Social Policy & Sociology

BSocSc (Hons) (NFQ Level 8)

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Curricular information is subject to change.

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Why is this course for me?

The Bachelor of Social Science (BSocSc) at University College Dublin is the premier honours degree of its kind in Ireland. It is the standard qualification for those working in policy making and social services and recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. If you are interested in exploring how societies, communities and families work and wish to make a difference to the world, affect cultural change, contribute to public service or corporate responsibility, then this course is for you.

Course Pathways
What Will I Study

The course explores key social issues affecting societies in Ireland, the European Union, the USA and Asia: poverty, inequality, homelessness, addiction, mental illness, social stratification, criminal justice, globalisation, gender equality, childhood and children’s services, and tax and welfare systems. You will learn about how policy makers, in Ireland and across the world, have responded to these societal challenges. A strong emphasis is placed on studying  qualitative and quantitative research methods. You will attend lectures and seminars and engage in project-based learning, instruction, and independent study with experienced academic staff and with input from policy-makers and industry.

First Year

You will undertake compulsory modules in social policy and sociology. Students are not expected to have any prior knowledge of these disciplines; the first year modules will provide you with a comprehensive introduction.

Second & Third Year

Alongside core modules in social policy and sociology you will select optional modules from one of three career orientated pathways, which will refine and develop your skills:

There are three Pathways available to you as follows;

1. Social Work and Social Professions

This pathway provides you with a strong foundation for professional social work or social service careers, in addition to careers in Counselling, Social Care Management, and the Probation Service.

2. Society and Public Service

You will be introduced to social policy topics covering a wide range of social and public services and modules in public sociology. This pathway prepares you for a wide range of Master’s programmes and employment in public services, NGOs, community development, youth work, social enterprise and public policy advocacy.

3. Work, Organisations and People

You will combine social policy and sociology with modules from organisational psychology and industrial relations. This pathway prepares you for study in a wide range of human organisation orientated Master’s programmes and for employment in business and personnel management, industrial relations, marketing and corporate responsibility and governance.

For detailed information on subject content click here.

You may be interested in the following Blog posts: A day in the life of a Social Science student.

International Study Opportunities

The School offers international study opportunities in universities both in Europe and further afield including

  • Germany
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Malta
  • Japan
  • Hong Kong
  • Canada
Career & Graduate Study Opportunities

The BSocSc provides a strong foundation for both postgraduate study and a wide range of careers in government, social services, NGOs, education, media, including new and online media (who are increasingly expressing an active interest in recruiting social sciences graduates) and business. Alumni include Orlaith Blaney (Marketing and Advertising, former CEO McCannBlue Dublin), Frances Fitzgerald (TD), Ali Hewson (Humanitarian), Tricia Keilthy (Head of Research and Policy, Society of St. Vincent De Paul) Sr Stanislaus Kennedy (Humanitarian & Founder, Focus Ireland).

Other Entry Routes

“Social Policy & Sociology are both fascinating subjects that take an in-depth look into various social, economic and political issues and how and why they influence society. I specialised in the “Work, Organisations and People” Pathway in this course because I wanted to get an understanding of the key issues involved in management and industrial relations in the context of the sociological and policy issues that can impact on the workplace. What I have enjoyed most throughout the course was having the opportunity to engage with other students in tasks that involved critical thinking, analysis and research projects. The course has helped me to develop a mindset that explores new ideas and perspectives.”

Harry Dempsey, Student

Contact Information

UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice,
Hanna Sheehy Skeffington Building,
Dublin 4


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