What is sociology?

Sociology involves studying human social life, groups and societies in a systematic way.  Sociologists investigate and explain the social world and out behaviour in it.  They are particularly interested in understanding the ways in which society influences us and shapes our daily lives.

As a sociology student, you will explore and ask questions about the workings of society you live in.  Studying society will help you to understand how society is organised, and to make sense of your own experiences in it.  Sociology can be thought provoking and challenging because it encourages us to think carefully about our views and assumptions.

You will study contemporary British society and examine its main social structures, such as the family and education systems.  You will also explore what is known as the ‘social processes’ that influence us, such as socialisation and social control, as well as some of the controversial issues relating to sociology, such as the quality of parenting and teenage crime.

What skills will I gain?

Many students study sociology because it gives them a wide range of transferable skills.  Sociology will help you to think analytically about your life and the world.  With your understanding of research methods, you will be able to generate new knowledge using social surveys, in-depth interviews, language analysis, statistics etc.  Other skills include:

  • Assembling and evaluating evidence
  • Thinking critically and writing efficiently
  • Constructing and presenting persuasive arguments

These skills will prepare you for employment in a variety of professions that require a sophisticated and questioning understanding of the society.

Course content and examinations

Paper 1 is a 1 hour 45 minute examination containing two modules:

  1. Education: approximately 50 minute section with two pieces of extended writing.

Topics discussed in this module:

  • How is the education system organised in contemporary Britain?
  • How can parental attitudes affect achievement?
  • How might the school affect achievement?
  • What is the role of the school in ethnicity and achievement?


  1. Family: approximately 50 minute section with two pieces of extended writing.

Topics discussed in this module:

  • How might an individual’s family and household settings change over the course of their life?
  • What were gender roles and relationships between adult partners like in the past?
  • How have relationships between parents and their children changed over time?
  • What are the consequences of divorce?

Paper 2 is a 1 hour 45 minute examination which allows students to choose three of four modules.

  1. Crime and deviance: approximately 50 minute section with two pieces of extended writing.

Topics discussed in this module:

  • What are the differences between formal and informal control?
  • How do sociologists explain criminal and deviant behaviour?
  • How far do official statistics on recorded crime measure the extent of crime?
  • Why is youth crime viewed as a social problem?

2. Social inequality: approximately 50 minute section with two pieces of extended writing.

Topics discussed in this module:

  • How are wealth and income distributed in Britain?
  • How much social mobility is there in Britain?
  • How do we explain poverty?
  • How have governments attempted to tackle social problems such as poverty, unemployment & the ageing population?

Why is sociology important?

“Generations of students have found that sociology makes them look at the world in new ways and this is why so many of us who teach it feel passionately about it - and why it is still pioneering after more than a hundred years.”  British Sociological Society.


Sociology is a popular GCSE subject that is taught by a small, enthusiastic department who will get to know you and be able to provide appropriate support.  We use a range of teaching and learning methods and have a range of resources available to students to complement learning both inside and outside the classroom.

Careers and future progression

The skills and abilities that you develop over the duration of the course lay the foundations to a range of opportunities and careers in fields such as:

  • Advertising
  • Anti-social behaviour coordination
  • Audience and market research
  • Broadcasting
  • Campaigning groups
  • Child welfare
  • Civil services
  • Community care
  • Community development & research
  • Community, health & social work
  • Education
  • Events management
  • Fundraising
  • Government
  • Government advisory departments


  • Health promotion
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Human resources
  • Human rights, migration & refugee support
  • Investigating justice & victim support
  • Journalism and media
  • Legal professions
  • Local government
  • Marketing and PR
  • Mental health
  • Police
  • Policy analysis and consultancy
  • Policy and administration
  • Politics
  • Probation
  • Protective agencies
  • Public relations
  • Research
  • Sales management
  • Social and welfare professions
  • Social policy development
  • Social work
  • Systems analysis
  • Teaching
  • The civil service
  • The criminal justice system
  • The press and public relations
  • The voluntary and community sector
  • Writing and journalism
  • Youth and community work

For further information contact please contact Mrs K Rose