University of Sydney Handbooks - 2013 Archive

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Political Economic and Social Sciences

The Political Economic and Social Sciences program is based in the School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS).

Program structure and content
The Bachelor of Political Economic and Social Sciences degree is three years full time; or four years (for the honours degree). Its central focus is on the study of political, economic and social issues. The program combines in-depth analysis with a broad multi-disciplinary approach to important contemporary political, economic and social problems and policies.

Understanding the interactions between economic, social and political processes is crucial for graduates' success in a range of professional fields. In recognition of the range of career paths that students may wish to follow, this degree provides flexibility to specialise in one aspect of the social sciences – economic, social or political – while ensuring a broad-based education across the whole field.

In first year you study three core subject areas: government and international relations, political economy and sociology or anthropology. A fourth subject area is of your own choosing: for example, it could be a humanities subject such as history, philosophy, English or a language; or it could be a subject such as economics, industrial relations, geography or psychology. In second year you continue to deepen your studies in three core social science areas (government and international relations, political economy, and sociology or anthropology) and take other electives according to your own interests. In third year you complete your major (selected from one of those core social sciences areas) and the other requirements for the degree.

These studies provide a strong foundation for future employment or entry to a range of postgraduate programs. Particular areas with strong employment prospects include government and the public service, management, non-government organisations, finance, research, consultancy and current affairs journalism.

Requirements for a major
A major is to be chosen (after you have sampled these subjects in your first year of study) from one of the following:

  • Government and International Relations
  • Political Economy
  • Sociology
  • Anthropology.

You must also do a minimum of 4 units of study (2 junior units, 2 senior units) in each of Government and International Relations, Political Economy and either Sociology or Anthropology. Given that you will be doing a major in one of these four areas, this supplementary requirement means that you must also have a solid foundation of study in two of the other subject areas. This constitutes the basis for a balanced, multidisciplinary social sciences education.

A second major or elective units of study can be chosen from any available Table A or Table B subject area, provided there is room in your degree structure.

An honours degree may be undertaken in any of the departments listed under the compulsory major. The opportunity to stay on for this further year of honours study is available to students who have successfully completed the pass degree and the honours prerequisites at a standard determined by the relevant department. The honours year involves coursework and writing a thesis on a topic of your own choosing, in consultation with, and under the supervision of, the academic staff.

Contact/further information
Degree Director: Dr Joy Paton
Room 461 Merewether Building H04
Phone: +61 2 9351 6616