Choosing a course is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make! View our courses and see what our students and lecturers have to say about the courses you are interested in at the links below.
Each year more than 4,000 choose NUI Galway as their University of choice. Find out what life at NUI Galway is all about here.
About NUI Galway
About NUI Galway
Since 1845, NUI Galway has been sharing the highest quality teaching and research with Ireland and the world. Find out what makes our University so special – from our distinguished history to the latest news and campus developments.
Colleges & Schools
Colleges & Schools
NUI Galway has earned international recognition as a research-led university with a commitment to top quality teaching across a range of key areas of expertise.
Research & Innovation
Research & Innovation
NUI Galway’s vibrant research community take on some of the most pressing challenges of our times.
- Business & Industry
- Alumni, Friends & Supporters
At NUI Galway, we believe that the best learning takes place when you apply what you learn in a real world context. That's why many of our courses include work placements or community projects.
Visit here for information on how to apply, entry requirements, career options and assessment.
What Is Political Science and Sociology?
The school of Political Science and Sociology is unique in Ireland for offering two academic disciplines in a fully integrated way.
Political Science is the systematic study of political life, political activity or behaviour, as well as basic political concepts, such as freedom, democracy and equality. It combines elements of history, economics and philosophy but has its own unique approach and style.
Sociology is the study of society, social issues, and social activities or practices. It includes a factual dimension in the collection and critique of social facts and trends, together with a more critical and theoretical literature which reflects on the general nature of society, social order, and social problems.
Both disciplines aim to provide detailed factual information about the nature of social and political life in our societies, but they also try to generate deeper arguments and analysis about why our societies are the way they are, and if they could be improved.
Why Study Political Science and Sociology?
Political Science and Sociology should be a definite subject for any student interested in current affairs and politics. However, many students find it a genuinely engaging and stimulating subject in its own right. It provides an excellent basis for the development of critical thinking, good communication skills, and is appreciated by employers as imparting in students superb awareness of vital social and political trends in society.
Postgraduate programmes include the MA in Politics & Sociology, the MA in Family Support Studies, the MA in Gender, Globalisation and Rights and the MA in Social Work, while the M.Litt. and Ph.D. by research in Political Science and in Sociology are also offered.
What Will I Be Studying?
The undergraduate programme provides an introduction to basic concepts in political science and sociology, Irish society and politics, political sociology, political and social theory, social science research methods and computer skills, European society and politics, public policy, environmental sociology, and development theories and practice. Students are also facilitated in choosing a specialist interest from a range of special topics. The School of Political Science and Sociology offers a genuinely interdisciplinary social sciences education. Students have opportunities during the course of the undergraduate programme.
The First Year programme in Sociological and Political Studies provides an understanding of major political and social developments taking place in Ireland and the wider world. It is a foundation for the study of Sociological and Political Studies in subsequent years while also providing students with the opportunity to acquire knowledge of core ideas in Sociology and Political Science.
Despite the challenges of global diversity and the pervasiveness of conflict, human beings are also disposed to act co-operatively and collectively, seeking solutions to problems. A core theme in sociology and political science concerns how and why societies change, and what alternatives might be possible? This course encourages students to explore the links between sociological and political perspectives in relation to real world issues and puzzles.
Key ideas about social and political processes of power and influence at the level of state, society and individual are introduced. The social and political forces of conformity and conflict, of regulation and resistance are examined. Sociological and political ideas concerning modernity, democracy, freedom, culture, capitalism, identity, diversity, religion and the many problems that beset modern societies, such as crime and deviance, inequality and poverty are introduced. Students will have the opportunity to study how the social and political landscape is formed and transformed, not only in regard to political parties, government and state, but also in terms of gender, race, class and religion in Ireland and elsewhere. The impact of social movements and ideologies in the context of key challenges in the 21st century are also considered, such as cultural pluralism, the politics of climate change, and conflicting conceptions of globalisation. Students critically and practically engage with these and other debates about the personal, political and global challenges of living in modernity and searching for the ’good society’. The course is taught by a wide range of School staff committed to linking research and scholarship to teaching.
The First Year Programme in Sociological and Political Studies will be delivered through a mix of in-person sessions and online learning. In weeks 1 and 11, in-person Introduction and Revision lectures will be held. After in-person introductory lectures in the first week, there will be weekly online lectures and in-person seminars commencing in week 3. Students will be asked to enrol in ONE seminar group of about 20 students (the Seminar Module). Students will be able to choose from about 30 seminar slots across the week to suit their schedule and will stay with the same group for the year. Each group will have a dedicated, seminar leader who will support their learning throughout the semester. The majority of seminar groups will meet in person on a weekly basis commencing Week 3. (Some online seminars are also available.) The lecture modules (SP158/SP159) are examined by MCQs and the seminar modules are examined by continuous assessment. In semester 1, most groups can expect to meet on campus weekly.
The lecture based modules are:
Semester 1: SP158 Introduction to Politics and Sociology (5ECTS)
Semester 2: SP159 Concepts & Practices in Politics & Sociology (5 ECTS)
The seminar based modules are:
Semester 1: SP1118 Practising Sociology and Politics 1 (5 ECTS)
Semester 2: SP1119 Practising Sociology and Politics 2 (5 ECTS)
[for students in BA Joint Honours (1BA1), BA History (1BA11) BA Psychology (1BA7), BA Child, Youth & Family: Policy and Practice (1BYF1) and BSc (Social Sciences) (1BSS1)]
Semester 1 and 2: SP160 Problems in Politics and Sociology (5 ECTS)
[for students in BA Government (1BAG1) and all BA Connect programmes] [for students in BA Government (1BAG1) and all BA Connect programmes]
Academic Year 21-22 - Week One
After registration, students will be able to log on to Blackboard and sign-up to one of the introductory lecture slots below on a first-come basis:
Monday 27th Sept at 10:00
Tuesday 28th Sept at 11:00
Tuesday 28th Sept at 12:00
Wednesday 29th of Sept at 13:00
Thursday 30th of Sept at 11:00
Friday 1st of Oct at 12:00.
What will my timetable look like?
Your main lecture module
Every student registered for sociology and politics will take this module SP158 Introduction to Politics and Sociology. This module is delivered online and is asynchronous which means you can pick the three required hours to study the content. There are no set hours - you decide when it suits you best. This module starts on the 27th of September so look at your timetable now and select the three hours you will dedicate to SP158. It is best to cover the content early in the week.
Your seminar module
Students will also sit a seminar module which is coded SP1118 Practicing Sociology and Politics OR SP160 Problems in Politics and Society. You will meet with a lecturer for 45 minutes each week on campus. There is also limited availability to attend an online seminar if that would suit you better. There are a number of times available for you to pick your preferred seminar time. You will register for your preferred time on Wednesday the 6th of October at 11:00am on your seminar Blackboard page.
CÉIM is your peer learning and mentoring programme. It will help you to succeed in first year. You are automatically assigned to your CÉIM time slot in early October and will be informed by email.
The same will apply in semester two but your module codes will be different.
These are examples of the seminar times, you can select the one that suits you best and register for it on the 6th of October:
So to summarise, you select the three hours you wish to study your SP158 content as you do this online. Then you select one 45 minute session from the times above for your seminar.
First Year Coordinator Contact Details
First Year Co-ordinator
The Second Year programme in Political Science and Sociology builds upon the work on social and political ideas and institutions laid down in First Year. It establishes a core understanding of the traditions of social and political ideas; examines current political developments in Europe and further afield; and explores the methodological approaches and foundations of contemporary political and social science. Students may also this year choose to specialise in either more ‘Political’ or more ‘Sociological’ module choices. See 2BA Handbook 2021-2022 (below) for further details.
For obvious pandemic reasons, and in relation to current Public Health Advice, the School intends to conduct a hybrid learning model with as much in-person, teaching of seminars and lectures as is feasible – supported when necessary by live recorded and asynchronous online Blackboard materials.
In Semester I, all regular Joint-Honours 2BA1 students will take the Core seminar-based module SPSK3101and also choose TWO other modules in Option choice: 1) SP216.I European Politics OR SP235 Social Issues ; and Option choice 2) SP234 International Relations OR SP2116 Sociology of Health.
In Semester II, 2BA1s will take Core seminar-based module SPSK3102 and the Core SP220 Methods module and choose in their third Option choice either SP212 Classical Social Thought OR SP215.II Modern Political Thought.
Other students in the School, both Connect and Major/Minor, should consult the School’s Second Year Handbook (see below) and their own Degree Programme regulations to ascertain their required and possible modular choices.
Second Year Modules
Semester I :
Core: SPSK3101 (various seminar times)
Option Choice 1: SP216.1 (Mon 12-1 and Mon 2-3) or SP235 (Tues 12-1,Wed 12-1)
Option Choice 2: SP234 (Tues 6-7, Wed 6-7) or SP2116 (Tues 2-3, Fri 12-1)
Core SPSK3102 (various seminar times)
Core SP220 (Mon 2-3, Tues 12-1)
Option Choice 3 : either SP212 (Wed 12-1, Fri 12-1) or SP215.II (Wed 12-1, Fri 12-1)
Programme Handbook and Timetables
Second Year Co-ordinator
Room 327, 2nd Floor
Áras Moyola, Central Campus
Tel: +353 (0)91 493075
In the final year of the undergraduate programme, we offer students in the School of Political Science and Sociology four Core Courses and a large number of Option Courses to choose from. 3BA1 (Arts), 4BA4 (International) and 3BSY3 (Youth and Family Studies) students are required to take 2 Core courses and 1 Option course per semester, a total of 6 courses over the year.
The Core Courses contribute to a more in-depth understanding of society and politics in both the Irish and international contexts. By combining theoretical and empirical perspectives on a wide range of issues, students are encouraged to critically evaluate the themes, topics and questions built into each course (i.e. development and change, political and social theory, and public and social policy).
With respect to Option Courses, we offer approximately nine courses per semester, and these courses provide an ideal opportunity to acquire specialist knowledge in a range of subject areas, as well as providing the opportunity for a more active approach to learning than is possible in the large lecture format.
Registration for the Options is available only via Registration's on-line service. For the Option Timetable and module descriptions see the 3rd year student handbook. You must register for one option course only option per semester. Later, in January, you will be afforded an opportunity to register your option choice for the second semester.
More detailed information on courses (including timetables) as well as option registration forms are available in the downloadable final year booklet.
Programme Handbook and Timetable
Final Year Coordinator Contact Details
Final Year Co-ordinator
Room 325, 2nd Floor
Áras Moyola Building, Central Campus
Telephone: 353 (0)91 49 3111