Programme Overview

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Read Political Science and Sociology Brochure 2022 here

What Is Political Science and Sociology?

T‌he school of Political Science and Sociology is unique in Ireland for offering two academic disciplines in a fully integrated way.

Political Science is the systematic study of political life, political activity or behaviour, as well as basic political concepts, such as freedom, democracy and equality. It combines elements of history, economics and philosophy but has its own unique approach and style.

Sociology is the study of society, social issues, and social activities or practices. It includes a factual dimension in the collection and critique of social facts and trends, together with a more critical and theoretical literature which reflects on the general nature of society, social order, and social problems.

Both disciplines aim to provide detailed factual information about the nature of social and political life in our societies, but they also try to generate deeper arguments and analysis about why our societies are the way they are, and if they could be improved.

Why Study Political Science and Sociology?

Political Science and Sociology should be a definite subject for any student interested in current affairs and politics. However, many students find it a genuinely engaging and stimulating subject in its own right. It provides an excellent basis for the development of critical thinking, good communication skills, and is appreciated by employers as imparting in students superb awareness of vital social and political trends in society.

Postgraduate programmes include the MA in Politics & Sociology, the MA in Family Support Studies, the MA in Gender, Globalisation and Rights and the MA in Social Work, while the M.Litt. and Ph.D. by research in Political Science and in Sociology are also offered.

What Will I Be Studying?

The undergraduate programme provides an introduction to basic concepts in political science and sociology, Irish society and politics, political sociology, political and social theory, social science research methods and computer skills, European society and politics, public policy, environmental sociology, and development theories and practice. Students are also facilitated in choosing a specialist interest from a range of special topics. The School of Political Science and Sociology offers a genuinely interdisciplinary social sciences education. Students have opportunities during the course of the undergraduate programme. 

First Year

The First Year programme in Sociological and Political Studies provides an understanding of major political and social developments taking place in Ireland and the wider world. It is a foundation for the study of Sociological and Political Studies in subsequent years while also providing students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge of core ideas in Sociology and Political Science.

General Description

Despite the challenges of global diversity and the pervasiveness of conflict, human beings are also disposed to act co-operatively and collectively, seeking solutions to problems. A core theme in sociology and political science concerns how and why societies change, and what alternatives might be possible? This course encourages students to explore the links between sociological and political perspectives in relation to real world issues and puzzles.

Key ideas about social and political processes of power and influence at the level of state, society and individual are introduced. The social and political forces of conformity and conflict, of regulation and resistance are examined. Sociological and political ideas concerning modernity, democracy, freedom, culture, capitalism, identity, diversity, religion and the many problems that beset modern societies, such as crime and deviance, inequality and poverty are introduced. Students will have the opportunity to study how the social and political landscape is formed and transformed, not only in regard to political parties, government and state, but also in terms of gender, class and religion in Ireland and elsewhere. The impact of social movements and ideologies in the context of key challenges in the 21st century are also considered, such as cultural pluralism, the politics of climate change, and conflicting conceptions of globalisation. Students critically and practically engage with these and other debates about the personal, political and global challenges of living in modernity and searching for the ’good society’. The course is taught by a wide range of School staff committed to linking research and scholarship to teaching.

Course Modules

Semester Lecture-Based Modules Seminar-Based Modules 
Either Or
Semester 1 SP1125:Introduction to PoliticsECTS Credit: 5 SP1120:Practising PoliticsECTS Credit: 5 SP160:Problems in Politics & SociologyECTS Credit: 5. SP160 is a year-long module that runs in both Semester 1 and Semester 2.
Semester 2 SP1126:Introduction to SociologyECTS Credit: 5 SP1121:Practising SociologyECTS Credit: 5

What modules should I register for?

Essentially, what modules you will be taking with us depends on the amount of ECTS credits that you need to gain. Please see Year 1 Sociological and Political Studies Student Guide (available below) for further guidance and specific accreditations of the module combinations that we offer.

What will my timetable look like?

This depends on what modules you are taking with us.

Your Lecture Modules

Every student registered for Sociological and Political Studies will take one lecture-based module per semester: ‘SP1125: Introduction to Politics’ in semester 1 (before Christmas) and ‘SP1126: Introduction to Sociology’ in semester 2 (after Christmas). In each semester, you will attend two 50-minute lectures per week. Due to the very large numbers of students who study Sociological and Political Studies in First Arts, we duplicate our large group teaching, providing a parallel stream of lectures: Group A and Group B.

You will attend lectures as part of Group A or Group B, depending on your degree combination. Students enrolled on 1BA1 Joint Honours Programme should attend Group A. Students enrolled on Denominated and Connect Programmes should attend Group B.

SP1125: Introduction to Politics – Semester 1 Timetable:

Group A Group B
Tuesdays 11:00-12:00 Kirwan Lecture Theatre and Wednesdays 13:00-14:00 O’Flaherty Lecture Theatre Tuesdays 12:00-13:00 O’Flaherty Lecture Theatre and Thursdays 11:00-12:00 Kirwan Lecture Theatre

SP1126: Introduction to Sociology – Semester 2 Timetable:

Group A Group B
Tuesdays 11:00-12:00 Kirwan Lecture Theatre and Wednesdays 13:00-14:00 O’Flaherty Lecture Theatre Tuesdays 12:00-13:00 IT250 Lecture Theatre and Thursdays 11:00-12:00 Kirwan Lecture Theatre

Your Seminar Modules

In addition to attending weekly lectures, students who take our seminar modules will have regular opportunities to meet with course teaching staff and with other course participants to exchange views and discuss problems. Your seminar timetable will depend on the module that you are taking with us. Further details are available in the relevant module Handbooks.

After you register for a seminar module, you will have to self-enrol for a 50-minute seminar group timeslot that fits within your existing timetable. This will be done through the module Blackboard page. You will be contacted with all the details in due course.

First Year Sociological and Political Studies Student Guide


First Year Student Handbooks





First Year Coordinator Contact Details

Dr Diana Stypinska
First Year Coordinator

Second Year

The Second Year programme in Political Science and Sociology builds upon the work on social and political ideas and institutions laid down in First Year. It establishes a core understanding of the traditions of social and political ideas; examines current political developments in Europe and further afield; and explores the methodological approaches and foundations of contemporary political and social science. Students may also this year choose to specialise in either more ‘Political’ or more ‘Sociological’ module choices. See the School’s Second Year Handbook (below)

Course Delivery

In Semester I, all regular Joint-Honours 2BA1 students will take the Core seminar-based module SPSK3101 and also choose TWO other modules in Option choice: 1) SP216.I European Politics OR SP235 Social Issues ; and Option choice 2) SP2117 International and Global Politics OR SP2116 Sociology of Health.

In Semester II, 2BA1s will take Core seminar-based module SPSK3102 and the Core SP220 Methods module and choose in their third Option choice either SP212 Classical Social Thought OR SP215.II Modern Political Thought.

Other students in the School, both Connect and Major/Minor, should consult the School’s Second Year Handbook (see below) and their own Degree Programme regulations to ascertain their required and possible modular choices.

Second Year Modules

Semester I :

Core: SPSK3101 (various seminar times)


Option Choice 1: SP216.1 (Mon 12-1 and Mon 2-3) or SP235 (Tues 12-1,Wed 12-1)
Option Choice 2: SP2117 (Tue 2-3, Fri 12-1) or SP2116 (Tues 2-3, Fri 12-1)

Semester II:

Core SPSK3102 (various seminar times)

Core SP220 (Mon 2-3, Tues 12-1)


Option Choice 3 : either SP212 (Wed 12-1, Fri 12-1) or SP215.II (Wed 12-1, Fri 12-1)

Programme Handbook and Timetables




Second Year Coordinator Contact Details

Dr. Brian McGrath
Second Year Co-ordinator
Room 322, 2nd Floor
Áras Moyola, Central Campus
Tel: +353 (0)91 493405

Final Year

In the final year of the BA, students select modules from a suite of ‘semi-core’ and ‘specialist elective’ modules that span the disciplines of Political Science and Sociology.

What is the difference between a ‘semi-core’ module and a ‘specialist elective module’?

The semi-core modules are taught in lecture theatres to large groups of students. These modules offer students an in-depth understanding of society and politics in both the Irish and international contexts. Students are encouraged to critically engage with and explore a range of themes, topics, issues and questions by attending weekly lectures and studying the learning materials provided by the lecturers.

Elective modules are typically taught to small groups of students, enabling students to acquire specialist knowledge in a specific subject area, as well as providing the opportunity for a more active and participatory approach to learning than is possible in the large-group lecture modules.

Please take the time to read the Year Handbook carefully before registering your modules. The Handbook includes a timetable for both semesters, as well as a short description for all final year modules.

Programme structure

Semi-core modules are paired, and students select one from each pair. Specialist elective modules are available in semester 2 only.

If you are 3BA1, 4BA4, or BA Connect student taking Sociological and Political Studies as a subject, you are required to take three Semi-Core modules in semester 1. In semester 2 you should register two Semi-Core modules and one Specialist Elective module.

If you are a BA Government student, or on a Denominated BA programme (e.g. BSS1; 4BYF), you should contact your Programme Director who will advise you on ‘required’ and ‘optional’ modules in Soc & Pol.

Programme Handbook and Timetable



 Class Rep (Final Year Soc & pol)

To be confirmed 

Final Year Coordinators Contact Details

Dr. Brendan Flynn

Áras Moyola, Room 316, T: 091 493160

Assistant Final Year Co-Ordinator:

Jackie Murphy 


Áras Moyola Room 304, T: 091 493267

Central Campus