The range of content
With an SPS degree you’ll be studying across three different departments, so naturally the breadth of subjects you cover is super broad. The course gives you a basic grounding in each of three disciplines in your first year, offering you an introduction to politics, sociology and social policy. You will then have the opportunity in your later years to specialise into the particular subjects that interest you. There is a huge range of modules available to you and it is entirely up to you which you choose; from citizenship to childhood, military to media.
The contact hours
Contact hours is a big topic of conversation around degree courses and there is no exact science to it. But for me SPS runs a good balance between a timetable that’s leaning on the emptier side and one that has you running around campus non-stop every day. This means that you have plenty of time to get involved in student life beyond your course. With some good time management, you’ll be able to fit in your uni work and still have plenty of time for meeting up with friends, playing for sports teams, joining societies or working in student media: whatever floats your boat. There is so much going on at university for you to get involved in; whatever your interest is, there’s bound to be a society for it and studying SPS will give you plenty of time to get involved in it.
The range of assessment methods
A lot of humanities subjects get a bad rap for being entirely essay based. This is certainly not the case for SPS. One of the great advantages of studying such a flexible course is that when choosing your modules, you can consider the assessment methods too. For example, if exams really aren’t your thing, then when you’re given the choice don’t pick a module that uses exams as the main assessment method.
Assessment methods I’ve come across so far on my course include exams, essays, presentations, portfolios and some more creative options too like blog posts or videos. Alongside this you can also take note of whether there will be group work as part of the assessment. This means that you can give yourself the greatest chance for success by customising the modules you choose to take into account the assessment methods that suit your strengths.
The opportunities to extend your degree
SPS allows for so many opportunities to extend your degree beyond academia. The department is extremely supportive in helping you find opportunities to study abroad or do a year in industry if you should so choose. I have added an extra year to my course to go and study in Melbourne. Since being at York I have also studied in Russia as a part of a summer school. There are countless opportunities to study both within Europe and worldwide and also to undertake internships, placements or entire years in a huge range of industries.
All the people you meet
It may sound like a cliché but one of the biggest advantages of studying SPS is all the people you’ll meet. As well as the other people studying SPS you’ll also get to know people from tonnes of other degree programmes through your lectures and seminars. You’ll get to know people really well as your seminars are so discussion based.