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Course starts: 19 September 2022Apply now
Sociology is the scientific study of human social relationships and institutions. It is a diverse area of study, and includes, crime, religion, the family, the state, education, globalisation, health, welfare, and poverty. Its focus is to consider how social structures interact with individual choice, the divisions which can undermine social stability and the shared beliefs which create the basis for common culture.
This course looks at the most important issues facing our society today including; poverty, culture, immigration, families, global connections, social exclusion, race, disability, gender, sexuality, politics and policy, and social class divisions. You will cover topical and dynamic content, reflecting current social issues. The emphasis is on careful gathering and analysis of evidence to broaden our understanding of key social processes.
You will graduate capable of working in a range of employment settings due to the transferable skills, broad knowledge base and critical awareness that studying Sociology provides.
A typical week will include lectures, seminars, workshops, group work, and computer-based learning. Your progress will be assessed with written coursework, projects, debates, portfolios, presentations, digital media and exams.
Throughout the degree, you'll have one-to-one support from academic staff to help you get the best out of your assignments.
In addition to a broad range of sociology modules, you can choose from options in Criminology, Health and Social Care, Media, History, and Politics.
Skills for Sociologists programme
At level four, you will take part in a unique weekly development programme, designed to support you in your academic career. This will give you the confidence to succeed in your degree. You will access a wide range of other support services across the University. You will develop your skills in academic referencing, essay planning, writing skills, and presentation skills. There is a strong emphasis on professional opportunities and employability.
The Social Sciences and Law Integrated Foundation Year includes five modules:
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
Develop an understanding of the key thinkers, concepts, and arguments that underpin both sociological theory and practice. Explore the foundational ideas that have shaped how we understand the social world and become familiar with how concepts, theories, and perspectives are operationalised in sociological literature and research. Gain an in-depth understanding and working-knowledge of how society works both today and in the past, as well as some of the conceptual tools sociologists have developed to know, talk about, and attempt to shape the social world.
Engage in learning about the importance of being a ‘reflective practitioner’ and how this relates to working effectively within public and voluntary sectors. Learn how thinking critically about our early experiences within the ‘family’ and education shape our identity. Gain insight by examining issues relating to ‘race’, gender and class, to reveal social problems communities face. Develop an understanding of core concepts that inform practice such as ‘participation’, ‘empowerment’ and ‘citizenship,’ to address issues relating to exclusion, marginalisation and inequality. Gain transferable skills by engaging in a community investigation, utilising qualitative and qualitative research methods. Develop essential skills to work with communities that enables individuals to navigate the social, political and structural contexts that shape their everyday lives.
Develop a critical understanding of theoretical frameworks that will enable you to conduct research into social inequalities. Conduct research into the experiences and impact of inequality upon specific groups/individuals such as, men, women, children and young people, Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) and LGBTQ+ groups. Understanding how inequalities intersect is essential for those working in forward facing professions such as public services and charities. Produce a professional portfolio during workshops, that will enhance your core skills in communication, problem solving, critical thinking, analysing information and teamwork that are transferable to the world of work.
Develop an understanding of social policy, political responses to social issues and policy making processes. Learn to identify the aims, impact, limitations and challenges of social policy in the UK. Discover connection between the state and private, public and third sectors that deliver services. Develop research skills to evidence how social policy affects different parts of society, policy decision making process and who receives welfare provision. Gain confidence in investigating a social policy that interests you or relates to the career you wish to pursue such as education, housing, criminal justice, working with marginalised groups or health and social care. Develop transferable knowledge and competences essential to careers in politics, local or national government, public services, policy research or further study.
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
Build on your previous knowledge of social theory and develop a critical understanding of some of the most influential ideas that helped shape modern industrial society and formed the foundations of our understanding of today’s society. Consolidate prior learning around key sociological concepts, and learn to engage with, compare, and evaluate modern social theories. Develop specialist knowledge of social theory, build on your comprehension, independent and group learning skills, as well as enhancing your abilities to locate, recognise, use, and evaluate classical and contemporary academic sources to construct verbal and written arguments.
Explore human rights agendas and global policies and practice. Focus on gender as a policy priority for many international organisations and as a theoretical frame for the consideration of human rights abuses. Study topics such as human trafficking, international reproductive politics, gender based violence, human sexuality, divisions of labour, refugee crises and health. Investigate global issues and rights, identities and freedoms and study critical and theoretical approaches to sex, intimacy and reproduction as well as historical and feminist perspectives.
Is religion and belief a source of social glue or social conflict? Learn the knowledge needed to critically examine the role of religion and belief in the UK and globally. Gain skills of analysis as you explore fascinating case studies, such as, religious ‘cults’ and New Religious Movements, human rights abuses under the name of religion and complex debates around gender and sexuality. Finish the module with a robust understanding of the nature of religion and belief and whether or not it deepens inequality and maintains the social order, or whether it can lead to dramatic social change. Gain future skills for employment in developing an e-resource such as podcasts, YouTube videos and blog development to add to your CV.
Explore key theories of health and illness with the use of case studies that illustrate significant arguments of medicalisation and regulation. Develop your understanding of various sociological theories that give insight into how behaviours and non-medical problems have been defined, categorised and diagnosed as a medical condition. Gain an in-depth understanding of how societal practices have changed through time, influencing how we look at what is considered to be normal and deviant today.
Engage with concepts and theories of gender and patriarchy to make sense of domestic violence in intimate relationships. Comprehend how theories of gender and patriarchy construct ‘love’ in intimate relationships in ways which produce inequalities and power in intimate relationships. Analyse the underpinning model/s of criminal justice in England and Wales to make sense of how this system works in patriarchal society to understand outcomes for domestic violence offenders and victims. Evaluate contemporary research including key theoretical frameworks to analyse how domestic violence is perpetuated. Analyse and present theoretical and empirical research to construct knowledge during the module.
Examine the concepts, theories and models underpinning contemporary health promotion and lifestyle behaviour change. Explore health inequalities and biopsychosocial theoretical approaches, values and beliefs which will be examined in relation to the application of models of health promotion and behaviour change.
Develop a critical understanding of the management, effectiveness and limitations of the private, public and third sectors. Gain essential qualitative and quantitative research skills, utilising data analysis packages, through examining real life case studies of these sectors. Develop your understanding of organisational management theory and issues relating to practice such as working collaboratively, inequality, discrimination and managing conflict. Gain essential transferable skills and knowledge that are necessary for professional practice, such as resilience, communication, problem solving, teamwork through your engagement in workshop-based learning and activities.
Develop a critical understanding of the management, effectiveness and limitations of the private, public and third sectors. Gain essential qualitative and quantitative research skills, utilising data analysis packages, through examining real life case studies of these sectors. Develop your understanding of organisational management theory and issues relating to practice, like working collaboratively, inequality, discrimination and managing conflict. Gain essential transferable skills and knowledge that are necessary for professional practice such as resilience, communication, problem solving, teamwork through your engagement in workshop-based learning and activities.
Explore the theory and practice of research methodologies and methods in social science. Discover the history of social science research and the philosophical and methodological debates which have underpinned the emergence of contemporary social science. Carry out your own research investigating an aspect of contemporary social life, learning how to think about, organise, manage, and report on social scientific research.
Analyse the divisions and problems of 21st Century society, its new identities and conflicts. Evaluate theories of difference, fragmentation and individualisation. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the theoretical models in the light of the evidence of social experiences of life and work in a globalised society. Undertake a case study of a social group in the situation of 21st Century society and evaluate the theories of their experiences and problems.
Analyse the origins of the different forms of demonisation of different groups, from witches to immigrants, racial minorities to sexual differences. Evaluate the circumstances and different theoretical explanations for the stereotyping and repression of each group. Explore the cultural, social and political forms of exclusion and persecution. Undertake a case study of an individual group and their situation, to examine theoretical considerations centre on the forms of explanation aimed at deconstructing the processes of stereotyping, and their translation into different forms of legal and official exclusion. Develop skills and knowledge to understand the integration of historical, political and sociological perspectives, with a view to the construction of the deviant and the different in terms of the criminal and civil laws as well as in popular and official beliefs.
Is globalisation the cause or the cure of global health problems? Gain knowledge of the causes of global health inequalities such as wealth and poverty, war and violence, climate change, mass migration, famine and ‘deadly’ diseases. Develop an awareness of how these problems and inequalities are caused and develop an understanding of how we have tried to tackle them as a global community, Finish the module with a sociological analysis of how globalisation affects our lives and explore ideas of how we can develop nations internationally to tackle some of our most pressing issues that we face on ‘our’ planet. Develop employability skills in writing an international report for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and use e-resources such as using data presentation techniques such Canva and infographic software to take forward for your graduate CV.
Investigate representations of ‘race’ and gender in mainstream cinema, literature and popular culture and examine representational systems and meaning. Choose your own movies and novels for scheduled movie screenings and independent reading. Apply theories to youth subcultures, media, dress, fashion, film and music. Examine concepts such as nationality, global culture and popular culture. Topics may include the male gaze, woman as object, femininity in film, the action hero and hyper-masculinity, hybridity, race/ethnicity and hypersexuality, white privilege in cultural industries, sexual orientation and transgender performance.
Gain valuable insights into issues relating to ‘race’ and interrelated concepts that examine the ways in which ‘race’ is socially constructed within society, through ‘whiteness’ and critical race theory. Develop your understanding of the historical nature of ‘race’ and learn how to identify causal factors that lead to racism in society. Discover how experiences of discrimination, prejudice and inequality often result in disproportionate outcomes for specific Black, Asian, Minority Ethic (BAME) communities. Learn to identify the ways that racisms and racialisation operates through politics, policy and practice through conducting research. Developing a critical awareness of ‘race’, will equip you with the skills and knowledge to identify issues of inequality, diversity and discrimination in the workplace, whilst having a broader understanding of working in multicultural settings. Gain transferable skills through conducting your own case study into an institution to provide tangible evidence of overt and covert issues of racism.
Would sex workers be safer if sex work was decriminalised? Do sex workers have a choice or are they forced to participate? How is sex work shaped by police practices, the law and social regulations? Engage in debates around sex work and explore the sex industry from global perspectives. Assess the role of legal frameworks, policy interventions, media representations and social stigma in the vulnerability of workers selling sex. Finish the module with a nuanced understanding of the diversity of sex workers and why transactional sex continues to be a complex and contentious issue.
Examine dugs, ‘madness’ and violence as three key social problems which are of growing concern and interest in ‘postmodern’ and unequal societies. Explore whether there is a relationship between domestic violence, mental ill health and substance misuse and what this means for society. Investigate the literature which exists in terms of each of the three topics in turn, and their interrelatedness in contemporary society.
What are ethics? Explore the complex yet important topic of ethics and ethical practice in health and well-being. Examine philosophical and moral issues and to engage in critical appraisal of ethical frameworks, guidelines and potential limitations of the professional role within organisations. Use this ethical application within workplace environments and on a much wider level.
Enhance your critical thinking through investigating a dissertation subject in greater depth and consolidate prior learning. Advance your research skills by conducting an empirical or none-empirical study relating to your degree. Develop specialist knowledge of theoretical perspectives, conducting independent research and project management. Enhance your ability to work independently, source bibliographical material, communicate complex information, analyse secondary/ primary data and utilise specialist computer packages. Learn how to structure, organise and format a dissertation, present findings and well-argued conclusion. A dissertation can be aligned with the profession you wish to pursue, demonstrating to employers your awareness of the kind of issues that might arise in the job.
Apply the knowledge and theoretical ideas you have developed over the course of your studies into a real world context. Complete a work-based dissertation from which you can draw inspiration to complete an innovative and creative piece of work aimed at improving the practice environment. Acquire essential transferable skills in project management, research and innovation.
We don’t currently display entry requirements for United States. Please contact the Student Admin team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0191 515 3154.
Entry requirements are provided for guidance only and we may offer you an entrance interview which will help us determine your eligibility for your chosen degree. This enables us to consider making you an offer if you are perhaps a mature student who has been out of education for a period of time, or you have gained significant knowledge and skills through employment rather than traditional education.
Eligible entry qualifications:
1. Normally a minimum of three Level 2 qualifications (NVQ, GCSE or equivalent), including Maths and English at grade C or above** and a minimum of 40 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 qualifications (e.g. A or AS Levels, BTEC certificates/diplomas, access courses or equivalent)
2. Demonstrable evidence of appropriate knowledge and skills acquired from at least three years of post-school work experience.
If you are unsure of whether you think you might be suitable for the course, please contact us!
** If you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above. Equivalent alternative qualifications are also accepted, such as Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number. If you have not achieved a grade C in Maths and English we may be able to work with you to ensure that you are able to gain these in the first year of the course, depending on your experience.
If English is not your first language, please see our English language requirements.
The annual fee for this course is £9,250 if you are from the UK/Ireland/EU settled/pre-settled.
If you are a full-time UK/Irish/EU settled/EU pre-settled student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fees for the full four years. UK and EU settled students may also be eligible to receive a maintenance loan.
Please note, this course is not available to international students.
Learn more about settled status, pre-settled status, special discounts, visa requirements and Common Travel Area (CTA) agreements for the Republic of Ireland applicants in our Help and Advice article.
Take a look at the Your Finances section to find out about the scholarships and bursaries that may be available to you.
This information was correct at the time of publication.
A degree in Sociology creates a huge number of career options. Your skills in analysing data, undertaking research and developing strong arguments will be highly valued by many employers.
You will graduate ready to work in a range of employment settings due to the transferable skills, broad knowledge base and critical awareness that studying Sociology provides.
Previous graduates now work in the fields of education, mental health, work with vulnerable adults and children, the criminal justice system, government, international development, charities and community work, political campaigning and social research.
Many of our graduates also choose to continue their studies at masters and PhD level.
Sociology students go on to access a wide range of employment opportunities, further study and research including:
Read more in our article.
We have strong links to employers and our Sociology students take part in a placement to work on a research project at level five of their degree. We also offer optional summer internships in a range of employment settings. Sociology students have undertaken previous internships with organisations as varied as COCO (an international development organisation for Eastern Africa), Street Child Nepal, Team Kenya, Northumbria Police, Albert Kennedy Trust (an LGBTQI+ homelessness charity), Northumberland Wildlife Trust and Grace House (children and young people with life-limiting conditions).
Many of our Sociology students have published their first class degree work on our Social Sciences blog here.
The University of Sunderland’s Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) combines original academic research with practice-based collaborations and reach-out activities, often working directly with practitioners, policymakers and front-line delivery staff regionally, nationally and internationally. According to the most recent National Research Excellence Framework Exercise, almost half of our outputs are either 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent'.
The mission of CASS reflects that of the University's aim as a civic university: to take an active interest in the social issues that affect the region and beyond by engaging in research and practice-based collaborations that aim to improve living conditions, address inequalities and social exclusion and promote social justice. Currently our research focuses around three strands: children, young people and families, communities, health and social exclusion and crime, victims and social justice.
CASS regularly hosts visiting speakers and holds events that you will be invited to. This can be an excellent opportunity to learn from the real-life experience of people who already have a strong track record in sociological and social policy related social research.
During the course, you may have the opportunity to take part in extracurricular activities to broaden your experience of the social world and to enhance your CV. Our students have taken part in and have worked with international NGOs on various projects. Students have also benefited from trips to London and locally, to broaden their subject knowledge and cultural awareness through museum exhibitions and public talks linked to topics in the curriculum.
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