Applied Social Sciences BA/BSc (L431 / L305)

Course overview

This exciting and innovative three-year degree offers you the opportunity to break through traditional social science boundaries and  has been designed to allow you to follow your own interests, whilst providing you with the knowledge and experience to investigate and understand the important issues faced by society today.

You will learn how to use quantitative and qualitative methods and become confident in dealing with all types of data. The core research methods training will then be applied to subjects that you choose: three in your first year, two in the second year and finally selecting one subject area to specialise in your final year research project. The subjects you can choose to combine are:

  • Journalism
  • Human Geography
  • Physical Geography
  • Social Policy
  • Sociology
  • Politics
  • Criminology
  • Urban Studies
  • Education, Culture & Childhood

You will also have the opportunity to undertake project-based work with local community institutions and businesses, and you can choose to take a summer or year-long placement, making your degree a Degree with Employment Experience (DEE). You can also study away from Sheffield with our Study Abroad and Erasmus programmes.

Where Will I Study?

We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.

How Will I Study?

Your course is structured by learning and assessment hours. You can see an example of the breakdown of learning and assessment hours by following this link, and choosing the 'Learning and assessment' tab in our online prospectus.

The structure of your course may change slightly depending on the modules you choose during the optional module selection process.

Course structure & module information

This innovative course allows you to explore the traditional social sciences whilst acquiring a new set of research skills that allow you to stand out in the competitive job market.

The course has been developed to offer you a flexible but structured pathway – with the following strands running across each year:

• Interdisciplinary study strand – where you will choose your subject modules
• Methods strand – where you will learn cutting-edge research methods

You will study the core research modules and optional modules within the Sheffield Methods Institute which is housed in the ICOSS building in the centre of campus. You will have use of unique purpose built student areas which include a high spec data lab.

The subject teaching that you choose will be taught in that department which will give you the experience of studying within different departments and use of their facilities.

You will first choose your subject choices and then modules from that subject. You won't need to make your final decisions until your Intro week but subject and module guides will give you more detailed information to help you plan your degree your way.

Below are the module choices for each programme and pathway we offer:

  • Criminology
  • Education, Childhood and Culture
  • Human Geography
  • Journalism
  • Physical Geography
  • Politics
  • Social Policy
  • Sociology
  • Urban Studies

For information on the different types of modules you can choose on each pathway, see our guide to choosing your modules and pathway.

Module and pathway guide

These modules are optional but available to all students on all programmes at level 1.

SMI102 - Economy, Society and Public Policy

This module has been created specifically for social science students who are NOT economists, but who want to understand how the economy works, and how it can be made to work better.

The module will give you an understanding of the ways in which we can interpret the evidence on the social and economic issues of today, and formulate appropriate public policy interventions. We emphasise issues of power, social norms, fairness, institutions, etc, and illustrate throughout with real-world data.

Work Placements

A placement is an excellent opportunity to apply what you’ve learnt in your course so far and gain invaluable workplace experience. It isn’t something you apply for before you get here and they aren’t guaranteed – it’s your responsibility to secure one but we’ll do everything we can to help. 

Recent student placement partners include YouGov, South Yorkshire Police and Shelter.

For more information please see our student blogs or email

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers.In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Entry requirements

As part of a prestigious Russell Group institution our entry requirements reflect the strong competition for places.

We require ABB at A-level, or the equivalent, in any subject, and GCSE Maths and English grade 4 or better (grade C) or equivalent.

For International students our standard IELTS requirement is 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component and our international entry requirements can be found online on our international pages.

We would expect candidates to possess basic computer literacy together with English and Maths as demonstrated by the GCSE requirements.


Work Placements

A placement is an excellent opportunity to apply what you’ve learnt in your course so far and gain invaluable workplace experience. It isn’t something you apply for before you get here and they aren’t guaranteed – it’s your responsibility to secure one but we’ll do everything we can to help.

Recent student placement partners include YouGov, South Yorkshire Police and Shelter.

PlaceME@SMI is a placement scheme funded by the Sheffield Q-Step Centre which is part of the Sheffield Methods Institute at The University of Sheffield.

We are giving undergraduate students a chance to work on exciting projects involving analysis of quantitative data, with our external partners such as commercial businesses and government organisations or internally with our leading researchers.

For more information please see our student blogs or email

Find out more

Careers and Employability

This course has been specifically designed to prepare you for employment in a research lead career or allow you to continue your research interests to a higher level.

By combining your subject choices with core research methods training you will have the skills needed for social research and employment, you will qualify with a degree that is fit for the demands of the contemporary job market.

By the end of your degree, you will be a competent and reflective social scientist, confident in applying your interdisciplinary knowledge to current social issues. You will have developed a range of skills that are highly attractive and sought after by graduate employers.


Fees and Finance

Tuition Fees

Our fees and finance structure can be seen on our website for tuition fees.

Undergraduate tuition fees

Other Potential Costs

There may be some other potential costs associated with your degree, these are listed below.  If you'd like to look up fees for Full Time Undergraduate courses by Department name, or by partial course name/course code you can do that too.

Tuition fee calculator

Reassessment Fees

If for any reason, you fail or are unable to complete an assessed piece of work which is a requirement to pass your course, you may be required to pay a reassessment fee. information about these fees can be found on the University's exam webpages.

Examinations Overseas

If you have international fee status and are required to resit examinations you may be able to apply to sit these in your home countries. To do this a fee will be payable to the University. Find out more

Late Registration Fee

If you are late registering for your course you may be required to pay a late registration fee of £50 depending on your circumstances.

Text books

Although our library is fully stocked and provides all essential texts used during your studies at the SMI, you may wish to purchase your own text books to help you with your studies. Text book prices vary per course and per year. A reading list for each module will be provided at the start of the module.

Additional funding While the cost of living for our students is among the lowest in the country, you may still be able to benefit from the extra financial assistance we can provide.

Mature Students

If you are a mature student who has been out of education for some time or you don't have the required entry qualifications, you may be eligible to apply for Applied Social Sciences with a Foundation Year. On this course, you will study with the Department for Lifelong Learning for a year (or 2 years part-time) before transferring onto the Applied Social Sciences degree. For more information visit the Department for Lifelong Learning webpages

Up-to-date information on the course fees for home and overseas students.

Length of Programme

The Applied Social Sciences BA/BSc programme is a three year course full-time. There is an option to study Applied Social Sciences part-time over six years and an option to take a Foundation Year programme with the Department for Life Long Learning before you commence your studies at the SMI, which would be a 4 year course in total.

Part-time Applied Social

Foundation Year in Applied Social Sciences

Other Information

For more information on support whilst you're a student at the SMI please visit our student pages where you can find a host of information on how we support you whilst you're a student including Disability Support and the Career Service.

Find out more from our current students:

For any admission enquiries please email: