International Social and Political Studies BA

London, Bloomsbury
International Social and Political Studies BA (2024)

This degree combines specialisation in a humanities or social science subject and high proficiency in a language. Students will also receive teaching that bridges disciplines, including in history, politics and philosophy.

UK students International students
Study mode
4 academic years
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
Programme starts
September 2025
Application deadline
29 Jan 2025
UCAS course code

Entry requirements

A humanities or social science subject (or Mathematics) preferred. Mathematics at A* required for full Economics specialism if chosen. French or Spanish at A grade required if one of these is to be studied as major language.
English Language at grade B or 6 and Mathematics at grade C or 4.

Contextual offer information

Contextual offers are typically one to two grades lower than the standard offer. Grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.

A total of 19 points in three higher level subjects, with no higher level score below 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. The programme will accept either 'Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches' or 'Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation' at higher level.

Contextual offer

Contextual offers are typically one to two grade boundaries (equivalent to A levels) lower than the standard offer. IB Diploma grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.

UK applicants qualifications

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

Equivalent qualification

Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with a minimum of 36 credits at Distinction and 9 credits at Merit, all from Level 3 units. Please note, where subject specific requirements are stipulated at A level we may review your Access to HE syllabus to ensure you meet the subject specific requirements prior to a final decision being communicated.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

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.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A levels at grades A*AA. French or Spanish at A grade 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

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

Additional tests

Thinking Skills Assessment

Access and widening participation

UCL is committed to widening access to higher education. If you are eligible for Access UCL you do not need to do anything in addition to the standard UCAS application. Your application will be automatically flagged when we receive it.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) prepare international students for a UCL undergraduate degree who don’t have the qualifications to enter directly. These intensive one-year foundation courses are taught on our central London campus.

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:

English language requirements

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

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

Course overview

Introductory modules in the first year allow you to develop your interests and define an area of specialism. Your modules fall into three groupings: the first-year core module, language and culture modules, and specialism modules in the humanities or social sciences.

The first year core module 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 and focusing on one language.

Your third year is spent abroad in a destination outside Europe. We aim to send students to countries where their major language is spoken. This may depend on geopolitical and other circumstances and may not be possible in all cases. Students with French as their target language will spend the year in Canada, whereas students with Spanish or Portuguese as their major language will go to Latin America. Students with Arabic as their target language will be allocated a placement in a country where their target language is spoken or at a European university with a Middle Eastern Studies programme. Students on the Hebrew pathway may spend their year at a partner university in North America with a Jewish Studies programme.

In your final year, you return to UCL to continue with advanced modules in your language and your humanities/social science subject, and also write your dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff. The major languages that you can study include Arabic (offered from beginner level only), French, Portuguese, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish.

What this course will give you

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

Spend a year abroad at a foreign university. Please note that students taking French, Portuguese or Spanish as their major language will spend their year abroad in South America or Canada. Students whose main language is Hebrew may be allocated a placement at a partner university in Canada or the USA with a Jewish Studies programme. Students on the Arabic pathway will normally be allocated a placement in a country where Arabic is spoken. However, in some cases, they may be allocated a placement at a European university with a Middle Eastern studies programme.

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

Wide-ranging employability: According to the Graduate Outcomes surveys approximately 19% of EISPS graduates have gone into accountancy and financial services; 12% work in teaching or other educational roles; 8% in charities, NGOs and international development; and 7% work in policy and government. Example employers include: European Parliament, UK Government, PwC, World Health Organisation, Teach First. Graduate Outcomes survey carried out by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), looking at the destinations of UK and EU graduates in the 2017 - 2021 cohorts.

Teaching and learning

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).

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BA (Hons) in International Social and Political Studies.


Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

Year One

You will take 30-45 credits in the language department, 45-60 credits in a humanities or social science specialism and the 30-credit first year core module.

Year Two

You will take 45 credits in the language department, 60 credits in your humanities or social science specialism and 15 credits of additional options (language or specialism).

Year Three

You will take modules at your host university and complete preparatory tasks for your dissertation.

Final Year

You will take 15-30 credits in the language department (depending on your choice of language), 30 credits for the dissertation and 60-75 credits in your humanities or social science specialism.

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 students on this course, you will choose options in other departments according to your area of specialisation. This gives you access to a range of teaching approaches from across UCL.

Approximately 25% of your time will be spent in lectures, 25% in seminars or tutorials and the remaining time dedicated to independent study.


Your work will be assessed by a variety of means, including written examinations, coursework and presentations.


Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

The foundation of your career

Graduates from this programme combine specialised knowledge of a humanities or social science with a broad foundation in philosophy, history and politics and proficiency in another language. In addition, they gain independence and international experience from a year of studying abroad. 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.


This degree provides the wide-ranging employability of graduates in PPE or international relations, but with the added maturity of a year abroad and the advantage of high proficiency in a foreign language, essential for anyone seeking a career in an international context and increasingly valuable for the financial sector or media posts.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £9,250
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2024/25 academic year. The UK 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 2024/25 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

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

Additional costs

The department strives to keep additional costs low. Books and journal articles are usually available via the UCL library (hard copies or via e-journal subscriptions).

In addition, please note that if you study abroad during your programme at UCL, this is likely to incur additional costs. Studying abroad may cost between £200–£1,000 per month depending on where you choose to study. The cost of studying abroad can be difficult to predict as it will depend on your priorities and choices. There is more information available on the UCL Study Abroad website.

A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).

Funding your studies

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.


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.

Next steps

Your application

We are seeking applicants who are intellectually very curious, up to date on current affairs and passionate about learning about other countries with different languages and cultures. They appreciate the flexibility of our programmes, and are able to work independently in a demanding, interdisciplinary academic environment.

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.


For further information on UCL's selection process see: How we assess your application.

There are approximately 30 places on the BA International Social and Political Studies programme.

You should state clearly on your UCAS application which language you wish to study as your major language. Further information about the languages offered and their specific requirements can be found on our website.

There is a two-stage selection process for this programme. The first is based on your UCAS application, which we use to select candidates for the second stage, our online Thinking Skills Assessment Test (TSA). A limited number of exceptional candidates may be given an offer on the basis of their UCAS application alone, during the first stage of selection.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.