Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

Political, economic and social science processes underlie the complex spectrum of public affairs and everyday life. The Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences degree gives you the chance to gain intimate knowledge of these core economic, political and social issues, and attain a working understanding of the environments in which they operate.

Our degree combines in-depth inquiry with an interdisciplinary approach to give students a broad appreciation of the major political, economic and social issues and policies of our time. Such a nuanced understanding of these areas is critical for success in a number of professional fields spanning the world of public affairs, government and the corporate sector.

Reflecting the diversity of career paths you may wish to follow, this degree offers the flexibility to at once specialise in a foundational tenet of the social sciences – economic, social or political – while preparing you with a broad-based education through a multitude of potential electives.

This well-rounded program offers you the chance to build upon four foundational subject areas: economics, government and international relations, political economy, and either sociology or anthropology. As the degree progresses you will be able to deepen your knowledge in any of these four core disciplines through a major, which is selected by the program’s third year.

Our degree equips graduates with a strong basis for future public or private employment, as well as entry to a range of postgraduate programs. Specific areas with strong employment prospects include: government and public service, non-government organisations, the corporate sector, management, finance, research, consultancy and current affairs journalism.

Please note: The units of study listed below are subject to change and are to be used as a guide only.

Course outline

Course Structure

Study plan


In the first year you study two core subject areas from: government and international relations, political economy and sociology or anthropology. A third and fourth subject area is of your own choosing: for example, they could also be from a core subject area or a humanities subject like history, philosophy, English or a language; or it could be a subject such as economics, industrial relations, geography or psychology. In the second year you continue to deepen your studies in three core social science areas (government and international relations, political economy, and sociology or anthropology) and take other electives according to your own interests. In the third year you complete your major (selected from one of those core social sciences areas).

Majors

What is a major?

A major is a specialisation in a chosen area of study and is designed to develop your knowledge and skills in a particular area. Majors are included on students' testamurs. The Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences requires that students complete a core major. The major consists of at least 36 credit points (cp) in senior (2000/3000-level) units of study (6cp each) from a single subject area of study. Students can complete a second major from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences or from another faculty in the University as permitted. Senior units of study can only be used to meet the requirements for one major. Units cannot be 'double counted' or 'counted twice'. The exact requirements for majors may differ between subject areas. Most majors require the completion of at least two junior (1000-level) prerequisite units of study (6cp each). These junior units may be prerequisites for the major itself and/or for senior units within the major's subject area. Junior units may be used as prerequisites for majors or senior elective units in more than one subject area.

A core major must be chosen from one of the following disciplines: Anthropology; Government and International Relations; Political Economy; Sociology. A second major may be chosen from one of the above disciplines or from another subject area in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences or a subject area from another Faculty as listed in Table B of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Tables of units of study.

Core majors

Optional majors

Further course information

Progression rules

Candidates must succesfully complete a core major in the Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences. A major in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences comprises the satisfactory completion of 36 senior credit points (cp) in one subject area including any units of study specified in the table of undergraduate units of study as compulsory for that major. Students planning to proceed to an honours year in their chosen subject area should be aware of additional pre-requisites for honours admission, normally a minimum 48cp of senior units of study in the subject area with a Credit average. Units of study completed at the University of Sydney Summer School which correspond to units of study permitted to count to this degree may be credited towards the course requirements. A standard full-time enrolment is 24cp per semester; less than 18cp per semester is considered to be part-time. A student may not enrol in more than 30cp in any one semester without permission and may not enrol in a unit of study, before meeting any prerequisites and corequisites for that unit of study. Candidates are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and performance-related activities prescribed for their units of study.

What is an elective?

An elective is a unit of study within a degree, usually an option within a course. Electives allow more detailed study of a particular subject. Electives can be selected from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences or from other faculties within the university (subject to permission from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences).

Course opportunities

The Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences allows for students to take part in an international exchange. This enables students to enhance their language skills and cultural knowledge.

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

Graduates of the Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences will be provided with a strong foundation for future employment or entry to a range of postgraduate programs. Particular areas with strong employment prospects include government and public service, management, finance, research, consultancy and current affairs journalism.

Further study

Eligible candidates may proceed to an Honours year in the Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences or apply for admission to a rich postgraduate program in the humanities and social sciences, comprising advanced learning and professional courses. Master degrees include capstone projects ranging from internships with government and non-government organisations in Australia and overseas, to opportunities for independent research projects which prepare students for higher degrees by research.

About honours

An honours year may be taken in one of the departments from which the core major must be taken: government and international relations; political economy; sociology; and anthropology. An honours year is both a preparation for postgraduate study and a capstone to an undergraduate degree. Honours can be the culmination of your formal education, an experience that extends your intellectual range, hones your research abilities, as well as analytical and communication techniques, and helps you to develop the personal and professional skills needed to see a research project though to completion. Honours can also be the first step on a path to a career as an academic or professional researcher. An honours year typically comprises seminar classes and work toward a short thesis on an independent research project under the supervision of an academic staff member who is an expert in the field of your research.

Admission

Admission requirements

Admission to this course is on the basis of a secondary school leaving qualification such as the NSW Higher School Certificate (including national and international equivalents), tertiary study or an approved preparation program. English language requirements must be met where these are not demonstrated by sufficient qualifications taught in English. Special admission pathways are open for domestic mature aged applicants who do not possess a school leaving qualification, educationally disadvantaged applicants and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Applicants are ranked by merit and offers for available places are issued according to the ranking.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Applications for the University's undergraduate courses are made though the Universities Admission Centre (UAC). On-time applications for the March Semester close on the last working day of September. On-time applications for the July Semester close in May. Please note: not all courses are offered in the July semester intake.

Assumed knowledge

Depends on subjects selected. Most subject areas in International and Global Studies require no previous knowledge. Please see the Faculty of Arts Handbook for details. However, a high level of English proficiency is expected. At HSC level, candidates should undertake the highest unit of English they can manage.

International students

How to apply

Overseas applicants may apply (i) directly to the University's International Office, (ii) through a University overseas representative (education agent), or (iii) through the Universities Admissions Centre, for students applying on the basis of a current Australian Year 12 secondary school examination, or studying either an International Baccalaureate in Australia or a New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 3.

Further admission requirements

Please see:
http://sydney.edu.au/future_students/international_undergraduate/admissions/entry_requirements/index.shtml
and
http://sydney.edu.au/future_students/international_undergraduate/admissions/entry_requirements/academic.shtml

Fee disclaimer

Domestic students

Indicative Undergraduate Student Contribution Amount

This student contribution amount for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2015 for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact student contribution that you pay will depend on the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol. If you are a Commonwealth supported student and was enrolled in a University course before 1 January 2014 your student contribution may differ.

For further information about how to calculate your specific total student contribution, please refer to the University's Future Students' website.

Annual review

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the student contribution. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

International students

Indicative international tuition fees for undergraduate students

This international tuition fee is an indication only of the fees that are payable by you in the calendar year you commence your course, commencing in 2015, for a standard annual full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact tuition fees that you pay will depend on the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol.

For further information about how to calculate your specific total tuition fees, please refer to the University's Future Students' website.

Annual review

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and are likely to increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental fees additional to the tuition fees. Some of those fees are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. For further information about these additional incidental fees, please visit the University's Future Students' website.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre for domestic students or the International Office for international students so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about those fees.

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