I am a second-year BASS Sociology and Criminology student at the University of Manchester, and I chose this degree to gather a broad, interdisciplinary insight into society’s structure, how human behaviours shape who we are, norms and values, and on a much bigger scale, the institutions and global organisations that shape everyday life. I am fascinated with the social reasons behind human behaviour, particularly criminal behaviour, and the differing answers behind the complexities of society.

Each year in BASS revolves around 120 credits, and these can be split 60/60 or 70/50 over the two semesters. First-year BASS requires you to take the compulsory modules ‘Engaging with Social Research’ and ‘Contemporary Social Thought’, which offer a broad introductory insight into social studies, drawing from criminology, social anthropology, politics, and philosophy. You will spend the remaining 80 credits between your two pathways or another module from a differing subject within the university. The modules are taught in different ways, all with a 2-hour lecture and 1-hour seminar per week, each with varying assessment styles, such as essays, portfolios, and even using your knowledge to assess case studies in a final assessment. The seminars will discuss the previous lectures’ teachings and allow you to discuss abstract concepts and ideas that you find fascinating or may be struggling to understand with peers.

Second-year BASS follows a similar structure, with your compulsory module being one core methodology unit from one of your chosen pathways, of which I chose ‘Making Sense of Criminological Data’, which initially I was quite nervous about as maths isn’t my strong point. However, the module is incredibly interesting and is taught step-by-step. It involves using Excel and NVivo, a software used to analyse qualitative data such as interviews and is assessed via a final portfolio and weekly quizzes. 

Additionally, one of my favourite modules so far in my BASS degree has been ‘Psychology, Crime, and Criminal’, in which, week by week is a different possible reason behind criminal behaviour and why an offender commits crime. Some examples include hereditary cognitive factors, lifespan development, and situational factors. It was so interesting to learn the possible reasons that explain contextual criminal behaviours, and I additionally liked that the assessment was a summary of everything I had learned, each in 300-word paragraphs per subject

My advice for offer holders is not to be deterred by doing a joint pathway degree, as this does not mean double the week as many people have previously asked. You do the same amount of work as someone doing solely sociology, but your work is split between your two pathways, allowing you the flexibility to ‘make-your-degree’ with as much sociology or as much Criminology/Politics/etc as you’d like! 

Additionally, one of the fantastic things about the University of Manchester is how many societies there are, with over 400 available to join! One good example is the BASS Society, which holds weekly events to go to, such as bingo, arts and crafts, and just general socials that allow you to meet people on similar paths. Additionally, there is the Foundation Year Society, which allows Foundation Year students to make friends with other similar students who may be feeling nervous. Additionally, there are so many cafes, bars, shops, pubs, and clubs around the university that there’s always something to do! The University of Manchester is one of the best places to be a student.

Written by Daisy Craven, second year BASS student.