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Our BA (Hons) Humanities & Social Sciences degree, explained.
Why this course?
There are a number of ways you can study law at Strathclyde, one such way being the BA degree in combination with another subject.
Law is concerned with the study of the obligations, duties and rights which every member of society has in relation to one another and to the state.
The study of law is regarded not as purely vocational, but part of a broader education. Please note, however, that studying law within the BA degree will not qualify you for entry to the legal profession. For professional qualifications in Law students follow the LLB programme.
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
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'll begin by deepening your knowledge and understanding of the historical development of social policy in Scotland since 1845. You'll also discover more about some key concepts in social policy. This includes 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.
You'll 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'll 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.
You'll take a core module on the global challenges facing Social Policy, focusing on issues such as inclusive growth; migration and climate change. You 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.
In first year, you'll study Legal Methods and Public Law 1. These modules will introduce you to the history, structure, institutions and sources of law in the Scots legal system, as well as the roles of and relationship between the different branches of governmental power. The modules form essential building blocks to the understanding of most other areas of law, which you'll have the opportunity to study in later years.
Years 2, 3 & 4
You select classes according to your interests from a wide range of options, including Human Rights, Environmental Law, Criminal Law, Public International Law, and Law, Film & Popular Culture.
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'll be allocated an advisor of studies who will be able to let you know which subjects can be combined, in first year, and beyond.
The aims of this class are to:
- provide you with a basic knowledge of the history, structure and institutions of the Scottish legal system
- provide you with the skills required to find, interpret and analyse the law applicable in Scotland, from all their various sources
- introduce you to competing conceptions of law
- introduce you to legal reasoning
Public Law 1
The aims of this class are to develop knowledge and critical analysis of:
- the nature of the United Kingdom constitution, including the ways in which the constitution has changed in recent decades, and key proposals for further reform
- the sources of constitutional rules, both legal and non-legal
- the central principles of the constitution, including democracy, the rule of law, the separation of powers, the sovereignty of Parliament, responsible government, and fundamental human rights
- the structure, composition, functions and powers of legislative, executive and judicial institutions in Scotland and the United Kingdom
- the impact of European Union membership on the location of power within the United Kingdom constitution, and of the relevance of European human rights law
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.
Public Law 2
Following on from Public Law 1, Public Law 2 aims to consolidate knowledge and understanding of constitutional and administrative law. Students taking this class will be required to have taken Public Law 1 in the first year. It'll build upon knowledge of the key concepts and institutions of the UK constitution.
As a second year class, its rationale is to give you the opportunity to progress from an understanding of the constitution to an understanding of the role of the law in the constitutional control of public power. This course encourages you to adopt an evaluative and critical stance towards ongoing constitutional developments. The course will focus on control of administrative action, both by the judiciary and by ombudsmen. The protection of individual rights will be a key feature, focusing on judicial protection but also encompassing the role of human rights institutions in the UK and Scotland. The future control of public power will be discussed, including topical debates concerning constitutional reform in this area.
Family law concerns the control which the law exerts over domestic relationships and families; it affects everyone to a greater or lesser degree.
- the legal status of children, parental responsibilities and rights and the upbringing of children - including issues in adoption and fostering, local authority care and the Children's Hearing system
- legal consequences of marriage/civil partnership
- divorce - including what happens to the family and its financial consequences
- unmarried domestic relations, opposite-sex and same-sex
Commercial law is a second year compulsory subject on the LLB (and LML) degree. The class provides you with an understanding of commercial law in a Scottish context. It partially meets the commercial law subject requirements and related skills outcomes of the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates (albeit that some of the commercial professional topics, eg sale of goods and insurance law, are dealt with by other courses).
Building on the knowledge you acquire in first year, the general academic objective of the course is to examine the basic principles and rules concerning core aspects of commercial law, including the main principles of agency, partnership and company law, the law relating to various methods of payment (including consumer credit and bills of exchange) the rules governing the ways in which creditors can ‘secure’ repayment of a debt (eg through taking personal guarantees from third parties for repayment of the debt, or by establishing rights in security over debtor property); the basic principles of diligence; the consequences of both corporate and individual debtor inability to repay debts (corporate insolvency and personal bankruptcy respectively).
While the focus of the class is on ‘a black letter’ analysis of relevant statutory and common law in the broad commercial area, in order to aid understanding of relevant principles, the class also examines the policy rationales underlying the current law and recent and projected reforms in this area.
Involuntary Obligations: Delict & Unjustified Enrichment
The design of this class is primarily aimed at enhancing your ability to read cases, deal with case law and apply the techniques of case-analysis and common law development.
You'll acquire an in-depth and up-to-date knowledge and understanding, from both a legal and a social perspective, of the rules of law governing involuntary obligations, that is to say the law of delict and the law of unjustified enrichment.
You'll acquire the ability to apply the rules of law to particular fact situations in order to provide definitive answers to the problems exposed in these situations.
You'll develop critical and reasoning skills, giving you the ability to make and present personal and informed judgments on the rules of law and their application within the domestic legal system.
Property Trusts & Succession
The general rationale of this class is to provide you with a contemporary understanding of the law of property, trusts and succession in Scotland, and to meet Law Society of Scotland requirements in this subject-area.
The EU law class focuses on the constitutional and institutional order of the EU as well as on the internal market. To this end, the class looks at the European integration process, the EU institutions, EU competences, the decision-making process within the EU, the principles underpinning the EU legal order and the principles governing the internal market.
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.
Law, Film & Popular Culture
The main aim of this class is to introduce you to the major theoretical ideas and values of law, and to debates about those ideas and values, thereby enhancing their understanding of law in general.
The class explores relationships between law and morality, law and society and between law and power. In doing so, the course also explores what we mean by law, morality and power. The course requires you to work on your own and make an oral presentation and trains you in concise thinking.
The aim of the class is to introduce you to the law of landlord and tenant, and to concepts of housing need and market allocation of housing resources and the different ways in which such concepts are interpreted and operated in modern Britain. The method of teaching and assessing the class is designed to enhance learning, academic and transferable skills.
International Private Law
This class aims to provide you with an understanding of the problems inherent in situations involving a foreign element and the basic concepts and principles of Scots international private law. More particularly, attention will be given to the rules which establish when the Scottish court has jurisdiction in any case involving a foreign element. The class will also determine the applicable law in cases involving international elements heard before a Scottish court and the rules on recognition and enforcement of judgments in certain contexts.
The International private law rules in relation to:
- divorce & nullity
- parent & child
- insolvency & succession
Tutorials for this class take place on Saturday mornings.
This class is not recommended for Erasmus exchange students.
Most industrialised countries, and the European Union now have elaborate laws, rules and procedures for ensuring the maintenance of a competitive economy. This course looks at how the competition laws of the United Kingdom and the European Union affect how business operates in Britain.
If you're contemplating a career in business, or are simply a consumer, some knowledge of competition is useful. If you're a student of industrial economics, or of marketing, some knowledge of competition law is a wise precaution. Moreover there are considerably more job opportunities in this area, whether as an economic adviser, legal practitioner or in-house lawyer advising on effective compliance.
Although we are all equal in the law, some are treated more equally than others. This module examines the nature of discrimination and some of the reasons for it, and the history of the law which tries to prohibit it and promote equality. The class looks in depth at the Equality Act 2010 and relevant case law. It covers the protected characteristics, direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation and disability discrimination, including the duty to make reasonable adjustments. As well as individual anti-discrimination law in employment and goods and services, the class examines preventive and pro-active measures, including positive action and the public equality duty and the arguments around their nature.
Assessment consists of a group presentation on an approved topic of your choice and a piece of coursework requiring problem solving skills and analysis of law and policy.
Ethics & Justice
The Ethics and Justice class aims to introduce you to the world of work by bridging the gap between theory and practice, and by providing you with the intellectual and practical tools to deal with the personal and practical dimensions of law in a competent, ethical and socially responsible manner.
The class will help to develop your legal, intellectual and practical skills, and provide you with an opportunity to reflect on the effectiveness and ethics of what you do and how this fits in with problems of access to justice. It will also enhance your understanding of the social and economic context in which legal rules operate.
This class is only open to Law Clinic students with case experience.
The extensive uptake of new digital information technologies and particularly, the internet, has resulted in expanding our legal universe, with new laws being created, the application of older laws being challenged and reconfigured and, unavoidably, new legal challenges arising due to conflicts of regulatory decisions with technological advances.
The aim of the class is to address the basic issues arising from the advent of the internet and related digital technologies and familiarise you with important legal developments that have taken place in the last 20 years.
Crime & Punishment
This class encourages you to think constructively and critically about contemporary issues in the field of criminology. It also focuses on contemporary responses to crime in the fields of punishment, imprisonment and penal policy, with reference to developments in Scotland and beyond.
Human Rights Law
This class deals with the questions, what are those 'basic' or 'fundamental' rights and freedoms to which every individual is entitled in a democratic society, and how to protect them against possible violations.
The class focuses on a selection of the most prominent human rights which have resulted in considerable amounts of litigation. You'll consider the right to life, right not to be tortured, freedom of expression, children’s rights and issues regarding terrorism.
This class aims to provide you with an understanding of employment law in a UK and EU-wide context and to introduce you to the sources, principles and main features of employment law.
You'll learn about key employment protection provisions and the major collective provisions of employment law in the UK, including the legal position of the contract of employment, the status of employee, the law and practice of unfair dismissal, discrimination law and working time regulations.
The class will focus on practical employment law involving practitioners, an Employment Judge and an Employment Tribunal visit.
Banking Law & Finance
This course is concerned with the legal relationship of banker and customer and the services offered by bankers in the community. It examines the financial instruments employed in financing trading and other transactions and is especially concerned with the law and practice of lending, both secured and unsecured.
Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual property is integral to all our daily lives, whether it is the music we listen to, the news we read, or chair we sit on, as well as providing the resources necessary to produce new medicines, and the superabundance of brand marketing to which we are routinely subjected.
The class will study the law of patents, trademarks (registered and unregistered), copyright, and moral rights, and the law of confidence (which includes trade secrets). Both the substantive law, and the underlying policy behind providing exclusive rights for this type of property will be examined.
Public International Law
Interested in what is going on in Syria? Concerned about what may or may not be going on in North Korea? Pondering why troops are still in Afghanistan? Then public international law might be the class for you.
The class explores the relationships between states as among themselves and with international institutions. As well as giving an overall view of the area, we'll also look at specific incidents which have arisen and which have been dominated by international law, and which in turn have made huge contributions to the area.
The syllabus looks at sources including treaties and customary law, statehood, the collective use of force, state responsibility and terrorism, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.
Local Government Law
This class is evening teaching only.
In Scotland, local government employs around 250,000 people. Every council has its own legal department and nearly 10% of practising solicitors in Scotland are employed by local authorities. It is essential that lawyers in private practice have knowledge of how local government works.
The course will cover a selection of the following topics:
- what local government is and what does it do
- the constitutional position of local government
- the structure of Scottish local government and its statutory framework
- elections to and membership of a local authority
- rights, duties, liabilities and restrictions of councillors
- the councillors’ Code of Conduct and registration of interests
- the powers of local government; the ultra vires rule; community planning; the power of wellbeing; publicity powers
- byelaws, management rules and private Acts of Parliament
- how councils work; the political dimension
- external controls on local government; the courts; the ombudsman, the Standards Commission, the Accounts Commission
- a brief guide to local government finance
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.
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
Our assessment methods include:
- multiple choice exams
- problem-based and critical analysis essays
- group work
- case studies
- reflective diaries
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
Our teaching aims to help students develop knowledge and understanding of the principles, nature and development of law and legal institutions in Scotland and in other jurisdictions. The programme is delivered by leading academics through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and webcasts.
What is social policy?
Find out more about social policy including its origin, its study as an academic discipline and the differences between social policy and public policy.What is social policy?
Required subjects are shown in brackets.
Standard entry requirements*:
(Higher English, Maths/Applications of Mathematics National 5 B-C, or equivalent)
Minimum entry requirements**:
(Higher English B and Maths/Applications of Mathematics National 5 C)
Year 1 entry: ABB-BBB
(GCSE English Language 6/B or Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)
Year 1 entry: 32-30
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
*Standard entry requirements
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.
**Minimum entry requirements
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 will 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 may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.
All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.
Annual revision of fees
Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.
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 2023/24, 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.
No additional costs for law modules and all compulsory material is in the library.
If a student is studying abroad, they are responsible for all costs.
International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.
Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.
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?
Dean's International Excellence Award 2023/24
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.
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:
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.
Graduates who have studied Law and another discipline may find openings in government services, commerce and industry, banking and insurance, management and administration, where knowledge of the legal implications of business practice is of value. Some graduates continue to an accelerated graduate LLB degree, usually with the aim of entering the legal profession.
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
- health & social welfare
- protective services
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
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 2023
Law & Social Policy (1 year entry)
Prospective student enquiries
Telephone: +44 (0) 141 444 8600