Best universities for social sciences degrees in the UK 2022

Submitted by Joy.Hunter@tim… on Thu, 10/28/2021 - 12:27

The social sciences are fields that explore the relationships between individuals and societies. Subjects under this umbrella include anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, linguistics, politics, psychology and sociology.

In the UK, undergraduate courses tend to be in one subject within the social sciences as opposed to a singular social sciences degree.

However, if you are looking for a broader foundation in the social sciences, there are an increasing number of joint honours and liberal arts courses on offer that allow you to study several social science subjects alongside each other.

Below are the best universities for social sciences in the, UK according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022.

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1. University of Oxford

Perhaps the most famous social sciences degree at the University of Oxford is PPE: philosophy, politics and economics. A significant number of British prime ministers studied PPE at Oxford. Nobel Peace prizewinner and advocate for women’s education Malala Yousafzai also recently graduated from the course.

Aside from PPE, undergraduate courses within the social sciences include geography, archaeology and anthropology, and law and human sciences. There are also a range of research and teaching postgraduate courses in the social sciences that includes history, conservation management, international relations and sociology.

The University of Oxford Social Sciences Division is thought to be one of the world’s largest groupings of social scientists. Research is carried out in areas including aid, poverty and development, conflict, justice, climate change and resource management. Most recently, the university’s Blavatnik School of Government agreed to collaborate with other institutions as part of a £2 million global policy project to address the social impacts of Covid-19.

2. London School of Economics and Political Science

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is located in central London and is one of the world’s leading specialist social science universities. It is particularly well known for its highly international student body, which represents about 140 countries.

There are more than 40 undergraduate degree programmes available across the social sciences. These include courses in anthropology, geography, history, economics and international relations. There are also a range of graduate courses on offer for students seeking to conduct research in these fields.

The university records a monthly podcast that includes discussions with leading social scientists. In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the university released an episode of the podcast called “What’s the point of social science in a pandemic?”, in which experts discuss how social scientists have contributed to overcoming the virus.

3. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge School of the Humanities and Social Sciences is comprised of seven main institutions including history, human, social and political science and history and philosophy of science among others.

The school offers a range social science courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level including human, social and political sciences (HSPS), geography, law, linguistics and many more. In all courses, students are taught different methodologies such as ethnography, quantitative analysis of big data and analysis of material culture and past societies.

4. UCL

Located on its central London campus, UCL’s Social Research Institute specialises in the areas of education, employment, family, gender, health and well-being, migration and inequalities.

At the undergraduate level, UCL offers an interdisciplinary bachelor of social sciences degree for those looking for a broad foundation in the field. Students are taught how to understand and shape future policy and engage with global perspectives. Core modules include sociology, psychology and research methods, but students can choose additional modules that suit their own areas of interest.

At the graduate level, research can be carried out at across any of the institute’s seven sociology centres.

5. University of Manchester

The University of Manchester’s School of Social Sciences offers both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. Courses include criminology, economics, law, philosophy, politics, social anthropology, social statistics and sociology. There are also PhD programmes available.

The university has a number of centres and institutes that facilitate research in the social sciences. These include the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research and the Mitchell Centre for Social Network Analysis.

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Top universities in the UK for social science degrees 2022

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2022 results. 

UK Social Sciences Rank 2022 WUR Social Sciences Rank 2022 University City 
1 1 University of Oxford Oxford
2 7 London School of Economics and Political Science London 
3 8 University of Cambridge Cambridge
4 13 UCL London 
5 28 University of Manchester Manchester
6 =46 University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
7 =55 University of Sussex Brighton
8 70 King’s College London London 
9 =72 University of Essex Essex
10 =75 University of Warwick Warwick
11 79 Loughborough University Loughborough
12 82 University of Leeds Leeds
13 88 University of Sheffield Sheffield
14 99 Lancaster University Lancaster
=15 101–125 University of Bristol Bristol
=15 101–125 Durham University Durham
=15 101–125 University of Exeter Exeter
=15 101–125 Goldsmiths, University of London London 
=15 101–125 SOAS University of London London 
=20 126–150 University of Aberdeen Aberdeen
=20 126–150 University of Birmingham Birmingham
=20 126–150 Cardiff University Cardiff 
=20 126–150 City, University of London London 
=20 126–150 University of East Anglia Norwich
=20 126–150 University of Glasgow Glasgow
=20 126–150 Newcastle University Newcastle
=20 126–150 University of Nottingham Nottingham
=20 126–150 University of Southampton Southampton
=20 126–150 University of York York
=30 151–175 University of Bath Bath
=30 151–175 Birkbeck, University of London London 
=30 151–175 Queen Mary University of London London 
=30 176–200 University of Kent Canterbury
=30 176–200 University of Reading Reading
=30 176–200 University of St Andrews St Andrews
=36 201–250 Aston University Birmingham
=36 201–250 Bournemouth University Bournemouth
=36 201–250 Brunel University London London 
=36 201–250 University of Leicester Leicester
=40 251–300 University of Huddersfield Huddersfield 
=40 251–300 Keele University Keele
=40 251–300 University of Stirling Stirling
=40 251–300 University of the West of England Bristol
=44 301–350 Aberystwyth University Aberystwyth 
=44 301–350 Middlesex University London 
=44 301–350 The Open University Nationwide
=44 301–350 Queen’s University Belfast Belfast
=44 301–350 Royal Holloway, University of London London 
=44 301–350 Swansea University Swansea
=50 351–400 University of Bradford Bradford
=50 351–400 Coventry University Coventry 
=50 351–400 Edinburgh Napier University Edinburgh
=50 351–400 University of Liverpool Liverpool
=50 351–400 Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester
=50 351–400 Nottingham Trent University Nottingham
=50 351–400 University of Strathclyde Glasgow
=50 351–400 University of Westminster London 
=58 401–500 Anglia Ruskin University ARU Cambridge
=58 401–500 Bangor University Bangor
=58 401–500 University of Bedfordshire Luton 
=58 401–500 University of Brighton Brighton
=58 401–500 University of Dundee Dundee
=58 401–500 Glasgow Caledonian University Glasgow
=58 401–500 University of Greenwich London 
=58 401–500 Leeds Beckett University Leeds
=58 401–500 Oxford Brookes University Oxford
=67 501–600 University of Central Lancashire Preston
=67 501–600 De Montfort University Leicester
=67 501–600 University of Derby Derby
=67 501–600 University of Hull Hull
=67 501–600 Kingston University London 
=67 501–600 University of Lincoln Lincoln
=67 501–600 Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool
=67 501–600 Northumbria University Northumbria
=67 501–600 University of Portsmouth Portsmouth
=67 501–600 University of Roehampton London 
=67 501–600 Sheffield Hallam University Sheffield
=67 501–600 University of Wolverhampton Wolverhampton
=79 601–800 Birmingham City University Birmingham
=79 601–800 Canterbury Christ Church University Canterbury
=79 601–800 University of Chester Chester
=79 601–800 University of East London London 
=79 601–800 Edge Hill University Ormskirk
=79 601–800 University of Hertfordshire Hatfield 
=79 601–800 London South Bank University London 
=79 601–800 University of Plymouth Plymouth 
=79 601–800 Robert Gordon University Aberdeen
=79 601–800 University of Salford Salford
=79 601–800 University of South Wales Pontypridd
=79 601–800 Staffordshire University Stoke-on-Trent
=79 601–800 Teesside University


=79 601–800 Ulster University Ulster
=79 601–800 University of the West of Scotland Paisley 

Explore the best universities in the UK for social sciences degrees, using data from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021