Key Info

Bachelor of Science in Social Sciences

NFQ Level 8 major Award Honours Bachelor Degree
CAO points history
Course code
Subject area
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Course Director
Professor Ross Macmillan
00 353 61 213578
+353 (0)61 233755

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.

What subjects can I study?

Learn more about our courses and upcoming events

our campus

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 in first year. Please see table below for combinations available from second year onwards. 

*Note that places on psychology are limited after year 1

The final fifth module each semester will relate to data science. A key feature of the BSc is a core set of modules that introduces data science.  The expansion of information technologies has made the world literally awash with data and increasing number of organizations incorporate data collections and data analytics into their everyday operations.  Data science is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and complex systems to extract knowledge and information from data and then apply insights to a range of human and non-human endeavours.  The data science core in the BSc introduces students to conceptual, philosophical, ethical, and practical and managerial issues around data, shows what the key types of data are, how they are collected, and how they reflect core themes and issues in the different social sciences, and provides an introduction to web-scraping techniques for harvesting data in the virtual world.  With this core, the programme provides a 21st century approach to the social sciences and provides an entry into one of the fastest growing fields in contemporary society.

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 each semester will be a data science module.

Minor option (choose two on same line as Major) →

Major option (choose one)  ↓ 

Digital Culture and Communications Economics Geography History Linguistics Politics and International Relations Psychology * Public Administration and Leadership Sociology
Digital Culture and Communications N/A N/A
Economics N/A N/A
Geography N/A N/A
History N/A
Linguistics N/A N/A
Politics and International Relations N/A
Psychology * N/A N/A
Public Administration and Leadership N/A
Sociology N/A N/A

*Psychology places limited after year 1

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

You must select 4 subjects in year 1.  The only restriction is that you cannot take both Psychology and Geography together.

All subjects are available from year 2. You can refer to the table above to see which combinations are available. However, please note that Psychology has restricted places and these are allocated on a competitive basis. 

The only subject with a specific grade requirement is Economics (O4/H7 in Maths is required).  No prior knowledge (leaving certificate grade) is required for any other subject.  E.g. you do not need leaving certificate history to study history. 

You will be given information on all subjects prior to your enrolment with University. You will then choose your 4 subjects prior to beginning your first Semester.

Yes, it is possible to change a subject after week 1 of Autumn Semester.  A change of subject form must be completed and submitted by the close of week 4.

Students select three subjects to continue from years 2-4. One major and two minors.

Each semester on campus, you choose two modules from your major subject and one module for each of your minor subjects.  

You will select the subjects that you will continue with to degree level during weeks 6 and 7 of the second (spring) Semester of Year 1

No.  You pick the subjects to continue with based on your selection in year 1.  

You will undertake a Final year project in year 4, which is an extended piece of research and writing, on a topic of your choice, under the supervision of a member of Faculty.   You will be supported in this work with a Preparation for your Final Year Project module in year 3.  This module will provide you with all the details you require to select your project topic and supervisor. 

Yes, all students are allocated an academic advisor. 

Erasmus/ Study Abroad FAQs

Yes.  This is a compulsory element of the programme.  The International Education Division will assist you with your study placement. 

This is a compulsory element of the programme. The UL Global Office will assist you with your study placement. Erasmus is when you study in a European University and  Exchange is when you study in a non-EU University such as Asia, Canada, United States or South America. Your subject selections will determine the Universities that you can apply to study in.

Co-Op/ Careers FAQs

Yes.  This is a compulsory element of the programme.  The Cooperative Education and Careers Division will assist you with your work placement.    

This will depend on the subjects that you are taking and the sector you interview for.  Students will be given options of placements such as international placement, business sector, education sector, non-profit sector etc.  Our partnerships with employers can vary from year to year and is therefore not possible to give exact details of Co-Op placement employers. 

Career option vary depending on your interests and the subjects you study.  In general, graduates can pursue careers both in the public and private sectors and the programme is designed to give 21st century skills for a 21st century workforce.  In general, the data science core provides work skills that are increasingly of value in almost any organization or firm and is one of the largest growth areas in contemporary economies.  At the same time, there is strong demand for social scientists in numerous areas.  Sociological skills are fundamental to the effective operation of organizations and enhance skills in social research, management and consulting, public relations, and human resource management. Likewise, economics provides skills useful for work in economic and financial research, financial planning and consulting, accounting, and investment and banking. An emphasis on geography provides skills for spatial analysis and research, surveying, including that for planning and development, environmental consulting, and geographic systems information (GIS) analysis and management. For all other majors, other occupational opportunities exist.  

Graduates are required to do a Professional Masters in Education to qualify as a primary or secondary school teaching. They must also ensure that they have taken the correct number of credits as required by the Teaching Council for the subject they are interested in teaching.  

Subject-specific FAQs

This subject studies the development of digital and social media and how this has led to changes in cultural practices.  Students will study the relationship between culture, media and technology whilst also learning practical digital communication skills.  In year 1 students will study an introduction to Digital Media and Social Media in Society.  

No, the data science core does not require a specific grade or competency in mathematics.  

Entry requirements

CAO points history
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.

Non-EU Entry Requirements

How to apply

Where are you applying from? How to Apply
Ireland Irish students must apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found here. 
The UK  Students who have completed their A-Levels can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website. 
The EU EU students can apply to UL via the CAO. More information can be found on the Academic Registry website.
Non-EU country If you are outside of the EU, you can apply for this degree here.

Fees and funding

Student course fees are broken into three components - Student contribution, Student 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.

EU Students with Free fees status in receipt of a SUSI grant

HEA pays Tuition Fees €2,558
SUSI pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Levy €100

EU Students with Free fees status not in receipt of a grant

HEA pays Tuition Fees €2,558
Student pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Levy €100

Students with EU fee status not in receipt of a grant

Student pays Tuition Fees €2,558
Student pays Student contribution €3,000
Student pays Student Levy €100

Non-EU Students

Student pays Tuition Fees €16,300
Student pays Student Levy €100

Student course fees are comprised of the following 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 current student contribution is set at €3000.

Student Levy

All students are liable to pay the Student Levy of €100. Please note the Student 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 -

  • Free Fee Status: You satisfy all three categories (1, 2 and 3) and therefore are eligible for the Higher Education Authority’s Free Fees scheme.
  • EU Fee Status: You satisfy both the citizenship and residency criteria but fail to satisfy the course requirements and are liable to EU fees.
  • Non EU Fee Status: You do not meet either the citizenship or residency criteria and are therefore liable to Non EU fees.

More information about fees can be found on the Finance website

These scholarships are available for this course

Title Award Scholarships Available
Johnson and Johnson WiSTEM2D Programme

These scholarships are available for all courses

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
Saoirse McInerney BSc. Social Sciences Student Profile

Saoirse McInerney   

I am a student on the B.Sc. Social Sciences, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Psychology and also Digital Culture and Communications. I start co-op work placement soon for which I will travel to Argentina, and then I go to Italy for Erasmus. These opportunities are really exciting.   

I had always wanted to study social sciences and was delighted when I was accepted onto this course. I found it difficult to pick my subjects in first year because there were so many I wanted to do but I ended up picking Psychology, Sociology, Politics and Digital Culture & Communication as my four subjects. I didn’t know what to expect with that last one, but I really like it. We make things like short videos and informative brochures. We also have a data science module as our programme’s core module, where we learn about statistics and research.  

After graduating, I hope to do social research or sociology. This course gives me an amazing grounding for either of these. However, one of the great things about the BSc. Social Sciences is how many options there are. Some of my classmates plan to go into journalism or social care. I would recommend the course to anyone who loves learning about people and society.