Sociology

Staff in the Sociology department are passionate about offering an engaging, contemporary curriculum which the students will enjoy and excel at. We aim to teach the subject in in a variety of ways and where possible include opportunities for learning outside the classroom, for example visits to conferences, exhibitions and museums. In return it is vital that students treat staff and fellow students with respect. This is particularly important due to the sensitive nature of the content of the subject. An interest in society and the inequalities which exist is important for the students to get the most out of their studies, as is a willingness to work hard outside of lessons.


Facilities

  • Specialist teaching classrooms
  • A wide range of reading material
  • Past issues of Sociology Review

A level Sociology

Course details

The purposes of this course are that you:

  • Come to understand how society is currently functioning and how it is changing.
  • Learn new concepts and theories that help you gain a deeper understanding of social life.
  • Test and evaluate the way Sociologists gather their data.
  • Come to be able to understand you own identity, roles and responsibilities within society.
  • Continue to be interested in social issues for the rest of your life.

You will study the following content:

  • Education – different types of schools, how they are run, who underachieves and why, how politics affects schools, students and teachers.
  • Families and households – different types of family, how the family structure is changing and why this is, what impact this is having on individuals and society, what ‘family life’ is like for women, men and children.
  • The Media – developments in new / social media and their impact on our way of life, who owns the media and why this is important, who decides what is ‘news’, what impact the media has on audiences, and how gender, ethnicity, class, age, sexuality and disability are presented in the media.
  • Crime and Deviance – different explanations of why people commit crimes, patterns of gender, ethnicity and class in crime, how crime is presented in the media, social forms of control, prevention and punishment measures, the criminal justice system.
  • Theory – consensus, conflict, structural, social action, interpretivist, feminist and postmodernist theories, questions about the nature of Sociology: is it a science? Should it influence the law? Can it be value-free?
Methods – How sociologists gather their data: which methods and samples they use and how they choose which of these is best.
Link to course specification

Assessment

This A level course is formally assessed at the end of two years with three 2-hour exams.

Enrichment opportunities

Your learning will be enhanced by making use of our recommendation list of powerful documentaries and films, and also by keeping up to date with current affairs and news programmes throughout your course. Through the department you also have the chance to subscribe to ‘Sociology Review’, a quarterly magazine full of cutting edge sociological research. We also organise trips, for example to Criminology Conferences, and have had speakers visit the school, such as magistrates and feminists.

Student quotes

“Sociology was worth studying because it made me more aware of the way society acts and why people believe what they believe. I particularly liked exploring gender and ethnic identities and how status can be used to marginalise others. Sociology has broadened my view by making me question things I see and hear in everyday life. It has also introduced me to many interesting theories and views that I plan on exploring further at university.” 

Progression

The skills and independence you will develop during your Sociology A level are highly valued in both the workplace and higher education. Popular career paths for sociology students include teaching, police, social work, youth work, probation work, marketing, journalism, human resources management and counselling. Nurses and other health professionals often study Sociology as part of their training.

Useful Links