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Politics and Sociology (BSc Econ)

Entry year

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

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Politics and International Relations student

Course overview

Many students find studying a joint honours programme stimulating and rewarding as they are able to observe both similarities and differences between the two subjects. By combining Politics and sociology, you will gain a variety of transferable skills and knowledge beneficial for your future.

The field of politics allows you to explore how parliaments and governments function and evaluate political ideas such as power, freedom, democracy, conflict, legitimacy or accountability as well as incorporating international relations.

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.

This degree aims to provide you with an excellent understanding of politics and government while also equipping you with associated intellectual and communications skills that will be of value whether you work in government or in the private or voluntary sectors.

Sociology is dedicated to the study of social life as found in groups, institutions and societies. It provides the critical tools for handling the analysis of all aspects of social conduct, from face-to-face interactions to how economic forces shape and are shaped by global society.

This course uses a wide range of approaches to help you learn the methods and ideas needed to make your own contribution to understanding and improving society.

As a joint honours student, you will find that often there are complementary issues and perspectives that link subjects, be they critical analysis, historical contexts or recent research.


Distinctive features

  • Modules on offer reflect staff research interests across a range of sociological concerns and approaches, for example education, work and globalisation; urban and everyday life; social media, culture and consumption; health; migration and ethnic relations.
  • 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.
  • The involvement of research-active staff in teaching.
  • The emphasis on independent learning in a research-led environment.
  • Academic links with the National Assembly for Wales via the Welsh Governance Centre and long established relationships with national and international organisations such as the Westminster parliament, European Union and NATO.
UCAS codeLL32
Next intakeSeptember 2020
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe school typically has 280 places available
Typical applications receivedThe school typically receives 1250 applicants
  1. School of Law and Politics

    Law Building

    Museum Avenue


    CF10 3AX

  2. School of Social Sciences

    Glamorgan Building

    King Edward VII Avenue


    CF10 3WA

Entry requirements

ABB. Critical Thinking and General Studies will not be accepted.

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Achieve the IB Diploma with a minimum of 17 in 3 HL subjects.

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the Cardiff School of Law and Politics and School of Social Sciences admissions criteria pages.


Grade B or grade 6 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in writing and a minimum of 6.0 in all other subskills.


At least 90 overall with a minimum of 22 for writing and 20 in all other subskills.

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 62 in writing and a minimum of 54 in all other communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: a Distinction in Writing and at least one Distinction and two Merits in other components.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit

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 (2020/21)

Tuition feeDeposit

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.

Additional costs

You should be prepared to invest in some key text books 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.

Course specific equipment

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.

Course structure

This is a three-year, full-time course consisting of 120 credits a year.  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.

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. The final year also includes the option to study a 40 credit dissertation.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2020/21 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2020.

Year one

Year one is a foundation year to give you the skills for advanced study and an overview of the two subjects to inform your later choices. Our personal tutor programme will help you to make the transition to higher education.

You will take 120 credits in total, equally split between 60 credits in Politics and 60 credits in sociology.

Students must take:

  • Introduction to Social Science Research – 20 credits
  • Key Ideas in Social Science – 20 credits
  • Sociology, Society and Social Change – 20 credits

Students may take 60 credits from:

  • Y Da, Drwg a’r Gwleidyddol: The Good, the Bad and the Political – 20 credits
  • Introduction to Political Science – 20 credits
  • Introduction to International Relations – 20 credits
  • Introduction to Political Thought – 20 credits
  • Introduction to Globalisation – 20 credits
  • Introduction to European Integration – 20 credits
  • Introduction to Government – 20 credits

Year two

You will again take 60 credits in Politics and 60 credits in sociology.

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

Students must take:

  • Social Theory – 20 credits
  • Contemporary Inequalities – 20 credits
  • Social Research Methods – 20 credits

Students may take 60 credits from:

  • Gender, Sex and Death – 20 credits
  • International Relations of the Cold War – 20 credits
  • Colonialism, GPE and Development – 20 credits
  • Digital Technologies and Global Politics – 20 credits
  • Global Governance – 20 credits
  • EU Politics – 20 credits
  • Comparative Politics: Protest, Power and Populism – 20 credits
  • From Espionage to Counter-Terrorism: Intelligence in Contemporary Politics – 20 credits
  • The Power and Politics of Research Methods – 20 credits
  • Critical War and Military Studies: an introduction – 20 credits
  • O’r Greogiaid I Gymru – 20 credits
  • Credoau’r Cymry – 20 credits
  • British Politics since 1945 – 20 credits
  • International Security: Concepts and Issues – 20 credits
  • Justice and Politics: Contemporary Political Theory – 20 credits
  • Global Justice – 20 credits
  • Political Thought from Marx to Nietzsche – 20 credits
  • Political Thought from Machiavelli to Rousseau – 20 credits
  • International Law in a Changing World – 20 credits
  • Modern Welsh Politics – 20 credits

Year three

You will again take 60 credits in Politics and 60 credits in sociology.

Your personal tutor will help you to choose modules to best suit a particular pathway with you future career choices in mind.

Students must take at least 20 credits from:

  • Sociology on the Move – 20 credits
  • The Sociology of Stigma – 20 credits
  • Live Theory – 20 credits

Students may take up to 20 credits from:

  • Society and Genetics – 20 credits
  • Unequal Chances – 20 credits
  • Religion and Society – 20 credits
  • CRUSH – 20 credits
  • Engaging in a Healthy Society – 20 credits
  • Cymdeithas Gyfoes yng Nghymru – 20 credits
  • Digital Society – 20 credits
  • Dissertation – 20 credits

Students may also take up to 60 credits from:

  • Devolution in Practice: Welsh Law and Politics Work Placement – 20 credits
  • Free Speech in a Multicultural Society – 20 credits
  • International Politics in the Nuclear Age – 20 credits
  • Africa in International Thought and Practice: Colonialism, Anticolonialism, Postcolonialism – 20 credits
  • Global Environmental Politics – 20 credits
  • Intelligence in Contemporary Politics: Bond, Bourne and the Business of Spying – 20 credits
  • Bombs, Bullets and Ballot-boxes: the Northern Ireland Conflict, 1969 to 1998 – 20 credits
  • Political Economy: Rationality in an Irrational World? – 20 credits
  • International Conflict and Peace – 20 credits
  • Popular Culture and World Politics – 20 credits
  • China in the World – 20 credits
  • War and Society – 20 credits
  • Cybersecurity: Diplomacy and Digital Rights in Global Politics – 20 credits
  • The Politics of Violence and Killing – 20 credits
  • US Government and Politics – 20 credits
  • Cyfiawnder Byd-eang – 20 credits
  • Cenedlaetholdeb, Crefydd a Chyfiawnder: Hanes Athroniaeth yr 20fed Ganrif yng Nghymru – 20 credits
  • Parliamentary Studies Module – 20 credits
  • International Relations Dissertation – 20 credits
  • Politics Dissertation – 20 credits
  • Modern Welsh Politics – 20 credits
  • European Mind in the 20th Century – 20 credits
  • Global International Organisation in World Politics – 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.

Learning and assessment

How will I be taught?

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.

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.

Both Schools involved in delivering this degree offer a challenging course of modules, supported by a friendly atmosphere and excellent student-staff relations.

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. 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.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment methods vary from module to module but, across the degree scheme as a whole, you can expect a mixture of exams, coursework, essays, practical work, presentations, and individual and group projects.

You’ll also have the opportunity to undertake assessments that don’t count towards your final grade but give you an opportunity to assess your progress and to get feedback on your work.

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:

  • Identify and explain the central concepts of political science, and demonstrate familiarity with the vocabulary of political discourse;
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of normative and empirical Political Theory;
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key aspects of modern politics, including the structure and operation of selected European political systems at the national and European Union levels and international politics embracing global and regional studies;
  • Demonstrate particular expertise in Political Theory and/or European Politics and/or international relations. Appreciate the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits of knowledge;
  • Apply different concepts, theories and methods to the analysis of political ideas, institutions and behaviour;
  • Examine and evaluate different interpretations of political issues and events;
  • Make use of contemporary research, such as articles in refereed journals.

Intellectual Skills:

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

  • Gather, organize and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of sources;
  • Develop a reasoned argument, synthesize relevant information and exercise critical judgement;
  • Reflect on your own learning and make use of constructive feedback;
  • Manage your own learning self-critically.

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:

  • Communicate ideas effectively and fluently, both orally and in writing;
  • Use communications and information technologies for the retrieval and presentation of information;
  • Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management;
  • Collaborate with others and contribute to the achievement of common goals.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

School of Social Sciences

In 2015/16, 96% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

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.

School of Law and Politics

In 2015/16, 97% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduating.

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, 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.


The School of Social Sciences has a dedicated Placements 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.


Next Undergraduate Open Day

Spring 2020




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How to apply