The core of our course focuses upon developing an understanding of the ideas and concepts of different sociological theories to understanding the nature of society, how it changes, and how it shapes our life chances. These theories vary greatly in their approaches to understanding society.
You will develop skills to critically compare and evaluate them in reference to contemporary materials. There is an emphasis upon the ways in which sociologists test these theories through using research methods. Sociology encourages you to develop a critical understanding of your work and the world around you.
A minimum of five GCSE subjects at grade 4 or above. We have highlighted the need for a good grade in English because of the essay based assessment and the use of complex terminology. It is also important to have done well in another Humanities subject (typically History, Geography, Religious Studies or even Sociology) because of some of the similarities in content and skills required.
Most students will not have had the chance to take Sociology at GCSE, and the course is written and delivered with this in mind. Whilst there may be some initial advantages for students who have taken the GCSE, the A level will demand a wider range of skills and depth of understanding. Most importantly, you should have an interest in current affairs and the world around you as they shape our lives. Do you watch the news? Do you have opinions on what you see on it? Do you enjoy challenging these views?
Assessment is entirely by examination, although individual research is encouraged during the course. Knowledge of sociological research methods is integrated into these units.
|Paper 1||Education with theory and methods (first-year topic)|
|Paper 2||Sociology of the Family (first-year topic), Social Stratification (second-year topic)|
|Paper 3||Crime and Deviance with theory and methods (second-year topic)|
Skills of analysis and evaluation are emphasized in the A level and it is important to focus on links between the subject matter across the course.
Your teachers and course materials will guide you towards important current debates, but there is no substitute for developing your own knowledge of current social policies and trends, especially as events can move quickly during the course itself (look at the massive changes in the education system in recent years, for example). Newspapers are helpful, as are good TV and radio programmes and selective use of Internet sources.
Sociology students will engage in a variety of different types of classwork, in groups, individually and the whole class. Where possible we like to find ways for students to engage in their own work, using flexible learning workbooks. Our most successful students will take full advantage of the opportunities this provides for owning and developing their knowledge and skills.
Sociology will give you the opportunity to develop important key skills of argument and research. There is a strong emphasis on essay writing and evaluation.
The Sociology Department is based in two adjoining classrooms. Each classroom is fitted with ILT and is well resourced.
We are enthusiastic, experienced and, we hope, approachable! We are all involved as a team in developing course materials and supporting students to develop their knowledge and skills.
The course is written around a “spine” of workbooks written by us, using a wide range of sources and supported by key textbooks and a range of supporting revision materials. These contain a variety of activities to deliver and reinforce the knowledge and skills you will need to be a critical Sociology student. In addition, we use a variety of classroom activities encouraging skills of argument and debate.
Sociology is a very well established A level, both nationally and at this college. Sociological content regularly appears as a part of many vocational courses at a higher level – for courses in management, marketing, caring professions, teaching, etc. Our students have gone on to make careers in journalism, the law, political research, social work, teaching, marketing, and many other areas where critical understanding, evaluative skills and the ability to communicate and persuade are important.
‘Don’t take it because you think it will be easy or a ‘soft’ subject… the content is really interesting but the theory takes a while to get your head around’ ~ Chloe