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Social Sciences BSc (Hons)

3 years, starting in September 2020

Direct your own learning with a broad-based training in the social sciences.

This course offers you a comprehensive grounding in the social sciences. You will have greater flexibility to customise your studies.

You will take an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of social issues. In Year 1 you will be introduced to social policy, sociology and research methods. You can choose to develop interests in politics, psychology, international development and criminology.

During the final two years of the course, you can continue taking a broad- based approach, or choose to specialise in specific areas. You will continue to study compulsory units in research methods.


You’ll learn from academics with expertise across the social sciences. Their international collaborations and research activities feed into undergraduate teaching and contribute to your learning experience.

Our researchers have specialisms in:

  • children and families
  • health
  • international development
  • justice and rights
  • migration
  • policy design and analysis
  • poverty
  • violence and crime


Those who study our social sciences degrees have excellent career options. Our graduates have worked as social and policy researchers, civil servants, international consultants, journalists, accountants and in a variety of government, charity sector and business-related roles.

Our recent graduates have gone on to work for:

  • Amazon
  • Guide Dogs
  • Parliamentary Research Service
  • Goldman Sachs
  • BBC Worldwide
Find out what our graduates go on to do

Course structure

This course lasts 3 years. It starts in September 2020 and ends in 2023. Welcome week starts on 21 September 2020.

Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.


At Bath, our courses are made up of units of study. Compulsory units cover core concepts that you'll need to understand as part of your degree programme. Some of our courses also offer the opportunity for you to study optional units. These allow you to specialise in particular areas of knowledge that interest you.

As an undergraduate, you will be expected to take 60 credits (ECTS) in each academic year. These are usually split into 30 credits for each semester you study. Sixty credits are the equivalent of 1200 notional hours of study; this includes contact time with staff and your own independent learning.

Compulsory course units

These compulsory units are currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new units.

Optional course units

You can choose from a number of optional units in years 1, 2 and 3. Here are some examples of the units currently being studied by our students.

Learning and assessment


  • Laboratory sessions
  • Lectures
  • Practical sessions
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops


  • Coursework
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • Oral assessment
  • Practical work
  • Written examination
  • Other

Typical assessment breakdown

This average assessment breakdown is based on a typical choice of optional units. Your specific unit choices will determine the actual breakdown of assessment methods that you will experience.

% written exam

% practical exam

% coursework

Year Written Exam Practical Exam Coursework
Year 1 30% 3% 67%
Year 2 21% 0% 79%
Year 3 0% 4% 96%

Typical contact time breakdown

This average contact time breakdown is based on a typical choice of optional units. Scheduled learning and teaching may include: lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. Your optional unit choices will determine your actual personal contact hours.

% time in scheduled learning and teaching

% time in independent study

% time in placement/year abroad

Year Scheduled Independent Placement
Year 1 20% 80% 0%
Year 2 19% 81% 0%
Year 3 14% 86% 0%

This information shows typical student contact time based on information from the 2016/17 academic year. For new courses, this information is based on a typical choice of optional units.

‘The career path for a social scientist is very broad… big companies need social scientists to be leaders and to be more understanding of what’s going on.’
Rebecca Barr BSc Social Sciences (2019)

Entry requirements

Your application, especially your personal statement, should demonstrate your enthusiasm for your chosen degree. This might include relevant reading, voluntary work or additional study, such as a relevant EPQ. When describing your experiences you should reflect on what you have learnt from them, how they have influenced your development or how they are relevant to your future studies.

We prefer applicants with at least one humanities or social science subject as part of their entry qualifications. This subject might be:

  • Geography
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology

We are aware that the context in which you are studying can have an impact on your ability to perform your best in exams and coursework, or limit which subjects or qualifications you are able to study at your school or college. We take this into careful consideration through our contextual admissions process.

Origin of qualifications