Social Sciences BA (Hons)

Course code L300

What is special about this course?

How curious have you become about how society works and the ways people interact with one another in the way they do? Have you thought about applying this curiosity at degree level with a BA (Hons) Social Sciences?

You will study society, its people and institutions, giving you an insight into the everyday life of our communities and workplaces. You will be able to study and debate with fellow learners and subject specialists, on many of the significant issues that affect our lives.

You will focus on sociology, politics and psychology and develop transferable skills in problem solving, group working and communication, all of which are highly valued by employers. There is strong emphasis on research methods that will give you the skills necessary to carry out independent research for your future career, including your dissertation in the fourth year.

There are also other options available to you including criminology, history, literature, philosophy and theology.

Special features

  • You will develop your research and methodological skills, which you can take with you into your future career
  • You can specialise in particular disciplines as you progress through your studies
  • You can study full-time or part-time to suit your personal circumstances
  • You can study individual modules for personal or professional development


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

Entry to year one:

  • 3 Scottish Highers at grade BBC or above, or
  • 2 A levels at grade BC or above
  • At least two should be from the list of relevant academic subjects
  • Applicants with other relevant qualifications or experience will be considered on an individual basis
  • This is a Category 2 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required for specific optional modules/unit(s), where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in optional module/unit(s), but an alternative pathway exists to achieve target qualification. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage

Advanced entry to year two:

  • HNC Social Sciences (12 SQA credits) with 3 additional SQA credits at level 7 which is equivalent to 120 degree credit points, and at least grade C in the Graded Unit, will be considered for direct entry to year two

Access routes

SWAP Access courses
If you are eligible to undertake Scottish Wider Access Programmes (SWAP), please visit our SWAP access list for further information on grade profiles and available subjects.

Year 1 - CertHE

The core modules are:

  • The enquiring student

Plus one politics module:

  • Introduction to politics 
  • Ideas and ideologies in politics 
  • Evolving politics of the British Isles

One sociology module:

  • Making social lives 
  • Understanding the social world 

One Psychology module:

  • Introduction to psychology
  • Questions in psychology

You will also choose two option module from our range of humanities subjects

Year 2 - DipHE

The core modules are:

  • Qualitative research methods

Plus two modules from your first discipline and two modules from your second, from te following options:

  • Comparing political systems
  • History of political ideas
  • Scottish politics before and after the independence referendum

One sociology module:

  • Sociological theory 
  • Belief, culture and community 

One Psychology module:

Social and evolutionary psychology

  • Culture and cognition

You will also choose two option module from our range of humanities subjects


Year 3 - BA

Core modules are:

  • Advanced social research methods

Plus two modules from your first discipline and two modules from your second, from the following options:


  • Challenging liberal democracy: political ideas in a changing world
  • European politics
  • Devolution, federalism and territorial politics
  • Wars of the promised land


  • Work and society
  • Sociology: contemporary Scottish issues
  • Gender, crime and justice


  • Psychology of criminal justice
  • Practical research and analysis skills
  • Module from the BSc (Hons) Psychology

You will also choose two option module from our range of humanities subjects

Year 4 - BA (Hons)

You will complete a dissertation. Plus two modules from your first discipline and two from your second discipline:


  • Geopolitics
  • Political theory
  • Terrorism and unconventional warfare
  • Transforming regimes in Eastern Europe


  • Understanding crime: crime, culture and society
  • Restorative justics: ideas and values
  • Insider and outsiders in society
  • Visual research


  • Developmental disorders
  • Abnormal psychology

How will I study my course?

Additional information for course delivery in 2021-22

From September 2021, it is our intention that physical campuses will be open to all students for access to study facilities, support services and social activities, subject to Scottish Government guidance. Our priority is to provide a safe learning environment for all students and staff. As this course was designed using our blended learning approach it will be delivered through a combination of tutor-supported study, video-based seminars and self-directed study using the university's virtual learning environment. You can access your online and video-based classes from home however it is our intention to provide on-campus space for individual students where required as far as possible. You will have an opportunity to attend an online, face to face or blended induction at the start of the course. Further information will be provided by your home campus. International students requiring a Student Route visa to study with us must access scheduled classes on-campus.
  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • You will learn through a combination of scheduled video conference lectures and tutorials, and online study via the university’s virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors. There is normally a weekly two-hour timetabled video conference lecture for each module.

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 4 years @ 40 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 8 years @ 20 hours per week

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll College UHI
  • Inverness College UHI
  • Lews Castle College UHI
  • Moray College UHI
  • North Highland College UHI
  • Orkney College UHI
  • Perth College UHI
  • Shetland UHI
  • West Highland College UHI

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £645 £645
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £215 £215

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course full time, the following fees apply:

Year 1 CertHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 2 DipHE £9,000 £9,000
Year 3 Degree £9,000 £9,000
Year 4 Honours free free

4th year free only for students studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Part-time (per 20 credit module) - £1,500.

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK

Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Scottish Government has confirmed that EU/EEA and Swiss nationals starting their study in Scotland from academic year 2021-22, who do not have settled or pre-settled status, will be considered as international for fee purposes. For 2021-22, students will get an automatic scholarship of £3,000 per annum and the 4th year of study will be free for those studying full-time, on continuous study, who have paid for the previous three years at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

Year Level 2021-22 Full-time With scholarship
Year 1 HNC £12,360 £9,360 
Year 2 HND £12,360 £9,360 
Year 3 Degree £12,360 £9,360
Year 4 Honours Free Free

Students will need Student Route visa sponsorship to study on the UK.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £12,000 £12,360
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year** £6,000 £6,180
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module)** £2,000 £2,060

Part-time study is not open to international students requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.

Further information on international course fees.

A no fee increase guarantee is available for self-funding full-time and structured part-time rest of the UK, EU and international undergraduate students for continuous study for the same award, up to the permitted standard time limit for the relevant award.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact your enrolling college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Many graduates from the BA (Hons) Social Science degree go on to further study in social sciences. You might also like to consider careers in:

  • Teaching
  • Social work
  • Civil service
  • Local government
  • Research
  • Political party administration
  • Arts management
  • Uniformed services
  • Business

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress from the BA (Hons) Social Sciences degree to a range of taught postgraduate degrees including:

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I have always been interested in psychology, sociology and politics, so this degree was an ideal choice for me. I have really enjoyed the experience and the support I have received from my lecturers has been excellent, particularly as I am a mature student returning to education.

Upon completing my degree, I hope to pursue a career in careers coaching and teaching.

Caroline Woodward is in her third year of the BA (Hons) Social Sciences at our Perth College UHI campus.

I’ve always been very interested in people and society. In the later years of high school I found myself with a natural interest in politics and history, and wanting to understand social constructs that make up societies.

Social science is so diverse; the qualification can provide you with more options than some other degrees. If you’re not sure what you want to do but you’re sure about what you’re interested in, social science is a great option as it can help you realise specifically what you want to do.

Lindsay Roches, BA (Hons) Social Sciences student, Perth College UHI campus.

Social sciences is an area I have always been interested in and, speaking to friends from other universities, I feel my experience has been unique here! I really enjoy the modern style of lecturing where the materials are provided to you in advance and instead of a lecture we have a collaborative
discussion. It gives us the chance to argue points with peers, and I feel that helps students engage more in the classroom.  

Kirsty Turkington is in her third year of the BA (Hons) Social Sciences at our Perth College UHI campus.

Apply for Social Sciences BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2022

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.