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Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...

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Politics & Society

Ed Zone

These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.

Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.

Employment Opportunities
The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
2 Years
Duration of course
Grades Awarded
In brief... header image

The Politics & Society Leaving Certificate programme is about the social systems within which people act locally, nationally and more widely.

Students who take this course will look at the concepts underpinning contemporary systems of government and the roles of groups such as multinational companies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and intergovernmental bodies, in shaping the world we live in.

Why Study this?header image

Politics & Society is a challenging and rewarding subject.  It will suit any student who is interested in areas such as human rights, equality, diversity, sustainable development, power and democratic decision-making.

If you want to become a more informed and active global citizen then this subject will be of interest to you.

Studying Politics & Society gives students a real insight into people, power and how society works.

Videos & Interviews header image

Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Social Worker - Mary Ita Heffernan
Mary Ita Heffernan, Health Service ExecutiveI decided to do a 3 year degree in Social Science UCC, Cork which was a clear cut route into the area of Social Work. I also decided to undertake this broad degree course as it would provide me with a variety of different options to pursue after completion of my degree especially in the event that I chose a different career path to Social Work as I got older!

I also chose this course as it provided an introduction to a variety of subjects e.g. Social Policy, Psychology, Sociology Philosophy, Law, Economics and other interesting topics pertinent to certain areas of society .eg. homelessness, social issues such as drug use etc.

In second year, I had to choose which subjects I wanted to specialise in for my degree which ultimately meant that the subjects in question would be focused on in more detail rather than in a generalised context.

In my final year of the degree, I was very determined that Social Work was the career I wanted. Hence, I then completed a two year Masters in Social Work in UCC in order to obtain a Professional Qualification as a Social Work Practitioner. I loved this course and felt like I had finally “come into my own”. Again, this course offers an array of subjects (such as Family Law, Psychology, Working with Children and Families, Policies and Legislation governing Social Work Practice etc.) and skill development based classes (e.g. development and use of counselling skills etc.).

Throughout this two year Masters, one is required to complete two student placements in the field of Social Work - one in a voluntary area, the other in a  statutory agency – the student lists their preference in certain areas of Social Work. I worked firstly in a community development project and my second placement was in a child protection agency in a statutory setting on a specialist team working with children and families at risk where a parent(s) is a drug user. 
  go to interview...

Course Overview header image

Politics & Society is a new subject that has been developed for Leaving Certificate. It was introduced on a phased basis, starting with a small number of schools from September 2016.  Politics and Society was first examined in 2018.

The Politics & Society syllabus covers some of the key themes and ideas in the social and political sciences.

As a student on the course, you get to apply these themes and ideas to your school and to the local environment, as well as exploring how they apply in the wider world. For example, through looking at the changes in your own local community over the last few years, you will have an opportunity to discuss whether or not these changes constitute development, and whether or not they are sustainable.

Course Contentheader image

The Politics & Society course consists of 4 main areas covered in topics as follows:

Power and decision-­making:

Topic 1 Power and decision-making in school

Topic 2 Power and decision-making at national and European level

Active citizenship:

Topic 3 Effectively contributing to communities

Topic 4 Rights and responsibilities in communication with others

Human rights and responsibilities:

Topic 5 Human rights and responsibilities in Ireland

Topic 6 Human rights and responsibilities in Europe and the wider world

Globalisation and localisation:

Topic 7 Globalisation and identity

Topic 8 Sustainable development

View Scoilnet Resources for students

Exam Structure header image

Politics & Society can be taken at Ordinary or Higher level.

Assessment is based on the course aims, objectives and learning outcomes. There are two assessment components at each level:

  • A citizenship project report which accounts for 20% of the total marks. 
  • A written examination which accounts for 80% of the final grade 

The citizenship project changes from year to year and is based number of topics* from which students choose one to work on. The citizenship project requires students to research a topic of interest to them and then put their learning into action.

Assessment of the citizenship project is based on your ability to use the knowledge and concepts of Politics and Society to make judgements as to how to be active in communities, and to reflect on and evaluate what you have learned or achieved from being an active participant in civil, social and political life.

The written exam will assess your ability to apply the knowledge and concepts of Politics and Society to make arguments about political and social issues and the skills of analysing and interpreting qualitative and quantitative data on social and political issues. The written examination will be two and a half hours long and will have three sections.

*Topics are based on a brief issued annually by the State Examinations Commission (SEC) - click here.

Career Possibilities header image

Politics & Society is a useful subject to take if you want to study politics or sociology or other courses such as law, anthropology, philosophy, development studies, media studies, and many more.

The skills of critical thinking and active citizenship that you will develop through this subject will be useful to you in any future learning and in your everyday life.

Career Guidance