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Sociology and Politics (Including Year Abroad)

Course overview

(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Sociology and Politics (Including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
Politics and International Relations

A-levels: BBB

IB: 30 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

External Examiners

Dr Monika Krause

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2019 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study
Compulsory You must take this module There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 1 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 GV100-4-FY Introduction to Politics Core 30
02 SC111-4-FY The Sociological Imagination Core 30
03 SC101-4-FY Researching Social Life I Core 30
04 Option(s) from list or Outside Option(s) Optional 30

Year 2 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 SC201-5-FY Continuity and Controversy in Sociology: Sociological Analysis II Compulsory 30
02 GV250-5-AU Principles of Social Justice Compulsory 15
03 SC203-5-FY or SC208-5-FY or GV110-5-AU and GV112-5-SP Compulsory with Options 30
04 2nd year Politics or Sociology option(s) from list Optional 30
05 GV254-5-SP Ethics and Public Policy Compulsory 15

Year Abroad/Placement - 2021/22

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 AW600-6-FY Compulsory 60

Year 3 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 SC301-6-FY Current Disputes in Sociology: Sociological Analysis III Compulsory 30
02 Final year Sociology option(s) from list Optional 30
03 SC831-6-FY or GV831-6-FY Compulsory with Options 30
04 Final year Politics option(s) from list Optional 30

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

To provide students with an understanding of the distinctive character of sociological thinking (S) and of political analysis (P)

To provide students with a knowledge of the main theoretical traditions of sociology (S) and of politics (P)

To provide students with an understanding of either the main sociological methods (S) or the main methods of political analysis (P)

To develop students' capacity for critical enquiry, argument and analysis (P)

To develop students' capacity for independent learning

To provide students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to furtherstudy and research Reference to the QAA
Benchmarks for Sociology are indicated by the (S) and for Politics (P)

Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

A: Knowledge and understanding

A1 A knowledge of the intellectual foundations of sociology
A2 A knowledge of the intellectual foundations of political science
A3 An understanding of the relationships between individuals, groups and social institutions (b)
A4 A knowledge of the different conceptual, theoretical and normative perspectives within political science
A5 A knowledge of the relationship between theory, concepts and empirical evidence within a specialist field of sociology
A6 A knowledge of the relationship between theory, concepts and empirical evidence within a specialist field of politics
A7 A knowledge of the principles of research design and the main approaches to data collection in either sociology (b) or political science (P)
A8 An understanding of the analysis and interpretation of empirical data in either sociology or political science
A9 A knowledge of the epistemological, ethical and political dimensions of research (b)
Learning Methods: Both Departments use lectures to present material - ideas, data and arguments - in a clear and structured manner using examples, mapping the field and the contours of debates.

Lectures are also used to stimulate students' interest in the area under discussion.

In each course the issues and arguments covered in lectures are explored further through weekly classes or workshops for which students have to prepare.

The curriculum is designed to involve clear progression between the foundational work in the first year and the subsequent compulsory courses.

In particular there is a strong emphasis on developing students theoretical understanding through the progressive structuring of the material in SC111, SC201 and SC301, and betweenGV100 and GV200 or GV201.

Their sociological and political knowledge and understanding is further enhanced by the work that they do for their options.Classes, and preparation for classes, provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the courses.

In addition student learning takes place through the work they do preparing essays and assignments.

In the first year students have to produce a glossary of sociological concepts and a sociological journal on a topic of their choice for SC111 and have a required examination question on key concepts.

SC111 also specifically introduce students to examples of ongoing research in the Department.

On the politics side GV100 exposes students to the theory and practice of democracy in a number of countries through a combination of lectures, specific class work and essays.

In the second year political theory course, GV201, students gain knowledge of political theory through the study of key masterworks of the past.

In the second year sociological theory course, SC201, there is a particular focus on reading key sociological texts.

On SC203 students gain knowledge of sociological research methods through workshops and small groups, or in GV200 they acquire a knowledge of the basic statistical methods required for political enquiry.

In their third year all students on the degree have to produce an essay on epistemological issues for SC301, while they are offered a range of options in political science.

In the course of their second and third year all students acquire specialist knowledge in at least one area of both sociology and politics through their options.

In both departments all course work receives detailed feedback in the form of written comments.
Assessment Methods: Outcomes A1 to A8 are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations inthe relevant discipline.

Coursework in Sociology includes essays, a sociological journal, the glossary.

Coursework in Politics includes essays, in class tests and exercises in GV200 designed to enhance in-depth and practical understanding.

Written examinations not only include standard essay type questions, but SC201 involves a compulsory question interpreting a passage of textfrom a sociological classic, while GV200 sets questions that test practical as well as theoretical knowledge.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 An ability to understand, summarise and critically assess sociological work
B2 An ability to understand, summarise and critically assess political work
B3 An ability to compare competing theories and explanations (b)
B4 An ability to compare competing theories and explanations in politics
B5 An ability to develop a reasoned argument
B6 An ability to formulate sociological or political research questions
B7 An ability to assemble, evaluate and interpret empirical evidence
Learning Methods: Students enhance the above intellectual skills primarily through the work they do for their courses, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example, and in the first year staff give specific presentations on their ongoing sociological research.

Preparation for classes and class presentations involve the reading, interpretation and evaluation of original sociological texts and the collection and evaluation of empirical data.

Class tutors provide feedback on class presentations and contributions to classes through comment and discussion.

Similarly the preparation of essays and other assignments also develops the listed intellectual skills.

Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development.

In both departments study skills advice is available, from the student support officer (Sociology) and the study skills officer (Politics).
Assessment Methods: Outcomes B1 to B5 are judged and evaluated in every piece of assessed work for the respective disciplines.

B1 is specifically assessed through a coursework essay for SC201 and a compulsory examination question requiring the interpretation of a passage from a classic text.

B2 is assessed through assessed work on GV100.

Not all assignments require the evaluation and interpretation of empirical evidence (B7) though many do, and the ability to formulate an appropriate research question (B6) is taught in the relevant methods course for each discipline.

On all courses students are required to marshal material in order to expound an argument.

C: Practical skills

C1 An ability to retrieve relevant sociological evidence using bibliographic and web searches.
C2 An ability to compile bibliographies and provide references according to accepted Conventions
C3 An ability to use theoretical terms correctly
C4 An ability to summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings
C5 An ability to frame a research proposal and to identify and apply the appropriate research methods
C6 An ability to design a small scale piece of research
C7 Completion of work experience/volunteering and ability to reflect on in in the context of career decision making
C8 Competence in key elements of the job selection process
Learning Methods: In the first year assignments cover tasks such as producing a bibliography on a sociological topic, producing a glossary, describing and evaluating a sociological text and producing a sociological journal.

In addition students do an employability module which consists of a work placement or volunteering, reflections on which inform career decision making.

Throughout the three years of the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and other assessed assignments, giving presentations and doing written examinations.

In SC101, students carry out an observational study and SC111 requires students to produce a journal which demonstrates reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material.

The work for SC 201 includes the detailed examination and interpretation of key sociological texts and in SC203 students frame a research proposal and select the appropriate research methods.

In addition the third year project for SC831 is particularly valuable in developing students practical sociological skills.

Some of these skills are further developed through the work students do for their optional courses.

Students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations.

Study skills advice and training is available from the Student Support Officer in the Resource Room, which is dedicated to this purpose.
Assessment Methods: Skill C1 is specifically assessed in a first year assignment for SC111 and in assignments for GV100, but also forms part of the assessment of almost every piece of assessed coursework.

Skills C2 and C4 are assessed in the majority of pieces of assessed coursework and written examinations, though C4 is particularly addressed in the assignments for SC201, including a compulsory question unseen examination question on interpreting a passage from a classic text.

C3 is assessed in the key theory courses (SC201, SC301 and GV201).

C5 and C6 are assessed in the appropriate methods course SC203 or GV200.

D: Key skills

D1 An ability to present ideas and evidence to others in a clear and concise manner
D2 An ability to collect and present materials using information technology
D4 An ability to identify problems and propose solutions
D6 An ability to plan work and manage time and an ability to reflect on their own work and respond constructively to the comments of others
Learning Methods: Generic skills are taught and learned throughout the degree through a range of strategies, for example, requiring students to give oral presentations, through giving them specific assignments such as carrying bibliographic and web searches, through specific assignments requiring numerical skills, and through class discussion and class and essay preparation.

Students have the opportunity to discuss essay plans with staff and are given clear deadlines for their work, which they must meet.

They are given feedback on all their coursework and are encouraged to reflect and improve upon their work.

Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in the classes for every course.
Assessment Methods: Communication skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed coursework and examinations.

IT skills are a component in the evaluation of most assessed work which require bibliographic and web searches, but there is a particular focus on them in first year assessments such as the sociological journal and in the literature review assignment for SC203.

Problem solving skills are also assessed in the relevant methods course (SC203, GV200 and GV201) and more generally in all assessed work.

Since the curriculum is structured in a progressive manner, students' skills in improving learning and performance are also assessed through the related structured progression of formal assessed work.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: