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 impact 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.

We are 3rd in Scotland for Sociology and Top 5 in Scotland for Social Policy (Complete University Guide 2023 and Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023).

Social Studies courses

Courses labelled are available for online study only.

Undergraduate courses
CourseStart date
BA (Hons) Criminology and Social PolicySeptember 2024, January 2025
BA (Hons) Criminology and SociologySeptember 2024, January 2025
BA (Hons) Social WorkSeptember 2024
BA (Hons) Sociology and Social PolicySeptember 2024, January 2025
Postgraduate courses
CourseStart date
Doctor of Applied Social ResearchSeptember 2024, January 2025
MSc Applied Professional StudiesSeptember 2024, January 2025
MSc Applied Social ResearchSeptember 2024, January 2025
MSc Gerontology and Global Ageing (Online)September 2024
MSc / PG Dip Housing Studies (part-time)September 2024
MSc / PG Dip Housing Studies (with internship)September 2024
MSc Social Statistics and Social ResearchSeptember 2024, January 2025
MSc Social Work StudiesJanuary 2025
MSc Substance Use (Online)September 2024
PGCert Design for Dementia and AgeingSeptember 2024
CPD and short courses
CourseStart date
Dementia, Space and PlaceSeptember 2024
Huntington’s disease: an enabling approach to supporting families


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

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

Our Social Work degrees are run in partnership with statutory and non-statutory agencies across Scotland. Many of our courses are recognised within the industry:

  • Completing our BA (Hons) Social Work or MSc Social Work Studies allows you to register with the Scottish Social Services Council as a qualified social worker.
  • 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) as meeting the research training guidelines for undertaking a PhD in a social studies field.

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: