Sociology with Integrated Foundation Year BSc (Hons)

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This is a four-year version of our popular BSc (Hons) Sociology course, with an integrated foundation year. Understand how society is shaped. Investigate the issues that fascinate you most. Graduate with advanced research and communication skills.

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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.

Why us?

  • Our Sociology courses are in the top 10 in the UK for Satisfaction with Teaching according to The Guardian University league tables 2018
  • There are four broad pathways: Health and the Social Body; Gender and Culture; Crime and Justice; Family and Identities. These optional pathways help you think about and plan your future careers
  • We are a University that is nationally recognised for supporting learners particularly from non-traditional backgrounds and many students come to us with no formal qualifications but with valuable work experience
  • 100% of BSc (Hons) Sociology graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, according to DLHE 2015/16 (based on UK students) 
  • The wide variety of optional modules will allow you to tailor the course to your particular interests and career aspirations

Course structure

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.

Student Development Programme

You will have the opportunity to take part in a weekly development programme designed to support you in your academic career. You will be provided with access to a wide range of other support services across the University. You will grow in confidence as you learn academic referencing, essay planning and writing skills and presentation skills. There is a strong emphasis on professional opportunities and employability.

Foundation year 

The Social Sciences and Law Integrated Foundation Year includes four modules:

  • Essential Study Skills (20 credits)
  • Maths (20 credits)
  • Foundation module (40 credits)
  • Project (20 credits)
  • Subject Specialism (20 credits)


Some modules have prerequisites. Read more about what this means in our Help and Advice article.

Year 1 (national level 4):

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

Optional modules (choose two):

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

Year 2 (national level 5):

  • Social Theory of Industrial Society (20 credits)
  • Applied Quantitative Research 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):

  • Sex, Families and the Construction of Personal Lives (20 credits)
  • Globalisation, Health and Social Care (20 credits)
  • Health Improvement and Healthy Lifestyles (20 credits)
  • Medicalisation, Normality and the Body (20 credits)
  • Gender, Diversity and Human Rights: Global Perspectives (20 credits)
  • Early Life Course Approaches in Health and Social Care (20 credits)
  • British Politics and Government (20 credits)
  • Youth, Crime and Criminology (20 credits)
  • Experiencing the 20th Century (20 credits)
  • European Political Ideas (20 credits)
  • Theoretical Issues in Criminology (20 credits)
  • Offender Management in Criminal Justice (20 credits)

Final year (national level 6):

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

Optional modules (choose three):

  • Gender, Sexuality and Identity (20 credits)
  • The Clinical Gaze: Medicine, Disability and Confinement (20 credits)
  • Substance Use and Society (20 credits)
  • Re-Imagining Crime and Criminology (20 credits)
  • Justice for Young People (20 credits)
  • Violence, Gender and Society (20 credits)
  • Youth, Gender and Identities (20 credits)
  • Life Course Approaches to Health and Ageing (20 credits)
  • ‘Race’, Racialisation and the Criminal Justice System (20 credits)
  • Punishment and Society (20 credits)

The Reg Vardy Centre,
Sir Tom Cowie Campus,


  • You'll have access to specialist software packages for social science. These include NVivo, which allows deep levels of analysis of large volumes of data, and SPSS, for surveys and data mining.

    You can access free wifi throughout the University campus, so you can work from anywhere. If you don't want to carry a laptop around, just use one of the University’s PCs or Apple Macs. We have hundreds of computers for you to use in the Murray Library, St Peter's Library, and the David Goldman Informatics Centre. If you ever have any technical problems, just ask our friendly helpdesk team.

  • We’ve got thousands of  books and e-books, 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.

    Library resources which you might find particularly useful 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
    • Psychology and Behavioural Sciences Database, which includes full-text journal articles on topics spanning emotional and behavioural sciences, psychiatry and psychology
    Library Services - social sciences


You'll be based at The Reg Vardy Centre, situated on the award-winning St Peter's riverside campus. The location benefits from dedicated library services and has superb transport links with the city centre and City Campus.

Entry requirements

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 Integrated Foundation Year programmes, including more detailed module information, please see our Help and Advice articles.

Fees and finance

The Foundation Year will be £4,000. For the following three years, the annual fee will be £9,250, but you will receive £1,250 cash-back in the first and final year of the three years.

In addition, you will receive free travel across the Tyne and Wear region, and you may be eligible for means-tested scholarships if you are from a low-income household.

Register with StudyPLUS and enjoy up to £200 worth of books and university study essentials.

If you are a full-time UK student you will 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.

This information was correct at the time of publication.

The Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter's by night


Graduating with a degree in BSc (Hons) Sociology creates a huge number of career options. Your skills in analysing data and developing strong arguments will be highly valued by many employers.

Our graduates from this course now work in teaching, the Civil Service, local government, non-government organisations, international institutions, industry, commerce and further education. Many of our graduates also choose to continue their studies at Masters and PhD level.

Career opportunities

Sociology students go on to access a wide range of employment opportunities, further study and research including:

  • Welfare Services: Housing, Domestic Violence Support, Homelessness
  • Health and Social Care: Public Health, Disability Services, Family Support
  • Social Policy: Researcher, Policy Analyst
  • Teaching in Primary, Secondary, Further and Higher Education
  • Criminal Justice i.e. Youth Offending Team, Probation
  • Media: Journalism, Editing
  • Central and Local Government
  • Human Resources: project manager, consultancy work
  • International institutions: NGOs, Human Rights Advocate, International Aid/Development Worker
  • Masters degrees: Social Work, Policy and Politics, Social Research
  • PhD: Sociology, Politics, Media, Gender Studies, Criminology

Centre for Applied Social Sciences

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.

Current student views

Our current Sociology students say that they benefit from studying at the University of Sunderland due to the high levels of support and encouragement they receive from staff; the opportunity to develop their critical and analytical thinking skills, having an input into their own learning enabling them to think independently and to challenge their views of the world. They comment that there are a vast range of opportunities for personal development that lead to transferrable skills, opening up a range of employment opportunities for their futures (Sociology student focus group, May 2017).

Meet our academics

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