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.

Please see our FAQ sheet for further information on this course.

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

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 the 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 justice: ideas and values
  • Insider and outsiders in society
  • Visual research


  • Developmental disorders
  • Abnormal psychology

How will I study my course?

  • 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
  • Inverness
  • Moray
  • North, West and Hebrides
  • Orkney
  • Perth
  • Shetland
  • This fully online course can be studied from anywhere in the world
  • Students based near to one of the listed campuses should apply to, and be enrolled and supported by, their local campus
  • All other students should apply to, and will be enrolled and supported by, UHI Perth

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.
  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time (120 credit modules) per year £1,820 £1,820
Part-time (structured) (3 x 20 credit modules) per year £915 £915
Part-time (unstructured per module) (per 20 credit module) £305 £305

Rest of the UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) or assessed as rest of the UK for fee status the following fees apply:

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,120 £6,120
Part-time online (per 20 credit module) £1,020 £1,020

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK studying online from their home country, or living in the UK but assessed as international for fee status, the following fees apply:

This includes EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled status in the UK and EEA and Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

  2023-24 2024-25
Full-time online per year (120 credit modules) £6,540 £6,960
Part-time online (per 20 credit module) £1,090 £1,160

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


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

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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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 studied the BA (Hons) Social Sciences at UHI Perth. 

Apply for Social Sciences BA (Hons)

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

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.