How can data science methods help answer social science questions? How can we combine a deep understanding of the social world, with the latest tools and data sources to analyse it? Discover how to ask the right questions, and develop the skills to answer them. By complementing a sociological understanding of the world with programming and analytical skills, you become a social scientist that can both understand and shape the big data revolution.
At Essex we investigate what connects people with each other, as well as what divides them. We consider every aspect of our daily lives, from how we relate to politicians, celebrities and friends, to how we define ourselves, our families, and others. You experience a lively, informal environment with the opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics including:
- The role of software in everyday life
- Programming with Python and Java
- Key ethical and social issues in digital societies
- Data visualisation
- Theories of social stratification
- Race, class and gender
- Sociological research methods
- Natural language engineering
With research methods rapidly changing in response to the large-scale generation of data within society, sociology needs to ensure it is engaged with new digital methods to both benefit from them, and to shape them. Sociologists with programming skills are highly valued in any organisation that must gather and draw inferences from data. By combining a sociological understanding with practical programming skills you learn how to understand and be that change in society.
Our BSc Sociology with Data Science is taught by our Department of Sociology in partnership with our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering to provide an interdisciplinary course. Our Department of Sociology is top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).
We offer expertise in many areas that complement the study of society and technology, including criminology, social history, visual sociology, anthropology, economic sociology, US and European studies and cultural rights.
Your education extends beyond our university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you 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.
If you spend a full year abroad you’ll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won’t pay any tuition fees to your host university.
You can also undertake a placement year in which you gain relevant work experience with a business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
You are taught by a team of award-winning internationally renowned scholars widely regarded as leading experts in their fields.
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 in your course.
Couse leader and Digital Sociologist, Dr James Allen-Robertson, is interested in the relationship between humans and technology, digital cultures, and in the development of new digital methods using data science.
- 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
- Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
- 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
- Collaborate with the Essex Institute of Data Analytics and Data Science (IADS) and the ESRC Business and Local Government (BLoG) Data Research Centre of the University of Essex
With a predicted shortage of data scientists, now is the time to future-proof your career. Data scientists are required in every sector, carrying out statistical analysis or mining data on social media, so our course opens the door to almost any industry, from health, to government, to publishing.
Our graduates are highly sought after by a range of employers and find employment in financial services, scientific computation, decision making support and government, risk assessment, statistics, education and other sectors.
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
- You have access to a dedicated Student Resource Centre offering academic and personal support
- We are committed to developing the data scientists of the future
- You acquire a range of skills valued by employers including research, interpreting data and debating
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.