Although I’m an SPS student now, back in the heady days of UCAS applications, that wasn’t what I had put down to try and study. I was originally going to do History, still at York, until a bad grade in my History exams at A-Level put pay to those ideas. After heading into clearing (something I would be happy to share some advice about, with anyone who may need it), I got my place at York to study SPS. And thank goodness I did badly in History!
Having been back to my old school and talked to the sixth formers there, as well as having gone into some local schools too, I find a lot of students are worried about what subject they’re going to pick, because they’re unsure about what they want to do in life. I can completely relate to this; it’s a pretty big ask for a 17 year old to try and map out the course of their working life. You are effectively choosing the field which will be the next 3-4 years of your life, and if you aren’t someone who is set on being a doctor or lawyer, which have very obvious degree choices, it can be a pretty daunting experience.
This is why I love SPS
When people come to our open days, and they ask about SPS, I often tell them that you could take this degree five times and never study the same thing. The range of options and choices you have is far beyond anything that you get in a single honours degree. I’m in the midst of picking my third year options now, and combined across the Politics, Social Policy, and Sociology departments, I’m looking at nearly 50 different modules that I could potentially take. Add in the fact that you can do SPS with Philosophy and you expand that even more.
I think this is the beauty of SPS, and to an extent, other joint honours courses. You take one module from each department in your first year, which gives you a nice variety to your weeks, and means that if you’re not so keen on one departments stuff, you still have other things in the week to look forward to. This also means you can tailor your degree so you phase out things you don’t want to do and focus on what you enjoy more. It also means that you’ll be learning about such a wide variety of things, and develop such a broad range of skills, that your employment options multiply after you leave. Further to that, you’re able to enjoy the opportunities of three separate departments, and so it becomes pretty difficult not to find something that grabs you.
I came here with pretty much zero idea of what kind of path I wanted to take, maybe a few vague ideas, but very little in the way of a real plan. I’m now looking at taking a masters course in research methods after I graduate, in order to go into Statistical Analysis for Policy Research. This has been drawn together from my social policy module in my first year, and my social research and gender modules in my second year. I wouldn’t have got that breadth of study in a single honours degree, and it is why I can’t recommend joint honours highly enough.