My favourite things about studying BA Social Sciences
Written by James Duffy, a 3rd year BASS student
Hi! My name is James, and I am a 3rd year student on the Politics and Data Analytics pathway of the BA Social Sciences Programme (BASS). Below I am going to share why I chose to study this programme, why at Manchester and some personal highlights. Before university, I had interned at IBM and I wanted to continue developing the quantitative skills I had been introduced to with my long standing interest in social issues. BASS was the perfect vehicle for doing this! Moreover, the university was especially appealing to me as the only university in the UK with social responsibly as a core goal.
BASS is flexible and allows you to develop an interest in a subject. In first year, there is a required module titled ‘Engaging with Social Research’. This module anchors you in the programme and allows you to sample all the subjects on offer. You are then only required to complete one module from each subject in your pathway and a module outside of your pathway, the rest are free choice! Alternative programmes have less academic freedom, preventing the curation of your own curriculum. In second year, you can reassess your pathway, dropping/changing a subject if necessary and in third year you get to specialise further, deciding which subject to house your dissertation in.
Within Politics I have really enjoyed studying International Political Economy, the relationship between states and markets. I have also taken modules outside of Politics such as Critical Thinking, housed in Philosophy, which have helped me in Politics modules such as Political Theory. The Data Analytics element of my pathway has been especially stimulating, learning about statistical concepts, and applying them to political cases such as the Brexit referendum. The Data Analytics modules in my curriculum have enabled me to acquire quantitative skills despite not having completed maths at A level.
The student life in Manchester is great. Whether you live in Fallowfield, Victoria Park or the City, you’ll find people with similar interests since there are so many students in Manchester. You can also discover new interests through the range of societies/ clubs on offer at the largest student union in the country! The city’s industrial heritage gives it an exciting feel and while walkable there are plenty of places to explore. Through BASS, I was able to study abroad and complete a Q Step summer internship. Anyone on the programme can apply for these opportunities, with only Q step requiring a specific module to be completed in second year (open to all pathways). I was fortunate enough to spend a semester in Amsterdam and the following summer at a sustainable finance firm analysing ESG data.
Overall, my experience of the BASS programme in Manchester been extremely positive. I have acquired a range of experiences and a depth of knowledge. I have also been able to apply the skills I have learnt on the degree in a relevant professional setting. Not only has the programme been an enjoyable experience but I feel it has helped me develop my interests and prepared me to further pursue them upon graduating.