B.A. (Honours) in Social, Political & Community Studies (for current students)

CAO Code

For current students


NFQ Level 8

No longer accepting applications

Places Available



4 Years

Course Fees

Why Study This Course?

Future Change Maker

Become a future advocate and change maker in social, political, cultural, economic and environmental issues


Internship provides a unique opportunity to experience the work of community and civil society organizations in responding to the needs of communities.

Social Justice Engagement

Opportunity to engage with a diverse range of social justice issues and causes


Please note: the BA (Hons) in Social, Political & Community Studies programme is no longer accepting applications. You may study Politics as a pathway on the B.A. (Hons) in Arts & Humanities.

The BA (Hons) in Social, Political & Community Studies (Major) is a 4-year multidisciplinary programme validated by b-a-Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI). Studying a wide range of exciting topics that underpin this degree programme will develop your understanding and awareness of political, social, ethical and environmental issues. The course includes practical projects, working with different communities, learning skills in community arts and social media, project planning and management, research and critical analysis, reflective practice, strategic thinking, problem solving, mediation and facilitation.

Are you interested in Social Justice?
This programme is ideal for those who are keen to make a difference in society.

    Are you interested in Social Justice and a broader understanding of social and community issues?
    Are you curious about the scope of Human Rights, Social Justice and the role of Community Development in shaping an inclusive society for all?
    Do you question the status quo?

If you are someone that likes to challenge societal injustice and examine the historical and contemporary debates on the distribution of power, this course is for you.

What can you expect to learn?
You will develop invaluable critical analysis skills, research capabilities and skills in information gathering, analysis, reporting and informed decision making under the expert guidance of our lecturers. Graduates will help improve the societies of tomorrow with the ability to look beyond preconceptions, understand the interplay between social forces and politics and equip themselves to drive change.

Small class sizes and enthusiastic lecturers
This is a small interdisciplinary programme where you have regular and close contact with academic staff. Your lecturers are active researchers in their respective fields. They are passionate about the subject matter they teach and bring that enthusiasm to the classroom.

Practical learning
The programme is particularly strong in relation to the opportunities for developing knowledge and skills through working on practical student-led projects with communities and the internship which gives students the opportunity to gain practical experience in an area of work that is of interest to them.

The degree includes practical modules in each Year such as facilitation, advocacy and project planning. There are also specific project and placement modules. In Year 3, you’ll undertaken an Internship which within a Community Development organisation or similar type organisation that addresses inequality and offers sustainable solutions to social issues. This placement takes place 4 days per week in Semester 2 of Year 3.

This programme is delivered over 4 years with mostly mandatory modules, with the option to choose some electives in years 3 and 4.

Year 1

All mandatory modules

Semester 1 Semester 2
  • Communication and People Skills
  • General Ethics: Guiding Rules
  • Introduction to Academic and Digital Skills
  • Community Concepts
  • Introduction to Political Ideology
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Citizenship and Civil Society
  • General Ethics: The Good Life
  • Group Dynamics and Facilitation
  • Approaches to Working with Communities
  • Irish Government and Politics
  • Sociology and Contemporary Society
  • Year 2

    All mandatory modules

    Semester 1 Semester 2
  • Community Arts: Theory and Practice (year long)
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Introduction to Advocacy
  • Introduction to Economic and Social Analysis
  • Community Psychology
  • Community Arts: Theory and Practice (year long)
  • Advocacy Skills in Practice
  • Social Psychology
  • Human Rights: A Philosophical Approach
  • Irish Social Policy
  • Legal Studies
  • Year 3

    All mandatory modules in Semester 1 with the option to choose electives in Semester 2

    Semester 1 Semester 2
  • International Development: From Colonialism to Development
  • Media and Communications 1
  • Research Methods
  • International Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Political Philosophy and Secular Belief Systems
  • Leadership and Management: Theory and Practice
  • Mandatory

  • Internship
  • Political Philosophy: From Enlightenment to Communitarianism
  • Choose Elective Modules

  • International Legal Studies
  • Youth and Community Studies
  • Community Mental Health and Well-being
  • Media and Communications 2
  • Year 4

    All mandatory modules in Semester 1 with the option to choose electives in Semester 2

    Semester 1 Semester 2
  • Dissertation and Seminar (year long)
  • Sustainability and Community Resilience
  • International Development: From Development to Globalisation
  • Mediation, Negotiation and Peacebuilding
  • Social Movements, Activism and Social Change
  • Creativity and Social Media
  • Mandatory

  • Dissertation and Seminar (year long)
  • Religion, Conflict and Peace
  • Project Management and Evaluation
  • Choose Elective Modules

  • International Legal Studies
  • Youth and Community Studies
  • Community Mental Health and Well-being
  • Media and Communications 2
  • With a BA you gain an internationally recognised degree, leading to diverse career opportunities. Through your study you will develop critical analysis skills and research experience, well-honed written and verbal communication skills, and a broad perspective on the world and its various cultures. Our graduates are in demand for their flexible skills, practical outlook and depth of understanding they bring to their roles. Popular career destinations for our graduates include:

    • Service provision
    • Human rights and social justice
    • Communications
    • Rural and urban community development
    • Public or state organisations
    • Research
    • Health and well-being
    • Environmental issues
    • Community and development education
    • Overseas development work.

    Stephanie Hanlon | Policy Development & Education

    I really enjoyed my experience as a student in Carlow College. Staff and students are on a first name basis and can afford to dedicate time to intensive topics, contributing to the overall quality of education. In Carlow College no student is left behind.
    One of the highlights in Carlow College was the lasting friendships I have made. The College has a tight knit alumni and no-one ever truly leaves Carlow College! I left the course feeling passionate about human rights, advocacy and worked with various projects in Ireland and abroad. I was a scholarship student in UCD where I pursued a Master’s Degree in Political Science and started teaching.

    My experience in Carlow College motivated me to take an active role in society. I knew exactly what I wanted to do after my time in Carlow College, which taught me to pursue my passion in challenging inequality in all forms. I currently work in the area of Policy Development & Education: I wear different hats depending on the job! I work in policy development on disability, women’s rights and immigration and I facilitate workshops on Politics and Society for Leaving Cert students.
    There is no such thing as a typical day of work for me! I have been lucky to work on projects that have excited me since I began working; I was the Irish and European No Hate Speech Ambassador; I worked with the Council of Europe to develop policy on gender based hate speech; I was the Director of Elections in Carlow and Kilkenny for the referendum on the 8thAmendment; I was a campaign manager for the Local and European elections in 2019 for Adrienne Wallace who successfully won a seat in Carlow County Council; Working with Epilepsy Ireland to campaign for free travel for people who are not able to drive due to epilepsy and working with residents in direct provision centres in Ireland

    My experience in Carlow College motivated me to take an active role in society. I knew exactly what I wanted to do after my time in Carlow College, which taught me to pursue my passion in challenging inequality in all forms.

    Ciara Connick | 2017 Graduate of the B.A. (Honours) in Social, Political & Community Studies completing a Professional Masters of Education in Primary Education.

    I chose Carlow College because I liked the idea of attending a small college with smaller class sizes as I enjoy interacting with new people. I wanted to be part of a collaborative and welcoming environment. What I enjoyed the most about attending a small college was the idea that you were a name and not a number. The lecturers get to know you on a personal level and as a result are always there to support, guide and encourage you. I was very lucky, I had wonderful lecturers who supported me through my four years. Everybody knew each other and there was always a lovely atmosphere in the college. The staff and students were great!. Carlow College has a strong sense of community and as a Citizenship and Community Studies student, this was hugely important to me.

    I loved my programme, I always wanted to work with people and the course allowed me to work in group settings. Citizenship and Community Studies gives you the opportunity to complete three work placements and therefore gives you the opportunity for hands on experience.
    My course helps me every day in my working life as a student teacher, where I work at the heart of the community. Not only do I support the development of children, I am constantly encouraging the children in my classroom to get actively involved in their local community by participating in community games or community projects. I am a big supporter of citizenship education.

    I remember the Students’ Union telling us on our first day that four years was going to be gone in a flash and to just simply enjoy your time as students. I laughed to myself and thought ‘four years is like a lifetime’ but they were right, four years just slips by and before you know it you’re wearing a cap and gown! Carlow College has provided me with so many opportunities, I was privileged to be nominated and picked to be a student representative for four years in a row. This was an important part of my college experience as I was given the responsibility to represent my class and to ensure that their voices were always heard. I was given the opportunity to meet new people and make lifelong friends.

    Minimum Entry Requirements
    Two grade H5 and four grade H7/O6 including English, Irish or a foreign language. Mathematics is not required.

    Further information on Entry Requirements and application processes available here

    Fees & Grants
    Information on Fees & Grants can be found here

    Student Testimonials

    Course Contact

    Steph Hanlon
    Programme Director
    The lower number is the CAO cut-off and the higher is the highest points achieved by a student who accepted the course in 2022.