Social Policy and Sociology

By Aedín Dunne - Last update

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Are you interested in the world’s complex issues? Do you want to study the reactions from worldwide policy makers? Are you inquisitive, a strong researcher, pay attention to detail and have you got strong communication and analytical skills? If so, you might be right for this course. 

What is Social Policy and Sociology?

Social Policy and Sociology explores key social issues affecting societies in the European Union, the USA and East Asia and how policy makers in Ireland and worldwide have responded to such issues. 

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas: 

  • Social Policy and Sociology – UCD
  • Sociology/Social Policy – TC


  • Social Policy/Economics
  • Social Policy/Political Science

Studying Social Policy and Sociology in college

There are many courses in the area of Social Policy that are paired with other subjects. Social Policy and Sociology is offered in UCD and TCD. UCD’s course is 3 years long while TCD’s course is 4 years long. There are also relevant PLC courses available that are mostly one year long. All courses will give you the relevant skills and knowledge to work in the area. 

In your first year of an undergraduate course you will gain a strong foundation in the basic principle of the subjects of social policy and sociology. You will gain a strong foundation in the relevant topics and become familiar with what is to come throughout your course in the coming years. First year modules will include the basic and compulsory modules in sociology and social policy. 

Your second and third year will introduce you to more in depth information and allow you to develop and expand your knowledge even more. You will continue to study the core modules but you will pick one of the three career pathways offered by UCD which will determine the exact modules you will study going forward. 

The three options are Social Work and Social Professions, Society and Public Service and Work, Organisations and People. Social Work and Social Professions can lead to careers in Counselling, Social Care Management, and the Probation Service. Society and Public Service can lead to careers in public services, NGOs, community development, youth work, social enterprise and public policy advocacy. Work, Organisations and People can lead to careers in business and personnel management, industrial relations, marketing and corporate responsibility and governance.

The above information is based on the Social Policy and Sociology course offered by UCD. Course content and structure may differ from courses to course, therefor, the course offered by TCD may be quite different. 

Career options

There are a few different routes you can take with this undergraduate degree. Examples of areas that people with this degree are working in include roles in government, NGO’s, education, media and business. There is a wide variety of paths you can take with this degree. Job examples are listed below.

There is also the option of continuing on your study at postgraduate level to specialise in an area of your interest. Roles in education and research are also available once you gain experience and expertise in the field. 

Skills and qualities important to have in this area include excellent communication skills, interpersonal skills, organisation skills, the ability to work well with others, a critical thinker, an analytical mind, a problem-solving attitude, time management skills, confidence, strong presentation and speaking skills and an open mind.

Related Jobs

  • Sociologist
  • Social Policy Officer
  • Marketing 
  • Advertising
  • Humanitarian
  • Media
  • Education – teaching/lecturing
  • Researcher

Further Study

Visit for more information.


Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always safest to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should 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. 

PLC courses will accept Leaving Certificate results. Specific courses may have their own requirements.Certain QQI courses may be accepted. 

The points needed to study Social Policy and Sociology in UCD were 378 points last year. 

Where can I study?

For other courses in the area you would like to explore, you can do so here.

Did you know?

  • Five basic sociological perspective are Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism, Social Action Theory and Postmodernism
  • Policy workers operate in advisory roles and are concerned with the guiding rules and principles of government.
  • Professor Richard Titmuss was the first professor of social policy in the 1950’s


Student Grant Scheme

Course information

Sociologist job description 

Policy officer job description

Aedín Dunne

Law with Social Justice
History and Geography


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