Sociology BSc (Hons)

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If you are applying for the part-time course or from outside the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 17 September 2018Apply now

If you are applying for the full-time course from within the UK/EU, click apply now.

Course starts: 17 September 2018Apply now

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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 the family, sexuality, gender, 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
  • 90% of our 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
  • 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

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.

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 and you will be studying alongside full-time students.

BSc (Hons) Sociology is a flexible degree, offering you the opportunity to choose the subject path that most interests you. 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.

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)


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

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 Society (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.

    IT provision - social sciences
  • 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

Our typical offer is 104 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (eg: 1 x AVCE double award).

We accept a maximum of 6 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 you have studied for a GCSE which has a numerical grade then you will need to achieve a grade 4 or above.

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

Fees and finance

The annual fee for this course is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK or EU and studying full-time
  • £5,000 per 120 credits if you are from the UK or EU and studying part-time
  • £10,750 if you are from outside the EU and studying full-time (part-time 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.

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This information was correct at the time of publication.

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


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.

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.

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 ie: 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.

  • The lecturers are fantastic and take pride in delivering the course.
    Sarah Newton

    Sarah Newton

  • The staff are friendly and passionate about what they do and they make learning fun.
    Summer Broadhurst, Sociology graduate case study

    Summer Broadhurst

Meet our academics

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