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:

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?

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.

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:


Anti-social behaviour coordination

Audience and market research


Campaigning groups

Child welfare

Civil services

Community care

Community development & research

Community, health & social work


Events management



Government advisory departments

Health promotion



Human resources

Human rights, migration & refugee support

Investigating justice & victim support

Journalism and media

Legal professions

Local government

Marketing and PR

Mental health


Policy analysis and consultancy

Policy and administration



Protective agencies

Public relations


Sales management

Social and welfare professions

Social policy development

Social work

Systems analysis


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 Mr. MacDonald