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    Full time according to Funding Council definitions

Sociology & Anthropology is a truly explorative and intriguing subject area. On the course, expert sociologists, social anthropologists and biological anthropologists will teach you how these distinct yet interrelated disciplines explore human experiences in their social and cultural contexts. You'll delve into hot topics such as globalisation, the economic crisis, ageing societies, terrorism and protection, whilst gaining a thorough understanding of connections between societies and cultures all over the world, both present day and the past.

100% of our final year students have said staff are enthusiastic about what they're teaching and are easy to approach. Why not visit us so you can meet them yourself? 

All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

Key information

Next start date:

September 2017, September 2018


Bournemouth University, Lansdowne Campus


3 years, or 4 years including a minimum 30-week placement, Full-time

Relevant subjects:

All subjects considered except general studies

Entry requirements:

For 2017 entry: (we will use the new UCAS tariff) 104 tariff points from 3 A-Levels. BTEC Extended Diploma of DMM. For more information check out our 2017 entry requirements page

International entry requirements:

If English is not your first language, you will need IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component or equivalent. For more information check out our international entry requirements page

Course details

On this course you will usually be taught by a range of staff with relevant retail expertise and knowledge appropriate to the content of the unit. This will include senior academic staff, qualified professional practitioners, research students. You will also benefit from regular guest lectures from industry including many of our alumni.

Year 1

Core units

  • Introduction to Social Theory: This unit will introduce you to key social theories that have informed classical and contemporary sociology and anthropology.
  • Families & Kinship in Contemporary Society: This unit engages you with cultural diversity and social complexity of kinship and family constellations across the globe. You will employ sociological and anthropological approaches in exploring how these forms of social organisation underpin social cohesion, conflicts and changes in contemporary societies.
  • Introduction to Social Research: This unit offers a broad introduction to sociological and anthropological methods and approaches to research. You will be introduced to a range of classic and contemporary examples of social research and will develop your knowledge of research methods and methodologies in dedicated skills workshops.
  • Ancient People & Places: You’ll discover the key thematic studies in archaeology concerning the evolution and development of ancient humans, changing technologies and material culture, and the organisation and development of past societies.
  • Introduction to Anthropology: This unit will develop your understanding of social anthropological concepts, questions and methods of investigation. You will explore what is distinctive and valuable about social anthropological ways of seeing the world and addressing global issues.
  • Social Exclusion & Discrimination: You’ll apply relevant sociological and anthropological approaches to explore social exclusion, inequality, discrimination and oppression.

Year 2

Core units

  • Into the Field: This unit aims to provide students with experience of carrying out ethnographic research. Working in teams, you will collaboratively design and undertake research projects in the Bournemouth area, using ethnographic methods and techniques to investigate sociologically and anthropologically framed research questions.
  • Globalisation & Marginalisation: You’ll explore how a series of global processes, institutions, and flows (of people, capital and commodities, for example) generate complex forms of inequality and marginalisation in the contemporary world, as well as some of the ways in which these developments are challenged and opposed.
  • Themes in Archaeology & Anthropology: This unit will introduce you to the diversity of contemporary and past human cultures around the world, and to some of the methods anthropologists and archaeologists use to study these differences.
  • Methods & Methodologies in the Social Sciences: You’ll broaden your understanding and familiarity with core social research design, modes of analysis and methodologies, including qualitative, quantitative and emancipatory methods.

Option units (choose two)

  • Ethnographies of Crime & Policing: You will explore ethnographies of crime and policing. You will study critically how crime and ‘policing’ may be understood and approached within social worlds and will observe ‘policing’ behaviour in Bournemouth.
  • Love & Intimacy in Contemporary Society: Understanding theories of intimacy, emotions, and sexuality within Sociology and in studying everyday life, media representations and commercialisation.
  • Trafficking, Migration & Criminality: You will consider the relationship between trafficking, migration and criminality. The unit looks at different forms of trafficking (including human trafficking, the drug trade, the global sex industry, organ trafficking and the smuggling of commodities) across a number of countries in Europe, North Africa, South East Asia and the United States.
  • 20-day Placement: You will have the opportunity to study an area of academic and professional interest in sociology and its relationship to wider society through participation in "placement" based learning.
  • Growing Up & Growing Old: This unit explores sociological and anthropological perspectives and theories of childhood, youth and aging.
  • Societies of Prehistoric Europe: The aim of this unit is to provide students with an introduction to the study of early farming societies in Temperate Europe and the northern Mediterranean (c.6000-800 BC).
  • In Sickness, Disability & Health: Developing a critical awareness of the historical, structural and cultural influences on views of health and the construction of disability.
  • Controversial Cultures: This unit aims to acquaint you with classic and contemporary debates about how culture and controversial culture should be understood, theorised and studied.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Year 3

Placement: You'll complete a minimum 30-week placement which can be carried out anywhere in the world. The placement year offers you a chance to gain experience and make contacts for the future.

Year 3/4

Core units

  • Cultural Ecology: Adaptations of human populations to their respective habitats always embrace cultural strategies and their biological conditions and consequences. By considering an ecosystems approach, you will discuss the diversity and correspondence of biocultural solutions developed by human populations in response to a variety of existing or changing natural environments.
  • Politics & Ideology: This unit assists you to understand the political processes and ideologies that may be key drivers in the development of policy and governance at the organizational and societal level.
  • Dissertation: The final-year project provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate your intellectual, analytic and creative abilities as well as your research competence through sustained, independent inquiry into a chosen topic within the broad parameters of sociology or anthropology.

Option units (choose three)

  • Animals & Society: This unit aims to provide you with a detailed critical understanding of humans’ interactions with animals in Britain from the Palaeolithic through to the early Post-medieval period. These interactions include the exploitation of animals for meat and other products and how animals were incorporated into burial practices and other rituals.
  • Seekers, Believers & Iconoclasts: This core unit explores belief systems as a sociological phenomenon contextualised within a cultural and social analysis, as well as a philosophical and historical one.
  • 'Troubling' Gender: This unit will explore gender as socially constructed and historically variable aspect of societies, past and present. It will examine the ways in which gender informs social structures, inequalities, and analyse the interrelationships between gender and other social categories (e.g., class, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion, and nationality).
  • Terrorism, Protection & Society: The overall aim of this unit is to introduce you to many of the complex issues involved in conceptualising and responding to terrorism and protection in contemporary societies. You will be introduced to protection and counter terrorism as a form of social regulation and control of individuals and ‘deviant’ groups (micro and meso issues) and prescribing ways in which society is ordered in an age of terrorist threat (macro-political issues).
  • Anthropology of International Policy and Intervention: In this unit you will become familiar with critical anthropological debates on international intervention policies and practices.
  • 20-day Placement: You will have the opportunity to study an area of academic and professional interest in sociology and its relationship to wider society through participation in "placement" based learning.

Please note that option units require minimum numbers in order to run and may only be available on a semester by semester basis. They may also change from year to year.

Scheduled learning and teaching activities

Year 1 – 21 % of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 216 hours (actual)
  • Independent learning: 984 hours (actual)
  • Non-assessed learning and teaching: 39 hours

Year 2 – 18% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 188 hours (actual)
  • Independent learning: 1012 hours (actual)
  • Non-assessed learning and teaching: 20 hours

Year 3/4 - 18% of your time will be spent in timetabled learning & teaching activities

  • Learning and teaching: 192 hours (estimated)
  • Independent learning: 1008 hours (estimated)

89% of the course is assessed by coursework

  • Year 1: 67%
  • Year 2: 100%
  • Year 3: 100%

Throughout the course you will be assessed by coursework culminating in your final year research project, but you will also undertake group work and written exams.

Programme specification

Programme specifications provide definitive records of the University's taught degrees in line with Quality Assurance Agency requirements. Every taught course leading to a BU Award has a programme specification which describes its aims, structure, content and learning outcomes, plus the teaching, learning and assessment methods used.

Download the programme specification for BA (Hons) Sociology and Anthropology.

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the programme specification, the information is liable to change to take advantage of exciting new approaches to teaching and learning as well as developments in industry. If you have been unable to locate the programme specification for the course you are interested in, it will be available as soon as the latest version is ready. Alternatively please contact us for assistance.

Placement opportunities

Every BU student will have the opportunity to undertake a work-based placement during their studies. Placements are extremely valuable and we are proud to build on our current achievement of having more full-time undergraduate students on a sandwich course than any other English, Welsh or Scottish University.

This course provides students with the opportunity to undertake a 20-day placement as an optional unit in either the second or final year.  Additionally  students can complete a minimum 30-week placement in-between their second and final year studies to be eligible for a sandwich award.

The department has established links with partner university, Universiti Sains Malaysia, allowing students to undertake placements abroad.

Our students have previously worked for:

  • House of Fraser, as a Training Support Administrator
  • SCA (Social Care Agency Social Enterprise, Hampshire)
  • Monkton Wyld (an education centre for sustainable living)
  • Borough of Poole Council
  • Bournemouth Borough Council Community Development
  • Independent age
  • Universiti Sains Malaysia, partner university
  • NGOs in Malaysia (the Peace Learning Centre, House of Hope and AIDS Action and Research Group).

How long is my placement?

Short placements last 20 days and take place during term time in the second and final year.

Students who take a year out between the second and final year must complete a minimum 30 week placement to be eligible for a sandwich award.

For more information, visit our placement pages.

What our students said

"Since starting at university I always wanted to take part in a placement. The main reason for this is because the skills and experience you can gain from the opportunity can really increase your employability and make you stand out to future employers.

"I was given the opportunity to become part of the Training Support Team at House of Fraser for a year’s placement. Over my time in the company I was able to contribute to the administrative role and also to the product academy. My duties included working with the team on ad hoc projects and hosting Virtual classrooms that were attended by staff in every store. I have also had the opportunity to travel across the UK meeting people from all parts of the business- from the CEOs to the distribution centres. I had the chance to be involved in exciting projects within all areas of the business, resourcing, learning and development and also training.

"Over all I have had a fantastic time working at House of Fraser and I believe it has provided me with invaluable experience and would recommend anyone to undertake a placement. In the future I see myself in a similar role in a fashion orientated company or back with HOF- fingers crossed! I think the placement will impact my degree as I will be able to see the impact of research and policy development in real life scenarios."

Amy Donelan, current student

A placement year is a vital part in developing well-rounded and industry-ready graduates. Why not read about some of our students’ experiences?

Your application

Background and experience

For Sociology, we are looking for applicants who:

  • have an interest in the subject as well as the motivation and commitment to undertake the course
  • can demonstrate personal skills and qualities relevant to the course
  • have an ability to read, digest and analyse information
  • can work independently as well as in groups.

IT Skills

As a student, you will be required to use your IT skills to utilise the web-based resources that are designed to support your study, write assessments, perform literature searches and create presentations

Selection methods

We’ll use the UCAS applications to create a shortlist of candidates that we would like to find out more about. You can find some handy hints about filling in your UCAS form on our how to apply webpages. Interviews may be requested of candidates at the discretion of the academic team.

Our offer making process 

Our offer making will typically be based on your three main graded qualifications, including any required subjects. Additional study may be valuable for breadth of study, and we will look at a range of qualifications and subjects, including the Extended Project Qualification and General Studies, although these may not be part of our offer.

If you do not meet the criteria of your original offer, we may still offer you a place. We will review your whole application and consider all academic qualifications (including those not in the offer) and the rest of the application to see if you have the academic potential to succeed on the course. If we feel the answer is yes, we will still confirm your place.

How we'll assess your application 

We look at individual applications and make a tailored offer based on your potential to succeed on the course considering a range of factors, including your academic achievements, work and other experience, predicted grades, reference and personal statement, and in some cases, your performance at an interview/selection test.

If you meet one or more of our contextual data indicators for educational disadvantage (such as being in care, living in a low participation neighbourhood or in an area with less advantaged socio-economic characteristics), your offer could be between 6-20 points below the published tariff.

Unconditional offer scheme

Our Unconditional Offer Scheme seeks to reward exceptional applicants who are predicted to achieve top academic results. The scheme is offered to applicants on all courses who are predicted AAA at A-level/triple Distinction in BTEC Extended Diploma, or above, or equivalent, subject to any course selection measures and meeting other entry criteria (i.e. required qualifications). What’s more we’ll recognise your achievement if you meet these grades with an Academic Excellence Scholarship from £1,500 when you arrive*.

We believe that unconditional offers will reduce pressure on applicants who will continue to strive to achieve the best grades possible. Excellent grades will become a part of applicants’ CVs and are also required for BU’s scholarships. International qualifications are considered in the scheme; however applicants must satisfy the English language requirements. *Our scholarships are subject to terms, conditions and eligibility criteria, detailed on our scholarships pages.

2017 entry requirements

The new UCAS Tariff will be used for September 2017 entry.

The entry requirements for this course are 104 tariff points from 3 A-Levels or equivalent qualifications. BTEC Extended Diploma of DMM.

UCAS have created a helpful calculator so you can calculate points to use for courses starting from September 2017 onwards.

Excluded subjects: This course does not accept General Studies A or AS-level but Critical Thinking is accepted.

GCSEs: This course requires a minimum of 4 GCSEs grades A* - C (or grade 4 or above in the newly reformed GCSE grading) including Maths and English or equivalent qualifications.

Numeracy and Literacy: We need to be sure that you can express yourself in written English and have basic numeracy skills. We look at level 2 of the National Qualifications Framework, which includes, but is not limited to, GCSEs, iGCSEs, Key Skills and Functional Skills level 2. If you do not have formal qualifications to this level or have alternatives, we may still be able to consider your application – please contact the askBU Enquiry Service to find out more.

Other qualifications

We have outlined below other qualifications that we consider for this course. If you are studying a qualification that is not listed, please contact the askBU Enquiry Service – it may be that we can still consider it.

Access Courses: BU welcomes Access to HE Diploma applicants. This course requires applicants to Pass the Access to HE Diploma (with 60 Credits - at least 45 at level 3 remainder at level 2 or equivalent). Offers will be subject and grade specific; any combination of grades to meet the overall tariff is acceptable.

BTEC Qualifications

  • Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit. Offers will be subject and grade specific.
  • Diploma: This course requires a Distinction, Merit plus A-Level to achieve overall tariff.   
  • 90-credit Diploma: The 90-credit Diploma will be accepted as part of your overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-Levels or equivalent qualifications.
  • Subsidiary Diploma: The Subsidiary Diploma will be accepted as part of your overall tariff but it must be accompanied by A-Levels or equivalent qualifications.

A combination of BTEC qualifications to meet the overall course tariff is also acceptable.

Cambridge Pre-U Diploma: We welcome applicants studying the Cambridge Pre-U Diploma or a combination of Pre-U subjects and A-levels.

European Baccalaureate: Applicants are required to achieve a minimum score of 71%.

International Baccalaureate (Diploma): The IB Diploma is welcomed as part of the International Baccalaureate (IB). This course requires 30 points including 5 points from each of the 3 Higher Level subjects. 

Scottish Qualifications: Scottish Advanced Highers, Scottish Highers and other Scottish qualifications are all welcomed providing that your results meet the overall course tariff. Please note we do not accept the equivalent UCAS tariff points for the IB.

Welsh Baccalaureate: The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma is welcomed alongside A-Levels or equivalent, to meet the overall course tariff.

OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical Qualification: The OCR Extended Diploma or a combination of one Diploma and one Introductory Diploma is acceptable for entry to this course.

Extended Diploma: This course requires Distinction, Merit, Merit.

Other combinations of OCR Level 3 Cambridge Technical qualifications to meet the overall course tariff may be acceptable.

Extended Project Qualification: The grade achieved for the Extended Project may be taken into account when considering whether or not to accept a candidate who has marginally failed to meet the conditions of their offer.

Deferred Entry: We are happy to consider applicants for deferred entry.

International entry requirements

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide evidence that you can understand English to a satisfactory level. English language requirements for this course are normally:

  • IELTS (Academic) 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component of writing, speaking, listening and reading or equivalent.

View further information about our English language requirements.

If you do not meet the English language requirement for your degree then why not join our Pre-Sessional English course. Successful completion of our Pre-Sessional English course will meet your English language requirement, without the need to re-take IELTS.

Academic entry requirements 

You can find details of the international qualifications we accept, and what level of study they apply to, on our entry requirements for non-UK students’ page.

We offer a number of preparatory programmes through the Bournemouth University International College. These courses offer you progression from High School in your home country to a Bachelor’s degree at BU.


Sociology & Anthropology is a natural pairing, with each discipline complementing the other and opening up a range of career options once you graduate. You'll develop a variety of research and analytical skills, in addition to gaining detailed knowledge of current practical social challenges, all skills that are sought after by employers.

As this is a fairly new course we haven't had any students graduate from the course yet. However 85%* of our Sociology & Social Policy graduates are in work or further study within six months of finishing their course and are pursuing careers in a variety of sectors, such as:

  • Youth, social and community work
  • Civil service
  • Advocacy and human rights work
  • Health services
  • International development and business
  • Teaching.

Further study

Once you have completed an undergraduate Honours degree, you can further develop your education by studying for a postgraduate degree. Please visit our Postgraduate section for further details about our range of Master's degrees.

*All statistics shown are taken from Unistats, Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE), BU institutional data and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey) unless otherwise stated.

No hidden extras

As a student at BU we will provide many things to support you and there will also be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying at BU. The information below will help you understand our provision and what you need to budget for.

What you can expect from us

All of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of support and services, many of these are included on the Next Steps insert enclosed with your offer letter.

  • One set of study-related consumables such as a memory stick/ DVD
  • Materials for laboratory and field-based teaching activity
  • Support for placements (UK or abroad) and fieldwork
  • A range of student services – advisors, help desks, counsellors, placement support and careers service
  • The Library – access to a wide range of electronic resources (databases, e-journals and e-books), print and multimedia collections, subject librarians and study spaces
  • IT labs (some open 24/7), wireless network, AV equipment to borrow
  • Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) scheme
  • Disability and additional learning support
  • The BU Language Centre to help you develop/improve foreign or English language skills
  • 24 hours a day, 365 days a year security team.

Costs of living and other expenses you need to consider

  • Accommodation and living costs: view our price guide
  • Text books: remember that our award-winning library is stocked with a large range of text books for all courses, as well as online resources such as industry journals, free of charge
  • General stationery and other supplies such as print and presentation materials: the Students’ Union shops stock a wide range of stationery supplies on both campuses
  • Travel to, from and between BU campuses: our bus service operates in the local areas offering a subsided travel rate; we also have a large number of secure bike storage compounds
  • SportBU membership: check out our student membership packages, sports events, varsity teams, information about our new facilities and more on the SportBU webpages
  • Fieldwork travel, outdoor wear and footwear (where applicable)
  • Telephone and travel costs incurred when undertaking interviews for coursework/securing placements.
  • A fee will be payable towards the cost of an Educational Psychology Assessment if this is required in connection with additional learning support. BU pays for approximately two-thirds of the cost of this assessment for UK students. For more details and current pricing please visit the Students section of the website.

Repeat Units

If you need to repeat one or more units during the course of your studies, you may be required to pay an additional fee of £1,500 per 20 credit unit. 

Financial help available from BU

We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to students who are beginning their studies at BU. Our website also provides details on living costs, budgeting and paying your tuition fees.

What our students think

Gemma Knights

The way the course is taught at Bournemouth gives a fresh perspective and intertwines both disciplines. Because the course covers such a wide range of topics, the career opportunities are just as wide.

Hear from our staff

Dr Rosie Read

We aim to develop students’ understandings of global interconnections across different cultures and societies, in the present day and the recent and more distant past.

Additional information

Fees and funding

Fees and funding

Find out about fees and funding, including scholarships and bursaries.

Open Days

Open Days

Discover what makes Open Days so enjoyable and useful – and register to attend one of our events.

International students

International students

We have a strong international student community. Find all the practical advice and information you need here.