BA in Social Policy


Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

This exciting and vibrant course delves into core social policy issues: poverty, health, housing, education and crime are just some of the social problems you will examine including how the state seeks to address them.

On the BA Social Policy, you’ll gain an understanding of the historical, social and cultural dimensions of policy-making and examine education, housing and urban policies to learn about how states provide for people’s welfare. Using examples from around the world, you’ll consider the experiences of people who receive social welfare services to understand the impact social policy has on their lives.

By connecting issues facing contemporary societies to the big ideas that help to shed light on them, you’ll learn about why social problems and inequalities exist and why some activities are seen as deviant or criminal. A wide range of optional modules reflecting our diverse research interests will also allow you to explore broader topics such as disability rights, terrorism or childhood.

Quantitative Research Methods (QRM) pathway

You’ll have the opportunity to apply for a place on our BSc Social Policy with Quantitative Research Methods pathway which gives quantitative skills focus to your final year of study with compulsory modules in this area. This pathway will help you develop advanced analytical skills, which are in demand across the public, private, and third sectors.

You will learn statistical analysis techniques and their application to real data (e.g. survey data or statistical data relating to poverty, crime or electoral behaviour amongst others) using statistical software. You will also write a dissertation in which you will analyse quantitative data to examine a sociology/social policy research question.

This pathway is open to all students as long as you attain a 2.1 across all modules in your second year and a 2:1 in the Sociology and Social Policy Research Methods module. You are not required to have done Mathematics at A level.

Course content

You’ll learn to think sociologically about various social issues and problems from the start of Year 1. A set of core modules will equip you with the research skills to study social policy and an understanding of the methods and techniques used in social research, as well as exploring the development and emergence of modern societies. You’ll also learn more about the formation of social policy in Britain over time and examine how social inequalities have been created.

In the following year you’ll develop your research skills through a single compulsory module, which helps to prepare you for the research you’ll undertake in your final year. Around this, you’ll choose from a set of modules related to major social issues such as drugs and crime in the policy context. You’ll also be able to choose from a broader range exploring topics from racism and ethnicity studies to the cultural impact of tourism.

The dissertation you complete in your final year allows you to apply your research skills to a topic of your choice, which you’ll examine in depth. Around this module, you’ll choose from social policy modules on topics such as education or childhood studies, as well as selecting from a more diverse range in areas such as racism, gender studies or protest movements.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time.


Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Understanding and Researching the City 20 credits
  • Understanding and Researching Contemporary Society 20 credits
  • Identities, Inequalities and Policy in Contemporary Society 20 credits
  • Formations of Modernity 20 credits
  • Social Policy: Poor Laws to the Present 20 credits
Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Sociology and Social Policy Research Methods 20 credits
  • Key Debates in Social Policy 20 credits

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

  • Disability Studies: An Introduction 20 credits
  • The Sociology of Gender 20 credits
  • Health and Society 20 credits
  • Crime, Race and Ethnicity 20 credits
  • Debates in Childhood and Youth 20 credits
  • Sociology of Work 20 credits
  • Social and Public Policy beyond the University 20 credits

Discovery modules

  • You will study 20 credits of discovery modules.
Year 3

Compulsory modules

  • Social Policy Dissertation 40 credits

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

  • Quantitative Social Research 20 credits
  • Postcolonialism and Critical Muslim Studies 20 credits
  • Disability Rights and the International Policy Context 20 credits
  • Education, Culture and Society 20 credits
  • Contemporary Children, Young People and Families 20 credits
  • Global Terrorism and Violence 20 credits
  • The Social Life of Data 20 credits
  • Gender, Technologies and the Body 20 credits
  • Ethnicity and Popular Culture 20 credits

Discovery modules

  • You will study 20 credits of discovery modules.

126000_pexels-photo-1438072.jpeg Buro Millennial / Pexels

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules.

Learning and teaching

We use a range of teaching and learning methods to help you gain diverse skills. These will include seminars and workshops where you can discuss in more depth the topics set out in traditional lectures. We emphasise the importance of participation, presentation skills and group work.

Independent study is also a vital element of the course, as it allows you to develop your research and critical skills while preparing for taught sessions.

You’ll also have a personal tutor – one of our academics – who will be on hand to offer you guidance and support on academic issues, such as module choices, as well as career and personal matters.


Modules will use a variety of assessment methods. As well as traditional exams, you could also be asked to complete projects based on essays and case studies, policy briefs, group presentations, work logs, research briefs, project proposals or development agency reviews. In your final year, you’ll also submit a 12,000-word dissertation.

Entry requirements

A-Level: ABB

A-level Sociology is not a requirement for any of our courses – we design Year 1 module for students both with and without previous knowledge of the subject.

However, in general, you should be in the process of studying social science, arts and humanities subjects for A-level.

We accept A-level General Studies.

When an applicant is taking the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) this can be considered alongside A-levels and may attack an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A-levels, this would be BBB at A-level including grade A in the EPQ.

GCSE: grade C or above in Mathematics or equivalent.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low-income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications.

International foundation year

If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

  • University of Leeds International Foundation Year (IFY)
  • Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK)
  • Study Group Leeds International Study Centre (LISC)

If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component.

Career opportunities

Graduate destinations

Our graduates secure employment with some of the biggest UK companies in human resources, communications management, broadcasting and advertising. They are also ideally equipped to work in the public and third sector including in the civil service, teaching, youth work, fostering/children’s services, probation services, social work, prison service, housing and homelessness prevention.

In recent years graduates have gone into roles as:

  • Project Support Officer
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Account Manager
  • Recruitment Consultant
  • Researcher

For organisations including:

  • The Home Office
  • Leeds City Council
  • Hays
  • NHS
  • Omnicom Media Group
  • Capita

Postgraduate opportunities

Graduates from this programme are well prepared for postgraduate study across a range of disciplines. Our recent graduates have gone on to study social research, disability studies, gender studies, teacher training, journalism, occupational therapy, human resources, marketing, social work, and criminal justice studies.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate.

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

Our wide range of research-informed courses encompass undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research degree programmes, as well as online and professional development courses.

Our wide range of research-informed courses encompass undergraduate, taught postgraduate and research degree programmes, as well as online and professional development courses. Read less