Sociology


Exam Board

Additional Entry Requirements

Grade B in GCSE sociology (if taken) and English language.
 
Grade 6 in any GCSE essay writing subject (e.g. English literature, history, geography) if sociology not taken.
 
Grade 5 in GCSE mathematics

Course Content

Why sociology?
 
A level sociology gives you the opportunity to question everything about society, to view it from a completely different perspective and develop your academic understanding of key issues relating to class, gender, ethnicity, inequality and power.
 
You’ll develop skills such as essay writing, analysis, evaluation, critical thinking, teamwork and independent research. These skills are good preparation for university courses and complement many other humanities and social science subjects, particularly history, geography, English, philosophy, politics and psychology. Students progress to Russell Group and Oxbridge universities. They read for social science/humanities degrees including economics, law, psychology, politics, sociology and international relations. A sociology degree can be used for careers in the civil service, advertising, journalism, business, working for non-government organisations and think-tanks, law and policing.
 
Trips include the Sociology in Action conference, and previous excursions include visiting the BBC, the Museum of Childhood and taking part in youth conferences.
 
Course content
 
You will study a wide range of topics to develop your understanding of different areas of society, such as families, education, crime and social inequality.
 
You will study why people commit crime, gender differences in crime, how childhood has changed over time, equality in families and how the education system has changed. You will also learn how to carry out research and the theories that sociologists use to understand society.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on the headings below.

I have heard Sociology is just about discussing your opinions, is this true?

This is not true. You will learn concepts, theories and research evidence. Some of the issues we look at are controversial so there are opportunities for discussion and debate, but you are expected to develop academic knowledge just like other essay based A level subjects.

What are the lessons like?

Lessons are interactive and include a variety of activities such as discussion/ debate, analysing case studies, quizzes, working with other students (within social distancing guidelines) and individual tasks.
 
You’ll take notes, watch videos/ listen to podcasts for homework and we will apply these in lessons.

I am looking for an easy A level option, should I consider Sociology?

A level sociology is hard and it is not for you if you are looking for an easy option. There is a lot of content so you have to be interested in it. You’ll be writing essays frequently.

What if I don’t study GCSE Sociology?

Most of our students don’t. We start from scratch so you won’t miss anything.

What is the difference between GCSE and A level Sociology?

A level sociology requires a higher level of analysis and evaluation in your work. The essays are longer and there is more content.

Am I supposed to study outside of lessons?

Yes, as with all A level subjects at least 5 hours per week outside of lessons should be devoted to the subject.

Which other subjects complement A level sociology?

Sociology links well to other subjects such as history, politics, philosophy, geography, English, psychology and law. Sociology will help you think critically about the world around and develop your essay writing skills which are qualities all of these subjects share.

What’s the difference between sociology and psychology?

Sociology is focused around the influence of wider society on people’s behaviour and goes beyond individual motivations for behaviour, e.g. looking at inequalities in society. There is a lot of focus on people as part of social groups (e.g. class, gender, ethnicity) and institutions (e.g. family and media). Psychology is more about focusing on the individual and the immediate environment around them.

Can I study sociology and psychology?

Yes, the two subjects have different content with a few similar themes.

Do all universities accept A level sociology?

Yes, including Oxford and Cambridge universities.

What careers does sociology lead to? I have heard that you can only be a social worker or a teacher if you have a sociology degree.

This is a stereotype, careers that relate to sociology include the civil service, media, public relations, non-government organisations and the criminal justice system.

Are there any trips?

Trips have included visiting the Old Bailey, The Museum of Childhood, the BBC and student conferences.
 
We have also arranged visiting speakers, for example from the Prison Reform Trust.

I have read the sociology section in the prospects and looked at the syllabus but I’m still not sure what is studied in the units.

Families and Households: we look at issues such as how the family adapts to society, changes in marriage/divorce/cohabitation, why there’s been an increase in family diversity, how childhood has changed over time and gender equality in the family.
 
Education: why students from different social class, ethnic and gender groups achieve differently, who is responsible for this (home, wider society, teachers), policies about education.
 
Crime: social factors that lead to people committing crime, corporate crime, reasons for gender differences in crime, reasons for ethnic differences in crime, green crime, state crime, victims of crime, punishment, ways of reducing crime.
 
Media: the extent of power owners of the media have, the extent to which the media causes violence, how the media portrays gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class, disability, and age, the impact of the new media such as the internet.
 
We also study research methods.
“I wanted to study a subject that I hadn’t taken before but that would give me room to debate and gather my own personal opinions. In classes there’s a lot of discussion and group activities and I like the fact that everyone has different ideas and views.
 
In sociology we study society with a microscope, it’s a social science and has scientific approaches, especially when you look at research methods, observations and experiments. At the same time we are looking at the social environmental factors that play into the way that people think and act.
 
At Woodhouse you’re encouraged to be an adult and be your own person, it’s pushed me in ways that a school just couldn’t. Here, people are more free to say what they want and express themselves.”
 
XENIA
Bishop Douglass School Finchley
 
 

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