Social Sciences HNC

UCAS code 143L

What is special about this course?

The Social Sciences HNC will help you to find answers to the bigger questions in our society.

You will examine why it is that some people do not fit in; if democracy works; if young offenders should be imprisoned and what it is that makes people commit acts of terrorism.

If you want to find out what is happening around you: in your home, in your street, in society and in the world, then this is the course for you.

Special features

  • You will gain the skills and knowledge you need for a career working with people and  the community
  • The study of social sciences aims to stimulate your curiosity about the constantly changing world in which we live and to equip you with the capacity to understand and critically analyse it
  • You can study full time or part time to suit your personal and professional circumstances
  • You may be able to progress to the second year of the BA (Hons) Social Sciences on completion of the HNC


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 1 Scottish Higher at grade C or above, preferably including English, History or Modern Studies OR
  • 1 A level at grade D or above, preference for English or History
  • Subjects can also include Sociology or Psychology
  • Prospective students without the standard entry requirements as listed above are encouraged to apply
  • You may be required to attend an interview and may be asked to demonstrate your discursive writing skills

Access routes

  • NC or Access course in a related subject

Year 1 - HNC

Mandatory units are:

  • Social sciences: research and methodology
  • Social sciences: graded unit 1 
  • Psychology A: history and development of psychology
  • Sociology A: introducing sociological concepts and theories
  • Sociology B: application and analysis of sociological theory to sociological topics

Option units may include:

  • Politics A: an introduction to political theory of the state
  • Psychology B: explanation and research of psychological topics
  • Politics B: the UK and Scotland
  • History A: introducing topics within a historical period
  • History B: analysing topics within a historical period
  • Philosophy A: an introduction to political debate
  • Criminology

Option units available may vary depending on study location, for more information contact your chosen campus

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • Part-time (unstructured)
  • Students based at Moray or Perth will learn through a combination of face-to-face lectures and tutorials in the classroom and online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE)
  • Lectures will be by video conference for those enrolled with Argyll College UHI, Lews Castle College UHI and Shetland College UHI
  • You will be assessed continuously throughout your course and will undertake some formal examinations at the end of the course

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year
  • Part-time: 2 years


For students normally domiciled in Scotland or the European Union/EEA (outside of the UK) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2017-182018-19
Full-time per year £1,285 £1,285
Part-time (per HN credit) £86 £86

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland) and with a term time address in Scotland studying this course, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2017-182018-19
Full-time per year £6,510 £6,720
Part-time (per HN credit) £434 £448

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK and EU students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living whilst studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK or European Union and with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND)2017-182018-19
Full-time per year £6,510 £6,720
Part-time (per HN credit)** £434 £448

*There is no part-time study option for Tier 4 sponsored international students.


External scholarships and financial support may be available. Contact your enrolling college for more information.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Your HNC Social Sciences qualification will open up a number of career opportunities in the public, private and voluntary sectors

Can I progress into further study?

You can progress to the second year of the BA (Hons) Social Sciences degree or to one of our range of single and joint honours degrees in history, Scottish history, politics and sociology and criminology.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Social Sciences HNC

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2019

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI). UHI operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.

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