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BA (Honours) Social Sciences (Sociology)

This is one of several specialist routes available in our BA (Honours) Social Sciences (R23) degree. Alongside study of interdisciplinary social sciences, you’ll have the opportunity to explore how sociologists make sense of social worlds, investigating topical issues such as immigration, social networking, and adolescent mental health. On completion of your degree, you’ll be able to apply social theories and analytical techniques to a variety of topics that affect individuals and society. You’ll also acquire transferable skills highly valued by employers – opening up employment opportunities in private, public and voluntary sector organisations. 

Key features of the course

  • Specialise in sociology within a broad interdisciplinary social science degree.
  • Learn how to apply cutting edge sociological ideas to a broad range of real-world situations.
  • Enhance your employability with valued skills that includes evaluating evidence, and communicating specialist ideas and information to different audiences.
  • Develop skills in independent working and apply these in an extended essay based on a literature-based research project.
  • Relevant to careers where critical analysis is at a premium or involves understanding the workings of society. 

Course Summary

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
R23
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.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with an introductory social science module exploring the issues facing contemporary society. This will give you a solid grounding in sociological and a range of other social scientific ideas. You’ll then choose between a second interdisciplinary social science module or being introduced to crime and criminal justice.
  • Next, at Stages 2 and 3, you'll study specialist sociology modules as well as choose from modules in criminology and religious studies, all of which have a high level of sociology content and will extend your sociological knowledge and understanding. 

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

At Stage 1 you will begin with a broad introductory module covering the key concepts and theories in the social sciences and addressing topics from criminology, economics, geography, politics and international studies, psychology and sociology.

For your second module, you'll choose between taking an international perspective on everyday topics such as money, home, rights and boundaries and being introduced to the study of crime, social harm and criminal justice. 
ModulesCredits
You'll start your degree with:
Introducing the social sciences (DD102)60
You’ll also choose one from:
Investigating the social world (DD103)60
Introduction to criminology (DD105)60

Stage 2 (120 credits)

At Stage 2, you’ll explore how the social world is being transformed by the internet and digital technology. You’ll also extend your knowledge and understanding of sociological questions with a choice between exploring the place of religion in the modern world; or looking at the ways in which criminology addresses problems of crime, the role of criminal justice and experiences of victimisation.

ModulesCredits
You'll begin this stage with:
Understanding digital societies (DD218)60
You’ll complete this stage with one from:
Exploring religion: places, practices, texts and experiences (A227)60
Understanding criminology (DD212)60

Stage 3 (120 credits)

At Stage 3 you’ll also choose between criminology and religious studies modules, enabling you to build on your studies at Stage 2.

You’ll complete your degree by exploring sociological approaches to the material world, investigating how social experience is shaped by matter and made meaningful through material culture.

ModulesCredits
You’ll choose one from:
Crime, harm and the state (DD311)60
Why is religion controversial? (A332)60
You'll complete your degree with:
Making social worlds (DD308)60

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) Social Sciences uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and/or online tutorials
  • working in a group with other students
  • finding external/third party material online
  • continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays, short answer questions, and in some cases an examination
  • using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance 
  • engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree.

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you’ve already completed some study at another university, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. Just tell us what you studied, where and when, and we’ll compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen course.

For more details and an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you’ll be awarded the BA (Honours) Social Sciences degree. If you have chosen a specialist route, your degree title will reflect it as follows:

  • BA (Honours) Social Sciences (Criminology)
  • BA (Honours) Social Sciences (Economics)
  • BA (Honours) Social Sciences (Geography)
  • BA (Honours) Social Sciences (Philosophy)
  • BA (Honours) Social Sciences (Politics)
  • BA (Honours) Social Sciences (Psychology)
  • BA (Honours) Social Sciences (Religious Studies)
  • BA (Honours) Social Sciences (Sociology).

The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Most OU students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,168*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,336*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £19,008*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2022. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.


Skills for career development

Employers value the diverse skills of the social sciences very highly. The ability to work across different academic disciplines will provide you with a broad portfolio of transferable skills including the ability to:

  • interpret, analyse, and critically evaluate quantitative and qualitative evidence
  • apply learning to real world situations
  • communicate effectively to a variety of audiences using different media
  • employ a wide range of digital practices to find, use, and create data
  • learn autonomously and plan, conduct, and present independent work
  • work effectively with others to achieve joint outcomes

Career relevance

A degree in the social sciences can lead to employment across the public, private and voluntary sectors. Businesses, public sector organisations and educational institutions increasingly have to deal with social issues, and value the skills that social science graduates can provide, making this degree relevant to a wide range of professions including local government officer, civil servant, secondary school teacher, social worker, charities, journalism and trade union officials. You can also use your BA (Hons) Social Sciences for further study in the higher education sector.

Other careers

Many graduate-level jobs are open to social graduates, particularly in business, the voluntary sector and the public sector. Please note, however, that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree:

  • secondary school teacher
  • journalist
  • social worker
  • civil servant
  • local government official
  • trades union official 
  • charity worker
  • business manager
  • university administrator

Register for this course

This is the Sociology route through our BA (Honours) Social Sciences. You will register on the BA (Honours) Social Sciences and enrol on the relevant modules for this route.

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 05/08/2021
Credit transfer: apply by 09/12/2021

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