Political, Economic and Social Sciences

The Political, Economic and Social Sciences program is based in the School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS).

Program structure and content

The Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences degree is three years full time; or four years (for the honours degree). Its central focus is on the study of political, economic and social issues. The program combines in-depth analysis with a broad multi-disciplinary approach to important contemporary political, economic and social problems and policies.

Understanding the interactions between economic, social and political processes is crucial for graduates' success in a range of professional fields. In recognition of the range of career paths that students may wish to follow, this degree provides flexibility to specialise in one aspect of the social sciences – economic, social or political – while ensuring a broad-based education across the whole field.

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

These studies provide a strong foundation for future employment or entry to a range of postgraduate programs. Particular areas with strong employment prospects include government and the public service, management, non-government organisations, finance, research, consultancy and current affairs journalism.

Requirements for a major

A major is to be chosen (after you have sampled subjects in your first year of study) from one of the following:

  • Economics (ECON)
  • Government and International Relations (GOVT)
  • Political Economy (ECOP)
  • Sociology (SCLG)
  • Anthropology (ANTH)

You must also do a minimum of 12 senior credit points from any two of the following subject areas that are different from your core major: Economics, Government and International Relations, Political Economy, and either Anthropology or Sociology. This constitutes the basis for a balanced, multidisciplinary social sciences education.

A second major or elective units of study can be chosen from any available Table A or Table B subject area, provided there is room in your degree structure.

Sample pathway
Sample Pathway
First Year S1

BPESS Major Junior Unit (eg ECOP)

BPESS Junior Unit (eg GOVT) BPESS Junior Unit (eg SCLG or ANTH) Table A or B Junior Unit
S2

BPESS Major Junior Unit (eg ECOP)

BPESS Junior Unit (eg GOVT) BPESS Junior Unit (eg SCLG or ANTH) Table A or B Junior Unit
Second Year S1

BPESS Major Senior Unit (eg ECOP)

BPESS Senior Unit (eg GOVT) BPESS Senior Unit (eg SCLG or ANTH) Table A or B Junior/Senior Unit
S2 BPESS Major Senior Unit (eg ECOP) BPESS Major Senior Unit (eg ECOP) Table A or B Senior Unit Table A or B Junior/Senior Unit
Third Year S1 BPESS Major Senior Unit (eg ECOP) BPESS Senior Unit (eg GOVT) BPESS Senior Unit (eg SCLG or ANTH) Table A or B Senior Unit
S2

BPESS Major Senior Unit (eg ECOP)

BPESS Major Senior Unit (eg ECOP) Table A or B Senior Unit Table A or B Senior Unit

Please note: If you are considering majoring in Economics there are 4 compulsory junior units of study (24 credit points) that you need to take. You will need to choose your units in your first year very carefully.

Honours

An honours degree may be undertaken in any of the departments listed under the compulsory major. The opportunity to stay on for this further year of honours study is available to students who have successfully completed the pass degree and the honours prerequisites at a standard determined by the relevant department. The honours year involves coursework and writing a thesis on a topic of your own choosing, in consultation with, and under the supervision of, the academic staff.

Please note: from 2015 the minimum requirement for entry into Honours will increase to an average of 70% or above across 48 senior credit points in the intended subject area/s.

Contact/further information

Degree Director: Dr Joy Paton
Room 461 Merewether Building H04
Phone: +61 2 9351 6616
Email: