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Faculty of Social Sciences


Introducing the six departments that make up the Faculty of Social Sciences

In the Faculty of Social Sciences there are six main subject areas: Economics, Geography, Politics and International Studies, Psychology, Social Policy and Criminology and Sociology. There are courses to introduce you to the core ideas of each department and there are a range of more interdisciplinary courses; on crime, cities, the environment, international relations, the media, business economics and others. Some courses are subject specific; others are more broad-ranging, looking at key social issues from a variety of angles and perspectives.

The Faculty of Social Sciences also has a thriving research culture and is engaged in world-class, agenda setting research in fields such as human geography, culture, citizenship, identities, governance, criminology and international development and innovation. We are committed to the enhancement and development of this culture as a priority in our mission. Our research is supported by 3 University Centres of Research Excellence, an ESRC Research Centre and Programme as well as by these 6 academic departments.

The Department of Economics is rated highest for overall student satisfaction of all economics departments in the U.K. (National Student Survey, 2005-2006); ranked excellent for quality of teaching by the Quality Assurance Agency; the only economics department in the UK to have four female professors.

The Department of Geography at The Open University has a record of producing innovative research and teaching in both human and environmental geography.

Politics & International Studies

The Department of Politics & International Studies at The Open University is committed to an open and innovative agenda for politics courses, which have a strong interdisciplinary flavour.

The Department of Psychology in the Faculty of Social Sciences runs courses which form part of a number of Open University awards. It has an active research programme including research students studying for PhDs, and staff are members of three large university research centres.
Social Policy
Over the last decade the Department of Social Policy & Criminology has developed as a site of distinctive expertise and innovation in the study of criminology and social policy.

The Department of Sociology is widely known for its innovative approach to both teaching and research. Its activities in both areas are characterized by a strong interest in the relationships between culture and society, and in the practical relevance of sociology.