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Sociology is the study of society and its institutions (families, media, educational, criminal, religious and political). It investigates how people create society through their relationships and the ways in which society shapes people’s behaviour and ideas.

Sociology is a critical subject because it avoids obvious or common sense explanations of human activity, such as changes in divorce, crime, education, searching instead for explanations at a deeper level.

Summary of course content

Students will examine topics such as social inequality, education, crime and deviance, race, ethnicity, mass media and ideas such as power, socialisation and social control. They will also look at methods used by sociologists to explain human attitudes and actions such as surveys and observational techniques.

Topics covered

• Families and households
• Education
• Research methods
• Sociology theory
• Crime and deviance
• Beliefs in society


Students will sit three two hour written examinations.

Methods of working

The A Level course involves knowledge and understanding of research facts, ideas and theories and incorporates analysis, interpretation and evaluation of theories and concepts.

The new AQA specification in Sociology does not assess coursework assignments but expect students to apply their knowledge and understanding to a range of topic areas and develop more critical thinking in the context of sociological fields such as media and crime.

Skills acquired

• The new specification provides essential knowledge and understanding of central aspects of society: legal rulings, social policies and cultural differences.
• The ability to differentiate between different theoretical perspectives and not to accept research data or statistics at face value.
• The ability to demonstrate skills of application, analysis, interpretation and evaluation.

Where the course leads

Sociology is a very thought-provoking subject whose usefulness covers a wide variety of situations – academic, social, business and welfare. It is a valuable asset in many careers such as personnel, business, marketing, market research, management, politics, advertising, probation, teaching, the police force, nursing, social and welfare services and journalism.

Special entry requirements

Students should have the ability to think broadly, read critically and write clearly. A GCSE grade 5 or above in English Language is required. Students should also have an interest in a wide range of special issues and debates.