Sociology and Social Policy BA Honours | Middlesex University London
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Sociology and Social Policy BA Honours

Learn about the course below
October 2018
3 years full-time
5 years part-time
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£12,500 (INT) *
Course leader
Alessio D'Angelo
Carly Guest

Drawing on sociology's focus on changing lives and societies, this course combines an in-depth exploration of contemporary societies with an intellectual and practical engagement with social policy. The programme is grounded in extensive engagements with partner organisations, from NGOs and social enterprises to local authorities and international agencies.

Why study BA Sociology and Social Policy at Middlesex University?

This course draws on unique strengths, in particular the expertise, experience and networks of the Social Policy Research Centre, one of the most successful social policy research centres in the United Kingdom.

The programme will help you develop critical engagement with contemporary issues, social problems and policy responses and teach you the origins and development of UK welfare institutions, the context in which they operate and the challenges they face. You will also gain an understanding of globalisation, population change, welfare reforms and other major themes at national and international level.

It combines academic rigour, research design and data analysis with a strong focus on real-world experience, with each year of the programme involving engagement in partner organisations and networks, with field trips and volunteering leading to a third-year work placement.

Course highlights

  • Internship opportunities working with Middlesex's Social Policy Research Centre are available to you as a student of this course. You will also be supported in undertaking internships and work placements at key London-based organisations with whom we have close links
  • You will gain experience desirable to employers in using specialist qualitative data analysis software packages such as NVivo. Furthermore, you will gain practical experience in engaging with quantitative data collection and analysis with SPSS software
  • You will gain an understanding of society, equality and diversity, demographic change and an ageing population and you will develop key skills such as the ability to analyse situations effectively, set directions and engage people
  • The course includes regular visits to organisations and institutions allowing you to explore policy in practice as well as offering opportunities to meet with professionals working in the areas of housing, education, health and welfare
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook for every module

What will you study on the BA Sociology and Social Policy?

As well as a strong grounding in sociology, you will gain knowledge and understanding of a range of theoretical approaches within sociology and social policy. You will benefit from specialist training in research design, data analysis, approaches to programme design and evaluation, combined with a focus on the challenges and possibilities associated with contemporary welfare systems. You will develop an analytical account of social diversity, inequalities and their effects and explore the relationships between individuals, groups and social institutions and its relevance to policy making.

You will also have the opportunity to focus on specific areas of social policy such as population change, migration, social change and social enterprise, youth and housing issues, public health, social care, retirement and pension, and the criminal justice system, where ideas are tested, explored and developed through field visits, volunteering and placements.

What will you gain?

This course is designed to blend theory with practice in a manner designed to equip students with critical thinking and analytical skills. An understanding of various theoretical approaches to social policy and a grounding in contemporary sociology will enable you to make specific insights into society and develop a range of skills that will stand out in the job market.


  • Year 1

    • Understanding Contemporary Society: Issues and Debates (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module provides an introduction for first year sociology and criminology students to the study of contemporary society. The module engages key issues and debates that constitute the subject matter, while introducing the themes and perspectives that inform social inquiry. You will also engage with core approaches to understanding contemporary society and the social relations that comprise it.

    • Doing Things Together: Exploring Social Practices (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module will equip you with key sociological tools to explore social experience, or ‘doing things together’. Focusing on the lives of young people, you will explore key transformations at work in contemporary social life, including individualisation, processes of inclusion and exclusion, transformations in socialisation, changing experiences of selfhood and embodiment, together with new forms of power. You will focus, each week, on a social practice from diet and eating together to new forms of digital collaborations and ways of sharing hopes and fears.

    • Researching the City: Skills and Methods in Criminology and Sociology (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to instruct you on the skills required for undertaking an undergraduate degree in either sociology or criminology, and the basic components of social science research through researching the city. This module provides an engaging opportunity to be introduced to different research methods and approaches as well as more generally study skills while exploring from an academic point of view the city where you study in and live in. Many of these skills will have relevance beyond your degree, and will be attractive to future employers. You will also be introduced to a range of critical writing skills that link to other modules across the year. Many of these skills will have relevance beyond your degree, and will be attractive to future employers.

    • Thinking Sociologically (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      Thinking Sociologically considers sociology as a scientific enterprise with its own distinctive ways of viewing and understanding social life, from the intimate and personal, to the more impersonal relationships between individuals, groups, and nations. Combining sociological theory and practical investigation, you will learn how living amongst others shapes our understanding of ourselves and others, as well as our everyday thoughts and actions. Thinking Sociologically also teaches us that things which appear inevitable or unalterable, can be open to change and transformation. This creates the possibility of successfully managing our personal life and the collective life we share with others.

  • Year 2

    • Approaches to Research in the Social Sciences (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to develop your evaluative abilities regarding quantitative and qualitative research methodologies as well as to introduce you to the underlying philosophical and ethical principles of social research. It aims to make clear the links between theory, method and data, to define what data is within different research paradigms and the various ways of generating and analysing it, and to understand and critique published research. Emphasis is placed on developing awareness and critique of secondary sources. The module also aims to prepare you for the development of a proposal for the final year dissertation project. Throughout the module, you will apply the various components of research methods to the specific subject of the programme you are studying.

    • Contemporary Social Theory (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module develops your understanding of sociological theory by focusing on the key theories and ideas that have emerged from the late 20th to early 21st century. Specifically, it aims to develop your knowledge and understanding of the continuities and discontinuities within sociological theory during this period, and to explore the influences of classical and early modern sociological theory within contemporary sociological theory and debates. Throughout the module each of the theoretical approaches and ideas will be applied to contemporary social issues, thus underlining the relevance of the sociological imagination to an understanding of different features and social transformations which have occurred within the global world today.

    • State, Society and Globalisation (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module takes as its focus the transformations of institutions, relations, experiences and identities brought about by the forces of globalisation. With a particular focus on political sociology, it examines the relationship between the contemporary nation-state and the forces of change operating above, below and alongside the state. The module explores the nature, dynamics and transformations of the state, and its relationship to society, in a globalising context also associated with important social changes in the fields of mobility, culture, the media, religion and security. You will gain the theoretical, conceptual and methodological tools to evaluate the implications of globalisation for understanding the nature of, and relationship between, state and society in the contemporary era.

    • Social Policy and Contemporary Issues (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to introduce social policy as a discipline and explore the ways in which social policy can contribute to our understanding, not only social and welfare policies and the processes through which they are developed, but also the analysis of social institutions, social divisions and social relations. It deals with contemporary social policy issues and critically analyses the extent to which social policy can affect in everyday personal and working lives. The module explores the idea of social welfare and its relationship to politics, society and implementation. The implications of contemporary social policy issues related to retirement and pension, social care and social security are considered.

  • Year 3

    • Sociology Dissertation (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module aims to synthesize learning from your Sociology degree providing an opportunity for you to study independently and investigate a topic in depth. It fosters academic curiosity, an inquiry based approach, the employment and application of research knowledge and skills thus facilitating the development of a higher level of theorising. You will select a topic of personal interest you wish to study in-depth and manage your own learning with the support of an allocated supervisor for this period of independent study.

    • Demography and Ageing Society (30 Credits) - Compulsory

      This module is designed to introduce an insight into how demographic change (population distribution, age structure, labour force participation and ethnic composition) reshapes the local as well as the global societies and their implications on economy, health, politics and overall development. The module also aims to explore current debates about ageing populations as well as to understand issues affecting individual older people. A key focus is the crucial relationship between old age and the welfare state, to a large extent concerned with the provision of support to older people. In addition, you will develop your knowledge by gathering demographics, information literacy, problem solving, ability to present explanations, written communication, critical thinking, citizenship and responsibility for the state in the 21st century.

  • Year 3 optional modules - choose two modules from the following:

    • Diversity and its Discontents (30 Credits) - Optional

      Many contemporary nation states are increasingly characterised by diversity, to the point of being commonly referred to as 'cosmopolitan'. Such diversity may be presented as threat and/or opportunity, depending on the nature and extent of that diversity, and on the standpoint from which the diversity is being judged. This module seeks to explore some of the most significant dimensions of diversity, as experienced within the late-modern era. In so doing, it will examine the nature, dynamics, effects and conflicts surrounding these diversities, and consider both the commonalities and differences associated with them. The module will adopt a comparative approach, examining the varied ways in which diversity becomes significant in different national contexts.

    • Integrated Learning and Work Placement (30 Credits) - Optional

      Placements provide an opportunity for you to apply, consolidate and develop skills and knowledge gained in the classroom to the responsibilities of the placement and future employment. You will be assisted to find an appropriate placement with an organisation relevant to your studies where you will develop and apply critical and reflective capabilities in an employment context.

    • Media, Communication and Society (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module develops your critical understanding of media, communication and society. In particular, it explores different aspects of the development of media and communication within a networked global world, media institutions and the economic, political, cultural and social consequences of media concentration and convergence; media audiences and effects; media as a institution and instrument of state and state policy; and various issues and debates related to the role of the media in societies. The module also looks at the development of new media technologies as providing alternative and oppositional opportunities and perspectives; as an autonomous public sphere; as a key mobilising resource used by collective movements and protest groups to challenge dominant ideological and hegemonic representations and common sense understandings of the world. This module will be of interest to those interested in examining the role of different media and media institutions in a transnationally communicative world.

    • Migration and Citizenship (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to provide a critical understanding of contemporary migratory processes, migrant communities and experiences and issues of citizenship. You will gain an understanding of the sources and methods appropriate to the study of migration and migrant communities.

    • Social Movements, Conflict and Change (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module provides you with the knowledge and skills to develop an in-depth understanding of the sociology of contentious politics. The emphasis of the module is on the social context in which social movements arise to articulate and address the problems and conflicts of their time. You will be introduced to the main theoretical and conceptual approaches to the study of social conflict and social change in an historical context, as well as the epistemological and methodological issues that pertain to the study of social transformation. The module culminates in a focus on the contemporary context of the global financial crisis and the social conflicts that have arisen in its wake.

    • Social Exclusion (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to introduce the processes responsible for the creation of social exclusion and to the policies aimed to promote inclusion. The module introduces the three key areas in which one can look for causes, the economy, the state and in the functions of daily life. These causes however all happen in particular locations and for that reason you will examine the processes whereby these causes are reinforced and reproduced in different places. You will also examine strategies that have been developed under different political regimes to overcome exclusion. In order to evaluate the policies there is a special emphasis upon policy analysis which is introduced as a skill in the module.

    • Social Statistics and Data Analysis (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to provide a broad overview of statistical methods and data analysis for social sciences. The module describes various sources of data, data collection, and data management, various statistical tools for model building purposes in social sciences. Moreover, it is designed to explore basic principles and to provide advanced instruction in data analysis, including the construction and analysis of tables, the graphical analysis of data, the use of statistical tests, the application of univariate, bivariate statistics and multivariate models to social science research, and the use of software programmes mainly SPSS to analyse data.

    • The Family in Islam and Muslim Societies (30 Credits) – Optional

      The family represents the foundation of Muslim society. The aim of this module is to use the family as a lens through which we can attain an in-depth understanding of Islam as a religion and critically appreciate the actions and practices that inform the life of Muslims, according to the varied social contexts in which they live. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today and one that has taken centre stage as the dominant theme in debates on most aspects of current world affairs. Through a rigorous exploration of theories and practices of family life this module offers students the opportunity to gain advanced knowledge of the history, teachings and practices of Islam from a dispassionate, critical yet objective, non-denominational perspective.

    • Violence and Society (30 Credits) - Optional

      This module aims to critically explore and understand violence in all its angles and meanings and from a global perspective - from personal violence, domestic violence and gender violence, to systemic violence and violence perpetrated by the state and its apparatus, from the street violence of riots and political radicalism to the inherent violence of globalisation, capitalism, fundamentalism and language. You will be offered the opportunity to develop a critical knowledge of a number of issues related to violence and to locate them both within a national and a global perspective.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs

How can the BA Sociology and Social Policy support your career?

This course is linked to a wide range of employment opportunities, from youth services, care and welfare services, local and national government, the NHS, NGOs and advocacy groups, social enterprise, health, housing and urban policy, Office for National Statistics, and the voluntary sector. You could pursue a wide variety of roles after graduating such as :

  • Government social research officer
  • Local government officer, from policy formulation and monitoring to providing support to local democratic processes
  • Advice worker
  • Youth worker
  • Social researcher
  • Communications worker
  • Civil service, including the Fast Stream
  • Disability support
  • Project officer

The course's international focus also opens up employment opportunities within Europe and beyond, in particular in the area of social policy and development.

What support is available?

Our Employability Service will help you to develop skills desired by top employers and gain valuable work experience. We provide workshops, events and one-to-one support with job hunting, writing your CV and cover letters, interview coaching and advice on how to network effectively. We also support you in securing part-time work, placements, internships, and volunteering opportunities, and offer an enterprise support service for those looking to start their own business.

Alessio D’Angelo
Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences, Co-Director of the Social Policy Research Centre

Alessio has experience of research and consultancy work on a range of sociological and social policy issues, including inequalities and discrimination, access to public services and migration. Alessio teaches modules on research methods, globalisation, migration an others

Carly Guest
Lecturer in Sociology

Carly has an interest in narrative and memories of everyday lives, political identities and activism, experiences of unpaid care, qualitative and creative research methods. Carly is module leader for the second year Sociology and Social Policy core module ‘Social Policy and Contemporary Issues’.

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