1. The SPS Forum
The Social and Political Sciences (SPS) Forum is an event run by the department and can manifest itself in a number of different ways. Twice a term, external speakers come to the department and give a short lecture, followed by a Q&A about their research or a particular topic of interest. All these external speakers give lectures about topics that are highly relevant to a degree in SPS, but are not always part of the curriculum.
In the past we’ve had lectures about the implications for social policy from events such as the Grenfell Tower fires; urban security; food bank usage in the UK; corporate tax evasion and the implications this has on the social welfare system and the global environmental; and political, social and economic challenges of the coming decade. As well as these external speakers, we often have talks from the Careers service about events that are coming up on campus, or other opportunities such as studying abroad or doing a placement year. Third years also have some sessions dedicated specifically to their dissertations with advice and support on the best ways to go about selecting and researching our topics.
2. Module variety
Because the School of SPS is across three departments (or four if you choose to study SPS with Philosophy) there is an incredible opportunity to study a really wide variety of modules. These cover everything from Political Transition in the Middle East (Politics) to Welfare States in Crisis (Social Policy). Being involved in all these departments means that SPS students get a really unique student experience and are able to access formal and community support from so many different places. Given just how many disciplines it covers, a degree in SPS gives you an incredible range of skills and adaptability.
3. The community
The SPS community really is like no other department community in the University. Because of events like the SPS Forum, the SPS community combines all year groups and all pathways. SPS is a relatively small department, meaning it is easy to get to know everyone. The older years are always extremely welcoming to new Freshers. The SPS Society are also very active and arrange a number of social events throughout the year; these range from nights out to coffee catch-ups. Alongside the SPS society, the Department enables the community to develop and grow throughout the year. After many of the SPS forum sessions, there is pizza and wine (and plenty of soft drinks) so lots of students stay around after the lectures to socialize and catch up with their course mates.
The SPS course at York is really unique and I haven’t regretted my decision to come here once. There are so many amazing opportunities and so much support from the department that I really can’t recommend it enough!