BA Global Social Challenges / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

The range of expert teaching available is so unique at Manchester.

The lecturers are leading academics which not only means they are enthusiastic about their work, but you know you are really learning from the best. They provide you with support and for me, they really pushed me to achieve higher. When I talk to people from other universities they are shocked when I say that we have learnt how to code in a programme called R and that for my dissertation I am analysing tweets. This just shows that Manchester really offers a wide range of topics and really puts you ahead of others

Hannah Watts / BA Criminology

BA Global Social Challenges is a first-of-its-kind transdisciplinary programme in the School of Social Sciences at The University of Manchester.

The central aim of this programme is to equip students with skills to understand and tackle challenges that result in globally significant harms. Contemporary global challenges include complex issues such as:

  • Social injustice;
  • conflicts and violence;
  • climate change;
  • the migration and displacement of people.
Students on this programme will learn to analyse and approach these challenges using perspectives from across the social sciences, including law, economics, politics, philosophy, sociology and social statistics.

As students progress through the degree, they will learn about and critically analyse the local, national, international and global responses to the pressing challenges societies across the globe face, as well as how these responses create new problems of their own.

By graduation students will have built their own areas of expertise and will have gained the key knowledge, skills and expertise to work across national and international organisations, governmental bodies and the third sector.

Special features

Unparalleled connections

Our School brings together experts from across eight disciplines which influence the topic of Global Social Challenges. Our academics are leaders in their fields and boast strong connections to international institutions, such as the UN, the WTO and the EU, affording our students outstanding insight and connection to the real-world implications of their studies.

Hands-on learning

This course emphasises practical and transferable skills that graduates can apply to their careers. Many of the core units are skills-focused and you will practice the real-life application of your knowledge. There will also be opportunities to learn from sources from beyond academia, such as guest speakers and field trips.

Professional Experience Year Opportunity

You apply in year 1 to boost your employability through a paid Professional Experience Year.

If you meet the criteria, the Professional Experience Team and Careers Service will work with you to find a suitable placement in your 2nd year.

You will then complete your Professional Experience Year in 3rd year extending your degree to four years, before returning to University to finish your final year.

Your degree title will be extended to include 'with Professional Experience', giving you the added advantage of relevant work experience when entering the competitive graduate jobs market.

Study abroad

You can apply to study overseas for a year at one of our partner universities.

You apply in Year 2 to spend a year abroad in Year 3. If successful, you will put together a programme of study at the host university in consultation with your Academic Exchange Advisor, to complement your studies at Manchester.

You will then come back to Manchester to study for a fourth year and graduate with a degree title including ‘with International Study'.

Teaching and learning

You will learn through traditional and participatory methods including:

  • interactive workshops with your peer group on a series of core units each year;
  • lectures and seminars;
  • small group learning;
  • individual tutorials;
  • self-study materials;
  • group collaboration and teamwork. 

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed through methods including:

  • presentations;
  • blog posts / vlogs;
  • podcasts;
  • team projects;
  • essays;
  • coursework;
  • dissertation.

Course content for year 1

In your first year, you will learn about a range of contemporary global challenges and begin to identify social harms created by them. You will consider if, how and why social injustice is a pressing global concern, and you will learn to critically appreciate the obstacles and impediments to social justice.

In addition to the core units/modules available on your degree you will be able to take units from different areas, including from the School of Social Sciences, as well as courses from the University College for Interdisciplinary Learning (UCIL) which includes language courses.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Understanding Social Injustice SOCS10200 20 Mandatory
Current Issues of Social Injustice SOCS10300 20 Mandatory
Research and Academic Skills SOCS10400 20 Mandatory
Global Social Challenges SOCY10461 20 Mandatory
Politics of the Global Economy POLI10502 20 Optional
Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective SOAN10312 10 Optional
Understanding Social Media SOST10012 20 Optional
Leadership in Action Online Unit UCIL20031 10 Optional
Leadership in Action Online Unit UCIL20032 10 Optional
Crisis of Nature: Issues in Environmental History UCIL20092 10 Optional
Are We Alone? The Search for Extraterrestrial Life UCIL20211 10 Optional
Creating a Sustainable World: 21st Century Challenges and the Sustainable Development Goals UCIL20311 10 Optional
From Cholera to COVID-19: A Global History of Epidemics UCIL20331 10 Optional
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: Your Role in Shaping a Fairer World UCIL22302 10 Optional
Digital Society: Your Place in a Networked World UCIL26002 10 Optional
LEAP BSL Part 1 (A1.1) ULBS50001 10 Optional
LEAP BSL Part 1 Semester 2 (A1.1) ULBS50002 10 Optional
LEAP BSL Part 2 (A1) ULBS51002 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 18 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

In the second year, you will begin to specialise and extend the depth of your knowledge, particularly in how global social challenges can be tackled. You will analyse how challenges are governed on national and international scales and will develop understanding into the international obligations people and nations have towards these problems. You will also explore these challenges in relation to case studies of violence and ‘The State’, where an optional field trip to Krakow and Auschwitz-Birkenau will help further illustrate the issues at hand.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Making Sense of Criminological Data CRIM20441 20 Mandatory
Understanding Violence and Social Disorder SOCS22110 20 Mandatory
Current Issues of Violence and Social Disorder SOCS23110 20 Mandatory
Modelling Criminological Data CRIM20452 20 Optional
Applied Philosophy PHIL20032 20 Optional
The Politics of Development POLI20722 20 Optional
Political and Economic Anthropology SOAN20821 20 Optional
Decolonising Sociology SOCY20302 20 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today UCIL31712 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

In your final year, you will build on the interests and areas of expertise that you have developed in year two. You will assess governance problems with global challenges, including the role of civil society and the secondary harms associated with solutions to perceived problems. You will learn to evaluate to what extent harms can be addressed by interventions on levels from the local to the global, and you will apply independent research skills to a final year dissertation project.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Understanding Global Governance SOCS31110 20 Mandatory
Current Issues of Global Governance SOCS32110 20 Mandatory
Drugs and Society CRIM30601 20 Optional
Serious and Organised Crime CRIM30811 20 Optional
Crime Mapping: an introduction to GIS and spatial analysis CRIM31152 20 Optional
Language & Oppression PHIL30811 20 Optional
GSC Short Dissertation SOCS33110 20 Optional
GSC Long Dissertation SOCS34110 40 Optional
Social Thought from the Global South SOCY30501 20 Optional
Theory & Method in Demography SOST30012 20 Optional

Course content for year 4

If you are selected for the Professional Experience opportunity in Year 3, then you will take Year 3 course content in Year 4.

If completing a year abroad, you will take the Year 3 content in Year 4.

Scholarships and bursaries

You can get information and advice on student finance to help you manage your money.

Scholarships and bursaries are available to eligible Home/EU students, including the Manchester Bursary . This bursary is in addition to the government package of maintenance grants.


Students will have access to state-of-the-art facilities. This includes learning environments such as lecture halls and classrooms designed for workshops, software needed to engage with course material, computer clusters for data analysis skills, and library space for use of computers, subject material and relevant skills training. Facilities include the John Rylands Research Library and Institute, one of the best-resourced academic libraries in the UK, and the 24/7 Alan Gilbert Learning Commons where students can study, collaborate, eat and even sleep.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email for more information.