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Course starts: 20 September 2021Apply 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.
Many of your class materials will be online but will be enhanced with on-campus sessions; tutors will be able to work more closely with you to aid understanding of your subject.
There will be a mix of materials online, including some lectures and directed exercises, with a series of tasks to do each week. You are going to be taught some really interesting topics this year, including social theories, gender, race, global rights and wrongs, as well as Essential Study Skills and Practical Maths, to help you succeed in your chosen undergraduate degree.
There will be lots of opportunities for both face-to-face and online contact, and you will be assigned a personal tutor, as well as having your pathway leader and module leaders for support and guidance. Regular contact between tutors and students will be encouraged via the use of technologies including Canvas, email, Skype and Microsoft Teams.
A typical week for you 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.
How did Western society develop, and did it develop fairly for all of us? This module introduces you to some of the early sociological theorists and you will explore opportunities to apply their theories to the ‘real world’ around us. You will examine issues of power, social class, inequality, deviance, stigma and wealth and poverty as you explore these classic theorists.
This module examines how and why groups and communities become defined as a ‘social problem’ and you will begin to explore contemporary social problems and the policy solutions offered to tackle them. Topics covered may include immigration, domestic abuse, single-parent families, young people and homelessness.
As part of your training to be a social researcher, you will begin to explore the nature of qualitative research; such as interviews, focus groups and life histories. You will write up a small scale social research project and use cutting edge technology to begin to analyse the findings from it, such as the computer software NVivo.
How do we socially construct ideas about class, gender, sexuality, disability and ethnicity? This module will begin to introduce you to the nature of inequality, diversity and difference through the lens of gender and feminist theories. You will examine topics such as cultural identities, parenthood and diversity within local and global contexts, making you aware of much wider social trends.
Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.
Building upon your introduction to social theory module in level four, this module will examine the impact of some of the key theorists leading up to the twentieth century as society ‘modernised’ at a rapid social pace. You will explore social theories of progress, social change, forms of social division, crisis and conflict which are central to understanding our unequal world.
As a developing social researcher, this module will introduce you to another strand of research, which is quantitative research. This module will show you how to use computer software, such as SPSS and other survey programmes, to examine real life social and cultural trends from surveys and questionnaires.
This module builds upon your study of ‘social problems’ at level four and engages you with thinking critically about the nature of social policy, the ideologies behind it and the effects of social policy on populations and groups. Topics you may cover could include contemporary policies such as austerity and government cuts, immigration controls, the welfare state, social benefits and unemployment.
Put your social research skills into practice by taking part in a short social research placement in industry. This placement not only encourages you to become a better researcher, but also helps you to develop a portfolio of employability skills; such as preparing a graduate style CV, writing covering letters, applying for example graduate jobs and developing your own LinkedIn profile. We strongly encourage students to apply for the SuPA Award and have some of the highest take-up rates amongst all courses at the University. This placement module follows the guidance as set out by the British Sociological Association (BSA) on embedding employability into the curriculum.
Has society become increasingly globalised? What does this mean for us and how does this impact on the world that we live in? You will examine concepts of gender, work, consumption, ethnicity and spatial inequalities and what this means for our own social identities. This module will examine advanced theoretical approaches which have attempted to explain our society as it is today. It will engage you with the most recent social theories in preparation for your dissertation.
The dissertation offers an opportunity for sociology students to become increasingly specialised in their own particular area of interest within their discipline. With guidance from a supervisor, you will put your sociological theorising, your training as a social researcher and your subject knowledge together, to form a research project based on a specialist topic of your own choice.
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The Integrated Foundation Year is specially designed to support you where you have just missed the grades required for direct entry onto a three-year degree, or if you have relevant work experience and are now looking to broaden your subject knowledge but want more time to develop study skills before starting your degree.
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.
For more information about our Integrated Foundation Year courses please see our Help and Advice articles.
The annual fee for this course is £9,250.
If you are a full-time UK student you may be eligible to receive financial support to cover your fee and maintenance loan for the full four years.
Please note, this course is not available to international students.
If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or international student, find out more 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.
Use our scholarships calculator to see what you may be entitled to.
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.’ Please take a moment to check out their excellent assignments.
The University of Sunderland’s Centre for Applied Social Studies (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 way to learn from the real-life experience of people who already have a strong track record in sociological and social policy related social research. This is a great way to learn from experts in their field.
During the course you may have the opportunity to take part in extracurricular activities to broaden your experience of the social world and to add to your CV. Our students have taken part in and have worked with international NGOs on projects associated with . Students have also benefited from trips to London and locally, to enhance their subject knowledge and cultural awareness through museum exhibitions and public talks linked to topics in the curriculum.
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