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Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences

Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences
NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree

Course code:

Course leader:
Prof. Ross Macmillan
Email: Tel:
00 353 61 213578
Tel: 00 353 61 202015

About You

You are interested in people and societies, and how they have been shaped by ideas, places, events and the world around them.

You would like to develop key skills in understanding social data and processes and acquire cutting edge tools for the analysis of data in the increasingly complex, information technology era.

You are interested in applying the knowledge gained in the pursuit of a social science degree to gain a better and critical understanding of communities and the societies in which they live.

Why Study Social Sciences at UL?

With world-class experts in all nine subjects, UL is at the centre of social science research in Ireland. The Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences is designed to bring students and scholars together, with an advanced curriculum designed to integrate teaching with the latest research.

The Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences emphasizes interdisciplinary study, allowing students to combine three disciplines. This is combined with a core in data science, emphasizing issues of data literacy, techniques of data collection and data management, and tools for collecting or harvesting data from virtual spaces. Students will also have an opportunity to undertake individual research in the social sciences, under the supervision of a discipline expert.

Students will also be presented with the opportunity to learn in a work environment during their Cooperative Education Placement and study abroad at a partner institution overseas as part of UL’s award-winning Erasmus and Exchange programme. Each of these off-campus experiences provide excellent opportunities for growth and valuable opportunities for practical workplace-based skill building as well as exposure to new intercultural and social environments.

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What you will study

The BSc. Social Sciences exposes students to a variety of disciplines relevant to the human condition which increase knowledge, understanding, and critical evaluation of society and humanity.

Students will be introduced to a range of social science perspectives and methods across their chosen subject areas.

First year

Students choose four subjects from the nine disciplines below, and study one module per subject in each semester. A fifth module provides students with the skills for advanced study and life at the University.

Choose four of the subjects below to study in 1st year:

  • Digital Culture and Communication
  • Economics
  • Geography^
  • History
  • Linguistics with TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
  • Politics and International Relations
  • Psychology^*
  • Public Administration & Leadership
  • Sociology

^Note that it is not possible to take Geography and Psychology together but all other subject combinations are possible.

*Note that places on psychology are limited after year 1

Final fifth module: skills for advanced study and life at university

Second year onwards

Students choose a single major subject (from which they take two modules) and two minor subjects (one module each), amounting to four subject-specific modules. The fifth module in all semesters is a skills or preparatory module for a key element of the programme, including the final-year research project.


Off-campus programme

In semesters 4 and 5 (year 2 Spring and year 3 Autumn) you will participate in an off-campus programme. Semester 4 is ordinarily dedicated to a period of cooperative education/work experience in a sector related to your field of study. Semester 5 is spent on study abroad in one of our many partner institutions across Europe, the Americas, and Australasia. UL's dedicated Coop and Careers Office will help you find you the work placement that best suits your course of study and your aspirations, while our International Education Office will find you a place at one of our partner institutions most suited to your course of study in a part of the world that appeals to your intellectual and cultural curiosity.


More information on each discipline below

The development of digital and social media has led to profound changes in our cultural practices. Increasingly, our lives are lived through mediated communication, which makes it even more urgent to examine the relationship between culture, media and technology.  Digital Culture and Communications is designed to address these challenges and to enable graduates to live and work in the digital present and future. Students will undertake modules which enable them to develop media production and media writing and to develop the critical and analytical skills to examine the relationship between communication, technology and culture.

Many of the managerial decisions taken in modern business organisations and financial institutions require a good understanding of the global economic environment. Studying economics will develop habits of rigorous thought and practice in clear writing.  Besides, it includes the application of quantitative tools, learning to use statistics and to read critically.  Economics students acquire the skills to explain why economic phenomena occur and how economies can improve.  The study of economics is an excellent way to acquire problem-solving skills and develop a logical, ordered way of looking at world current affairs.

Geography is central to how we understand the world we inhabit.  Its study brings together the natural and human processes that have shaped our local, island and global environments.  Contemporary issues and events inform the study of geography.  Studying geography will equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle and plan for the future needs of society.  Through lectures, tutorials, lab work and field trips, you will be equipped to identify, analyse and explain complex human and natural phenomena in a succinct and clear manner.

The history programme at UL will enable you to develop critical and analytical skills through an appreciation of primary sources, historiography and key events and changes, as well as through the study of the social, cultural and historical contexts in which change was produced. You will learn about source analysis, the processes informing history writing from the fifteenth century to the contemporary world.  You can choose electives to suit your own interests, in Irish, European, American, Australian and Middle Eastern/Mediterranean history; you can focus on political, social, cultural, urban, gendered approaches to history.

Linguistics is the study of language, and how we use language to get things done in the world.  The focus in UL is on sociolinguistics, which is concerned with the role of language in society.  Studying Linguistics with TESOLs involves becoming a language expert.  This means not just improving your language and communication skills but also learning about languages in the world.

You will start in first year with more general, introductory modules and work your way towards more specialized modules in your final semesters such as language and technology; language policy and politics; Irish English; multilingualism; language and globalization; and (media) discourse analysis.  You will also be offered the option to study Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages in a specialized suite of three modules.

The study of Politics and International Relations is all about thinking critically and understanding change.  You might be attracted to studying this course if you are interested in understanding the way the world works.  You will learn how to research, how to study and develop your analytical and reasoning skills, and how to apply these skills to the real world.  You will learn about Ireland and Europe, their place in the world, what makes a good society and about what does not, and how we might tell the difference between the two.  You will do this by learning about the general workings of Politics and International Relations and then look at Irish Politics, European Politics, Political Theory, International Relations and Political Economy, and Public Administration.

Psychology is the scientific study of mind and behaviour.  Over the past century, Psychologists have examined the fascinating variety of human thought and activity and now a degree in Psychology opens up many opportunities to use this knowledge to address important social issues and improve the quality of people’s lives.  If you are the type of person who is interested in investigating the reasons behind why people feel, think and behave the way they do, and in making a difference to people’s lives, then you will find this course engaging and stimulating.

Note: Students opting to study Psychology on the BSc. Social Sciences will not be eligible to register with the Psychological Society of Ireland immediately following their degree.  If this is desired, graduates of the BSc. Social Sciences will be required to undertake a Master of Arts in Psychology. This is a fulltime one-year conversion course. Note also that one of the requirements of admission to this MA conversion course is that Psychology is taken as a major subject on LM019, not a minor.  Note also that places on psychology are limited after year 1.

Studying Public Administration and Leadership at UL will open up the world of politics, public administration and civil society in Ireland and internationally.  You will learn to recognise that politics is not just the responsibility of those we elect but that it is of concern to individual citizens and to the organisations that they belong to.  You will learn not only to understand the world of public leadership but how to critically analyse it.  Learning about public leadership at UL is not about amassing lots of information; it is about enabling and empowering you to know what to do with that information.  UL has a long tradition of teaching and research in the area of politics, public administration and civil society and actively engages with a variety of public and community based organisations.

Sociology describes and explains social structures and processes.  The Sociology programme at UL will enable you to develop critical and analytical skills to look more objectively at our societies.  It directs attention to how the constituent parts of society fit together and change, and the consequences of that social change.  By focusing on the external forces that affect our values, attitudes and behaviours, it helps us better understand ourselves and the motivations of others around us.  In addition to core modules, you can choose Sociology electives which match your own study and research interests such as Sociology of Inequality (focusing, for example, on Gender, Stratification & Social mobility, Political Economy, Urban Sociology, Youth, Migration and Hate Crimes); Sociology of Media (focusing, for example on media, media audiences and popular culture); Sociology of Health and Illness; the Sociology of The Body and Sociology of family.

Entry requirements

CAO points history New for 2020
Minimum grades

Applicants are required to hold at the time of enrolment the established Leaving Certificate (or an approved equivalent) with a minimum of six subjects which must include: Two H5 (Higher level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary level) grades or Four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.


Subject requirements

Note: Grade F6 in Foundation Mathematics also satisfies the minimum entry requirements. Foundation mathematics is not reckonable for scoring purposes.

In addition, there is a special requirement in Mathematics for those studying Economics.

Additional considerations

Mature Students

Applications are especially welcome from Mature Students. Mature applicants must apply through the Central Applications Office (CAO) by 1 February.

Application information for mature student applicants (PDF)

QQI Entry

In addition to the minimum entry requirements outlined above, any QQI Level 5 or Level 6 award is acceptable in fulfilling entry requirements

Certain QQI Awards are acceptable in fulfilling admission requirements for this programme. Visit the UL Undergraduate Admissions QQI site for a full list.

Fees & funding

Student course fees are broken into three components - Student contribution, Student Centre Levy and Tuition Fees.

A number of illustrative examples of fees for this course based on the current fee levels have been set out in the tables below.

An explanation of the components, how to determine status and the criteria involved is provided below the examples as is a list of possible scholarships and funding available.

Student course fees are comprised of three components:

Student Contribution

Annual charge set by the government for all full-time third level students. All students are liable unless they have been approved for a grant by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please refer to to determine your eligibility for a grant and for instructions on how to apply. The curent student contribution is set at €3000.

Student Centre Levy

All students are liable to pay the Student Centre Levy of €90. Please note the Student Centre Levy is not covered by the SUSI Grant.

Tuition Fees

These are based on Residency, Citizenship, Course requirements.

Review the three groups of criteria to determine your fee status as follows

  1. Residency
    • You must have been living in an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland for at least 3 of the 5 years before starting your course
  2. Citizenship
    • You must be a citizen of an EU/EEA member state or Switzerland or have official refugee status
  3. Course Requirements (all must be met)
    • You must be a first time full-time undergraduate (Exceptions are provided for students who hold a Level 6 or Level 7 qualification and are progressing to a Level 8 course in the same general area of study).
    • You must be undertaking a full-time undergraduate course of at least 2 year’s duration
    • You cannot be undertaking a repeat year of study at the same level unless evidence of exceptional circumstances eg serious illness is provided (in which case this condition may be waived)

Depending on how you meet these criteria your status will be one of the following -

More information about fees can be found on the Finance website


These scholarships are available for all courses

Title Award Scholarships available
Johnson and Johnson WiSTEM2D Programme
Individual Award - a bursary to the value of €2000. Team Project Grant - €1750
1 of each
Plassey Campus Centre Scholarship Programme
All Ireland Scholarships - sponsored by J.P. McManus
Higher Education Grants & VEC Grants
Financial Aid Fund
Elaine Fagan Scholarship
Stuart Mangan Scholarship
Provincial GAA Bursaries Scheme
The Michael Hillery and Jacinta O’Brien Athletics Scholarship
Various benefits equating to over €7,000 in value
Paddy Dooley Rowing Scholarship
UL Sports Scholarships
Varies depending on level of Scholarship
Cooperative Education Award
1 medal per faculty
UL 40 Entrance Scholarship

Your future career

Studying the social sciences at the University of Limerick provides an opportunity to acquire specific knowledge and understanding of society, tools to analyse key issues such as class, inequality, health, social and urban change, as well as skills in research, critical thinking, analysis, presentation and dissemination, all of which are required for today's world. The BSc. Social Sciences opens up a variety of career pathways and opportunities for further study.

Career opportunities include:

  • Social & Youth Work
  • Community Development
  • Social Research
  • Public Relations & Communications
  • Civil Service
  • Teaching
  • Development Work
  • Marketing, Media & Journalism
  • Publishing
  • Management