Sociology is the study of human social relationships and institutions. Sociology’s subject matter is diverse, ranging from crime to religion, from the family to the state, from the divisions of race and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture, and from social stability to radical change in whole societies. Sociology is an exciting and illuminating field of study that analyses and explains important matters in our personal lives, our communities, and the world. At the personal level, Sociology investigates the social causes and consequences of such things as romantic love, racial and gender identity, family conflict, deviant behaviour, aging, and religious faith. At the societal level, Sociology examines and explains matters like crime and law, poverty and wealth, prejudice and discrimination, schools and education, business firms, urban community, and social movements. At the global level, Sociology studies such phenomena as population growth and migration, war and peace, and economic development. Sociologists emphasise the careful gathering and analysis of evidence about social life to develop and enrich our understanding of key social processes. The research methods sociologists use are varied. Sociologists observe the everyday life of groups, conduct large-scale surveys, interpret historical documents, analyse census data, study video-taped interactions, interview participants of groups, and conduct laboratory experiments. The research methods and theories of Sociology yield powerful insights into the social processes shaping human lives and social problems and prospects in the contemporary world. By better understanding those social processes, we also come to understand more clearly the forces shaping the personal experiences and outcomes of our own lives. The ability to see and understand this connection between broad social forces and personal experiences — what C. Wright Mills called “the sociological imagination” — is extremely valuable academic preparation for living effective and rewarding personal and professional lives in a changing and complex society. Students who have been well trained in Sociology know how to think critically about human social life, and how to ask important research questions. They know how to design good social research projects, carefully collect and analyse empirical data, and formulate and present their research findings. Students trained in Sociology also know how to help others understand the way the social world works and how it might be changed for the better. Most generally, they have learned how to think, evaluate, and communicate clearly, creatively, and effectively. These are all abilities of tremendous value in a wide variety of vocational callings and professions.
All students studying A Levels must have at least five GCSEs at grade A* - C (grade 9 - 5) in academic subjects, including English Language at grade C (grade 5). Two of these must be B grades (grade 6). Specifically for Sociology, you will need GCSE Maths at grade C (grade 5).
Students will start studying and exploring different sociological perspectives and linking these to the following module:
1. Culture and Identity. (How do different cultures change society? How influential is our culture in shaping our identity?)
From January onwards, students will be studying Education Theory and Research Methods (including topics such as: Are girls really doing better than boys? How can teachers label students? How does your ethnicity or class affect your experience at school?). Students will use data throughout this module to support their answers. This will prepare students for their AS exam.
Upon meeting the minimum grade of a D to continue to A2, students will explore topics such as Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods (Why do people commit suicide? Why is crime increasing? What makes people kill, rob or beat? Domestic Violence), again using supporting data to reinforce their arguments and opinion.
Students will then study the following option:
1. The Media. (How does the media influence and manipulate society?).
Assessment is by examinations that may include short answer questions and extended writing. This is an essay based subject and you should be confident in writing long essays.
Sociology is a subject that is accepted at all universities on most courses. Many students who take A Level Sociology go on to university to study it as their major choice.
Many students who undertake a career in social services, social policy, teaching, business, the civil service, the police, etc, find the study of Sociology invaluable to their understanding.
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