What connects people and what divides them? Do people pull together because they want to or because they have to? What defines us? Sociologists explore why individuals, groups and cultures are the way they are and examine why they may be different. We consider every aspect of our daily lives, how we relate to others and define ourselves.
Taught in partnership with our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, this course explores society and culture, alongside the area of counselling which investigates the nature of emotional difficulties and human relationships in relation to individuals, families and communities. You learn to be more effective in your interpersonal functioning and to offer a mature, empathic and sensitive presence to employers and those you work with.
You study an exciting range of topics including:
- Culture and identity
- Social research
- Psychiatry and mental health
- Skills for counselling
- The nature of the counselling relationship
You receive training in sociological research methods including how to design a survey, conduct an interview and use quantitative analysis – in order to ask the difficult questions. Through modules delivered by the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies you’re introduced to key concepts of psychodynamic thinking which is relevant for counselling. You gain insight into the unconscious dynamics in individuals and groups and develop listening and observation, self-reflectiveness and communication skills.
You’re taught by sociologists in our Department of Sociology, ranked 7th in the UK for Politics in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020. Our counselling experts in our Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies offer a clinical and academic approach and are acclaimed professors, clinicians and practitioners who can offer relevant, practical experience.
You have the opportunity to gain practical experience and to pursue a year studying abroad or completing a work placement which can help in future employment. You can also complete a supervised dissertation on a topic that inspires you, encouraging you to think differently and connect with live issues and debates, preparing you for your graduate career.
Our expert staff
You may already be familiar with our academics before you meet them in lectures.
Our academics believe in doing research that matters and makes a difference; whether it’s the battle between big data and human rights or the policing of sex workers, we embed our innovative and sometimes controversial research into your course.
As well as publishing core texts and bestselling books, our academics often appear on TV and radio. Recent examples include Professor Mike Roper on The Psychology of War for the BBC World Service and Professor Pam Cox in her BBC TWO series Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter. Others engage with politics and policy making, such as those running our specialist centres for Migration Studies and Criminology.
- A unique Student Study Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
- The common room is open all day Monday-Friday, has a hot drinks vending machine, water cooler and microwave as well as a small number of lockers available
- Our students’ Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates
- The Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies has its own dedicated library of specialist texts which inform and influence our research
- Free evening Open Seminars on topics relevant to psychoanalysis which are open to students, staff and members of the public.
A good sociology course, especially one from a recognised institution for social sciences like Essex, can open many doors. This course provides a strong foundation for a career in counselling, working with government, marketing and other careers.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work in a wide range of high-profile roles including:
- Therapeutic Services
- Synergy Healthcare Research
We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- Ranked 9th in the UK for Sociology in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021
- You’re taught by expert staff who conduct the research and write the books used across the country
- You develop skills for a career in counselling alongside gaining an in depth insight into criminology
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience, with a focus on discussion and problem-solving
- Lab sessions to improve technical research skills
- You are assessed through a combination of written coursework and end-of-year examinations