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School of Social Sciences

A politics seminar
BASS Politics and Sociology
Explore the relationship between political processes and today's society.

BASS Politics and Sociology / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course description

  • Are you interested in comparative and international politics, and political theory?
  • Do you want to understand social structures and to challenge and improve standards of living?
  • Do you want to develop strong transferable skills of independent thinking, research and analysis?
  • Would you like the chance to study abroad for a semester?
  • Take the right course units and you can apply for a paid summer internship through Manchester's Q-Step programme .

Politics and Sociology is a pathway within the BA (Social Sciences) degree or BASS for short. BASS at Manchester is designed to give you maximum flexibility and choice.

If you feel that you are interested in the social sciences but fancy the chance to try out a range of different topics, this could be the degree for you.

When you apply, you select one of the ten joint pathways of the BA (Social Sciences), each of which has its own unique course code.

Although you'll start off on your chosen two-subject pathway, by Year 2 you can take a minimum of three subjects and a maximum of five and you can then specialise in any one or two subjects in your final year.

In every subject you are given a wide range of course units to choose from, and a high degree of flexibility in the way in which you combine them as your academic interests develop.

The six main subject areas are:

  • Politics : The study of human organization, government and power. Politics examines and evaluates political systems and institutions.
  • Sociology : The study of society and examines such issues as social inequalities and forms of everyday life.
  • Quantitative Methods : The study of data and analysis to understand the social world
  • Criminology : The study of the causes and consequences of crime.
  • Philosophy : The study of fundamental questions such as the nature of knowledge, truth and values. Philosophy also encourages greater consideration of our reasoning, judgement and ethics.
  • Social Anthropology : The study of societies and cultures across the globe in comparative perspective.

Special features

  • BA (Hons) Social Sciences contains a broad-based first year which is particularly valuable if you have not taken any social science subjects before entering university.
  • There are a vast range of optional course units available to you in the second and third years. Despite the variety of these courses, all are taught by the experts in their fields - a benefit of a faculty degree.
  • Excellence in teaching: Politics Staff have won University teaching excellence awards (2010-11, 2011-12) and achieved national recognition, twice winning the Political Studies Association, Sir Bernard Crick Prize for Outstanding Teaching (2007, 2012).
  • The Sociology discipline area within the School of Social Sciences is one of the largest groups of Sociologists in the UK and is ranked top of the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Teaching and learning

Most course units feature formal lectures supported by smaller tutorials or seminars, in which you will be able to explore the contents of lectures and recommended reading in greater depth.

Tutorials and seminars are also key elements in improving your written and oral communication skills through group discussions, essay-writing and presentations.

Students are assigned an Academic Advisor, an academic member of staff who takes a friendly interest in your progress and can advise you on selecting course units and career opportunities.

Coursework and assessment

Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the BA (Social Sciences) programme and the wide variety of course units available, the general format of assessment can vary quite a bit.

The way that you study and are assessed will depend on which units you choose. The range of methods is carefully designed to promote in-depth learning and understanding.

  • Essays, coursework and other mid-term evaluations allow fuller development of and feedback on students' knowledge and understanding
  • Coursework, essays and dissertations promote the development of argument and fuller understanding of academic material and test the extent to which students can carry out work independently
  • Presentations or group projects promote the development of teamwork

Course content for year 1

In your first year on the BA Social Sciences you will take 120 credits overall which include:

  • 20 credit compulsory course unit - Engaging with Social Research - just for BASS Students

You will then choose the remaining 100 credits from your two pathways along with another subject from another pathway: 

  • Politics : International Politics, Political Theory or Comparative Politics
  • Sociology : Media, Culture and Society, Sociology of Personal Life, From Modernity to Post Modernity
  • Social Anthropology : Regional Studies of Culture, Digital Film Making or Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective
  • Philosophy : Critical Thinking, Discovering Reality or Mind and World
  • Criminology : Crime and Society, Criminal Law or Foundations of Criminal Justice
  • Quantitative Methods : Applied Statistics or Unequal Societies - Health, Well Being and Happiness

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Engaging With Social Research SOAN10081 20 Mandatory
An Introduction to Development Studies ECON10002 10 Optional
Microeconomics 1 ECON10221 10 Optional
Macroeconomics 1 ECON10252 10 Optional
Crime and Society LAWS10001 20 Optional
Criminal Law (Criminology) LAWS10082 20 Optional
Foundations of Criminal Justice LAWS10421 20 Optional
Psychology, Crime and Criminal Justice LAWS10432 20 Optional
Introduction to Ethics PHIL10021 20 Optional
Critical Thinking PHIL10041 20 Optional
History of Philosophy PHIL10401 20 Optional
Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology PHIL10622 20 Optional
Introduction to Philosophy of Mind PHIL10632 20 Optional
Study Skills POLI10100 0 Optional
Introduction to Comparative Politics POLI10201 20 Optional
Introduction to Comparative Politics POLI10202 20 Optional
Making Sense of Politics POLI10301 20 Optional
British Politics: Power and the State POLI10401 20 Optional
Politics of the Global Economy POLI10502 20 Optional
Introduction to International Politics POLI10601 20 Optional
Introduction to Political Theory POLI10702 20 Optional
Power and Culture: Inequality in Everyday Life SOAN10301 10 Optional
Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective SOAN10312 10 Optional
Key Ideas in Social Anthropology SOAN10320 20 Optional
Regional Studies of Culture: 1 SOAN10331 20 Optional
Regional Studies of Culture: 2 SOAN10352 20 Optional
Introduction to Business Anthropology: Consumers, Companies and Culture SOAN10361 20 Optional
British Society in a Globalising World SOCY10401 20 Optional
Foundations of Social Thought SOCY10421 20 Optional
Contemporary Social Thought SOCY10432 20 Optional
Media, Culture & Society SOCY10441 20 Optional
Global Social Challenges SOCY10462 20 Optional
Sociology of Personal Life SOCY10471 20 Optional
Work, Organisations and Society SOCY10912 20 Optional
Understanding Social Media SOST10012 20 Optional
Unequal Societies - Health, Wellbeing & Happiness SOST10021 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 36 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

In your Second Year you begin to study your chosen pathway in much greater depth and take 120 credits over the year.

Single pathway

If you decide to specialise in one pathway, such as Politics, you can take a maximum of 80 credits (or two thirds of your courses) in that single pathway and the remaining 40 credits from other pathways from the BA Social Sciences 

Joint pathway

If you decide to take a joint pathway such as Politics and Sociology for instance you can again take a minimum of 40 credits (or a third of your year) in each pathway, but you have the freedom to split these between the two disciplines depending on what you'd like to study.

Free choice units

In your second year you can also take 20 credits of free choice units from across the University.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Development Economics IIA ECON20321 10 Optional
Development Economics IIB ECON20332 10 Optional
Policing and the Police LAWS20051 20 Optional
Jurisprudence LAWS20101 20 Optional
Explaining Crime and Deviance LAWS20412 20 Optional
Making Sense of Criminological Data LAWS20441 20 Optional
Modelling Criminological Data LAWS20452 20 Optional
Understanding Punishment LAWS20692 20 Optional
Criminology and Criminal Justice in Action LAWS20701 20 Optional
Youth Justice and Juvenile Delinquency LAWS31101 20 Optional
Philosophy of Religion PHIL20021 20 Optional
Formal Logic PHIL20041 20 Optional
Locke, Berkeley, Hume PHIL20212 20 Optional
Ethics PHIL20232 20 Optional
20th Century Analytical Philosophy PHIL20241 20 Optional
Philosophy of Science PHIL20261 20 Optional
Philosophy of Mind PHIL20271 20 Optional
Phenomenology PHIL20612 20 Optional
Philosophical Methods PHIL20891 20 Optional
Aesthetics PHIL20952 20 Optional
The Politics of (in)Security POLI20332 20 Optional
Questions About International Politics POLI20521 20 Optional
Politics & Society in Britain Since 1940: From Blitz to Brexit POLI20531 20 Optional
Arguing About Politics: Political Theory in the World POLI20602 20 Optional
The Politics of Globalisation POLI20711 20 Optional
The Politics of Development POLI20722 20 Optional
The Politics of Policy Making POLI20802 20 Optional
Ideals of Social Justice POLI20881 20 Optional
How to Conduct Politics Research POLI20901 20 Optional
Challenges for Democratic Politics POLI20961 20 Optional
Environmental Politics POLI20982 20 Optional
What is Europe? POLI20991 20 Optional
Comparative West European Politics POLI21002 20 Optional
Southern European Politics POLI21012 20 Optional
Sex, Gender and Kinship SOAN20802 20 Optional
Anthropology of Religion SOAN20811 20 Optional
Political and Economic Anthropology SOAN20821 20 Optional
Anthropological Theory SOAN20830 20 Optional
The Ethnographer's Craft SOAN20842 20 Optional
Materiality and Representation SOAN20852 20 Optional
Career Management Skills (BA Econ / BA Social Sciences) SOCS21002 10 Optional
Sociology of Popular Music SOCY20012 20 Optional
Sociology of Nature, Environment and Risk SOCY20022 20 Optional
Work, Economy and Society SOCY20031 20 Optional
Social Network Analysis SOCY20041 20 Optional
Education and Society SOCY20052 20 Optional
Sociology of Science SOCY20081 20 Optional
Qualitative Research Design & Methods SOCY20091 20 Optional
Sustainability, Consumption & Global Responsibilities SOCY20232 20 Optional
New Media SOCY20241 20 Optional
Global Migration SOCY20271 20 Optional
Social Change in China SOCY20281 20 Optional
Self and Society SOCY20402 20 Optional
Gender, Sexuality and Culture SOCY20891 20 Optional
Racism and Ethnicity in the UK SOCY20962 20 Optional
The Survey Method in Social Research SOST20012 20 Optional
Essentials of survey design and analysis SOST20022 20 Optional
Research Design & Statistical Inference SOST20031 20 Optional
Market Research SOST20041 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 59 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In your final year you would again take 120 credits of courses overall.

Single pathway

If you decide to specialise in one pathway, such as Politics, you can take a maximum of 80 credits (or two thirds of your courses) and minimum of 60 credits in that single pathway and the remaining credits from other pathways from the BA Social Sciences.

Joint pathway

If you decide to take a joint pathway such as Politics and Sociology, you can also take a minimum of 40 credits (or a third of your year) in each pathway, but you have the freedom to split these between the two disciplines depending on what you'd like to study or even select units from another pathway or subject.

In your final year you will do a compulsory dissertation. With the joint pathway, you can choose whether this is in Politics or Sociology.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Criminal Evidence LAWS30082 20 Optional
Human Rights LAWS30091 20 Optional
Drugs and Society LAWS30601 20 Optional
Comparative Studies in Crime and Criminal Justice LAWS30641 20 Optional
From Imprisonment to Rehabilitation LAWS30661 20 Optional
Sociology of Law LAWS30681 20 Optional
Counter Terrorism and Human Rights LAWS30711 20 Optional
Criminology and Mass Violence LAWS31052 20 Optional
Miscarriages of Justice LAWS31062 20 Optional
Law, Gender and Sexuality LAWS31091 20 Optional
Youth Justice and Juvenile Delinquency LAWS31101 20 Optional
Crime Mapping: an introduction to GIS and spatial analysis LAWS31152 20 Optional
The Criminal Psychopath LAWS31172 20 Optional
The Criminal Psychopath LAWS31172 20 Optional
Metaphysics PHIL30212 20 Optional
Special Author:Wittgenstein PHIL30251 20 Optional
Philosophy of Language PHIL30311 20 Optional
Issues in Epistemology PHIL30331 20 Optional
Philosophy of Psychology PHIL30361 20 Optional
Advanced Topics in Aesthetics: Fiction PHIL30622 20 Optional
Philosophy of Mathematics PHIL30722 20 Optional
Metaethics and Religious Language PHIL30842 20 Optional
Personhood and Freedom of the Will PHIL33241 20 Optional
The Politics of the European Union POLI30031 20 Optional
Russian Politics POLI30072 20 Optional
Gender, Sex and Politics POLI30232 20 Optional
Elections and Voters in Britain and the United States POLI30241 20 Optional
Political Morality and Dirty Hands POLI30272 20 Optional
Ethical Issues in World Politics POLI30322 20 Optional
Dissertation B POLI30380 20 Optional
Politics of Hate POLI30452 20 Optional
Violence, Identity and Popular Culture POLI30461 20 Optional
Introduction to International Political Economy POLI30721 20 Optional
Gender, War & Militarism POLI30791 20 Optional
Political Communication: Language and Power POLI30842 20 Optional
Africa & Global Politics POLI30862 20 Optional
War, Genocide, Terror: Understanding Organised Violence POLI30892 20 Optional
Comparative Protest Politics -Voting with their Feet POLI30922 20 Optional
Ideologies of Global Capitalism POLI31002 20 Optional
War Memories and Reconciliation in East Asia POLI31011 20 Optional
Children, Family and Social Justice POLI31031 20 Optional
American Politics: Why Do They Do That? POLI31061 20 Optional
The Politics of Climate Change POLI31072 20 Optional
Knowledge Production in Peace-building: Practices and Processes POLI31081 20 Optional
Global Capitalism, Crisis and Revolt POLI31091 20 Optional
Anarchy and Authority POLI32031 20 Optional
Contemporary Parliamentary Studies and the British Political Tradition POLI32042 20 Optional
Fear and Loathing in International Relations: The Problem of Identity and Difference POLI32061 20 Optional
Fear and Loathing in International Relations: The Problem of Identity and Difference POLI32061 20 Optional
Between War and Peace POLI32071 20 Optional
United States Foreign Policy: Dominance and Decline in a Complex World POLI32132 20 Optional
An Anthropology of Science, Magic and Expertise SOAN30052 20 Optional
Medical Anthropology SOAN30061 20 Optional
Anthropology of Development and Humanitarianism SOAN30111 20 Optional
Contemporary Issues in the Social Anthropology of the Middle East SOAN30122 20 Optional
Anthropology of Childhood and Education SOAN30371 20 Optional
Anthropology of Britain SOAN30382 20 Optional
The Good Life: An Anthropology of Ethics SOAN30391 20 Optional
Black Identities and Cultures in Latin America SOAN30662 20 Optional
Screening Culture SOAN30792 20 Optional
Anthropology of Vision, Senses and Memory SOAN30811 20 Optional
Sociology of Human Animal Relations SOCY30041 20 Optional
Urban Sociology SOCY30061 20 Optional
Reproduction & New Medical Technologies SOCY30072 20 Optional
Forced Migration SOCY30082 20 Optional
Changing Social Attitudes SOCY30092 20 Optional
Sociology of the Body SOCY30141 20 Optional
Secrets, Lies & Mass Deception SOCY30151 20 Optional
Identity, Power & Modernity SOCY30171 20 Optional
Multicultural Britain SOCY30272 20 Optional
Applications of Social Networks SOCY30292 20 Optional
Power and Protest SOCY30461 20 Optional
The Sociology of Family Life and Intimacy SOCY30842 20 Optional
Dissertation (20 credits) SOCY30920 20 Optional
Gender, Time and Change SOCY30981 20 Optional
Theory & Method in Demography SOST30012 20 Optional
Advanced Social Network Analysis SOST30022 20 Optional
Modelling Social Inequality SOST30031 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 78 course units for year 3


Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: