Everything that you study in Sociology either has affected you already or will do in the future. As societies are living, breathing organisms that change and adapt as they grow, this subject is constantly changing and updating. You will be considering the impact of these changes on society and viewing them through the lens of modern life in Britain. This broad and varied syllabus looks primarily at social life in Britain today, why is it that we do what we do in the way that we do it? It isn’t just a theoretical study, though. Sociological study can have a real impact on our lives – if we know that a child from a low-income family is likely to achieve poor GCSE’s then we need to understand why this is and take steps to change this. Sociology affects your life today and will continue to do so. Understanding the reasons why empowers us to bring about real and lasting social change.
What can I do with it?
Sociology can help you into many different careers and courses of further study such as:
- Police work
- Social work
Knowledge and understanding of both history and current affairs is a real advantage so combining Sociology with either History or Politics can really help. Equally, an understanding of other social sciences can be useful, so combining Sociology with Psychology or Criminology would give you a much broader view of the ways in which we interact socially and the reasons for this. Other useful areas of knowledge and understanding include Statistics, Religious Studies and any English-based subject.
As well as offering a broad, structured and relevant curriculum, Sociology can support you with your other subjects. There are opportunities to develop your knowledge and understanding of current affairs and become involved in practical research projects in school.
What will I study?
The Sociology A-level is assessed through three papers, comprising five key topics.
Paper One: The Sociology of Education with Methods in Context
This paper looks at the education system. We will consider why certain groups of students are more likely to underachieve than others, looking specifically at class, gender and ethnicity. We will look critically at policies that have been introduced to try to decrease the inequality between different groups. You’ll learn about how sociologists research, looking at a range of methods from interviews to using personal documents. You will gain first-hand experience of how these methods are applied when researching education by carrying out your own research projects into the gender achievement gap.
Paper Two: Topics in Sociology
For this paper we look at families and households as well as beliefs in society. The first topic considers the role of the family in modern Britain, asking questions such as why do women still appear to do the most domestic labour – has feminism really done them any favours? Is childhood better today than it has ever been or has technology made it toxic? The second topic looks at the role of religion in the modern world, asking key questions such as why have we seen a rise in religious fundamentalism in the past 25 years? Why are women more likely to be religious even though it often seems to oppress them?
Paper Three: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods
This paper looks at the phenomenon of crime. Who commits it? Why? And what happens to them when they do? It considers the reasons why different social groups may appear to be more likely to commit crime and why some groups, such as young black men, are more likely to go to prison than others (even if they have committed the same crime). We will consider the factors that make someone more or less likely to turn to crime as they grow up, are some people just born bad or does environment play a large role?
There is so much on this course that there is something for everyone.