- UCAS Code: Q3L4
Study abroad: opportunity to study in Germany, France and the USA
Applicant visit day: March each year
Study with us
Our BA (Hons) Humanities & Social Sciences degree, explained.
Why this course?
As an English student at Strathclyde, you'll enjoy the best of old and new: a grounding in the classics as well as an insight into new fields of literature.
We'll show you how exciting and wide-ranging our subject can be. Employers like the skills developed in an English degree: written and verbal communication, analysis and discussion of ideas and broad, creative thinking.
Social Policy examines the ways in which societies distribute resources and develop services to meet individual and social needs. Key social policy issues examined include poverty; economic, race, age and gender inequality; social justice health; education; criminal justice and housing.
It utilises a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to improve our understanding of how societies organise their resources to meet individual and social needs and how they measure progress in these areas.
This programme gives you the opportunity to learn more about the social and economic challenges facing Scottish society and place these in a broader international perspective. It draws on disciplines such as history, sociology, anthropology, economics, law, psychology, social anthropology and politics.
Our BA degrees in Humanities & Social Sciences are initially broad-based. In Year 1, you'll study three subjects, including your chosen subject(s).
What you’ll study
Shakespearean drama and modern, cutting-edge fiction.
You'll study some of the most momentous events in literary history, with classes on Renaissance, Enlightenment and Romantic writing.
Choose from options including children’s literature, America in the 1920s, the First World War and the Glasgow novel.
In your final year, you’ll write a dissertation and choose from options including Victorian Gothic writing, literary snobbery, travel writing, oral narratives and fairy tales. Student numbers for optional classes may be limited in Years 3 and 4.
In Honours year, you'll write and research a 6,000-word dissertation with guidance from a personal supervisor. This is an opportunity to investigate a topic of your own choice. Previous dissertations have focussed on music and film as well as literary topics.
We offer these taught masters degrees:
Masters degrees can be the first step to a PhD or help with career and personal development. We welcome overseas students, including visiting students.
We also offer various research degrees, including an innovative MRes in Creative Writing.
You'll have the opportunity to take part in the Socrates exchange programme, in which you can spend your third year (two semesters) abroad and obtain credits that qualify you to enter the Honours year in one or both of your principal subjects on your return.
Socrates has partner institutions in Germany and France, as well as programmes in North America and elsewhere. While priority on Socrates is given to students who have proficiency in the relevant language, many classes (at least in the host English departments) are conducted in English and there is no language requirement for countries like the USA.
Our semester 1 module provides a wide-ranging introduction to some of the key challenges facing Scottish society in areas such as health, housing, education and social security. The semester 2 module asks how different issues come to be recognised and defined as ‘social problems.
You will begin by deepening your knowledge and understanding of the historical development of social policy in Scotland since 1845. You will also discover more about some of the key concepts in social policy, including issues such as human needs, citizenship, and social exclusion, and about how social policy is made nationally and internationally, and the consequences of this for the services people receive.
Students will choose one optional class based on the specialism of a member of staff. The list of available classes changes each year, but has included welfare reform and criminology. You will also take a class in research methodology which will help you to prepare for your final-year dissertation, and a module exploring the differences and similarities in social policies between countries. An optional placement module allowing you to apply your subject knowledge in a relevant workplace will also be available in either this year, or Year 4.
Students will take a core module on the global challenges facing Social Policy, focusing on issues such as inclusive growth; migration and climate change. Students can take further optional specialist classes. The list of available classes changes each year, but has included disability and gender-based violence. The Honours dissertation will be your chance to undertake some original research of your own in a key area of Social Policy.
All honours students will have the opportunity to complete a 10,000-word dissertation on a topic of their choice. The dissertation gives you the opportunity to undertake independent research into an issue which is particularly important to you.
It might be based on a detailed analysis of original sources, such as policy documents or statistical records, or you might choose to generate your own data, using interviews or focus groups. The opportunity to undertake original research into a topic of particular interest means that the dissertation is often the most satisfying part of any student’s degree.
Single & joint Honours information
English, English and Creative Writing, History, Politics and International Relations and Psychology may be studied to Single or Joint Honours level.
Education, French, Spanish, Law, Journalism, Media and Communication and Social Policy are available only as Joint Honours Programmes. Economics, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Mathematics and Tourism can also be studied alongside a Humanities and Social Sciences subject.
The available subject combinations may change each year. Once accepted on the programme you will be allocated an advisor of studies who will be able to let you know which subjects can be combined, in first year, and beyond.
Learning & teaching
You'll learn through lectures, seminars and workshops and take part in small group work, individual and group presentations, debates and writing exercises. Some classes also take place in computer labs and include analysis of texts using software tools.
Vertically Integrated Project
We offer a research task in which staff, undergraduates and postgraduates work together.
In addition to traditional exams, many classes are assessed partly or solely by essays. In later years, you have the opportunity to set the topics and titles of these essays themselves.
Some courses have specific assessment methods, for example drama students are assessed for their writing and practical performance skills, while those studying digital humanities use social media and analyse texts with software.
All our classes use Myplace, Strathclyde's virtual learning environment, which can be used for online quizzes and keeping a reading diary.
You'll be assessed using a variety of methods, including not only traditional essays and exams, but also oral presentations, group work and other forms of assessment.
Expertise in English at Strathclyde covers both the traditional literary curriculum and exciting new developments in the field, from animal studies, to reclaiming working class literary experience, from cognitive accounts of literary experience to queer accounts of travel writing. In our teaching, we aim to be inclusive, respectful, caring, and ambitious, helping every student to achieve their potential.
Elspeth Jajdelska, subject leader for English
English 1A & 1B
This first semester module offers an introduction to the study of English at university level. It offers a foundation for students who are interested in the historical and critical analysis of literary texts and for those who want to write creatively for themselves. It's the first module in the English degree and the English and Creative Writing degree.
In taking this module you'll have an opportunity to understand how particular historical and social contexts shape literature and to discuss ways in which historical literature continues to live and have relevance to the contemporary reader. You'll also study in detail the ways in which literary texts are constructed. In understanding the mechanisms that make literary texts work – the choices made by an author about genre, form, and language – you'll become a subtler, more-attentive reader and a better-informed and better-equipped writer.
Social Policy & Society in Contemporary Scotland
This class is designed to introduce you to some of the major issues confronting Scottish society and to provide an accessible introduction to some of the key concerns of Social Policy. It will examine a range of issues, including questions of poverty and inequality, social divisions, health, housing, education, and criminal justice.
Private Issues & Public Problems
In this module we'll ask why and how certain issues become defined as 'social problems' and what impact this has on the social policy that we make in response.
Why do societies change the way they understand 'social problems' over time, and how does this impact policy change? Can we understand social policy differences between countries in terms of how they conceptualise 'social problems' differently? What role does political ideology and the media have in framing how societies understand the 'social problems' they face and how to resolve them?
Are some groups unfairly targeted as being a source of social problems?
Do the ways that we understand issues around the benefits system, crime, disability, migration, and families and young people really reflect their empirical reality and what can we do to begin tackling these issues differently?
These are some of the key questions this module seeks to ask and to answer.
Writing Through Time 1&2
These will situate texts in context, from genre to historical period and theory. The texts include poetry, drama, novels, short stories, life writing, and screenplays and you'll have the chance to choose between critical and creative writing responses for one assessment on each class.
You then have a choice of one or two interdisciplinary electives, one in each semester:
The Construction of Scotland
This class looks at a range of literary texts and how they interpret and create the idea of ‘human’ at different points in history.
Making the Modern Human
This class explores how Scottish fiction and drama of the 20th and 21st centuries creates the idea of Scotland.
Scottish Social Policy since 1845
This class explores some of the different ways in which social policy has evolved in Scotland in response to a variety of social problems since the introduction of the Scottish Poor Law Act in 1845. It covers all the main areas of social policy, including health, housing, education and poverty, and also explores the changing boundaries between individuals, families, communities, voluntary organisations, commercial welfare and state over the course of this period.
Key Concepts in Social Welfare
This class explores some of the most important concepts in the academic study of Social Policy, including such concepts as equality, justice, need, happiness, poverty and wellbeing. It also examines a number of different ideological perspectives on these issues, such as liberalism, conservatism, socialism, social democracy, Marxism, feminism and the New Right.
The Making of Social Policy
This class examines the ways in which social policies are ‘made’ at both a national and international level. It examines the roles played by different actors, institutions and ideas. It also looks at the ways in which evidence is used to inform policy-making, and at the ways in which we are all involved, as citizens, in the policy process. These themes are explored with the aid of a series of case-studies.
You'll select from this range of Year 3 electives, and have the chance to take one English & Creative Writing class too.
The American Novel
This class aims to introduce you to some of the major forms and themes in the 20th century American novel with some more contemporary content. The module investigates how major social and historical issues have shaped some of the most important American novels and how the novel, as a form, has developed and adapted to describe new and different realities. Some of the historical and social issues covered in the class include:
- the suburbs and the city
- the legacy of slavery
- queer life in the US
- stories of migration and travel
This module is designed to equip students who wish to pursue studies in American literature or culture in more depth with an overview of the period. It's also designed to expand the knowledge of students with a general interest in the novel.
This class will study the literature of the Victorian period (1837-1901) and will focus on fiction, poetry, drama and non-fictional prose. It aims to situate this writing both in its contemporary political, social and cultural contexts and in the light of recent critical and theoretical debates. Themes to be covered will include:
- the 'crisis of faith'
- science and evolutionary theory
- realism and the Victorian novel
- medievalism and Victorianism
- literature and the visual arts
- key peotic genres, including elegy and dramatic monologue
- popular fiction
- the 'Woman Question'
- Empire and travel writing
- the new journalism and Victorian reading publics
- representations of the city and technology
- issues of canon and periodisation
Twentieth Century Literature
This class explores twentieth-century English literature with a focus on fiction, poetry, and drama. The survey examines major literary figures from the first half of the century, such as Woolf and Stein, along with their contemporaries and successors. Particular attention will be paid to the literary culture of Modernism before exploring the texts, culture and politics of the later 20th century through writers such as Spark, McGrath and Smith. Emphasis will be placed on understanding a diverse range of literature in historical, critical and theoretical contexts as a means of engaging with the rich literary heritage of the twentieth century, and what the twenty-first century might bring.
Sex, Revenge & Corruption in Renaissance Drama
This module will focus on drama, a key genre in the period from the 1580s to the closure of the playhouses in 1642. Reading work by major dramatists, we'll engage with a form that addressed a highly literate audience as well as a popular one, and is thus a particularly interesting place to trace ways of thinking in the period. The common thread that ties this selection of plays together is their interest in transgression: what happens when humans cross the limits set by tradition, religion and the state?
In the process of this theatrical interrogation, the plays pose questions about violence, identity, gender, desire, citizenship and the role of the theatre itself. We'll read tragedies and comedies; alongside these, you'll also be asked to think about the moral and theological debates that were taking place at the time these works were produced and consumed. Thus, for example, we'll read plays by Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and Thomas Middleton alongside writing by Robert Burton, Sir Francis Bacon and Niccolo Machiavelli. This will enable us to explore how ideas about sex, revenge and corruption in the period are developed and contested between the stage and the work of some of the most influential thinkers at the time; it will also allow us to consider how some of these early modern limit cases still ask questions of us today.
Lectures will provide context for tutorials, which will be organised around worksheets that will be circulated in advance, and so will give you the chance to prepare for each class, and will allow everyone the chance to contribute to discussions.
Language in Business & Organisations
This class explores the ways in which language is used in businesses and other organisations. The class assumes no prior knowledge of linguistics, and teaches technical skills in discourse analysis, conversation analysis, and the analysis of other types of verbal interaction, in speech, writing and electronic communications. The analytical skills learned in this class, and the theoretical ideas, will be useful also in the analysis of literature or any other aspect of language in use. Seminars give you practice in the analytical skills. The class assumes that you have no prior knowledge or experience in discourse analysis, conversation analysis, pragmatics, etc.
The Body: Theories & Representations
What does it mean to ‘write the body’? How has the world of sensory experience been rendered in theory, literature, and film? What metaphors do we summon to understand physical experiences of joy, sickness, health, desire, exhaustion, and intoxication?
This class will approach these questions (and more) by studying literary, visual, and theoretical engagements with the body in late 20th and 21st -century culture. Over the course of the semester, you'll encounter some key debates about the body and its representation in literature and film. You'll engage with the fields of gender theory, queer theory, critical race theory, and disability theory. You'll also learn some strategies for analysing contemporary culture through the ‘lens’ of theory, developing skills you can take into other areas of your study.
English & Creative Writing Work Placement
This placement module offers you the opportunity to gain practical, work-based experience (minimum 60 hours) in an area that is professionally related to or relevant to your BA. For your degree this might be working with a publisher, or literary agency, or in an office environment where you are using your skills in reading, interpretation and writing. Or you might use this as an opportunity to look towards a future career: so, if you plan to go into teaching, for example, you could look to get a placement working in a subject-related environment with young people.
You can also take one of the following English & Creative Writing classes as part of your English degree in Year 3.
Writing Short Fiction & Poetry
Writing Short Fiction and Poetry is an 11-week module studying contemporary short stories and lyric poetry. Generally speaking, the aim of this class is to get you writing as soon as possible – each week is aimed at teaching some of the basics of Creative Writing alongside a case study of a writer and their particular approach to elements of the craft.
We'll be reading screenplays, talking about them, and writing our own. What is the difference between writing for the page and writing for the screen? Screenplays are, in practice, a series of instructions: for actors, for crew members, for potential financiers. A screenplay is a dual-purpose document. It exists as proof of concept (i.e., proof of narrative); and it is there to communicate the spirit and tone of the finished film. More than anything, our first job as writers for the screen is to make the reader hear and see. Primarily it is to make the reader see. There are many ways in to a life in writing for the screen. But, as with any good work of fiction, it begins with engaging characters. Do they appear to us fully formed? Or does it take development? How can we get them onto the page? What are the decisions we make at the start of a project? What is visible and the invisible writing? This class encourages you to consider the shape of your story in order to point yourself—and your narrative—in the right direction.
Research Methods in Social Policy
This class will help you to develop your knowledge and understanding of some of the key methods used by researchers in the field of social policy. It will introduce you to a number of different qualitative and quantitative methods, and to some of the basic principles of research design. It will provide an essential foundation for your final-year dissertation.
Comparative Social Policy: Theories, Methods & Analysis
Why are some societies more unequal than others? Why do many women participate in the labour market in some countries, and less in others? Why do health care, education and housing policies differ across developed societies?
The answers to these questions are all related to the study of Comparative Social Policy.
In this third-year module in the Social Policy programme you'll be introduced to the key theories, methods and data sources employed in comparative and international social policy research.
Interest in comparative analysis continues to grow in the social sciences and this module is designed to give you a deeper understanding of the comparative nature of social policy and the development of different welfare systems. CSP will introduce you to a range of new key concepts and theories, and will help you to understand new methodological and analytical approaches for thinking about social policy comparatively.
Teaching on CSP is research-led and the use of case-studies from the literature will help you to understand how researchers conduct research on welfare systems in the real world, and apply social theory.
Optional specialist modules
You'll choose at least one optional class based on the specialism of a member of staff. The list of available classes changes each year, but in the past has included welfare reform and criminology. A placement module will also be on offer in either Year 3 or Year 4, which will give you opportunities to use your research skills and subject knowledge in a relevant organisation such as a charity, think tank or government organisation.
Throughout your degree, analytical and writing skills are being developed, preparing you to tackle the final-year dissertation. The choice of subjects for your dissertation is wide open – we value and reward student initiative.
Year 4 is also your chance to take more electives as well as your dissertation in English – two electives for joint Honours and five for single Honours. Choose from:
Writing Gender in Contemporary Literature
This class examines how contemporary authors make sense of gendered experience. We'll investigate cultural practices of writing (and rewriting) gender in the twenty-first century, paying particular attention to the relationships between gender and literary genre, from transgender memoirs to autofictional masculinities, twenty-first-century romance novels, and the queer graphic novel. We'll also investigate the impact of feminist political activism on the publishing industry, from the indie press to the Women’s Prize for Fiction. The class will introduce you to key theories of gender and equip you with strategies for reading literature through the lens of feminist theory. Over the course of the semester, you'll encounter some of our most exciting contemporary writers and deepen your understanding of literary gender politics in the present day.
21st Century Science Fiction
This class introduces you to twenty-first-century science fiction from across the globe. Contemporary science fiction creates alternative technological bodies and worlds, allowing us to address questions around what it means to be human, what our relationship is to technology and how we might build worlds that are less destructive. With these major themes in mind, this class will focus on four key critical lenses:
- sexuality and gender
Questions to be explored include:
- how are worlds reconfigured through queer sexualities and genders
- what futures are brought into being for previously marginalised peoples
- what is science fiction’s relation to the past
- how does contemporary science fiction challenge tropes of colonialism
- what bodies emerge in these future worlds and why?
Each week you'll read, watch or listen to a contemporary, global science fiction text exploring how histories, worlds, bodies and relations are represented and reimagined.
Present Day Victorians
Neo-Victorian cultural products have been recognised as a crucial site for the critical rediscovery and reinterpretation of Victorian literature and culture (in particular the themes of class, race, gender and sexuality). Evoking the genres of crime and mystery fiction, themes of science, technology and alternative futures, the figure of the Victorian author and the voices of marginal characters from Mrs Rochester to the ghosts of the séance circle, neo-Victorian writing seeks to understand the continuing impact of the nineteenth century on the present day. This class will consider how and why these texts have problematised Victorian discourses (e.g. imperialism, madness, sexual deviance, technology, the cultural roles of reading and writing). We'll draw on a range of interpretative strategies from post-colonial, feminist, queer, adaptation, appropriation, heritage and film studies.
Songs: music & literature
This class looks at the relation between language and music in songs, treating songs as literature adapted to music. We'll look at the ways in which the forms and meanings of songs can be studied, in ways similar to the study of poetry, but also in ways specific to song. The class considers technical aspects, including technical aspects of music, but you're not expected to have prior knowledge of music. We look at ways in which songs relate to identity and how they produce emotion. We consider the ways in which songs tell stories, or relate to stories.
This class traces the development of the Gothic across the nineteenth century, from its origins in the Romantic period to its heights in works like Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The class is organized around key concepts of the Gothic genre, including the sublime, the unseen, textual hybridity, un narrative unreliability.
We'll also look at subgenres like the Female Gothic and Eco-Gothic, examining how the Gothic allows authors to explore cultural anxieties including women’s rights, deviant sexualities, urbanisation, migration, and environmental devastation. Iconic monsters like Frankenstein’s monster, Mr Hyde, and Dracula will thus be situated within their specific cultural milieu, helping us to understand both their origins and their continued popularity.
Wild in the Renaissance
The concept of 'the wild' is one that emerges in many different ways in the writings of the Renaissance; in relation to self-cultivation (holding back the wildness within), the control of one's world (taming the ever-present wilderness); and in relations with fellow humans in a changing world (in savage domination). These ideas get played out in numerous ways in the period - from poetic use of the symbolic resonance of gardens and gardening; the religious underpinnings of the 'missionary endeavour' in the New World and what that says about the concept of human nature; to the anxious self-examination of humanity's inevitable sinfulness.
This class will thus introduce you to key canonical texts from the period – plays, poetry, and court masques – by writers including Shakespeare, Jonson, and Milton, and will also engage with a critical and theoretical debates about the relationships between humans and the natural world from the new fields of animal studies and ecocriticism.
Global Social Policy is all about the global challenges of the 21st Century and about how we can think differently for building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for all.
A global perspective encourages you to think critically about the global causes of poverty and inequality and climate change, for example, and the possibilities of global social policy, global social governance and the role of international organisations play in shaping the GSP agenda. Here, you're encouraged to reflect on the meaning and impacts of social policy from a holistic global perspective.
Many students find that the dissertation is the most fulfilling part of their degree. It will provide you with the opportunity to undertake your own in-depth investigation into a topic of your choice, and to develop skills as an independent researcher.
Optional specialist modules
You'll choose at least one optional class based on the specialism of a member of staff. The list of available classes changes each year, but in the past has included disability policy and gender-based violence. A placement module will also be on offer in either Year 3 or Year 4, which will give you opportunities to use your research skills and subject knowledge in a relevant organisation such as a charity, think tank or government organisation.
Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city
Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.Life in Glasgow
Required subjects are shown in brackets.
(Higher English, Maths/ Applications of Mathematics National 5 B-C, or equivalent)
(Higher English B and Maths/ Applications of Mathematics National 5 C)
(GCSE English Language 6/B or Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)
Year 1 entry: Social Sciences: A in Graded Unit; Maths National 5 B, or equivalent
View the entry requirements for your country.
not normally accepted
Students are required to register with the Scottish Government’s Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme. Please note that Year 2 entry to this subject is not offered.
Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.
Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.
In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.
We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.
Degree preparation course for international students
We offer international students (non-EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.
We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.Visit our international students' section
Fees & funding
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. Scottish undergraduate students undertaking an exchange for a semester/year will continue to pay their normal tuition fees at Strathclyde and will not be charged fees by the overseas institution.
|England, Wales & Northern Ireland|
*Assuming no change in RUK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2022-23, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes), MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.
|University preparation programme fees|
International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.
Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my studies?
Students from Scotland
Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.
Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland
We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales:
You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.
We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.
Please note that you only need to apply once for our BA degree programme.
For instance, if you have applied for BA Honours English and are considering your options for a Joint Honours degree, e.g. a BA Joint Honours in English and French you only need to apply for one or the other on UCAS.
If accepted on to the BA programme, you can study one of the many available subject combinations.
Start date: Sep 2022
English & Social Policy (1 year entry)
Chat to a student ambassador
If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Humanities & Social Sciences student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!
Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.Chat to a student ambassador