BA (Hons) in Sociology and Social Policy


Program Description


Our Sociology and Social Policy course will let you understand the way society works and the processes and outcomes of social welfare. You’ll explore social differentiation and contemporary social issues, as well as looking at historical and theoretical perspectives on welfare. You’ll also be introduced to the development of social theory and get lots of practical experience in methods of social research and analysis.

With our international and comparative approach, you’ll study topics that analyse society and welfare issues in a range of countries. We have particular expertise on Scotland, the UK, the European Union, Western and Central Europe, Australasia, North America and Latin America.

Top reasons to study with us

#1 We’re 1st in Scotland and top 10 in the UK for Social Policy (The Guardian University Guide 2018)

#2 The University of Stirling is 2nd in Scotland for Sociology (The Guardian University Guide, 2018)

#3 Our modules are taught by experts in their fields and teaching is informed by the latest developments in social research

Course details

In Semesters 1-3, you’ll take core modules in:

  • Social Differentiation - explores gender, age, ethnicity, class and disability in relation to the ways in which individuals and groups are valued and treated in different societies.
  • Social Problems - contemporary social issues and policy responses.
  • Understanding Social Policy - historical and theoretical perspectives on welfare; comparative social policy analysis.

You’ll also choose two other subjects per semester.

In Semesters 4-8, you must take core advanced modules in:

  • The Development of Social Theory
  • The Research Process - split into two intensive core modules, we give you the opportunity to develop practical research skills through qualitative and quantitative research and an introduction to the methods of social research and analysis.

Additionally, you’ll choose optional modules from a list of 18, including: Housing Policy; Ageing; Society and Social Policy; Scottish Society; and Urban Society. In Year 4 you’ll undertake a research dissertation, providing you with highly valued transferable skills.


You’ll be taught through lectures, workshops and small discussion groups.

Year 1 modules aim to bridge the gap between school and university study through coursework assessments. You’ll also receive tuition in both qualitative and quantitative research methods, which is invaluable for your Year 4 dissertation.


Assessment for each module is normally based on a combination of coursework and examinations. For example, one essay (30 percent) and an examination (70 percent). The final-year dissertation counts for two modules. Your dissertation gives you the opportunity to put research methods you’ve studied into practice, and focus on a particular interest.

Classroom hours

Typically, each module in Sociology and/or Social Policy consists of two lectures plus one workshop per week.


Dr Niall Hamilton Smith, Course Director

+44 (0)1786 467046

Fees - 2018/2019

  • Overseas students (non-EU): £12,140
  • Scottish and EU students: £1,820
  • Students from the rest of the UK: £9,250
Last updated Nov 2018

About the School

At the University of Stirling, being the difference is in our DNA – providing education with a purpose and carrying out research that helps to shape society.

At the University of Stirling, being the difference is in our DNA – providing education with a purpose and carrying out research that helps to shape society. Read less