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A-Level Sociology Level 3 | GCE AS Level in Sociology

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Students who wish to study sociology should be open minded and inquisitive about how society functions. Sociology requires students to be well organised, committed to the subject and able both to work independently and to take part in discussions on a variety of issues, using evidence and research to support their arguments. Sociology is the study of human life, groups and social life – from the man on the street to global events. You will take part in active research to acquire knowledge and critical understanding of the subjects covered. Specific topics covered include: the family, education, consumer culture, crime and deviance and informal social control.

You will address questions such as: 'What is the best way to investigate football hooliganism?', 'Is there an ideal type of family?' and 'What are the major social influences on our lives?' As well as these areas of knowledge, you will also develop essential research skills, such as how to analyse data and how to conduct structured and unstructured interviews.

In this course you will study the following.

Year 1:

The first year of the course consists of 3 units.

  • Families and households: In this unit, we will examine changing family patterns, as well as trends in partnerships and family roles. Also, we will look at the changing experience of childhood and social policy aimed at the family.
  • Education: This unit will consider the role of education in our society from different sociological perspectives. We will examine rates of achievement across gender, ethnicity and social class and question apparent inequalities in education. Also, we will investigate the impact of educational policy aimed at improving opportunities.
  • Methods: Within this unit, we will be looking at the following research methods: experiments, questionnaires, observations, interviews and secondary sources. We will weigh up the strengths and weaknesses of each method according to practical, ethical and theoretical factors.
  • Methods in context: Additionally, learners are expected to complete a section of the exam on applying a particular method to an educational context.

Year 2:

Students who study the full two-year course will study all of the above topics, plus:

  • Beliefs in society: This unit will examine the role of religion within society, past and present. We will be assessing the value of religion in modern society and attempting to explain growth of religious movements. We will debate the idea that religion acts as a barrier to social change.
  • Crime and deviance: In this unit, we will attempt to theorise about the causes of crime and look at solutions for dealing with crime and forms of punishment, as well as which groups commit the most crime and in what areas. Additionally, we will examine how the media plays a role in perceptions of crime and consider the reliability and validity of crime statistics.
  • Theory: This unit will provide you with essential theoretical knowledge. The theory unit will give you a broad understanding of different perspectives in sociology, including functionalism, Marxism and feminism.

How will I know how I am doing?

Year 1:

  • Two 1.5-hour exams consisting of essay-style extended questions and structured, short-answer questions.
Year 2:
  • Three 2-hour exams consisting of essay-style extended questions and structured, short-answer questions. Topics will also include those studied in Year 1.

What do I need to join?

To study this course, you will need five GCSEs at grade 4–9, including English and Maths. You will need confidence in extended writing and an awareness of current affairs.

Previous work

Work Experience

You will be required to do a minimum of 36 hours of work experience. This is usually completed in a week during your first year in term time, where you will have the opportunity to explore a career field which takes your interest. In the lead-up to this week, you will be asked to create an exciting CV during a group tutorial period. The aim of this activity is to give you an idea of what full-time employment is like and to help you think about which career you would like to follow.

What can I do next?

Sociology is a subject that is of great value, regardless of your future aims. It provides many general skills that are sought after by universities and employers alike, but it is particularly well suited to 'people-centred' employment, such as personnel management, media/journalism, tourism/leisure, teaching, social work or the legal professions/police force. A qualification in sociology will enable you to continue on with a degree in the subject, but it can also prepare you for a number of other university or college courses, including politics, communication and culture or other social sciences.

Sociology can eventually lead to careers in the criminal justice system, including the police, social services, care work, teaching, research, local and central government, community or charity work, fundraising, development work or counselling, as well as many other careers, such as journalism or management.

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Course information last updated: Friday 17th September 2021 @ 10.30am (1 day ago)

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Sep 2021
Filton Campus
Sep 2021
Filton Campus
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