Sociology is the study of societies. We all live in a society and so we can consider ourselves experts already!

Sociology looks at how people live, behave and work together in groups. It asks questions about the world that we live in and tries to explain why it is the way it is.

High crime rates in our inner cities, ‘binge drinking ladettes’, boys’ underachievement in school, the effects of divorce on children, racism and the police, the effects of the media on violent behaviour… these are among the great debates of today. They are the subject of countless view and opinions, many of which are ill-informed or prejudiced, most expressed simply from personal and often very limited experience.

This is where Sociology comes in – because these are all SOCIAL issues. The Sociologist sets off to try and understand our human world a little better. This task is often challenging and controversial but to many it is also fascinating and rewarding.

Sociology Faculty

Mr Michael Johnstone 310561 ext.126
Mr David 310561 ext.126
Mr Robert 310561 ext.141

Key stage 4

Sociology helps us to make sense of the world around us. Typical questions we ask in our Sociology lessons are:

  • Who makes the RULES about which behaviour is ‘bad’ and which is ‘good’?
  • What EFFECT does advertising and television have on our behaviour?
  • How has the structure of the FAMILY changed?
  • Why do some groups do better in EDUCATION than others?
  • Why do some people commit more CRIME than others?
  • Do we live in a world where the people we watch on television and see in the MEDIA are more important than our own friends and family?

Studying Sociology will provide you with the answers to these questions and many more about the society you live in today.

Course Structure

You will study the following areas in detail: Family, Education, Crime and Deviance, Social Inequality and Mass Media. Sociology is taught by Mr. Coe and Mr. Pendlington. This is a 100% exam course. You will sit two exams at the end of the course.

  • Unit 1: Studying Society; Education and Families – 50%
  • Unit 2: Crime and Deviance; Mass media and Social Equality – 50%

Sociology follows the AQA specification 4192.

Unit 1 Topics Unit 2 Topics
What is sociology? Crime and deviance
Families and households Mass media
Education Social Inequality in Britain (poverty)
How to carry out research

What will my lessons be like?

  • You will work both independently and in pairs/groups to investigate BIG QUESTIONS relating to the world we live in, e.g. How does Facebook affect our lives?
  • You will develop your ICT skills during research lessons into areas such as youth crime and domestic violence;
  • You will learn about sociological concepts and ideas in order to help you understand and explain society;
  • You will undertake a range of activities to help you understand the viewpoints of others e.g.: debates;
  • You will develop your written skills by applying what you learn in essay questions. Good language and literacy skills would be a distinct advantage.

Advantages of studying Sociology

Sociology teaches you to question the world around you. You will learn skills such as evaluation of theories, essay techniques and how to respond to information. If you have an open mind and you like arguing your point, then Sociology will be an excellent choice for you. Students of Sociology go onto a diverse range of careers, from jobs in the media, such as researchers and journalists, to teaching and lecturing, to Police, Social Work and Health Care. Sociology is exciting, interesting and relevant to students’ lives.

Key stage 5

Sociology is the study of the individual and society. It focuses on interactions within the local and global community. The subject aims to provide students with evaluative and analytical skills, as well as encouraging you to tackle some of the challenging questions you will face in life.

Sociology is very popular nationally as an A level subject, with many students achieving excellent outcomes. It is now firmly embedded as a noteworthy A level subject, with all universities seeing it as an excellent foundation for humanities based degrees.

The value of sociology lies in its attempt to understand the social world and suggest ways in which the quality of our lives could be improved. The sociological attempt to achieve this understanding involves:

  • Examining the way in which groups in society work together and the potential for conflict;
  • Observing how different parts of society, such as the education system and the criminal justice system, work and how they have changed over the years;
  • Analysing the nature and causes of social problems, such as poverty, educational underachievement and crime;
  • Evaluating the ideas and theories of leading sociologists concerning society and how it should be studied.

What are the entry requirements?

You will need to have achieved a Level 5 in either your English Literature or Language exams; this is inclusive of your 5 A – C grades at GCSE.

How long is the course?

1 year for AS and a further 1 year for a full A Level.

What topics will I study?

This is a reformed A-level and is arranged as follows:

Year 1 Sociology

Topic 1: Families and Households:
This is the introductory module in which we examine the relationship of the family to the social structure and social change. We also look at changing patterns of marriage and the diversity of the contemporary family. This topic also focuses on changes within the family in terms of gender roles and the status of children. We explore current debates such as the concern over the disappearance of childhood due to the effects of the media and social networking. For example is Hannah Montana a good role model for children, or is she encouraging them to grow up too soon?

Topic 2 – Education and Research Methods:
In a society dominated by debates around the effectiveness of education we develop an understanding of the factors influencing underachievement. Particular focus is on the difference in performance between male and female pupils and on the experiences and achievements of ethnic groups within the education system. In this topic, we also look at how sociologists research issues in society. We examine the methods that are used in research and existing sociological research. The problems associated with conducting research are examined.

Year 2 – full A level

In year 2 of the full A level the ideas and skills you learned in the first year are further developed and added to.
Topic 3 – The Media:
When teenager Warren Leblanc battered a 14-year-old to death with a claw hammer, his victim’s parents said Leblanc was mimicking a video game called Manhunt. Should games like that be banned? Women have most often been seen in the mass media as objects of desire, but recent research shows that this is changing. Have men become sex objects too? If the American media were owned by separate individuals, there would be 25,000 owners; instead, just 5 huge corporations own almost everything (and Rupert Murdoch a large chunk of that!). Does this matter? How has new technology changed the way we produce and consume the media?

Topic 4 – Crime and Deviance and Research Methods:
This topic focuses on explanations for patterns of behaviour and issues relating to social order and control which are crucial to understanding policing, civil liberties and the changing balance of rights and responsibilities within society. This unit also provides an in-depth look at the main sociological theories and how they can be applied to the study of society.

How is the course assessed?

During your first year you will study the two topics as outlined above. There is an end of year exam in May/June consisting of two exam papers covering Families & Households, Education and Research Methods. For those continuing into a second year and completing the full A-level, you will study a further two units, the Media and Crime & Deviance. At the end of the year in June you will have three exams which cover all the content studied over the two years.

What can I do with Sociology?

Sociology in conjunction with your other A Levels opens the door to a wide range of humanities based degrees at university, ranging from studying Sociology, Criminology and Media, to more traditional subjects like Geography and History. Sociology A Levels as a package with other subjects also provide a pathway on to more vocational degrees like Law, business management, film, media and journalism. All of the above leave Sociology students ideally placed to find jobs in the Legal professions, media, management, social work and teaching and educational establishments.

Why Pick Sociology at A Level?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you enjoy subjects that allow you to discuss and debate topical and controversial issues?
  • Are you naturally inquisitive about the everyday world in which you live?
  • Do you enjoy learning about a range of different topics?
  • Do you enjoy being involved in an investigative approach to your learning?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then studying sociology at A level will be a challenging yet enriching and enjoyable experience for you.