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Sociology BSc(Hons) - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This course looks at the most important issues facing our society today such as political economy, families, poverty, culture, sexual politics, global connections, social exclusion, race, disability, gender and social class divisions, and was ranked 3rd in the UK for Personal Development (source: National Student Survey 2014).

You will study up-to-date sociological theory alongside a wide range of sociological topics, with a strong emphasis on professional opportunities and employability. The various pathways allow you to develop your interests and career aspirations, though you can select any combination of options. You will also have the opportunity to gain valuable experience through a work placement and/or study abroad.

We recommend that you take advantage of a practical placement module, which can be undertaken at a range of employers during your second year.

The wide variety of optional modules will allow you to tailor the course to your particular interests and career aspirations. There are four broad pathways but it is not essential to stick rigidly to them. The pathways are: Health and the Social Body; Gender and Culture; Crime and Justice; Family and Identities.

In every module you will be taught by lecturers who are actively engaged in current research in many specialist areas. The course is closely connected to current priorities in the world of social research. 

Course content

This course offers core modules in cutting edge contemporary social theory and empirically based research skills.  Along with this we will provide an in-depth preparation for professional futures.  We offer a challenging, interesting and employability focussed programme in Sociology.

A key aim of our programme is to accentuate the scientific skill base and increase the employability of our students studying Sociology at the University of Sunderland.

Year 1 (national level 4)

  • Introduction to Sociological Theories (20 Credits)
  • Social Problems (20 Credits)
  • Applied Qualitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences (20 Credits)
  • Inequality, Diversity and Society (20 Credits)

Optional modules (choose two):

  • Introduction to Criminology (20 Credits)
  • Introduction to the Criminal Justice System (20 Credits)
  • Crime, Surveillance and Social Control (20 Credits)
  • Dimensions of Health (20 Credits)
  • Introduction to Politics: Democracy and Tyranny (20 Credits)
  • Industry, Economy and Society, 1750-1970: Economic and Industrial Development in Britain (20 Credits)
  • British Politics since 1945 (20 Credits)
  • English for Academic Purposes (20 Credits)

Year 2 (national level 5)

  • Social Theory of Industrial Society (20 Credits)
  • Applied Quantitative Research Methods in the Social Sciences (20 Credits)
  • Contemporary Issues in Social Policy (20 Credits)

Recommended optional modules (choose one):

  • Practical Application in Sociology (20 Credits)
  • Sociology Workplace Evaluation Portfolio (20 Credits)

Optional modules (choose two):

1. Health and the Social Body

  • Health Improvement and Healthy Lifestyles (20 Credits)
  • Lifecourse Approaches to Health, Wellbeing and Ageing (20 Credits)
  • Medicalisation, Normality and the Body (20 Credits)

2. Gender and Culture

  • Sex, Families and the Construction of Personal Lives (20 Credits)
  • Gender, Diversity and Society (20 Credits)
  • Globalisation, Health and Social Care (20 Credits)

3. Crime and Justice

  • Theoretical Issues in Criminology (20 Credits)
  • Youth, Crime and Criminology (20 Credits)
  • Offender Management in Criminal Justice (20 Credits)
  • Coercion, Constraint and Consent (20 Credits)

4. Family and Identities

  • Sex, Families and the Construction of Personal Lives (20 Credits)
  • Gender, Diversity and Society (20 Credits)
  • Life Course Approaches to the Health of Children, Young People and Families (20 Credits)
  • Working together to Safeguard Vulnerable Children, Young People and Adults (20 Credits)

5. If your interests are in History and Politics we also have the following modules:

  • British Politics and Government (20 Credits)
  • European Political Ideas (20 Credits)
  • Continuing Independent Study in Higher Education (20 Credits)

Final Year (national level 6)

  • Advanced Social Theories (20 credits)
  • Sociological Dissertation (40 Credits)

Optional modules (choose three):

1. Health and the Social Body

  • Substance Use and Society (20 Credits)
  • Lifecourse Approaches to Health, Wellbeing and Ageing (20 Credits)
  • The Clinical Gaze: Medicine, Disability and Confinement (20 Credits)

2. Gender and Culture

  • ‘Race’, Racialisation and the Criminal Justice System (20 Credits)
  • Youth, Gender and Identities (including study of contemporary films and movies) (20 Credits)
  • Gender, Sexuality and Identity (20 Credits)
  • Violence, Gender and Society (20 Credits)

3. Crime and Justice

  • Understanding Youth Justice in the UK (20 Credits)
  • ‘Race’, Racialisation and the Criminal Justice System (20 Credits)
  • Re-Imagining Crime and Criminology (20 Credits)
  • Punishment and Society (20 Credits)
  • Violence, Gender and Society (20 Credits)

4. Family and Identities

  • Lifecourse Approaches to Health, Wellbeing and Ageing (20 Credits)
  • Gender, Sexuality and Identity (20 Credits)


  • Continuing Independent Study in Higher Education (20 Credits)

Part-time study

Part-time students study the same course as full-time students, just over a longer period of time. If you study this course on a part-time basis you will typically complete 40-80 credits in a year, rather than the 120 credits of full-time students. All modules are taught during the day time and you will be studying alongside full-time students.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, group work, workshops and e-learning. We encourage you to develop independent study skills. You will also have opportunities to present ideas to other students and develop concepts within groups.

As well as assessments that count towards your degree, there are also on-going assessments for feedback and consolidating your learning. Assessment methods include written coursework, projects, presentations and exams.

To find out more about modules, credits and how you will be assessed, please see how courses are taught. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Key Information Sets

All UK universities and colleges display Key Information Sets (KIS) on their undergraduate courses. The KIS gives you a quick overview of some standard information about a course, and has a link to more detailed information on Unistats.

Facilities & location

Course location

The course is based at the Priestman Building on City Campus, just a few minutes from the main Murray Library and close to Sunderland city centre. Thanks to a major renovation programme, the Priestman Building provides state-of-the-art teaching space and resources as part of a vibrant and outward-looking learning environment.

Software and technology

The University has invested in specialist software packages that facilitate rigorous social science. They include NVivo, which allows deep levels of analysis of large volumes of data, and SPSS for surveys and data mining.

University Library Services

We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on social science topics, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

Some of the most important sources for your course include:

  • JSTOR (short for ‘Journal Storage’), which provides access to important journals across the humanities, social sciences and sciences
  • Project Muse, which provides over 180 full-text humanities and social sciences journals
  • SocINDEX with full-text articles, which is probably the world's most comprehensive and highest-quality sociology research database
  • Archival Sound Recordings with over 12,000 hours of recordings
  • Lexis, which provides access to legal information as well as full-text newspaper articles

IT provision

When it comes to IT provision you can take your pick from hundreds of PCs as well as Apple Macs in The David Goldman Informatics Centre and St Peter’s Library. There are also free WiFi zones throughout the campus. If you have any problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team.


Priestman Building

City Campus, Green Terrace, Sunderland, SR1 3PZ

Entry requirements


Our typical offer is 120 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award). Read more on the new UCAS Tariff point system for 2017.


Our typical offer is 300 points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (for example 1 x AVCE double award).

We accept a maximum of 20 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number.

If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.

Other acceptable qualifications

BTEC National: 300 points from a BTEC Certificate or Diploma.

Access Courses: We would require successful completion of an Access to Higher Education course that is accredited by the Quality Assurance Agency. We would also require a minimum of grade C in GCSE in Mathematics and English Language or the equivalent as part of your course.

Scottish Highers: Our typical offer is for 300 points.

Irish Leaving Certificate: Our typical offer is for 300 points.

International qualifications: Please call the Student Helpline for advice on other acceptable qualifications. The number from outside the UK is +44 191 515 3000.

Any other qualifications: If you have any other qualifications not listed here, you may still be eligible. Please contact the Student Helpline for advice: 0191 515 3000.

Returners to Learning: If you are a mature student, you may benefit from our dedicated Returners to Learning Progression Scheme. For further information email or call the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

If you wish to be considered for direct entry to a different year of a course, please contact the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

The annual fee is:

  • £8,750 if you are from the UK
  • £10,500 if you are from outside the UK

Part-time fees

Tuition fees for part-time students are £4,500 per 120 Credits.

Please note that this part-time course is not available to International students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Finance section of this website for more information.

Employment & careers

We offer work placement opportunities through a placement module or an alternative work placement portfolio module.

Possible destinations for graduates from this course include civil service departments, local government, non-government organisations, international institutions, industry, commerce and further education. The course can also lead on to more advanced studies at Masters or PhD levels.


Employability is embedded throughout the course and we offer specialist pathways in Crime and Justice, Gender and Culture, Health and Family Studies, which are designed to maximise employability planning and opportunities. In particular, the ‘Research Methods’ modules provide you with valuable transferable skills. There is plenty of scope for developing effective approaches to group-working and for demonstrating personal initiative (particularly with the dissertation).

To further enhance employability, we arrange workshops in conjunction with the Careers and Employability Service that focus on possible careers for sociology students. We also integrate work placement and internship opportunities within the course. Intern opportunities are advertised throughout the year.

University Language Scheme 

It is usually possible to take a module from the free University Language Scheme. This can be studied on top of your 120 credits or in some cases, can earn credits towards your degree.

Language skills increase your international mobility and you can choose between French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic at a range of levels. If your first language is not English, please check with your tutor about entry requirements.

Staff and students talk about the benefits of the University Language Scheme:

Study Abroad 

It may be possible to switch your studies to another country for one or two semesters during the second year. You can choose from over 150 universities in 20 countries, either English-speaking (such as Australia, Canada and the USA) or non English-speaking (such as Argentina, Brazil and Japan). This gives you an opportunity to get an international perspective on the issues that you are studying.


The University of Sunderland is committed to ensuring that every student has an impressive range of opportunities to enhance their CV and gain valuable experience:

  • Work placements
  • Graduate internships
  • Studying abroad
  • Student Ambassador Scheme
  • Mentoring
  • Starting your own business
  • Student jobs and volunteering
  • Careers advice

For full details, please see our Employability page.

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751


Support for your learning

You can expect stimulating contact time that includes lectures, seminars and practical activities. There is also non-contact time when you will be studying on your own. If you have any particular problems with certain assignments, it’s usually possible to arrange one-to-one surgeries with tutors.

From the start of the course you will be allocated a Personal Tutor. You’ll meet your Tutor at agreed times throughout each year of the course. Personal Tutors encourage your personal development and are a useful point of contact for any queries about your course, extracurricular activities and issues where they can point you towards specialist services at the University. These include student counselling, financial advice and chaplaincy support.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers and Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of these are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It’s all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

"We help you develop a wide range of transferable skills that will enhance your future employability and prepare you for future professional roles."

Sheila Quaid - Academic

Dr Sheila Quaid - Academic

Programme Leader

"Sociology at the University of Sunderland is for students who aspire to make a difference in the world. The course will broaden your understanding of the biggest issues facing society today, including social exclusion, race, disability, gender and social class divisions. The course explores the enormous social transformations occurring throughout the world, the changing relationships between individuals and the values and ideals within our own lives. What you will discover is that sociology allows for critical thinking in ways that other academic subjects cannot match.

"The core of the course is focused on the principles and practice of social theory and social research. Broad pathways are: Gender and Culture, Health and the Social Body, Family and Identity and Crime and Justice.

"Staff at Sunderland are actively engaged within many specialist fields of study, which is reflected in the variation of modules available, and which enables you to study the areas of sociology that are of most relevance to you and your aspirations. We are all members of the Centre for Applied Social Sciences research centre which students are encouraged to join and can follow on twitter @CASS180661. We help you develop a wide range of transferable skills that will enhance your future employability and prepare you for future professional roles. Our graduates have gone on to have successful careers in media, management, teaching, industry and education amongst others."

NSS Specific Programme Survey Results 2013:


Overall Satisfaction 100% 
Teaching on my Course 97% 
Assessment and Feedback 87%
Academic Support 80%
Organisation and Management 98%
Personal Development 91%

"My student life at the University was balanced well with academic work and socialising."

Jess Lunn - Graduate Sociology L300

Jess Lunn


"Studying Sociology taught me a deep understanding of social issues happening in today’s society. During my 3 years I was able to gain knowledge about social relationships such as gender, race, class, sexualities and so on.

"Studying this subject at the University of Sunderland helped me enormously by developing the skills I needed to progress on to achieving my goal graduation grade. The sociology lecturers are excellent with providing their knowledge and skills to help you with any worries and encourage you to read all the relevant literature.

"My student life at the University was balanced well with academic work and socialising. I am currently looking into furthering my education and will hopefully complete a master’s degree in Sociology."

"The University of Sunderland not only helped me change my life but enabled me to begin my career."

Eve Harrison - Graduate L300 and M930

Eve Harrison - Graduate

Turning Point

"Studying Criminology and Sociology certainly paved the way for me into a career in social care.

"It gave me the confidence and theory I needed, including a module on substance misuse, to carry out the work I do now.

"On the practical side, my voluntary work as a Special Constable and a Youth Worker provided me with priceless insights into the real grass-roots.

"I can honestly say that the University of Sunderland not only helped me change my life but enabled me to begin my career at Turning Point, and I'm now helping change the lives of others."

"Modules within the sociology specification teach you to be objective, whilst giving you the radical realisation that all may not be as it seems."

Summer Broadhurst BA Sociology Case Study

Summer Broadhurst


"Sociology gives you a whole new outlook on life, makes you question what most take for granted as normal behaviour.

"Modules within the sociology specification teach you to be objective, whilst giving you the radical realisation that all may not be as it seems.

"The staff are friendly and passionate about what they do and they make learning fun."

"Combined Subjects gives you the flexibility to really tailor your degree to your interests."

Justine Short - Sociology

Justine Short


"Combined Subjects gives you the flexibility to really tailor your degree to your interests. I have found that my chosen subjects of English and Sociology have gelled well together which has ultimately enhanced my knowledge and understanding in each of my modules. I have found the support of my teachers across each of the three years to be incredibly helpful and the prompt and efficient feedback useful in my academic development.

"Sociology offers such a strong basis on entering the big world of employment, you can pretty do anything with a Sociology degree and it’s a fascinating area of research. In September I will be doing a Masters in Special Educational Needs and Inclusion at the University of Sunderland and furthering this I will be completing a Teacher Training Programme, so eventually I will become a Special Needs Teacher. What I also want to do in my spare time is to become an academic writer in Sociology, possibly directing towards Disability. I’ve enjoyed my experience, not only being a student at Sunderland University but studying Sociology that I want to continue delving into what Sociology has to offer."

"The lectures are really interesting, there's so much to learn."

Claire Moffatt - Student Sociology case study L300

Claire Moffatt


"There are so many good things about this university.

The lectures are really interesting, there's so much to learn academically and socially.

Sunderland is an amazing vibrant city. I love it!"

Apply for this course

Interested in this course? Apply straight away through UCAS, or read our 7-step guide to applying to university.

Part-time study: if you want to study this course on a part-time basis, you need to apply directly to the University of Sunderland by downloading the part-time application form (.pdf).

Want to know more about this course or the University of Sunderland? Order a prospectus or come to our next Open Day to see the facilities and talk to academic staff:

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Saturday 12th November 2016
  • Time: 9:30am-4:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's

Contact Sunderland

Programme Leader: 
Dr Donna Peacock

Contact the recruitment team for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Recruitment Team
Telephone: 0191 515 3000 

The details

Course Name Sociology
Classification BSc (Hons)
Course Mode Full-time/Part-time
Course Level Undergraduate
Duration 3 years
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 19 September 2016
UK/EU Fee £8,750
Intl Fee £See entry requirements page

Entry requirements

2016 entry: 300 points

2017 entry: 120 points

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