UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Politics, Sociology and East European Studies BA

This degree programme combines training in politics, international relations and sociology with specialist modules on Russia and Eastern Europe. The degree provides graduates with the skills to analyse contemporary issues in European and international politics and society.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2022
UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
26 January 2022
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

No specific subjects. At least two A level subjects should be taken from UCL's list of preferred A level subjects.
English Language at grade B or 6 and Mathematics at grade C or 5.

Contextual offer

BBB (more about contextual offers)
No specific subjects. At least two A level subjects should be taken from UCL's list of preferred A level subjects.
English Language at grade B or 6 and Mathematics at grade C or 5.

IB Diploma

A total of 17 points in three higher level subjects, with no score below 5.

Contextual offer

32 (more about contextual offers)
A total of 15 points in three higher level subjects, with no score lower than 5.

UK applicants qualifications

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

Equivalent qualification

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF) or BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (RQF - teaching from 2016) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction.

Pass in Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 30 credits at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit, all from Level 3 units.

D3,D3,M1in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects

AAB at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and BBB at Higher)

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A levels at grades AAB.

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: 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: Good

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

Degree benefits

  • This is an exciting time to study this continually changing region. Many post-communist states are now part of the European Union but, instead of consolidating democracy, are witnessing the rise of right-wing populism. At the same time, Russia is re-emerging as an assertive power with major international consequences.

  • You will learn about major approaches in social and political science and how to use them to understand social and political change in Russia, the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe.

  • You will be taught by leading experts in the field, all of whom speak one or more of the languages of the region.

  • Our academics are regularly consulted by the media as well as organisations such as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Union.

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).

You will take compulsory modules in politics, sociology and international relations in years one and two, including on the political developments of Russia and other parts of the former USSR as well as Central and South-Eastern Europe.

In your final year you will write a dissertation based on an independent research project. You will choose additional optional modules in politics, sociology, international relations, economics, history and culture, to match your interests.

You have the opportunity to learn Russian or another East European language as part of your degree. As well as making use of our excellent language learning opportunities, you will also have access to the rich foreign language resources of the SSEES Library.

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BA (Hons) in Politics, Sociology and East European 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.

Compulsory module(s)

  • Understanding Politics: The Big Questions in Contemporary Europe
  • Understanding Politics: How Politics Works
  • Understanding Society: Introduction to Political Sociology
  • Understanding Society: Introduction to Social Theory

And at least one of:

  • Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
  • Communist Societies, 1945-1989

Optional modules

You will select 45 credits of optional modules which may include the following:

  • Frontiers of History
  • Introduction to International Relations – Key Concepts
  • Introduction to International Relations - Key Ideas
  • Introduction to Macroeconomics
  • Introduction to Microeconomics

Other optional modules are available in east European languages and culture, history, or Russian. Language module options are available within SSEES or the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE).

Detailed module information

See full details of modules for this programme.

Compulsory module(s)

Two compulsory core courses

  • Comparative Political Analysis 
  • Researching Politics and Society

and at least two compulsory courses chosen from the following:

  • Post-Soviet Politics and Society 
  • Russian Politics and Society 
  • South-East European Politics and Society 
  • Politics and Society in Central and Eastern Europe 

Optional modules

You will select up to 60 credits from a range of additional modules. Options may include:

  • Contemporary Polish Cinema
  • Culture in Eastern Europe: Anthropological Approaches
  • Democracy and Democratization
  • History of European Political Ideas
  • Language Module
  • Migration and Health
  • Political Economy of European Integration
  • Topics in Microeconomics

Other optional modules will be available in east European languages and culture, history or Russian.

Detailed module information

See full details of modules for this programme.

Compulsory module(s)

10,000 word free-standing Dissertation

Optional modules

You will select 90 credits from a wide range of module options. Options may include:

  • Corruption and Governance
  • European Security
  • History of European Political Ideas
  • Baltic Politics and Society
  • Making of Modern Ukraine
  • Parties and Elections in a Global Perspective
  • Soviet and Russian Foreign Policy

Other optional modules will be available in Russian, history, East European languages and culture.

Detailed module information

See full details of modules for this programme.

Your learning

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will be expected to prepare presentations and papers on selected topics for your seminars and tutorials, sometimes as an individual and sometimes as part of a group, followed by class discussion. You will also receive regular written work, including essays, exercises and case study analyses.


You will receive feedback from tutors on both your oral and written work and your presentation skills to help develop your analytical ability in these areas. Your assessment will be based on unseen written examinations, coursework and a supervised final-year dissertation.


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


You will acquire a solid understanding of politics and sociology, specialist knowledge of a region whose changing politics, economics and international relations are rapidly reshaping our understanding of the world, as well as a raft of transferable skills.

Career destinations of previous graduates include government service, international agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), consultancy (economic, political risk, security, marketing), banking, financial services, law, media, teaching and the leisure industry, as well as further study.

SSEES alumni regularly return to meet our current students to talk about their careers and offer advice. Employers seeking experts on our region often approach SSEES to publicise their vacancies.

UCL is committed 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
When it came to my course, I knew I wanted to study at SSEES because it is such a renowned department. I loved doing history in the IB, and I knew politics was something I was fascinated by, and I knew I wanted to work with Eastern Europe since my personal background made me feel so connected with this area of the world. Sophia Greenblat-Tal - Politics, Sociology and East European Studies BA First Year

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2021/22 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 2021/22 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below. Fees for the 2022/23 academic year will be advertised as soon as they are available.

UK students
£9,250 (2021/22)
Overseas students
£23,300 (2021/22)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

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).


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.

Departmental scholarships

Funding opportunities relevant to the department may appear in this section when they are available. Please check carefully or confirm with the programme contact to ensure they apply to this degree programme.

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

We use your qualifications, predicted grades and personal statement to assess your suitability for this programme. Your personal statement should explain your motivation for applying to this programme, what it is that interests you about the study of Russia and Central and Eastern Europe, and provide evidence of an interest in politics or sociology (for example, from background reading).

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: 26 January 2022


On the basis of our assessment of your application we will decide whether to make you an offer. If you are successful, you will be invited to a post-offer open day (if you live in the UK).

The applicant open day will include introductory talks providing more information about SSEES, our language options, our facilities and your chosen degree. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions and take a tour of UCL led by current students.

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

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 5 August 2021