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Sociology

A level

Sociology is concerned with social behaviour and attempts to answer questions about why people behave in the way they do. For example, why do girls outperform boys in the education system? Why is there still poverty in the 21st century? Why do men commit more crime than women? Sociology makes you think! You will have the opportunity for frequent discussion, drawing on your own opinions and enabling you to relate them to relevant sociological ideas. A wide range of teaching methods is used including individual, small group and whole group tasks. 

Course content

Year 1

Education

You will look at the role and purpose of education; the significance of educational policies and teacher-pupil relationships; and the educational achievement of different social groups. 

Work, Poverty and Welfare

This topic looks at different ways of measuring poverty and wealth, different theories to explain poverty. You will also examine the role of the welfare state, the private sector and voluntary organisations in helping those who need support in our society. You will also look at work, worklessness, and in-work poverty, which is increasingly common in contemporary society. 

Theory and Research Methods

You will also learn about the way in which sociologists study society, and the methods they use to do this. For example, you will learn about questionnaires, interview techniques and observations, as well as different theories that try to explain society from a consensus or conflict point of view.

Year 2

Education with Theory and Methods

This unit tests knowledge from the first year of study.

Crime and Deviance, Theory and Methods

In this unit you will study the causes of crime and why some groups are more likely to break the norms of society than others. Sociologists look at crime in relation to social class, gender and ethnicity, and who has the power to make the law and enforce the rules. You will also study global and state crime. Alongside this you will apply your knowledge of research methods to the study of crime, and look at sociological theories that explain the nature of society in general.

The Media

You will study ownership and control of the media, popular culture, the significance of new media and the process of selecting and presenting the news. You will also look at media in a global setting, and media representations of age, class, gender, sexuality and disability for example.

or

Beliefs in Society

You will study the social role of religion in society, religion in a global context, secularisation and the rise of new religious movements.

Assessment

All topics are assessed by examination at the end of Year 2.

Is it for me?

You will enjoy Sociology A level and benefit from it if you:

  • are interested in the interaction between individuals and society;
  • would like an opportunity to apply sociological theory to contemporary social issues;
  • are keen to discuss current issues in society, such as whether prisons work and what started the riots in the summer of 2011.

Special features

We organize an annual trip to Liverpool and Manchester, where you will stay in university accommodation and visit a range of places of sociological interest in both cities that have relevance to the syllabus.

We take students to conferences, and visiting speakers come in to college.

Entry requirements

At least 7 GCSEs at Grade 4 in a range of subjects including Maths and English.  A Grade 5 or equivalent is required in Sociology if taken at GCSE.

Examination board: AQA

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