What is Sociology?

Have you ever considered why we develop a personal, social, national and cultural identity? and, why do some individuals strive for power, or, why some commit crime or ‘drop-out’ of school or become benefit recipients? 

Many, many more questions and topics are debated in sociology where we use informed evidence (gleaned from research studies, theories, perspectives) to support our reasoning and ideas.

Studying sociology offers insights into social and cultural issues. It helps you develop a multi-perspective and critical approach to understanding issues around culture, identity, religion, crime, childhood and social power.

More than once during the course you’re bound to ask yourself the questions………….

“Why have we developed like this?”

“Poverty, ignorance, crime, injustice ... shouldn’t we have left them in the Stone Age?” 

Sociology is the scientific study of society and human social life. It studies human behaviour in social situations. It focuses on how we organise life together.

Sociology is rigorous and systematic in its approach and its claims are based on sound research evidence from sociological studies, theories and perspectives, instead of relying on opinions and anecdote.

In terms of the history of life on Earth, it’s only yesterday that mankind was living in the caves, and the day before when we were swinging from branch to branch with the other creatures. And yet in what is really the blink of an eye we have developed into a complex society with a wide number of problems and opportunities to live with. And it’s those factors which affect how our species, and the tribes and family groups within it, works on a day to day basis.

Over a fascinating two-year period, you’ll cover a spectrum of subjects which, between them, will help you make sense of the society we live in and understand the culture and identity issues which affect us all.

What will I study? Year 1

In the first year you’ll study two main learning groupings. The first of these is ‘Education with Methods in Context’ and the second grouping includes, ‘Families & households with Research Methods’.

Year 1 will be assessed internally

Year 2 - A Level

To achieve a full A level, you will study additional units and sit 3 papers. The A level units are ‘The Media’ plus ‘Crime and Deviance’. Paper 1 is ‘Education with Theory and Methods in Context’, paper 2 is ‘Families & households’ plus ‘The Media’ and paper 3 is ‘Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods’. All three papers are 2 hours long, with 80 maximum marks and are equally weighted.

Important note

All papers contain a high degree of extended writing in which you will not only have to demonstrate knowledge and understanding but also apply, analyse and evaluate sociological theories, concepts and research methods.

What are the entry qualifications?

XP16 minimum GCSE entry criteria plus a minimum GCSE 5 in English Language. Consideration will also be given on an individual basis, to students who have engaged in the ‘Transition to XP16’ program throughout Y11 and have secured a recommendation from the subject leader.

What qualifications will I get?

For most students this is a two-year, A level single award A*-E grade course

Please note:

You must successfully complete Year 1 before progressing onto Year 2.

What else should I consider?

You do NOT need to have studied GCSE sociology to study this subject at A level.

An additional very important requirement is that you should have very good essay writing and independent research skills which will be required to fulfil the demands of the course.

Why study this course?

A sociological background and understanding will be very useful in any career in which you are dealing with people. It can play a specific part in the training in the caring professions, human resources management, journalism and media production, administration and management, social work, research, teaching and lecturing.

A wide number of other professions are also available for successful sociology graduates such as in law, police, forensic criminology, politics, accountancy, solicitor, nursing, medicine, social work, the probation service, advertising, PR and market research to name but a few!

What skills will I develop?

As well as honing your essay writing and independent research skills, studying sociology helps develop an ability to express an argument clearly and evaluate alternative and competing points of view.


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