Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2019

European Social and Political Studies BA

This challenging, flexible and diverse programme offers specialisation in any one of ten humanities and social science subjects, combined with a broad base in European history, law, philosophy and politics, and fluency in a European language. Year three is spent at a European university.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2019
UCAS code
Full-time: 4 years
Application deadline
15 January 2019
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

A humanities or social science subject (or Mathematics) preferred. Mathematics at A* required for full Economics specialism if chosen. French or Spanish required if one of these is to be studied as major language.
(contextual offer)
A*AB or AAB (more about contextual offers)
(contextual offer)
A humanities or social science subject (or Mathematics) at grade A preferred. French or Spanish at grade A required if one of these is to be studied as major language. Mathematics at A* required for full Economics specialism if chosen.
English Language at grade B or 6, plus Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-requirements

IB Diploma

A score of 19 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5. Higher level subjects to include French B, or Spanish B at grade 6 if either of these is to be studied as a major language. A humanities or social science subject (or Mathematics) at higher level is normally a requirement. Mathematics at grade 7 at higher level is required for the full Economics specialism, if chosen.
(contextual offer)
36 (more about contextual offers)
(contextual offer)
A score of 17 in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5. Higher level subjects to include French B, or Spanish B at grade 6 if either of these is to be studied as a major language. A humanities or social science subject (or Mathematics) at higher level is normally a requirement. Mathematics at grade 7 at higher level is required for the full Economics specialism, if chosen.
Additional tests

Thinking Skills Assessment

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme

Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with a minimum of 28 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.

D2,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects. French or Spanish required if taken as major languages, plus a social science or humanities subject (or Mathematics) preferred. Mathematics at D2 required for full Economics specialism if chosen.

A1,A,A at Advanced Highers (or A1,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher). French or Spanish required at Advanced Higher if taken as a major language, plus a social science or humanities subject (or Mathematics) preferred. Mathematics at A1 required for the Economics specialism, if chosen.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A levels at grades A*AA. French or Spanish required if one of these is to be studied as major language, plus a social science or humanities subject (or Mathematics) preferred. Mathematics at A* required for the full Economics specialism, if chosen.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • Benefit from UCL's world-class teaching system and the insights of its renowned humanities, language and social sciences scholars, and from the expertise of their European counterparts.

  • A year abroad at a continental university - exchange places with partner universities include Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Seville and Rome.

  • Undertake a dissertation on an independently chosen research topic, with specialist supervision.

  • Wide-ranging employability: approximately 15% of ESPS graduates have gone into European, international or British politics, 20% into law, business and commerce.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Introductory modules in the first year allow you to develop your interests and identify an area of specialism for later years. Your modules then fall into three groupings: common core, language (and culture), and a specialism in the humanities or social sciences.

The European common core involves working in a multidisciplinary environment, gaining insights into a range of academic disciplines and engaging critically with competing analytical perspectives.

You will undertake language study throughout the programme, selecting one language, or in some cases two, on which to concentrate.

Your third year is spent abroad, in a country where your choice of major European language is spoken. In your final year you return to UCL to continue with advanced modules in your language(s) and your humanities/social science subject, and also write your dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff.

The major European languages that you can study include: Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish and Ukrainian

You may also take a second language as a minor language from those listed above, as well as choose from a wide range of other languages, including Arabic, Czech, Finnish, Hebrew, Mandarin, Polish, Serbian, Yiddish, Classical Greek or Latin.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Language-based modules
Introduction to European History, Law, Philosophy and Politics

If you are taking the full Economics specialism you will also take 1.5 credits from UCL Economics, and will take no optional modules, or minor language.

Optional modules

You will select 1.0 credit in a humanities or social sciences subject, or in a minor language.

Core or compulsory module(s)

1.5 credits in the department of your major language. (For students taking Danish, Dutch, French, German, Icelandic, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish or Swedish as a major language, this can include a 0.5 credit ELCS optional module in the School of European Languages, Culture & Society.)

Optional modules

You will select 2.5 credits in your chosen area of specialisation.

Year abroad

Core or compulsory module(s)

Language-based modules

Optional modules

You will select 2.0 credits in your chosen area of specialisation.

Your learning

Your formal timetable will involve a programme of lectures, seminars and workshops. As well as the core modules, and modules designed specifically for ESPS students, you will choose options in other departments according to your area of specialisation. This gives you access to a range of UCL's successful teaching approaches.


Your work will be assessed by written examination, assessed essay and presentation.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: European Social and Political Studies BA.


ESPS gives you the wide-ranging employability of graduates in PPE or international relations, but with the added maturity of a year abroad, and the advantage of fluency in a European language – essential for anyone seeking a career in a European context, and increasingly valuable for the financial sector or media posts.

ESPS graduates combine specialised knowledge of a humanities or social science with a broad foundation in European philosophy, law, history and politics and, importantly, proficiency in another language or languages. In addition, they gain  independence from a year studying abroad. In particular, students are able to demonstrate their aptitude for research by writing a dissertation.

This unique combination yields a significant advantage when it comes to securing funding for further research or getting a foothold on a competitive career ladder.

Outside academia, potential careers may include politics, law, business, commerce, teaching, public relations, journalism or IT.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2013-2015) of this programme at UCL include:

  • GDL (Graduate Diploma in Law), BPP University
  • Policy Adviser, HM Treasury
  • Policy Executive, Civil Service Singapore Government
  • MSc in Cognitive and Decision Sciences, UCL
  • PhD in Organizational Behavior, Stanford University

Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2013-2015 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Student view
The strategic London location of the campus, the reputation of the university, combined with the international nature of the programme, made European Social and Political Studies the perfect degree for me. Sophie Aversa - European Social and Political Studies BA Fourth Year
Student view
I loved that European Social and Political Studies allowed me to have a go at different things and then still pick from modules across the university. Sophie Majoribanks - European Social and Political Studies: Dual Degree BA Fourth Year

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2019/20 academic year. The UK/EU fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2019/20 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2019/20)
Overseas students
£19,970 (2019/20)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Additional costs

If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc. on this programme, please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).

Departmental scholarships

The scholarships listed below are for 2018 entry. Funding opportunities for students applying for 2019 entry will be published when they are available.

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

When we assess your application, we will be looking for a firm interest in social and political issues, including a demonstration of your ability to grasp theoretical concepts and analyse social trends. Your achievement in examinations is crucial but we also pay careful attention to your motivation and interests as expressed in your personal statement, and your referee's report.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2019


If you live in Europe and you meet (or are expected to meet) our selection criteria, you will be invited to an assessment day. This will involve sitting the Thinking Skills Assessment Test (at UCL) and taking part in a discussion group chaired by ESPS staff.

If you are resident in a country outside Europe you will be interviewed by telephone, and asked to submit an essay on a set topic written under examination conditions.

You should state clearly on your UCAS application which modern European language you wish to study as your major language. Please state both if you are taking two major languages. It is not necessary to state the minor language if you choose one.

Further information about the languages offered and their specific requirements can be found on the ESPS website.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students.