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Introducing the social sciences

This key introductory OU level 1 module provides an ideal introduction to the social sciences – psychology, social policy and criminology, geography and environment, politics and international studies, economics and sociology. You’ll explore a wide range of topics which shape the nature of contemporary UK society; from questions of identity, inequalities and differences to consumerism and environment, and issues of social order, disorder and governance. Using a blend of text, audio, video and online materials, you’ll be equipped with a range of skills for independent study and for your personal and working life.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module

Module code
DD102
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
60
Study level

To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU levels correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).

OU FHEQ
1 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

Introducing the social sciences provides an accessible and contemporary introduction to the social sciences and the questions and issues that social scientists investigate and explore. It is an ideal entry-level module for a range of social science and related qualifications.

The module begins with The Life and Times of the Street as a window into a range of social issues which social scientists are interested in exploring. In addition to providing the starting point for the three questions that form the teaching strands to this module, the street is regarded as a place that provokes questions and issues which you will return to at various points during your study. By exploring the street, this module aims to show you how social life is being made and remade in the contemporary UK.

The three module-wide questions are:

  • How is society made and remade? This asks how people make society in their relations with one another and with the world around them, and how, in turn, society shapes people.
  • How are differences and inequalities produced? People making and being shaped by society generate differences between and inequalities among groups and individuals – you will discover where these come from and how they change
  • How do we know? This sets out how social scientists investigate and answer questions about society.

You'll explore social science answers to these questions by looking at the following three strands of study:

Making lives
This addresses questions about how people make and remake their lives but not in circumstances of their own choosing. Through a focus on consumerism and shopping, power and markets, you will explore how social lives are made and remade, how individuals’ identities and sense of self are shaped by their relationship with other people and with objects. In addition, you will examine the constraints and opportunities that impact upon people’s ability to belong to a consumer society.

Connecting lives
The second strand is about the various ways that individuals and their social lives are made and remade through connections to, and disconnections from, other people and places, plus how they see themselves, see others and where they live. A key focus will be on the insights both psychologists and sociologists can bring to an examination of questions of identity in relation to personal and social lives, issues of class, gender, race and disability and issues around our connections to place and migration. 

Ordering lives
The final strand explores some of the different ways in which social life is ordered and governed through the rules, norms and expectations people have of one another in day-to-day interaction. You will discover how these are made and remade; how does social order and ordering vary in time and place; and how is social order contested, challenged and sometimes broken. In this strand you will explore the relationship between social order and disorder beginning at the level of the neighbourhood and finishing with an examination of the role played by political authorities (governments and states) in defining and attempting to govern order and disorder. 

You will learn

You will learn:

  • the nature of the social sciences and the ways they develop through a process of questions, arguments, evidence and evaluation
  • some key issues and debates at the centre of life in the contemporary UK.

You’ll develop an awareness of a range of different disciplinary approaches in the social sciences and  you will gain confidence and skills in:

  • studying and accessing information from a range of sources
  • constructing arguments
  • reading, interpreting and evaluating evidence
  • presenting and communicating ideas and information in a variety of formats
  • managing your time
  • communicating effectively
  • learning from feedback
  • reflecting on your own learning.

Vocational relevance

After this module, further study in the social sciences could open up employment opportunities in a wide range of occupations in business, banking, insurance, education, health professions, administration, law, social services, voluntary and campaigning organisations, the media, public relations, public service organisations and government (national and local), planning and environmental management, the criminal justice system, and social welfare organisations. The module builds a strong basis of vocationally oriented skills that are transferable to the job market.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study materials and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor is particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. 

We will offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module. In addition, there will also be the possibility of online tutorials and day schools.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

You must also submit your end-of-module assessment (EMA) online.

Future availability

Introducing the social sciences starts twice a year – in February and October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018 and February 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2024.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Course work includes:

    5 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    1 Interactive computer-marked assignment (iCMA)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    This is a key introductory OU level 1 module. OU level 1 modules provide core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning, to help you progress to modules at OU level 2. 

    Introducing the social sciences is available for standalone study and is an ideal starting point if you are considering going on to study one of our qualifications in social sciences. Its interdisciplinary approach to the social sciences and its integrated teaching of key study and skills will give you a firm foundation for further study.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 Jun 2019 £2928.00

    Registration closes 20/09/18 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    02 Feb 2019 Sep 2019 £2928.00

    Registration closes 10/01/19 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2024.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 19/07/2018.

    What's included

    Two module text books, audio, video and online activities delivered via the module website.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • macOS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying DD102 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Overcoming barriers to study if you have a disability or health condition website.