Understanding Society: A Pathway to Further Study

The course will focus on the question: How does our society work?

About the course

This course has been suspended but it will be back running in the 2021/22 academic year.

 You do not need to have any prior qualifications to apply. The most important thing is to explain in your personal statement (in the Understanding Society application pack (Office document, 1,953kB)) why you would like to study on the course. The course will be led by Emily Moreton, with contributions from a range of subject experts and advice and support on applying for further study at Bristol or elsewhere.

What it’s all about?

What issues do we face in today’s society? What works and what doesn’t? And what can we do about the things that don’t work? This is an interactive course, covering a wide range of topics, from social inequalities to democracy; from the justice system to protests; from the environment to what it really means to be part of society.

We'll draw on your experiences, along with journalism, social media, academic research, and a wide range of other sources to set the agenda for our debate and discussion. There will also be opportunities to develop your study skills – including note-taking, essay writing and taking part in discussion.

How to apply

The Understanding Society application pack (Office document, 1,953kB) contains all the information you need in order to apply. Please complete and sign the application form and email it back to understanding-society@bristol.ac.uk. Alternatively, you can post this application to the address printed at the end of the application.

If you have any questions about the contents of the pack or about applying, please get in touch with us using the same email address.

What happens after the course?

There may be various routes into further study beyond this course and we will offer advice and support on the options. Two options at Bristol University may be especially relevant:

  • If you feel confident about starting a degree straight away, you can apply for one of the undergraduate courses in School for Policy Studies.
  • If you feel like you need a bit more preparation before starting an undergraduate degree, you can apply for the Foundation Year In Arts and Humanities, a way into university for people without formal qualifications.

The course tutor and course director will advise you on your options, and support your application to any of these programmes. You can find out more about mature students at Bristol University here: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/mature/

How much does it cost?

The enrolment fee for this course is £350. However, we have a number of bursaries available to help students who may be unable to pay the course fee in full. If you apply for a bursary, you will be asked to complete a short form which will be assessed by the Student Funding Office.


For more information, please download the Understanding Society application pack (Office document, 1,953kB) for entry in September 2021.


For further information, please email understanding-society@bristol.ac.uk.

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