“The difficulty, in sociology, is to manage to think in a completely astonished and disconcerted way about things you thought you had always understood.” – Pierre Bourdieu

Sociology is the study of the development, structure and functioning of human society, including the study of social problems.

Sociology students will be curious and motivated to learn more about key sociological issues within British society. They will develop a greater understanding and awareness of social, political, legal and educational changes in society and their implications. They will develop a greater sense of tolerance and understanding of class, gender and ethnic diversity and differences in society and of the role and purpose of key institutions. Students will be encouraged to think independently, open their minds, question social structures and be aware of contemporary social issues.

Key information:

GCSE
Specification
WJEC GCSE Sociology
A Level
Specification
AQA A Level Sociology

Curriculum Progression

Key Stage 4 (GCSE)

At Key Stage 4, sociology students develop their understanding of the social world and our behaviour in it. Students will study the topics:

  • Education
  • Families & Households
  • Crime and Deviance
  • Social Stratification

Within each of the topics above, students will explore issues such as inequality, the distribution and use of power and experiences of different social groups in society. The course is designed to challenge student thinking and developing their understanding about how social processes and structures in society work and how societies influence us and shape our lives. For example, why are there such vast differences in the crime rates of men and women? Sociology attempts to answer questions such as these by discussing the social factors which shape our behaviour. The course is designed to be challenging but also contemporary, topical, and relevant using documentaries and the news to make links with the theoretical content of the course.

Key Stage 5 (A Level)

At Key Stage 5 students will study the following topics:

Families and Households:
This module looks into how the family is affected by changing social structures and social change; changing patterns of marriage such as the rise in cohabitation, separation, divorce and the decline of the traditional nuclear family. We also study changing gender roles between women and men; the changing status of children in our society; and demographic trends since 1900.

Education with Research Methods:
This module includes studying explanations of the role and purpose of education; sociological explanations of differential educational achievements of social groups by class, gender, and ethnicity; relationships and processes in schools such as subcultures and the hidden curriculum; educational policies; and sociological research methods.

Beliefs in Society:
This module includes studying different theories of religion, sociological explanations of the purpose and role of religion, religious organisations, religions and social groups, and the debate how relevant religion is to us all in the modern day.

Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods:
This module includes studying theories of crime and deviance; explanations of the social distribution of crime and deviance trends; contemporary issues in the sociology of crime such as effects of globalisation and the mass media; sociological views of the criminal justice system, and the study of research methods and theory.