Social Studies

Social Studies is concerned with understanding society. It looks at how contemporary society across the globe functions and the major challenges facing it. Social Studies also includes the processes and outcomes of the welfare of society.

Studying subjects within Social Studies such as Social Work, Social Policy, Sociology, Housing Studies, Social Research and Substance Use, give you an opportunity to have a significant and positive impacts on people’s lives.

Our Social Studies courses are designed to equip our students with the practical and transferable knowledge necessary to meet the complex demands of professional practice.

Social Studies courses

Courses labelled are available for online study only.

Undergraduate courses
CourseStart date
BA (Hons) Criminology and Social PolicyJanuary 2023, September 2023, January 2024
BA (Hons) Criminology and SociologyJanuary 2023, September 2023, January 2024
BA (Hons) Social WorkSeptember 2023
BA (Hons) Sociology and Social PolicyJanuary 2023, September 2023, January 2024
Postgraduate courses
CourseStart date
Doctor of Applied Social ResearchSeptember 2022, January 2023, September 2023, January 2024
MSc Applied Professional StudiesSeptember 2022, January 2023, September 2023, January 2024
MSc Applied Social ResearchSeptember 2022, January 2023, September 2023, January 2024
MSc Disaster Interventions and Humanitarian AidSeptember 2022, September 2023
MSc Global Ageing (Online)September 2023
MSc / PG Dip Housing Studies (part-time)September 2022, September 2023
MSc / PG Dip Housing Studies (with internship)September 2022, September 2023
MSc Social Statistics and Social ResearchSeptember 2022, January 2023, September 2023, January 2024
MSc Social Work StudiesJanuary 2024
MSc Substance Use (Online)September 2022, September 2023
CPD and short courses
CourseStart date
Dementia and the EnvironmentSeptember 2022
Disaster Interventions from Green Social Work Perspectives
Social Dimensions of Disasters
Work and Leadership in the Age of AI


We offer a variety of scholarship and funding options to help you finance your studies at the University of Stirling.

Undergraduate scholarships

See more undergraduate scholarships

Postgraduate scholarships

See more postgraduate scholarships

infographic: 2nd in Scotland

2nd in Scotland

and 3rd in the UK for Social Work

Complete University Guide 2022

infographic: 3rd in Scotland for Sociology

3rd in Scotland for Sociology

Complete University Guide 2023

infographic: Top 5 in Scotland

Top 5 in Scotland

for Social Policy

Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

Graduate careers in Social Studies

Social studies graduates work in the private, public and voluntary sectors. Successful completion of our BA (Hons) Social Work degree or the MSc Social Work Studies allows you to register as a qualified social worker across the UK.

Common areas that social studies graduates enter include:

  • civil servant and government employment
  • police or prison service
  • social work
  • housing
  • voluntary sector
  • human resources
  • intelligence analysis
  • policy advocacy
  • research

Partnerships and industry

Many of our courses are recognised within the industry:

  • Completing our BA (Hons) Social Work or MSc Social Work Studies lets you register with the Scottish Social Services Council
  • Our Housing Studies postgraduate degrees are accredited by the Chartered Institute of Housing
  • MSc Applied Social Research is recognised by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Our Social Work degrees are run in partnership with statutory and non-statutory agencies across Scotland.

Social Studies research

Underlining the expertise of our staff, we scored highly in the recent Research Excellence Framework 2021 – a UK-wide assessment of universities’ research output. In the Social Work and Social Policy unit of assessment, we ranked 3rd in Scotland and top 25 in the UK – with 100% of our research environment and 88% of our research deemed world leading or internationally excellent.

Our academic researchers in Social Studies engage with communications around the globe and their research makes a positive difference to society. Theoretical and applied research is carried out in many different areas including:

  • child welfare and protection
  • housing studies
  • social survey and social statistics
  • public services and governance

Find out more about research in the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Postgraduate research opportunities

Join our dynamic and research-led Faculty of Social Sciences to address key challenges in society. See our Social Studies PhD and Doctorate opportunities in the areas of:

Centre for Child Wellbeing and Protection

A research centre which delivers excellent academic research with children, young people and families.

Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research

Formed in 2017 to take forward the Salvation Army (TSA) Drug and Alcohol Strategy (SDAS).