Introduction to the Course
Sociology is the study of society. This subject provides a thought provoking analysis of how social groups and individuals relate to each other and how society is organised. The course aims to develop the ability to evaluate and think critically. These are useful academic skills that can be applied to a range of situations. A commitment to the subject and the willingness to participate in class discussions is essential. Students will need the ability to examine unfamiliar ideas and models of thought with an open mind.
Entry Requirements: Standard entry requirements including: a grade 6 in English Language.
Topics in Sociology: Families and Households.
This unit will introduce you to how the family fits into society particularly in relation to state policies and the economy. You will also study how changes in society have influenced changes in the family leading to an increase in diversity of family forms. Roles and relationships will also be explored between adults and adults and children. An understanding of the wider trends in marriage, divorce, cohabitation, illegitimacy, fertility rates, births, deaths and life expectancy will also be gained to broaden the debate on how the family in changing in contemporary society and on a global scale.
Unit 2: Education with Theory and Methods.
This unit provides you with the opportunity to explore the role and purpose of the education system in contemporary society. The impact of state policies will be explored to see political views on education. Reasons for different educational achievements between social groups will be explored in depth studying the influence of both home background and the school environment. This unit will also focus upon the methods used to research society. You’re analytical and evaluative skills will then be used to assess the usefulness of a research method to a particular area of the education unit you have studied.
Unit 3: Topics in Sociology: Beliefs in Society
This unit provides you with an opportunity to explore ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions. The relationship between social change and social stability, and religious beliefs, practices and organisations. To further your understanding of religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements, and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice. The unit will also focus on the relationship between different social groups and religious/spiritual organisations and movements, beliefs and practices.
We will debate the significance of religion and religiosity in the contemporary world, including the nature and extent
of secularisation in a global context, and globalisation and the spread of religions.
Unit 4: Theory and Methods and Crime and Deviance. This unit provides you with the opportunity to explore the role of crime, deviance, social order and social control in the contemporary world from the local to a global context. Patterns and distribution of types of crime, offenders and victims will be explored as well as theories on how to prevent and punish behaviour that threatens the order of society. New areas of green crime and state crime have taken this topic to an international level and there is also a focus on the challenges that sociologists face when trying to study criminal and deviant behaviour. The paper is synoptic in that it requires you to take a sociological theory and assess its usefulness in understanding society – in essence taking examples from family, education, beliefs as well as crime and deviance. We also need to tackle the wider debates of whether sociology can and should be a science, value-free or influence decision making in politics. These provide significant challenge for A Level students.
3 examination papers
- Education with Theory and Methods – 2 hours (33.3% of final grade)
- Topics Families and Beliefs – 2 hours (33.3% of final grade)
- Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods – 2 hours (33.3% of final grade)
Future Career Progression
Sociology complements most other Social Science or Humanities subjects. It could also be combined successfully with a science subject where it would offer a contrasting view of methodology. Sociology can be studied at university as single or joint honours and graduates enter a range of careers in the public services as well as in the private sector. Sociology A Level is also a popular option for entry to many professional careers including; teaching, social work, human resources, the legal profession, nursing and the police.