BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences
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What causes riots? Is commercialisation eroding childhood? Does poverty lead to crime? Social science explores such questions and helps inform others – from police officers to civil servants to business executives – who want to base their decisions on the best evidence. The BA (Honours) Combined Social Science is designed to be very flexible, enabling you to develop a variety of knowledge and skills from a combination of subjects including psychology, sociology, social policy, criminology, geography, politics and economics. You can choose to follow a named specialism by concentrating on one of these areas, or create your own combination of subjects. This degree course will equip you with skills highly valued by employers, such as using IT for the retrieval and effective presentation of information and data; critical evaluation; and concise writing. You’ll have your own specialist, subject-based academic support as well as opportunities to join in online communities of other social sciences students for teaching, learning and peer support.
Fees and facts
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Flexible, part-time study through
Undergraduate or bachelors degrees are nationally recognised qualifications consisting of academic study designed to that help you gain a thorough understanding of a subject.
For a degree in a named subject, such as business studies or humanities, you'll study mainly in your chosen subject, although you may be able to include some modules from other subjects.
With The Open University you could also study an Open degree where you can combine a range of modules from similar or different subjects to suit either your particular career or personal interests.
You can use a degree to:
change careers or progress your current career, gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a subject you are interested in, gain professional recognition, go onto postgraduate study, such as a diploma or masters degree.
There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree.
Career relevance and employability
Employers rate social science graduates particularly highly for the diversity of their transferable skills and breadth of mind. This interdisciplinary BA (Hons) Combined Social Sciences incorporates breadth – enabling you to understand the contexts of your studies – as well as depth. The range of subjects and perspectives covered will demonstrate your adaptability and versatility to employers, who’ll also value your ability to evaluate data and evidence in a variety of ways, and to integrate rather than compartmentalise knowledge. You’ll also be able to draw together ideas about a range of issues affecting individuals and society, including the economy; work; gender; race; social inequalities; social norms; crime; policy; environment; international studies; and relationships.
This degree course develops valuable transferable and work-related skills including:
using ICT to research, select and present information
analysing and evaluating data
clear, concise written communication
assembling reasoned arguments for particular audiences
using a range of formats: essays, presentations, reports, collaborative working, online forums
valuing critical feedback to reflect on progress and improve your work
working under your own steam and without constant direction
Graduates may find employment in such areas as:
national and local government and public administration
health and social care
public relations, media and market research
planning and environmental management
police, law and criminal justice
business and commerce.
There’s more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the
OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication and look at our OU study and your career subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
Choose a pathway and register
Pathways allow you to specialise or choose particular topics that interest you. You will need to choose a pathway before registering.
You can choose from a number of different pathways depending firstly on if you want a flexible multidisciplinary degree in social sciences by combining a range of social sciences subjects or to develop your interest in a particular aspect of social sciences and then the amount of time you wish to commit to studying.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
If you have already completed some successful study at higher education level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible, and before you register for this qualification.
If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete this qualification. This may also mean that the next start date and the maximum time limit for this qualification are different to those shown above.
Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Practical and professional skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
Classification of your degree
On successful completion of the required number and type of modules you will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Combined Social Sciences degree and be entitled to use the letters BA (Hons) Soc Sci (Open) after your name.
If you have studied the appropriate modules for a specialism, your degree title will reflect this as follows:
BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences (Criminology)
BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences (Economics)
BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences (Geography)
BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences (Politics)
BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences (Psychology)
BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences (Social Policy)
BA (Honours) Combined Social Sciences (Sociology).
Your honours degree will be classified either as first-class honours, upper second-class honours, lower second-class honours or third-class honours. The class of degree is determined by the best grades you achieve in 240 credits from those modules above Level 1. At least 120 of those credits must come from modules at Level 3.
You will have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:
These regulations are also available on our
Essential Documents website.
If you have a disability
Choosing the qualification that’s right for you is very important. Depending on your disability, long-term health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty, you may need to consider any challenges posed by:
the learning objectives: for example, to gain an honours degree in a language you must be physically able to speak the language
how the modules are taught: for example, some of our science qualifications require that you complete laboratory work
any work-based competency requirements.
Choosing the right qualification can be a complex mix of the subject requirements and the support you may need. To help you assess whether the qualification you are interested in will work for you, further advice is available from:
You will need a computer with internet access to study for this qualification. For most OU qualifications a Microsoft Windows (new since 2007),
Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer should be adequate. However, some qualifications require more specific IT equipment, in which case you
will need additional software to use an Apple Mac or Linux computer. A detailed technical specification for your modules will be made available when you
register. Please note, technical specifications do change over time to match computer developments and the way we teach.
The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities
we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move.
As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed
feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online
tutorials, or by phone.
For more information read
Distance learning explained.