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BA (Hons) Politics and Sociology

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RS2725 Open Day (5) (2)
UCAS code: 
L380
Institution code: 
S82
Location: 
Ipswich

Duration: 

Three years full-time.

Six years part-time.

Course Options: 
Professional Placement
Study Abroad
Typical Offer: 

112 UCAS tariff points (or above)
BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC).

Please see Entry Requirements below.

Introduction

During a period of profound and unprecedented political upheaval, a degree in politics and sociology will equip you with the skills necessary to lead and succeed in a changing world.

Combining your politics degree with the study of sociology is a smart choice. Sociology’s role is to analyse the changing nature of our social world. Its relationship with politics is deep and complex.

As well as exploring British and international political structures, our course offers a distinct focus on ‘political action’ across party politics, campaigns and community politics, with a particular focus on sociological perspectives.

Throughout the course, we maintain a critical focus on how political ideas and policies translate into outcomes ‘on the ground’. This includes relating established and emerging theory to issues of contemporary social justice and social policy, whilst studying challenging aspects of the real world such as inequality, violence, unfairness, or injustice.

Politics and sociology graduates have an important range of analytical and organisational skills applicable to many graduate opportunities. Jobs directly related to this degree include Government and Civil Service roles, covering public affairs, consultancy and research. Jobs in the field of marketing, media, public relations, and local government are also popular.

The political landscape is changing as society is evolving. New dynamic relationships are being forged between the left and right, and between localism, nationalism and globalism. There has never been a more exciting time for the joint study of politics and sociology.

Course modules

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Social Science Skills

This module introduces you to academic study at university level. Its purpose is to enable you to reflect on and develop your skills as you progress through your first year of study. This is achieved by introducing you to the key study and academic skills required to succeed at university level study and supporting you as you develop your competencies in these skills. You are also introduced to the principles and core concepts underpinning your field of study, and social science research more generally. A developmental approach is emphasised throughout the module, and, as part of the module’s approach to learning and teaching, you will regularly meet in small groups with dedicated tutors.

History of Political Thought

This module introduces you to major themes in the history of political thought. It studies important questions around the formulation of political and social order, as well as topics such as legitimacy, justice, power, authority, rights, liberty, sovereignty, democracy, the relationship between the citizen or the individual and the state, and others. In doing so, the module links to the works of key thinkers in the history of political thought. The module seeks to broaden and enhance your understanding of political theory by examining the origins of early modern political thought, as well as the development of political ideas from the Enlightenment until the early twentieth century. It also poses questions regarding the importance of these ideas in understanding and informing current political affairs and debates by reflecting to the intellectual ideas that constitute the basis of today’s politics.

Sociological Imagination

Sociology is a subject that provides an analysis of the modern social world. It is also a subject that came into being with that modern world. This module aims to introduce you to key features of the sociological perspective and what many call the sociological imagination. It is concerned with making the everyday strange and the far away near to gain a better grasp on key aspects of social life. This leads into a key concern of sociology with questions of power and inequality. You will be able to engage with key debates about the nature of inequality and power using contemporary examples and analysis.

Grassroots Politics and Activism

This module starts with the everyday experience of local politics and allows students to build up a picture of how the everyday world around them is thoroughly political. You will be introduced to the structure of local government and local decision-making actors and processes. The module aims to provide practical local analysis and to link to the wider question of the nature of politics, understood as the working through of political predicaments to decide (or not) upon a ‘course of action’. The emphasis is upon how local politics operates and provides students with the opportunity to reflect on the role of activism and democratic processes. A range of practical skills related to organising, arguing, campaigning and communicating a case will be developed within the module.

Policy and Politics

In Policy and Politics we introduce British politics. This module will introduce you to political concepts, principles and theories that shape the operation of politics in the UK, and how this affects policy responses to various social issues and problems with a particular emphasis placed upon crime and deviance. As well as introducing you to the political institutions of the UK, the module examines the different ways that political choices are framed and made in the UK and the process of debate and dialogue is a key part of the content of the module.

Social Change

This module will introduce the major aspects of social change that have led to and developed within modern societies. There is a focus upon identifying and explaining some of the major social changes over the past 30-40 years using official statistics and social theory. The emphasis will be upon patterns of change alongside an exploration of the impact on personal biography, life-satisfaction and wellbeing. The module will initially focus upon Europe but also give room for you to explore social change in more rapidly changing parts of the world as well. The module allows you to engage with a range of data that describe social changes in key areas of social life from family to work to wellbeing to migration.

Contemporary Political Theory

This module explores contemporary political theory and enables you to engage with some of the key themes which define current political debates, including freedom, toleration, equality and social justice. The module explores a number of key political thinkers and political movements from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries which discuss these themes. In this way, this module builds on the first year module ‘History of Political Thought’, but examines more recent approaches to political theory. Throughout the module you will be encouraged to apply themes in contemporary political thought to the contemporary practice of politics.

Social Justice and Policy

This module examines the nature of social justice and the range of policies that have sought to make societies fairer. The module examines different conceptions of social justice, including the conceptions advanced Rawls and Sen. The module also explores the welfare state and some of the major policies used to try and increase social justice across a range of dimensions, including housing, education, health, income transfers, pensions and access to legal rights. The module also seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of social policies in a variety of countries increasing social justice using international data and evidence.

Social Theory

The development of social theory is one of the key contributions of sociology to the social sciences. Most areas of sociology require a firm grasp of social theory and the range of traditions that provide some of the key sociological research questions. This module provides an overview of the origins of social theory, the development into a classical tradition and the more established, often American influenced social theory of the mid 20th Century. Much of the module will focus upon key thinkers rather than schools of thought. Students will also engage with the ideas of a range of important theorists from the late 20th and early 21st Centuries allowing for an engagement with the insightful, often challenging and sometimes counter-intuitive perspectives that come from a range of contemporary social theorists. You will be strongly encouraged to apply social theory to contemporary social life and especially a range of social and political issues.

Political Argumentation and Persuasion

This module introduces you to politics as a process of discussion and compromise between various actors seeking influence. The module examines the political landscape, the actors operating in that landscape and critically examines the approaches used by those actors to persuade others and seek influence in the political process. The module pays particular attention to the key features of political argumentation and persuasion, and critically examines the role of rhetoric, communication and negotiation. Much of the module is practical in nature and seeks to develop your own skills in communication, argumentation, persuasion and negotiation.

Globalization

Globalization is a much-used term and one that is seen by many commentators as the major force behind social, economic, political and cultural change over the past 30 years. It is also a much-misunderstood concept and provokes much heated debate between those who argue free markets are the motor of globalization to the constant benefit of humankind and anti-globalization critics who see many of the world’s ills stemming from the increase in globalization. The module aims to equip you to get behind the ‘woolliness’ of much popular discussion of globalization. This module intends to examine definitions of globalization, the dimensions of globalization and the evidence to evaluate the extent to which globalization is now a key element in important aspects of social life. Recent indications that there may be a reversal in globalization will be critically considered. You should be able to engage with these debates by evaluating a range of data and arguments about globalization.

Political Discourse

This module introduces you to the important role that language and signification play in the formation of political ideas and ideologies such as liberalism, socialism, conservatism, nationalism, fascism, feminism, and others. It explores the role played by both linguistic and non-linguistic systems of meaning in the constitution of political associations and identities. You will be introduced to critical approaches to the analysis of discourse such as political discourse theory (PDT) and critical discourse analysis (CDA), by means of which they will investigate the way in which political power and domination occur through discourse, and the way in which these forms of domination can be resisted and opposed. You will be able to examine the way in which the ‘people’ has been discursively constructed in recent populist movements and explore the rhetorical, emotional, and affective elements inherent to such processes. The theoretical and conceptual foundations of discourse analysis will be introduced by engaging with traditions of thought such as Marxism and post-Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism and poststructuralism, and through the works of thinkers such as Saussure, Gramsci, Lacan, Foucault, Derrida, Laclau, Mouffe, Fairclough, Zizek, and others. The module aims to enhance and enrich the your understanding of the role played by discursive processes in political affairs through the application of a theoretically informed analysis of historical and contemporary events.

Medical Sociology

Medical sociology questions and challenges dominant discourses according to which the topics of health and illness are to be treated as biological phenomena and understood through medical knowledge. Medical research studies the mechanics of the body and provides concrete laws of cause and effect explaining disease symptoms in order to establish courses of treatment aimed at restoring the human organism at a statistically derived equilibrium. In doing so, biomedicine fails to acknowledge the importance of social, political, economic, and cultural forces in understanding health and illness. By claiming that diseases are biological, universal, and transcend social and cultural contexts, biomedicine tends to be blind to the fact that it is itself a social construct that is culture specific. Medical Sociology builds upon sociological theory, knowledge and skills gained through studying level four modules. It investigates, among others, topics related to the social meaning of health and illness, the sociology of the body, the important role of story-telling and the patients’ narratives in the healing process, digital medicine, the unequal physician-patient relationship, phenomena such as the increasing tendency to pathologize and, subsequently, medicalize human expression and behaviour, alternative medicine, psychosomatic theories of illness, sociological perspectives around health policy and practice, health inequalities, mental illness, alternative medicine, and others.

Understanding Research

This module grounds you in the principles of social science research and methods employed to develop our understanding of the social world. The module covers core aspects of the research process and offers you opportunities to focus on particular methods of interest and relevant to your field of study. The module aims to provide you with the knowledge and confidence to undertake independent, ethical and robust research in the social sciences. This module also acts as a precursor to the independent project module in the third year.

Independent Project

In this module you will produce a final year project that allows you to exercise your independent judgement and skills in the development and execution of a project or dissertation relevant to your field of study. Under the supervision of an assigned tutor, the module provides you with the opportunity to independently apply the core subject knowledge and skills developed over the course of your degree. Over the course of the year you will undertake independent analysis and research, and communicate and present it to high professional standards. This project can take the form of a traditional research dissertation, but you also have the flexibility to undertake an alternative, such as a reflective report based on an independent project pursued in a practice / work setting.

Political Engagement and Professional Development

This module aims to prepare you for life after graduation, with a particular focus on careers in or related to politics. It offers you the chance to undertake a work placement or work shadowing or other relevant activity that can meet the portfolio and learning outcomes. You will begin to explore the current skills and attributes, explore career options using your degree and write a CV. There will be important elements to develop the skills of reflection and in particular to reflect upon a leadership activity. The module aims to allow you to build your confidence and develop plans and skills to take control of your future.

Comparative Politics

This module explores how the comparative methods is used to compare political systems, with a particular focus on democratic political systems. The module critically examines the role of the comparative method in the study of politics and fostering our understanding of how political processes work. The module examines core institutions (for example executives, legislatures, electoral systems) and non-institutionalised features (for example political culture) of political systems, how these institutions and features relate to each other in different contexts, and how the design of these institutions and features affects the quality of politics in different states. In studying this module, you will develop a broader global outlook on politics.

Gender and Sexuality

Gender and sexuality are central areas of interest in the social sciences. Gender and sexuality are also an everyday experience for most people and substantially impact on their daily lives. Moreover, great complexity surrounds gender and sexuality in a contemporary society and culture. The module will consider theoretical debates concerning gender and sexuality, as well as, it will deploy the most recent sociological research related to gender and sexuality. It will consider political dimension of gender and sexuality, as well as key gender and sexuality-related policies and laws. Public organizations and institutions related to the area of gender and sexuality as well as media discourse associated with these will also be paid attention to.

Genocide in History and Memory

This course is designed to teach you both the importance and limitations of history as an academic discipline, and the dangers of history when misused in the construction of national and other group identities. In studying genocide, the attempt to annihilate people because of their membership of a real or perceived group, you are forced to confront core disciplinary issues. Are the historian’s tools adequate to explain this phenomenon? Is it possible to compare episodes of genocide? Why have lawyers and scholars disagreed over the fundamental definition of ‘genocide’?  How are ‘modernity’ and ‘progress’ related to the perpetration of mass atrocities? How have societies constructed ‘us and them’ dichotomies of difference and how have these been mobilized in genocidal projects? Can our historical understanding of genocide be enhanced through engagement with other disciplines such as anthropology and psychology? How do supposedly ‘ordinary’ people become genocidal killers? Why has the international community failed to prevent genocides? The module also tackles crucial questions connected to memory and memorialization of genocides, and the politicization of these issues.

Data Analysis and Visualisation for Social Scientists

This module seeks to develop your skills in processing large and complex datasets in the social sciences and visualise analysis to distil and convey findings to wide audiences. The module explores the key principles which make for effective data visualisation and communication, and the core workflows involved in processing, analysing and visualising data using appropriate software tools. In addition to developing your skills and competencies in analysing and presenting quantitative data, the module critically examines how quantitative data is used in the social sciences and how its use and presentation affects the development and evaluation of public policy.

Career opportunities

Politics and Sociology graduates are well placed to seek employment in graduate management schemes, social services, education, criminal justice, welfare services, government, counselling, charities and the voluntary sector.

Graduates may pursue roles such as a community development worker, further education lecturer, housing officer, teacher, social researcher, social worker (after taking relevant postgraduate qualification) and welfare rights adviser. It is also possible to progress to postgraduate study in Town Planning.

Other related careers include civil service fast streamer, government social research officer, politician's assistant, public affairs consultant, public relations account executive or a social researcher. 

Sociologists and political scientists are able to work in both the public and private sectors to analyse trends and make projections about the future. Learning to use statistics is a key part of the sociology and politics course and makes Politics and Sociology graduates very employable.

Our Politics and Sociology degree provides an excellent grounding for a career in business, many of the techniques used in marketing and businesses use ideas originally developed in sociology. Marketing is a great option for sociology graduates with a good grasp of demographic characteristics.

Fees and finance

2022-23*

  • Full-time tuition fee: £9,250 p.a
  • Part-time tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (Please contact the Student Centre for further information)
  • Full-time International tuition fee:  £12,996 p.a

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for. 

* 2022-23 tuition fees are subject to change in line with inflation, or a government change in the fee cap.

Entry requirements

Course options

This course offers a Professional Placement and Study Abroad option.

Staff

Course Leader and Associate Professor in Politics and Associate Dean for Learning, Teaching and Student Experience

Associate Professor in Sociology

Lecturer in Sociology

Associate Professor in Criminology