Sociology examines how our actions are shaped by our social environment. It explores the values, beliefs and ideas that people hold, the lives we live and choices we make. Sociology will disturb your taken-for-granted view of the world, making even the mundane things in everyday life seem extraordinary. If you are inquisitive, seek challenges, take pleasure in discovery, desire to see the world afresh, and don’t want to simply believe that things can only be the way you’ve been told they are, then a sociology degree is for you.
You’ll study the organisation of societies, how people become united and divided in different cultural and social arrangements, and how people view their identities and understand their place in the world. Key topics across the sociology degree include violence and conflict, community and family life, society and the environment, technologies and security, and gender and sexuality. As you study sociology, you’ll develop the transferable skills that are sought after by employers, including research and problem-solving skills, and a range of communication skills.
What you will study
The first year of your sociology degree is designed to get you thinking sociologically and critically. You’ll be introduced to the ways that sociological knowledge of societies has been produced through a range of applied approaches and theories. First year modules address key problems facing contemporary societies and help you start to understand how sociological investigations can help us account for the complex world we live in.
In the second and third years, you’ll have the chance to develop a rich understanding of specialist topics in more depth, undertake a placement that provides a crucial opportunity to apply and reflect on the skills you’re gaining in a workplace environment, and conduct a supervised research dissertation project where you can further develop and display your sociological expertise and graduate-level skills.
Year One: Sociology Degree
- Undertaking Social Science Research
- Understanding Modern European Society
- Conflict, Crisis and Change – International Perspectives
- Poverty, Inequality and Social Exclusion
- Classical Sociological Theories
- Sociology of Childhood and Youth
Year Two: Sociology Degree
- Research Methods in the Social Science
- Work Experience in Sociology
- Global Perspectives on Violence and Society
- Social Justice and Social Exclusion
- Contemporary Social Theory
Plus one module from the following options:
- Equality and Diversity
- Society and the environment
Year Three: Sociology Degree
- Global Conflict, War and Peace
- Social Policy and Young People
- Families, Youth and Community
- Self and Society
- International Security
The sociology degree is taught through lectures, seminars, and workshops, all of which use established and innovative teaching methods to get you thinking and working together. You’ll be required to work on assignments, read about current topics to prepare for participation in seminars, and attend lectures. Assessment is closely matched to each module’s learning objectives, and a range of different assessments are used in order to fully develop your transferable skills.
For each assessment your lecturers will provide detailed feedback and feedforward in order to help maximise the trajectory of your learning. You’ll be taught by team of lecturers who have an array of expertise in areas such as social policy, nationalism, religion, globalisation, digital technologies, and the politics of climate change. You’ll be exposed to current real world issues and taught by academics who are actively contributing to the discipline and their own specialist field.
As one of our students you’ll have the opportunity to become a member of the British Sociological Association and participate in the USW Sociology Society, which is run by our current students. Our Global Choices series offers inspiring public lectures that address some of the most complex and pressing challenges facing the world today, delivered by people who have witnessed and been participants in major world events. Recent speakers include: Lord Hain of Neath, former cabinet minister; Rt Hon Jack Straw, former cabinet minister; Sir Richard Dearlove, former Head of MI6; and Steven Frank, child holocaust survivor.
The sociology degree is assessed primarily through coursework, with some exams. Assessments include presentations, group and individual projects, marked debates, surveys, portfolios, manifestos and peer assessments.
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