Diploma of Social Sciences

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

The Diploma of Social Sciences is designed to provide candidates who have already completed a bachelor's degree in a different field with an academic foundation in the social sciences. The diploma allows you to progress to an honours year or further postgraduate study in your chosen field. A social sciences qualification is ideal for those who wish to develop personal and professional skills as a basis for employment or as a foundation for postgraduate study. The additional honours year provides outstanding candidates with the opportunity for focused study and research, working under the supervision of an academic staff member who is an expert in the field.

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

Course outline

Study plan

Candidates of the Diploma of Social Sciences undertake units of study to a value of 48 credit points (cp) over 0.9 year full-time or 1.8 years part-time. A typical unit of study has a value of 6cp. At least 36 senior cp must be undertaken in a specific subject area.


What is a major?

A major is usually a two-year defined sequence of study, generally comprising specified units of study in a particular subject area. Majors are included on students' testamurs. The Diploma of Social Sciences requires that students complete one major from a specified subject area. A major consists of 36 credit points (cp) in senior (2000/3000-level) units of study (6cp each) from a single subject area of study. 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).

Core majors

Further course information

Progression rules

Under normal progression, a student shall undertake and successfully complete all units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester as prescribed for the course. Students 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 Diploma of Social Sciences allows for students to take part in an international exchange. This allows students to enhance their language skills and cultural knowledge.

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

Career opportunities for graduates of the Diploma of Social Sciences depend on the area of study undertaken. A diploma is often a springboard to a postgraduate degree or a way of focusing your study in a particular area by doing a short course.

Further study

Eligible candidates may proceed to an Honours year, 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 in the Social Sciences 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 requirements

The requirements for the Diploma of Social Sciences must be completed within six calendar years of commencement. An applicant must either:

a. have a ATAR or equivalent (determined by the Faculty) of at least 80.00 and must be enrolled in a degree other than the BA at the University of Sydney, or any degree at another University, or

b. be a graduate of the University of Sydney (or equivalent). Admission may be limited by quota. If there is a quota, the Faculty will give preference to undergraduate applicants with higher UAIs, and then to postgraduate candidates and graduate applicants with a higher average mark in their undergraduate courses. You must gain permission in writing from the Dean of your Faculty if you are an Undergraduate student. Please contact the Faculty of Arts Office on P - 61 2 9351 3129 for more information.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Australian citizens, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens, and holders of a permanent humanitarian visa, apply through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - click on the 'Apply now' icon on this page to proceed with your application.

Please note: not all courses are offered in the July semester intake.

Assumed knowledge

Depends on subjects selected. Most subject areas in Arts require no previous knowledge. Please see the Faculty of Arts Handbook for details.

International students

How to apply

Not available to International Students