects that draw on appropriate and relevant research evidence

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to demonstrate:

  • The capacity for problem-solving and originality in thinking by using knowledge and skills to tackle familiar and unfamiliar problems
  • Academic and personal skills such as critical thinking, writing, oral presentations, problem solving, group work, time-management, and the use of information technology.
  • The ability to communicate complex information in a variety of formats including reports, oral presentations, posters and dissertations

In 2015/16, the ‘Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education’ survey showed that 96% 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. Popular employments sectors included: administrative work, education, social work, retail, finance, and other professional sectors.

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. Turning theory into practical application and providing experience of the working world are important aspects of all our degree schemes and help prepare our graduates for life after higher education.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.

Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Students from outside the EU (2018/19)

Tuition feeDepositNotes

Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.

Additional costs

You should be prepared to invest in some key textbooks and to cover the costs of basic printing and photocopying. You may also want to buy copies of other books, either because they are particularly important for your course or because you find them particularly interesting.

If you have a laptop computer, you will have the option of purchasing software at discounted prices.

Students who choose to study abroad for a semester in their second year will continue to pay tuition fees to Cardiff University and will also need to pay for travel, accommodation and other related costs.

Will I need any specific equipment to study this course/programme?

What the student should provide:
You do not need any specific equipment to study on this programme. Access to a laptop computer would be advantageous as many readings are available electronically and most assessments are prepared using standard word processing software.

What the University will provide:
Networked computers with appropriate file space and all necessary software. Access to essential and background reading for each module plus a wide range of journals and other online resources. All course documents will be available online (via the VLE) and hard copies of essential documents will be provided if requested.


We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

There are a number of placement or study abroad opportunities associated with this Programme. Students will have the opportunity to choose an optional module that include a work-based placement in year two. In addition, students have the option of studying abroad or spending a year on placement in year 3, extending their studies to a four year programme. The application process for spending a year abroad or on placement will take place at the start of your second year of studies. These opportunities may be partly conditional upon achieving certain minimum academic results in other modules.     

The School of Social Sciences has a dedicated Employability and Placement Manager who can offer 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.

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