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Course leader: Mrs E Tayler

Aims of the course

  • To develop your research and written skills in preparation for further study 
  • To develop a critical awareness of society by weighing up sociological evidence and arguments 

Will I enjoy Sociology? What are Sociology classes like?

The type of person who will enjoy Sociology will be someone who has an enquiring and critical mind who is not afraid to have new ideas. Sociology will suit people who enjoy being challenged by new ideas and who like discussion work, even though discussion forms only part of the subject. Essay writing forms a key part of the assessment as this is how you will be assessed in exam conditions.

Year 1 (Year 12) Topics

  • Education with research methods 
    • The role and functions of the education system, including how the world of work shapes education. 
    • Reasons for differences in achievement according to social class, gender and ethnicity. 
    • The effects of teacher/pupil relationships, the hidden curriculum and pupil identities and subcultures on achievement. 
    • The methods of research that sociologists use to study society and education.
  • Family 
    • Theories and functions of the family
    • Changing patterns of marriage, divorce and childbearing and family diversity. 
    • Gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships within the family.
    • The nature of childhood, and changes in childhood over time. 

Year 2 (Year 13) Topics 

  • Crime and Deviance with Theory and methods 
    • Sociological explanations of crime and deviance
    • Patterns of crime and deviance according to ethnicity, gender and social class.
    • The media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes
    • Crime control, surveillance, prevention and punishment, victims, and the criminal justice system
    • The methods of research and theories that sociologists use to study and explain individuals and society including; Marxism, feminism and postmodernism 
  • Beliefs in Society 
    •  Religious organisations, including cults, churches and New Age movements 
    • The relationship between different social groups and religious organisations, beliefs and practices
    • The debate as to whether the significance of religion today is declining across the world or simply changing.
    • Ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions 

Where can this course lead to?

As well as offering you insights into the ways in which society works, Sociology A level will help you to develop an enquiring and critical mind, enabling you to evaluate the world and society around you. Sociology looks at such a broad range of issues and can be combined well with most subjects. Many Sociology students go on to study Humanities, English or Social Science related degrees at university. However, Sociology is accepted as an A Level towards most university course including Nursing, Teaching, Pharmacy, Medicine and other Science based courses. Sociology particularly provides an excellent background for careers in law, journalism, teaching, social work, social policy, nursing and a range of management and business areas.

Why choose Sociology at St Mary’s?

Sociology is the study of how society is organised and how we experience life.

Have you ever wondered...what causes outbreaks of public violence such as the London riots? Have you ever asked yourself why children from wealthier backgrounds significantly outperform those from poorer backgrounds in the education system, or why girls outperform boys? Have you ever wondered why there is a higher proportion of black males in prison? Is this due to police racism or poverty? Have you considered why the gap between the rich and poor is growing in the UK today?

All four of these issues are topics covered in A Level Sociology and as you might imagine, they are issues that provoke much debate and disagreement! If you are interested in the wider debates and arguments that the above issues raise, then Sociology may be the course for you. As a Sociology student you will not be provided with quick answers. What you will discover is how to think about these issues for yourself.