Sociology is the study of societal behaviour. Utilising multiple perspectives of inquiry, we examine the various trends and patterns that emerge within society and ask questions regarding the causes of them. Which groups consistently under-achieve in schools and why? How are family patterns in society changing and what are the implications for this? What causes crime and how should we go about preventing it? Sometimes described as the history of today, studying Sociology will change the way you see the world and encourage you to question our roles within it.
Topics in year 1
Education and Research methods
How do we ensure that education improves the lives of everyone? In this topic we examine the main trends of achievement in education across social class, ethnicity and gender, asking questions such as ‘why do girls generally outperform boys in almost all subjects and levels of education? We attempt to understanding internal and external factors that drive these patterns and consider the various social and political solutions to these issues.
Research methods: How do we study societal behaviour? In this topic, we examine some of the main methods used to study and draw conclusions about human behaviour, such as questionnaires, interviews, experimental methods, correlations and secondary sources of data. Coupled together with the education topic, we examine how these methods can be used to study trends in education, from attainment and achievement to teacher labelling and the formation of pupil subcultures.
Family and households: Why are divorce rates increasing? How has the experience of childhood changed over time? In this topic, we examine the changes to family structures and patterns in recent decades and consider the implications for family life. We also look at the role of men and women in relationships and how couples are changing in terms of priorities and lifestyles, as well as demographic trends in families across time.
Topics in year 2
Crime and deviance: Why does crime exist? What are the causes and solutions for criminal behaviour? In this topic, we examine various perspectives on crime and attempt to understand patterns across social class, ethnicity and gender. We also attempt to understand the links to crime and globalisation, focusing on environmental crimes, state crimes and the impact of the media on societal perceptions of criminality.
Media: How much does the media impact our lives? In our fast paced digital world, our sociological understanding of the role of media in shaping our decisions and our perspectives on the world is more important than ever. In this topic, we examine the emergence of the ‘new media’ and the relationship between ownership and control of this institution. We also attempt to understand the various media representations of different demographics in society and the impact of the world through a media lens.
Theory and methods: In this topic we revisit the research methods examined in the first year and place them in a theoretical context. We also examine the main sociological perspectives used to interpret and critically analyse all areas of the course, including Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism, Postmodernism, Interactionalism and others.
Assessment: All topics are assessed across three examinations at the end of the two year course. These exams consist of short answer and extended response questions and require students to demonstrate their knowledge, application, evaluation and analytical understanding of the topics studied.
GCSE English (5 or above, preferably 6) Additional requirements: An open, enquiring mind and an ability to write in a detailed and analytical style. A desire to debate and to examine multiple sides to an argument. A genuine interest in sociology and a willingness to work both independently and within a group.
Careers and Progression in Sociology
The subject is really useful for many careers and courses including – Teaching, Nursing, Law, Politics, Journalism, TV, Drama, Leisure, Sport and Police Management etc. Previous students are currently employed as Solicitors, Police Officers, Social Workers, Teachers and Nurses. It is an academic subject accepted by all Universities, including Oxbridge.
“Taking Sociology was the best decision of my life; before I was closed and ignorant to the world” -Stephen – Alumni student