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UCC Undergraduate courses

Social Science

Course Fact File
Duration3 or 4 Years
Teaching ModeFull-time
QualificationsBSocSc (Hons)
NFQ LevelLevel 8
FeesStudent Contribution Charge + Capitation Fee: €3,138 See Fees and Costs for full details.
CAO Points2023: 445
CAO Points Range2023: 445-602

Course Outline

Are you open-minded? Are you committed to social justice? Do you support and advocate for human rights? Are you interested in a career that promotes people’s wellbeing? Would you like to develop skills to analyse and navigate our supercomplex world?

The Bachelor of Social Science degree (BSocSc) invites you to study the social, cultural, psychological, political, and economic influences that shape the world we live in. If you embrace thinking about complicated and multi-layered social issues - such as mental health, children’s rights, education, disability, drugs and alcohol use, racism, sexual identity, housing and homelessness, equality, sustainability, and criminal justice – then Social Science is for you!

Over the course of three years, Social Science students develop highly valuable skills – including argumentation, problem-solving, critical thinking, writing, analytical, and research skills – that enable them to flourish as learners, people, professionals, active citizens, advocates, and activists.

On the Social Science course, you will examine social issues from many perspectives, and study several subjects including Social Policy, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, and Economics. The course is designed on the understanding that this is the first time that most students are encountering the social sciences. As such, students are not expected to have prior knowledge of the various subjects and the first year is focused on introducing you to key concepts and theories.

In the second and third years of the course, you will again take a number of ‘core’ or compulsory modules in social policy, sociology, economics, philosophy, and psychology. You will also be invited to choose (elective) modules of particular interest to you from a large range of possibilities. The course also offers you the chance to develop your practical experience through optional work experience in an organisation of your choice in Ireland or abroad. And, if you are interested in languages, you can also study French, German, Spanish, Italian, or Irish/Gaeilge. This flexibility in design allows you to shape the degree to fit your own specialist interests and career plans.

An exciting and important element of the degree is the opportunity to engage in research about a social issue of special interest to you. Final year students undertake a social research project that they design and carry out with the guidance of an academic and with opportunities to collaborate with local community organisations. Students therefore produce ‘real world’ research that responds to key social issues in the 21st century.

Year 1 Modules
  • AP1022 Social Psychology
  • AP1023 Lifespan Development
  • EC1117 & EC1118 Markets & Government: An Introduction to Economics
  • SS1017 Politics & Social Policy (1)
  • SS1018 Politics & Social Policy (2)
  • SC1012 Introduction to Sociology
  • SC1013 Key Issues in Sociology
  • PH1005 An Introduction to Philosophy & Social Science or
  • SS1012 Social Practice & the Social Professions
Year 2 
  • Core: Social Policy, Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy, Economics
  • Electives: Social Policy; Sociology; Statistics; Languages; Philosophy
Year 3 
  • Core: Politics and Social Policy, Social Research Project
  • Electives: Sociology; Social Policy; Economics; Social Work and Social Services; Sociology and Society; Applied Psychology; Languages; Philosophy; Statistics
UCC Diploma in Social Studies Progression Pathway

Students who have passed the Diploma in Social Studies from 2020 onwards may register for Second Social Science. Students who wish to progress to Second Social Science should notify the School of Applied Social Studies in writing of their intention to do so by the first Friday of July at the end of their second year of studying for the Diploma in Social Studies. Upon successful completion of the Diploma in Social Studies, students who have notified their intention to progress may register for Second Social Science. If you have any queries about this progression pathway, please contact the BSocSc Programme Director Dr Órla O' Donovan by email to:

Academic Programme Catalogue

See the Academic Programme Catalogue for the complete and up-to-date content for this course. Note that the modules for all courses are subject to change from year-to-year. For complete descriptions of individual modules, see the Book of Modules.

Course Practicalities

Written exams will take place before Christmas and in May. Note that not all modules will have formal examinations and most modules include continuous assessment. In the final year, you will write a research project on a topic of your choosing with the guidance of an academic supervisor.

Why Choose This Course

Social Science is a course that gives you a broad lens & allows you to focus on aspects of society that interest you most whether that’s mental health, racism, gender equality, crime, or environment.

Alan Hayes, Graduate

The BSocSc was excellent preparation for my Master's degree in Occupational Therapy Studies in the UK...

Peter Nestor, Graduate

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Social Science offers so much flexibility when it comes to eventually choosing a career...

Abbie Bradshaw, Student

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Social Science offers a huge amount of choice and freedom to study areas of particular interest to me...

Ella Barrett, Student

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Choose this course if you are concerned about shaping a more fair and just society and if you are motivated to contribute positively to people’s wellbeing. You will find yourself amongst a group of students and academics who are similarly driven to think critically about social justice and social issues.

The BSocSc degree course is delivered in a student-centred way, based on a strong commitment to supporting our students to flourish intellectually and professionally. Three dedicated coordinators look after students in each year of the course. They are an important resource for students who may have queries about module choices, the structure of the course, or are looking for academic advice.

Teaching and learning practices include small group tutorials, seminars on study and writing skills, and ongoing tutor and staff availability throughout the year. As academics who are also committed teachers, we are highly regarded for our innovative teaching and learning practices. In particular, we have developed effective teaching practices that draw on digital

technologies to support student learning using fun, creative, and formative methods of engagement that enhance students’ digital skills alongside their academic development.

An ethos of connection to and service to society underpins our teaching and learning practices. Committed to developing independent and critical thinking skills, our graduates develop vital research, argumentation, and analytical skills that will equip them for successful engagement in work, study, and active citizenship.

In summary, the BSocSc in UCC is a highly-regarded academic degree with an excellent national and international reputation for its teaching and learning, research, and community engagement practices.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Placements are offered on an optional basis on the BSocSc in years two and three. For each placement students undertake a minimum of 150 hours work in a setting relevant to their studies and placements are completed in the summer months.

Students have undertaken placements in a diverse range of local community settings and social services agencies. Many students have chosen to complete their placements abroad, in places like India, Sri Lanka, Belarus, Romania, Ukraine, Kenya, Ghana, and South Africa.

These placements offer invaluable work experience and prepare students for applying for a range of professional postgraduate programmes such as Social Work and Occupational Therapy.

In addition, you may also choose to take the College of Arts Celtic Studies and Social Sciences PX3001 Professional Placement Module.  This provides an opportunity to gain even further work experience in a very wide range of settings.

Study Abroad

From 2020 onwards we are pleased to introduce an International Pathway for students who wish to study abroad. You have the option of choosing the BSocSc (International) Pathway after your first year of study.  This pathway allows you to spend third year in an approved foreign university where you will study approved courses and modules. All courses will be assessed by the host university. Students return to UCC for a final fourth year of study.  

Skills and Careers Information

The Social Science degree is ideally suited to those who are broadly interested in working with people in a social- and community-focused context. Our graduates are employed in a variety of settings and public and voluntary sector organisations, such as community and health services, probation, social care, local government, housing associations, and social service/advocacy groups.

In terms of postgraduate opportunities, a big advantage for Social Science graduates is that they can access a broad range of postgraduate courses in diverse fields including:

* social work

* occupational therapy

* speech and language therapy

* planning and sustainable development

* community and youth work

* social policy and social research

* criminology

* teaching

* marketing and management

* journalism

Students who are interested in person-centred careers – but who may be undecided about what particular area they would like to specialise in – will enjoy space and time to grow and mature and to explore their options. Along the way, the degree enables students to develop valuable transferable professional and academic skills including critical thinking, problem solving, social analysis, writing and research skills.


Leaving Cert Entry Requirements

At Least six subjects must be presented. Minimum grade H5 in two subjects and minimum grade O6/H7 in four other subjects. English and Irish are requirements for all programmes unless the applicant is exempt from Irish.

Applicants will need to meet the following minimum entry requirements:

EnglishIrishOther Language
O6/H7 O6/H7 O6/H7
EU/EFTA/UK Qualifications

EU/EFTA/UK applicants presenting an equivalent school-leaving qualification should review the EU/EFTA/UK Applicants page for information on equivalent grades and how to prove their level of English.

Mature Students

To compete through the mature entry route, applicants must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the application year and apply online via the CAO by 1 February. The application should include a statement of interest, and prospective students must also apply for and sit the Mature Student Evaluation (MSE) test.

Further information on applying as a mature student is available on the Mature Applicants and Mature Student Entry support pages. 


Applicants who meet the required level of distinctions in required subjects can apply for entry to this course using specific QQI FET qualifications. Please review the Programme Requirements on our Information for QQI FET Applicants page for information on related QQI courses, and visit Access UCC’s QQI/FET Entry section for further support. 

Non-EU Applicants

Non-EU applicants are expected to have educational qualifications of a standard equivalent to the Irish Leaving Certificate. In addition, where such applicants are non-native speakers of the English language they must satisfy the university of their competency in the English language.

To verify if you meet the minimum academic and language requirements visit our qualification comparison page and refer to our International Office page for more information.

Fees and Costs

  • Whether you are an EU or Non-EU student will affect the course fees applicable to you. See more information on EU Fees, Non-EU Fees, or Free Fees Status.
  • The State will pay the tuition fees for EU students who are eligible under the Free Fees Scheme. The annual student contribution and capitation fees are payable by the student.
  • See the Fee Schedule to find out the course fee.
  • Check out scholarships that may be available to you.
  • Explore our Nurturing Bright Futures free online course (Module 5) to learn about managing your money as a student and budgeting for university life.

How To Apply

Irish and European (EU/EFTA/UK) Applicants

Apply via the CAO. See the CAO Handbook for useful information on applying through the CAO. 

Mature Applicants 

Apply via the CAO by 1 February. To apply for a place as a mature student, you must be 23 years of age on or before 1 January of the year of entry.

QQI/FET Applicants 

Apply via the CAOSee our QQI/FET Applicants page for information on the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Further Education and Training (FET) application process. 

Non-EU Applicants 

If you are from outside the EU/EFTA/UK, apply online via the UCC Apply portal. See our International Office page for more information. 

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact