books lying stacked on a wooden shelf

BAEnglish & Social Policy

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 is a theoretical and applied subject which draws on many different disciplines - such as history, sociology, anthropology, economics, law, psychology and politics - to improve our understanding of how different societies organise their resources to meet individual and social needs and how they measure progress in these areas.

This new social policy degree programme gives you the opportunity to learn more about the social and economic challenges facing Scottish society and enables you to place these in a broader international and comparative perspective.

It also addresses some of the major questions of our time, such as how should social policy adapt to a changing global, digital, connected and information-rich world? How can we adapt social policies to the needs of a more diverse society? And how should resources be distributed, not only between generations, but also within them?

Our BA degrees in Humanities & Social Sciences are initially broad-based. In Year 1, you'll study three subjects, including your chosen subject(s).

English

What you’ll study

Year 1

Your first year of study will include Shakespearean drama and modern, cutting-edge fiction.

Year 2

Second-year students study some of the most momentous events in literary history, with classes on Renaissance, Enlightenment and Romantic writing.

Year 3

In third-year, you'll choose from options including children’s literature, America in the 1920s, the First World War and the Glasgow novel.

Year 4

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.

Dissertation 

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.

Postgraduate study

We offer these taught masters degrees:

Masters degrees can be a 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.

Socrates exchange

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 have 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.

Social policy

What you'll study

Year 1

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’.  At what point do individual or personal issues come to be defined as social issues, and why?

Year 2

You'll have the opportunity to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the development of Scottish social policy. You will also discover more about some of the key concepts in Social Policy, including such issues as human needs, social welfare, inequality, poverty, citizenship, and social exclusion. You'll also get the chance to discuss the processes through which policies are made and engage in debates about their effectiveness.

Year 3

You'll be expected to undertake a more detailed examination of the development of Scottish social policy in a UK context, alongside in-depth studies of the particular social policy areas or themes that interest you. You will also take a class in research methodology which will help you to prepare for your final year dissertation.

Year 4

You'll take a core module in Comparative Social Policy, alongside the more detailed study of a particular area or theme. Your classes will be based around the specialist research interests of the academic staff and you will be engaging in debates at the cutting edge of current Social Policy thinking. The 10,000-word Honours dissertation will be your chance to undertake some original research of your own in a key area of Social Policy.

Major projects

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 an topic of particular interest means that the dissertation is often the most satisfying part of any student’s degree.

Postgraduate study

We offer two MSc programmes:

If you're looking to build on what you learned in your undergraduate degree, this is the postgradute course for you.

If you're looking to undertake a postgraduate research degree or embark upon a research career, this is the postgraduate course for you.

Course content

Year 1

English

Year 1

In this wide-ranging introduction to university-level English, your required reading ranges from ancient tales, to Shakespearean drama, to cutting-edge contemporary fiction.

Social policy

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

This class examines the different ways in which ‘private issues’ become recognised as ‘public problems’.  Using a number of different case studies, such as domestic violence, homelessness or poverty, it will look at the different ways in which social problems have been identified and at the different standpoints from which they can be viewed.

Year 2

English

Year 2

You'll study momentous events in literary history in the historical core classes on Renaissance, Enlightenment and Romantic writing. You'll also learn about the various ways in which philosophers, historians and authors have tried to analyse literature in a course on Literature, Criticism and Theory.

Social policy

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, including health and education policies, and the development and implementation of equalities legislation.

Year 3

English

Year 3

You'll continue with historical core classes on Victorian and 20th-century Literature, and you'll also choose one further class (English with another subject) or three classes (single English). Our extensive menu of options means you could study anything from Shakespeare to experimental fiction, from children’s literature to America in the 1920s, from autobiography to the Glasgow novel, from First World War literature to detective fiction.

Social policy

Compulsory classes:

Research Skills 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.

Scottish Social Welfare in a UK Context

This class examines the ways in which recent political developments have placed questions of social policy at the heart of debates over the future of the United Kingdom.  To what extent do the different parts of the UK face different social problems?  To what extent do different parts of the UK possess a different approach to the resolution of these issues?  How has the governance of social policy in different parts of the UK been affected by its current constitutional arrangements?

Year 4

English

Year 4

Throughout the 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 student initiative and reward it when we see it.

Fourth year is also your chance to take some more options – two for Joint Honours and three for Single Honours. The options on offer in Honours year include classes on Victorian Gothic writing, literary snobbery, 1930s literature and culture, travel writing, atrocity and modernism, oral narratives and fairytales.

Social policy

Compulsory classes:

The Welfare State in Comparative Perspective

This class examines the development of welfare states as a global phenomenon.  It asks what we mean by the concept of a ‘welfare state’ and looks at the ways in which welfare states have developed in different countries.  It also explores some of the major differences between different types of welfare state, using the concept of ‘welfare régimes’.

Dissertation

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.

Assessment

English

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.

Social policy

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.

Learning & teaching

English

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've recently introduced a new research task in which staff, undergraduates and postgraduates work together.

Entry requirements

Minimum grades

Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.

Highers

1st sitting: AAAA

2nd sitting: AAAAB

Required subjects
  • Higher English, plus one from the list below
  • Maths National or Lifeskills Maths National 5 C (please note this grade has been revised since the printed prospectus was published) Intermediate 2 C
Higher subjects
  • Classical Studies
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Italian
  • Modern Studies
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Moral and Philosophical Studies
  • Sociology
  • Spanish

We recognise a wide range of Highers, however, social science subjects should make up the majority of your profile.

A Levels

Year 1 entry:

Minimum entry requirement: BBB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)

Typical entry requirement: ABB (GCSE English Language B or English Literature B, GCSE Maths C)

Year 2 entry:

Minimum entry requirement: ABB (two core subjects at AB)

Typical entry requirement: AAA (two core subjects required)

International Baccalaureate

36 (Maths SL5)

HNC/HND

HNC Social Sciences: A in Graded Unit; Maths National 5/ Standard Grade/ Intermediate 2

Irish Leaving Certificate

Subjects and grades as for Highers.

Additional information

Personal statement

It is important to take care over your personal statement. We look for information about your academic and career interests, and your range of skills, abilities, and relevant experience. Your personal statement should show evidence you have a strong awareness and interest in the subject you are applying to.

Deferred entry

Deferred entry normally not accepted.

Applicants with Highers

Due to the high level of competition for the number of available places, it is unlikely that Conditional Offers will be made to anyone attaining less than BBB at the first sitting of Highers.

Second-year entry

Second-year entry for A Level/Advanced Higher candidates is possible with AA/AB in the two subjects you are planning to study.

Admission to Honours

All students will be admitted as potential Honours students. Students may exit with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the end of Year 3 of the programme if they have accumulated at least 360 credits and satisfied the appropriate specialisation requirements. For admission to the final year of the Honours course, a student must have achieved an approved standard of performance.

Widening access

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.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

2017/18

Scotland/EU
  • £1,820
Rest of UK
  • £9,250

Bachelor degrees at Strathclyde will cost £9,250 a year, but the total amount payable will be capped at £27,750 for students on a four-year Bachelors programme. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes – for example MSci, MEng and MPharm – will pay £9,250 for the Masters year.

International
  • £13,500

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 and the EU

If you're a Scottish or EU student, 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.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales

Careers

An English degree helps graduates find work in areas such as publishing, the civil service, administration and creative writing. Many English graduates also go on to do further study and teaching.

The most common employment destinations for social policy graduates include:

  • local & national government policy development and research
  • regional & urban development
  • business administration & management
  • third sector/charity research & policy development
  • children’s services
  • education
  • health & social welfare
  • protective services

Contact us

Apply

How to apply – 10 things you need to know

  1. All undergraduate applications are made through UCAS
    Go to the UCAS website to apply – you can apply for up to five courses.
  2. It costs £12 to apply for a course
    The cost is £23 for two to five courses.
  3. The deadline is 15 January each year
    This is the application deadline for most courses. However, please check the details for your particular course. View a full list of UCAS key dates.
  4. You might be asked to attend an interview
    Most of our courses make offers based on the UCAS application. However some might ask you to attend an interview or for a portfolio of work. If this is the case, this will be stated in the prospectus entry requirements.
  5. It’s possible to apply directly to Year 2
    Depending on your qualifications, you might be able to apply directly to Year 2 - or even Year 3 - of a course. Speak to the named contact for your course if you want to discuss this.
  6. There’s three types of decision
    • unconditional – you’ve already met our entry requirements
    • conditional – we’ll offer you a place if you meet certain conditions, usually based on your exams
    • unsuccessful – we’ve decided not to offer you a place
  7. You need to contact UCAS to accept your offer
    Once you’ve decided which course you’d like to accept, you must let UCAS know. You don’t need to decide until you’ve received all offers. UCAS will give you a deadline you must respond by.

    You’ll choose one as your firm choice. If the offer is unconditional or if you meet the conditions, this is the course you’ll study.

    You’ll also have an insurance choice. This is a back-up option if you don’t meet the conditions of your first choice.
  8. You don’t need to send us your exam results (Scotland, England & Wales)
    If you’re studying in Scotland, England or Wales, we receive a copy of your Higher/Advanced Higher/A Level results directly from the awarding body. However, if you are studying a different qualification, then please contact us to arrange to send your results directly.
  9. We welcome applications from international students

    Find out further information about our entry and English language requirements.

    International students who don’t meet the entry requirements, can apply for our pre-undergraduate programmes.

    There’s also an online application form.

    For further information:
  10. Here’s a really useful video to help you apply

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