International Relations and Sociology, MA

International Relations and Sociology, MA

Introduction

International Relations and Sociology at Aberdeen gives you solid grounding in the role of power, states and governments in an ever-changing global context and combines it with a fascinating exploration of how the societies we live in shape us as individuals in all sorts of ways. With top-rated teaching and a culture of dynamic research, you will gain the skills to be a sought-after graduate by employers in many sectors, and with strong international possibilities.

Study Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
LLF3
Pathway Programme Available
Undergraduate Foundation Programme

In International Relations, you will look closely at how states and organisations interact, global wealth and poverty and the ever-present concerns of conflict and peace.

You will study regional and international tensions, nationalism, concepts of democracy and be taught by internationally renowned academics with strong track records in publishing international papers and articles and who appear regularly in the media, analysing and explaining national, European and world developments from the viewpoint of their own area of expertise and research.

Sociology at Aberdeen will complement and add depth to your studies of how global societies interact. You will explore how society shapes us as individuals in all sorts of ways and study sociology of the family, work-life balance, religion and society.

You will be taught by experts in social movements, conflict and peace, religion and secularisation and global political sociology. You will become skilled in the social research methods used to gather the evidence to better understand aspects of society – such as observation, interviews, large-scale surveys or analysing the content of documents and videos.

You will have great career options in politics, media, local and national government, NGOs and international affairs and also marketing and advertising, social and market research, teaching, health and social services, charities and human resources.

What You'll Study

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Academic Writing for Social Sciences (AW1006)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

Getting Started at the University of Aberdeen (PD1002)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 undergraduate students (and articulating students who are in their first year at the University), is studied entirely online, takes approximately 5-6 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks.

Topics include orientation overview, equality and diversity, health, safety and cyber security and how to make the most of your time at university in relation to careers and employability.

Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’.

Politics & International Relations 1: Democracy and Governance (PI1018)

15 Credit Points

Politics and International Relations impacts on all parts of our lives, with more specifically it being the study of ideas, events, institutions and choice. Studying these provides us with both knowledge of the world and also how it operates and functions. It also changes our perception of our surroundings and makes us aware of an ever changing global context. This course will introduce students to concepts and ideas that form the basis for the study of these disciplines while simultaneously also helping us understand our own place within a global context.

Introduction to Sociology I: Self, Identity & Society (SO1007)

15 Credit Points

Sociology is the study of human social groups. It particularly focuses on modern societies, analysing how they work and how the major social institutions in them (such as religion, the media, government and the economy) operate. The course provides students with a general introduction to the unique manner in which sociologists seek to understand contemporary societies. Students are presented with current and classical approaches to understanding the social processes that underlie self-construction, group formation and social interaction, within urbanizing and globalizing social contexts.

Politics & International Relations 2: Power and Conflict (PI1518)

15 Credit Points

Politics and International Relations impacts on all parts of our lives, with more specifically it being the study of ideas, events, institutions and choice. Studying these provides us with both knowledge of the world and also how it operates and functions. It also changes our perception of our surroundings and makes us aware of an ever changing global context. This course will introduce students to concepts and ideas that form the basis for the study of these disciplines while simultaneously also helping us understand our own place within a global context.

Introduction to Sociology II: Systems of Power (SO1509)

15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to macro-sociology, which analyses the ways that people’s lives are shaped by large-scale forces, structures, and institutions. Students are introduced to the particular ways in which classical and contemporary sociologists understand social forces in the modern domestic and global environment and learn to think critically about those social forces that impact their everyday lives using the sociological imagination. Substantive topics likely to be covered in this course include the media, politics, religion, surveillance, education, class stratification, international inequalities, and the relationship between humans and other animals.

Optional Courses

Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice.

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Ideas and Ideologies in Politics and International Relations (PI2009)

30 Credit Points

Ideas and ideologies are core to teaching, learning and research in Politics and International Relations. Theoretical developments are at the forefront of academic debates within the discipline, demonstrated by the appearance of a number of new approaches as more traditional theories have struggled to account for an ever changing world. This course will introduce students to these with profound questions and struggles over identity, belonging, justice and rights underpinning these theoretical debates.

Global Politics: Equality and Inequality (PI2508)

30 Credit Points

Equality and inequality are at the forefront of many debates within contemporary Politics and International Relations. This course will examine the historical context, theoretical underpinnings, and also key concepts which continue to uphold equality and inequality on a global scale.

Sociology of Everyday Life i: the Embodied Self (SO2006)

30 Credit Points

This follows on from level-one sociology. It is designed to highlight the ways that sociological theory informs the research endeavour, not only the questions sociologists raise, but also the particular modes through which we go about investigating them. The module examines these points in relation to a range of micro-level topics – the body, food and feeding, health and illness, the emotions, group behaviour, sex and gender, the life course and death and dying – all of which emphasise the nature of human interaction and sociological efforts to understand it.

Sociology of Everyday Life II: Global Issues in the 21st Century (SO2509)

30 Credit Points

This macro-sociology course extends students’ understanding of large-scale social, as well as political and economic, processes and institutions. Particular focus is on the sociological analysis of global issues and socio-political controversies, many of which are subject to topical and, at times, contentious debate at the beginning of the 21st century. The substantive topics include areas of social and political concern such as globalisation; the changing nature of economy, work and leisure; risk and insecurity; multiculturalism; food production and security; social movements; nationalism and identities.

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Researching in the 21st Century (PI3069)

30 Credit Points

Research methods and techniques are fundamental to the study of Politics and International Relations. In addition, they are highly desired by employers. This course will introduce students to a number of different research techniques which they will use throughout their studies at Honours and in particular their Honours dissertation. Moreover, they will also constitute a significant part of their graduate attributes.

Optional Courses

Select the following:

  • Thinking Sociologically (SO3066) or Modernization (SO3069)
  • Social Research Methods (SO3524) or Ten Sociological Studies (SO3568)

Plus select one second-half session level 3 Politics and International Relations course.

NOTE: If you intend to enrol on the Sociology research project at level 4, you must pass Social Research Methods (SO3524) at level 3.

Thinking Sociologically (SO3066)

30 Credit Points

Thinking Sociologically is the department's core sociological theory module. The course offers our students an introduction to a range of key sociological thinkers and bodies of thought, both classical and contemporary, that inform sociological analysis of social life and social institutions. As such, this course is intended to provide our honours students with a conceptual 'toolkit', that can be applied to facilitate understanding, insight and informed critique with respect to a broad range of historical and contemporary social, political and economic phenomena.

Modernization (SO3069)

30 Credit Points

The course uses the changes in the nature and power of religion brought by industrialization to examine modernization. The shift from imposed communal faith to free choice in a diverse market is used to illustrate and explain social differentiation, egalitarianism, individualism, social cohesion, community, association, immigration, conversion, trust, social influence, recruitment, gender, and cultural defence.

Social Research Methods (SO3524)

30 Credit Points

Sociologists use a range of methods and techniques to explore and test sociological theory. This module introduces many of these methods and techniques. It aims to ground students’ theoretical understanding of society through the practical analysis of a variety of data. It starts by introducing the varying philosophical starting points of research and goes on to provide foundation level critical analysis skills in the key quantitative and qualitative methods that sociologists have deployed to understand and ‘capture’ the social world.

Ten Sociological Studies (SO3568)

30 Credit Points

This course bridges the theoretical emphasis of SO3066 and the practical elements of SO3524. It presents sociology as a social science by having students examine in detail ten reports of sociological research. The works chosen will vary from year to year but typical examples are Laud Humphrey’s Tearoom Trade, Leah Bassel and Akwugo Emejulu’s Minority Women and Austerity, Ray Pahl’s Divisions of Labour, Stan Cohen’s Folk Devils and Moral Panics, Dorothy Smith’s K is Mentally Ill, and Richard Sennett’s Corrosion of Character. Students will be expected to do a considerable amount of private reading.

African Security (IR3021)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces students to contemporary challenges to African security from societal, political, economic and environmental security sectors. As a result, students are introduced to the African state as a security actor and referent, leading approaches to African security and an overview of African security literature.

The Eu: Contemporary Challenges (PI3073)

30 Credit Points

The EU has recently gained heightened academic and policy interest, particularly in the aftermath of the recent debates about the UK’s withdrawal. In addition to introducing the main theoretical approaches and concepts, the course aims to address the policy and practical dimensions regarding current status and future prospects for the EU. This will certainly be valuable for PIR students with an interest in international organisations, government, and policy debates.

US Politics (PI3080)

30 Credit Points

Arguably the world’s only superpower, and a cultural behemoth, what happens in the US influences and interests the world. This course takes an in-depth look at the institutions, the actors and the issues that make American politics a fascinating subject for observers the world over.

This course is co-taught by Professor Richardson Dilworth at Drexel University and contains elements of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL), combining live in-person and interactive online lectures and trans-continental group-work.

Chile and the Long Shadow of Dictatorship (PI3081)

30 Credit Points

Beginning within the context of the Inter-American Cold War, this course addresses one of the seminal events of the twentieth century: the coup against Chile’s democratically elected Socialist government, as well as the nature of the counter-revolution and dictatorship which followed, and its continued legacy within the politics and society of Chile.

Employer - Led Interdisciplinary Project (ED3537)

30 Credit Points

This course involves students working together in a small group to undertake a consultancy-style project hosted by a micro-business, organisation, or charity. It exposes students to real-world tasks, enabling them to apply their transferable skills, for example project management, problem-solving, communication and leadership, in different contexts. The combination of on-campus employability workshops with project-based learning offers students an opportunity to engage with authentic, collaborative, and interdisciplinary learning to develop key workplace skills.

International Security (IR3518)

30 Credit Points

This course explores salient concepts of security and conflict, focusing on contemporary issues and problems. It examines traditional, state-centred topics ie. interstate and intrastate war, as well as the ‘new security agenda’ involving issues like terrorism, organized crime, environmental security, health security and population trends. Students will gain knowledge of international security and its role in contemporary International Relations through analysis of conceptual factors and case studies. In addition, students will develop critical thinking skills, communication skills and analytical skills, including being able to formulate lucid, concise and rigorous accounts of international security affairs

Political Parties in Britain (PI3562)

30 Credit Points

The course involves a detailed examination of Britain’s party system and the individual political parties. Through this course, students should acquire a knowledge and understanding of a number of inter-related themes, including the role and democratic function of political parties in Britain, the development of party philosophies and how these relate to the realities of party policy, the organisation and distribution of power within Britain’s political parties, and elections and party campaigns. In this way, the course examines the contested and changing nature of political debate in British politics.

International Terrorism Counterterrorism & International Relations (PI3567)

30 Credit Points

International terrorism and counterterrorism are at the top of today’s agenda – of scholarly debates in International Relations (IR) as well as of policy discussions on international politics. The course focuses on both the (individual and/or structural) causes and different manifestations of terrorism and reviews the debates on how to respond to terrorism not only effectively but also without violating humanitarian principles and international law. The course is interdisciplinary and will provide both an overview on current research on international terrorism and counterterrorism in IR and also with in-depth knowledge of core aspects of the issue.

Human Rights in Global Politics (PI3572)

30 Credit Points

Human Rights have long been at the epicentre of heated debates in contemporary global politics. This course will examine the theoretical and philosophical foundations of human rights within their historical context, along with the key controversies that shape current implementation and enforcement of the human rights regime in global politics. This course is suitable for specialist and non-specialist alike. No prior knowledge is required.

Three Lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics (PI3577)

30 Credit Points

This course is a how-to-guide to enquiring research questions in politics and international relations using quantitative methods. We uncover lies and damned lies about statistics in reporting about politics and international relations and learn how to correctly analyse different kinds of quantitative data using statistical software package Stata. We will learn how to produce analyses that is replicable.

Digital Politics: Political Communication in the Internet Age(S) (PI3579)

30 Credit Points

This course is about political communication - how media, politicians and citizens interact, and how parties run their election campaigns - in the digital age(s). Students will learn topics like how journalism is changing, who social media empower, whether echo chambers divide, how populists treat the media, who runs campaigns, how parties target citizens, and whether digital media jeopardise democracy. These themes are explored through cases from the UK and US, but also from across the globe.

The Global Politics of Secession (PI3582)

30 Credit Points

Scotland’s independence referendum encouraged many people to reflect on secession for the first time. This course examines the bigger picture of secession. We look comparatively at cases such as Kosovo, South Sudan, Chiapas, and Sri Lanka (as well as Scotland) and considering the historical development of secession as a concept and political demand. Students are encouraged to reflect on how secessionist politics challenges or reinforces the role of the state and international organisations.

Global Challenges in an Ethnographic Perspective (SL3504)

30 Credit Points

This course addresses major global challenges of the contemporary world as they emerge is specific local contexts. It offers an understanding of these challenges from a local point of view. The challenges the course will discuss include: global warming and rising sea levels; the ecological crisis; oil and energy; war and terrorism; religion and politics; sexual violence; the economic crisis; mining in post-colonial contexts; animal rights; the war on drugs; human rights and global justice; animal rights; science and the state.

Year 4

Optional Courses

Select one of the following dissertation options:

OPTION 1:

  • Dissertation (International Relations) (IR4031)
  • One second-half session level 4 Politics and International Relations course from the list below
    • Global Politics from the Middle East (AT4032)
  • Plus 60 credit points from level 4 course(s) in Sociology (SOXXXX) from the list below
    • Sociology of Religion & Culture (SO4058)

OPTION 2:

  • Research Project Part 1 (SO4068) and Research Project Part 2 (SO4568)
  • Plus one first-half session level 4 Politics and International Relations course from the list below
  • Plus one second-half session level 4 Politics and International Relations course from the list below
Dissertation (IR4031)

30 Credit Points

This course affords students the opportunity to apply their knowledge/research skills in the field of Politics & International Relations to an individual piece of research, focusing on a topic selected by the student and approved by the Dissertation supervisor. Over the course of the project, with guidance from a supervising member of staff, the student will conduct a literature review of relevant material, select appropriate research methods, gather data where necessary, analyse data, and write a final analysis in the form of the Dissertation. Particular emphasis will be given to helping students develop their own skills.

Research Project Part 1 (SO4068)

30 Credit Points

This course is the first of two courses that comprise the Dissertation in Sociology. This first course affords students an opportunity to apply their sociological knowledge and research skills to an individual piece of research, focusing on a topic selected by the student and ethically approved by their Supervisor. Over the course of SO4068, with guidance from a member of staff, the project student will formulate an appropriate research question(s), conduct a critical literature review of relevant material, select appropriate research methods and prepare appropriate data collection tool(s) in order to commence their (online) research by the end of this course. Students will also get the opportunity to reflect on their presentation skills and prepare a 5-minute Panopto video on their project design for peer review. Particular emphasis will be given to helping students develop time management skills, a key transferable skill.

Research Project Part 2 (SO4568)

30 Credit Points

In this course, project students, guided by regular staff supervision, build on the foundations developed in SO4068 to conduct their original research and deliver their conclusions in two formats. All students will present their developing work to peers in a multi-day student conference early in the semester and submit a final report of their work (i.e. project dissertation) at the end of the course.

Global Politics from the Middle East (IR4032)

30 Credit Points

The course draws on key debates in global political theory to examine the politics of the modern and contemporary Middle East. The course focuses first on theoretical debates (e.g. sovereignty, security and surveillance, revolution, democracy, debt, poverty), and then encourages the development of an analysis of those debates, their applicability, strengths, weaknesses and possible innovation by exploring them through concrete problems in Middle East politics, from the region's experience with colonialism and neocolonialism to the emergence of nationalism and 'political Islam', from the Palestinian-Israeli question to the Arab Uprisings.

Extreme Right in Western Europe (PI4060)

30 Credit Points

This course will provide an in-depth analysis of a European party family which is growing in electoral support as well as political influence. Individual countries and parties will be covered, as well as key concepts such as fascism, racism, xenophobia and populism. Students will also be familiarised with different theoretical approaches explaining the growth of extreme right parties, and responses from the political environment. The course will be beneficial to future study and work in a wide range of areas and contexts, and has relevance to social and political challenges such as integration, internationalisation, globalisation and social cohesion.

International Political Psychology (PI4086)

30 Credit Points

This course investigates issues at the intersection of psychology and international politics, studying both the psychological causes and consequences of international relations. In addition to familiarising students with core concepts and methods of international political psychology, it develops their skills in analysing factors such as personality, beliefs, perception, emotions, trust, empathy, status, reputation, and social identity.

Peace, Conflict and Society (SO4070)

30 Credit Points

This course utilises a range of disciplinary and theoretical approaches to analyse the concept of ‘transition’ as a fundamental condition of world history. It examines this through two related processes: the transition from peace to conflict and from conflict to peace at both a macro and micro level. Topics include how states transition through revolutionary violence or through peaceful means, how individuals are radicalized into terrorist groups or become involved in non-violent movements, and transitions in global institutions, norms and technology that generate local and individual changes.

The Constitutional Imagination (AT4525)

30 Credit Points

This course will examine anthropological theories of the state, political organization and violence. Through an analysis of both modern and historical case studies from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas, we will critically examine theories of state of modern and non-modern state formation and organisation, and the nexus of religion and colonial history. In the second half of the course, particular attention will we paid to the ethnography of violence as a mode of state and proto-state political action.

The Political Anthropology of Indigenous Rights (AT4547)

30 Credit Points

Indigeneity is one of the more controversial relations created by globalisation. Widely criticised for being ‘essentialist’ and ‘anti-liberal’, it is one of the more quickly growing identities recognized by the United Nations and defended in the constitutions of many nation-states. Using anthropological insight, this course survey the history of the term, study its expansion from the ‘salt-water colonies’ and ‘settler states’ to the heartland of Europe, and explore some of the challenges and advantages of the term. The seminar will explore how the term has come to be used in different post-colonial situations from the classic “heartlands” of indigeneity in North America, Latin America, and Northern Fennoscandia, to new contexts in China, India, Africa. The course will also explore how the politics of aboriginal rights has become closely linked to struggles for recognition, environmentalism, and collective struggles against neo-liberalism. The course is run in a seminar format with students encouraged to weigh and evaluate the results of their reading.

War and Peace in International Politics (IR4528)

30 Credit Points

The course aims to provide students with an understanding of how conflict between ethno-national groups impacts on international politics. It explores the responses of the international community to intra-state conflict. Following an initial exploration of the relevant theories, the course focuses on a number of key conflicts in international politics. What explains violent conflict between ethnic groups? What role do external actors play in peace processes? Should the international community intervene to stop violent conflict? What kind of institutional frameworks do external actors promote in post-conflict states?

Maritime Security (IR4535)

30 Credit Points

This course aims to introduce students to Maritime Security from a geostrategic perspective. As a result, students are introduced to maritime strategic thinkers, maritime (naval) power and contemporary issues in Maritime Security. This course is a multidisciplinary course that combines elements from Maritime and International Law, Environmental Politics and Security, Economics (Blue Economy) and International Relations. The senior honours variant of this course will include an element of Policy analysis (Maritime Security Policy).

Wealth, Poverty and International Order (PI4576)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces advanced Politics and International Relations students to different ways of thinking about how the production of wealth and poverty serves to sediment economic, political and cultural hierarchies globally, especially how international practices depend on the re-production of these hierarchies for their legitimation.

Beginning with a reading of some classic texts on the sources of wealth and poverty, the course offers a close theoretical and historical investigation of the silences around questions of wealth and poverty in dominant understandings of the contemporary shape of the world, including questions of development, gender, security, and human rights.

Devolution and Constitutional Change (PI4582)

30 Credit Points

Constitutional change in the UK has been at the centre of political debate for close to two decades. Most recently, referendums in Wales (2011), Scotland (2014) and the UK-wide EU referendum (2016) have provided significant impetus to these discussions. This course will place these changes in a historical and comparative context and consider why these methods of decentralisation have been followed.

Gender and Politics (PI4584)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces students to key ideas utilised in the analysis of gender and politics. It engages students with scholarship from the fields of Political Science and International Relations, offering an in-depth analysis of cases ranging from the racial politics of the #MeToo campaign to discussion of gender quotas, the politics of gendered labour, body and emotions, the causes and implications of gendered violence, political apologies and peace.

Good Governance & Anti - Corruption Policy (PI4587)

30 Credit Points

This course investigates the politics of good governance and anti-corruption policies inside and beyond the borders of Europe. It focuses on the concepts of corruption and good governance, explores major theoretical approaches regarding fight against corruption and addresses specific cases such as corruption in old patrimonial communist states, state capture in Southeast Europe, oligarchs in Europe’s near abroad and lords of poverty in Africa.

Northern Ireland: Small, Dirty War (PI4588)

30 Credit Points

This course investigates claims that the British state and its security forces, and Republican and Loyalist paramilitary organisations, were engaged in a ‘dirty war’ in Northern Ireland. The theory and practice of dirty war is addressed via strategic and tactical evolution on the part of the British security forces and the IRA during the euphemistically termed ‘Troubles’.

European Societies (SO4051)

30 Credit Points

The course aims to give an overview of European issues and current debates. It provides a deeper insight into how European issues affect our lives and why this matters. It addresses current issues of concern such as Brexit, migration, Coronavirus, family and work in comparative perspective. In doing so it blends together sociological and social policy approaches.

Animals and Society (SO4065)

30 Credit Points

This course introduces students to Human-Animal Studies (HAS) and the ‘animal turn’ in the social sciences. It also explores the sociological significance and political implications of human-animal issues in contemporary modern societies and the academy. To develop a more critical and nuanced understanding of interspecies interactions/contexts students will consider the contested nature of the human/animal boundary, changing attitudes towards animals in modern postmodern societies, and the ambiguous status of animals, especially in practice. By drawing on perspectives such as ecofeminism, symbolic interactionism, actor-network theory and Critical Animal Studies this will further contextualise current debates about humans and other animals.

Sexualities and Gender Diversity (SO4072)

30 Credit Points

This course provides students with theoretical and empirical understanding of sexualities and gender diversity in contemporary societies, paying particular attention to the historical conditions that have shaped how we conceptualise and experience sexualities and genders today. By mapping interconnections between wider power relations, and individual identities and bodies, it examines the intersectional ways in which sexualities and gender diversity are expressed, represented, and regulated.

Political Sociology (SO4554)

30 Credit Points

This course aims to give students an understanding of the social basis of political power. It begins by examining the classic paradigms of political sociology, paying particular attentions to those developed by Marx, Weber, and Tocqueville. It then examines several substantive issues and debates on the nature of contemporary political life, such as those surrounding the changing nature of civil society, the power of large corporations, the relative decline of class politics and rise of cultural politics, the media's influence on public opinion, and globalization's effect on democracy.

Politics and Religion (SO4557)

30 Credit Points

Religion inspires political action, pervades national identities, and shapes political regimes. Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, Nigeria, Mali, Syria; the conflicts in these countries all involve religious differences. Religion may be in decline in the West but even in Europe there are arguments about the proper place of religion and about religious exemptions from general laws. In the USA religious conservatives use the courts, state legislatures and Congress to fight against abortion and gay rights. Taking a very broad view of politics, this course examines the links between religion and politics.

Sex, Death and the Afterlife (SO4565)

30 Credit Points

This course explores the key existential questions in the modern world. Through a series of theoretical approaches and case studies it examines the changes in individuals' understanding of sex, the meaning of life, and death. The overarching theme of the course focuses on the changing attitudes and practices surrounding existential issues in light of an increasingly secularised social context. As church involvement and knowledge of Christian beliefs have declined, people have little choice but to become increasingly inventive, which in turn affects the shape of the modern self. The course addresses these individual and cultural shifts through a sociological framework.

Social Inequality (SO4569)

30 Credit Points

Inequality permeates all aspects of social life and structure. This course focuses on the major sociological approaches to the study of social inequality. Emphasising historical, social, and political processes, it utilises social science data and theory to explore key patterns and consequences of inequality in Scotland and beyond. In addition to examining distribution of income, it also focuses on occupational and class hierarchies, power conflicts, racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, poverty, social mobility, and inequality of educational opportunities.

Contemporary Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity (SO4571)

30 Credit Points

From the Black Lives Matter movement to the ‘migrant crisis’ in the Mediterranean and even the increasing prevalence of cultural ‘blackfishing’, race and ethnicity are increasingly important – and controversial – topics. This course takes a global approach, focusing on key debates and perspectives in race and ethnicity and providing deeper insight into the social, economic, and cultural structures which shape our everyday interactions and understandings of race and ethnicity.

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • Coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course.
  • Practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course.
  • Written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study International Relations and Sociology?

Why Politics and International Relations

  • A core curriculum with topical themes of conflict and security, representation and democracy, comparative politics and policy.
  • Special focus on the Middle-East, Latin America, North and South Asia, the Nordic Countries, Central and Eastern Europe – as well as Scotland, the UK and the EU.
  • Staff with specialist expertise in political parties and elections, democracy, energy politics, European integration and regionalism, human rights and development issues, interest groups, nationalism, conflict resolution and more.
  • Opportunities to take advantage of spending your second year studying abroad, in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong or North America.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, combining a top-class study environment with state-of-the-art technology, and extensive reference collections for your studies.
  • A packed campus programme of events, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May festival, engaging prominent influencers, interest groups and public in debating major political issues such as Scottish independence and EU membership.
  • All the history and legacy of being part of a university developed over 500 years of national and international political turbulence, social change, and emerging democracy.
  • We are ranked 4th in the UK for International Relations and 8th in the UK for Politics by the Guardian University Guide 2023.

Why Sociology

  • An international reputation for our sociology research, and recognised by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as a centre for research training and supervision for postgraduate students.
  • Teaching with a top rating of ‘Excellent’ in the most recent Teaching Quality Assessment.
  • Consistently rated very highly, including by students in the National Student Survey (NSS) from whom we get great feedback.
  • Sociology at Aberdeen is rated 4th in Scotland in the Complete University Guide 2023.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library with its top-class study environment, state-of-the-art technology, and extensive collection of sociology publications and resources for your study.
  • A packed programme of student and public events, lectures, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers, plus the annual May Festival, British Science Week and Being Human Festival regularly featuring Aberdeen research in social sciences.
  • Participation in the European Social Survey, one of the largest and most reliable sources of data about Europeans’ attitudes, behaviours and experiences, with data from more than 350,000 individuals across 36 countries since 2002.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.


General Entry Requirements

2023 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

2024 Entry

SQA Highers

Standard: AABB

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB

Applicants who achieve BB over S4 and S5 and who meet one of the widening access criteria are guaranteed a conditional offer. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

A LEVELS

Standard: BBB

Minimum: BBC

Adjusted: CCC

More information on our definition of Standard, Minimum and Adjusted entry qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3.

Entry from College

Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.

The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.


English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:

IELTS Academic:

OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0

TOEFL iBT:

OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL - 59 with: Listening - 59; Reading - 59; Speaking - 59; Writing - 59

Cambridge English B2 First, C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency:

OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169

Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

International Applicants who do not meet the Entry Requirements

The University of Aberdeen International Study Centre offers preparation programmes for international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements for undergraduate study. Discover your foundation pathway here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
RUK £9,250
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
EU / International students £19,800
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year
Home Students £1,820
Tuition Fees for 2022/23 Academic Year

Scholarships and Funding

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who pay tuition fees may be eligible for specific scholarships allowing them to receive additional funding. These are designed to provide assistance to help students support themselves during their time at Aberdeen.

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers and Employability Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Discover Uni

Discover Uni draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX

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