Click on the image to find out more about studying A level sociology

Exam board: OCR

What is sociology?

“Sociology is the study of individuals in a social setting that includes groups, organisations, cultures and societies. Sociologists study the interrelationships between individuals, organisations, cultures and societies.” Giddens (1989).

Sociology is a rapidly developing subject that studies how people think, act, relate and organise themselves in society. As you study the course you will progressively build an understanding of theoretical frameworks which in turn will provide you with an in-depth understanding of social processes, organisations and group relationships.

Sociologists investigate social life and how these experiences shape people's behaviour, beliefs and identity. By understanding the social world, we gain a better understanding of ourselves and our own social situations.

Throughout the course you will be introduced to the main concepts, themes and perspectives of sociology, including key theoretical approaches and methods of research.

This course challenges your everyday assumptions about the world. It encourages you to think critically and imaginatively about your lives, the communities in which you live and the social relations that make up society.

Some topics discussed within the course: 

What is culture and how has it changed over time?
What is socialisation?
What is a hybrid identity?
What is British identity?
How and why are youth subcultures formed?
Why do people participate in deviant subcultures?
What does sociological research set out to do?
How important are ethics in research?
What are the main stages of the research process?
Which methods are used in sociological research?

What are the main trends in social inequality?
How can trends in social inequality be explained?
What is the relationship between globalisation and digital forms of communication?
What have been the impacts of digital communication?
Does prison work?
Why are crime rates higher in inner-city locations?
How influential is sociology in government policy making?

Who is this course for?

If sociology is right for you, you will have an interest in people and in discovering different ways of looking at the world. The ability to write well-structured, reasoned arguments in timed conditions is an essential skill to succeed in this course.

Sociology students are as diverse as the subject itself. Broadly speaking, you are interested in the world around you. To you, the world is a puzzle: why are things the way they are and how could they be different? You are inquisitive and independently minded and keen to explore your own and other cultures in depth. If you enjoy engaging with evidence to analyse and understand the world around you, applying creativity in solving problems, and are keen to make a difference, then this course could well be for you.

Entry Requirements

The general entry requirements apply. If you have taken sociology at GCSE, then grade 4 is required.

Course content and examinations

Component 1: 90 minute examination worth 30% of the total A-level.

Socialisation, culture and identity:

Agencies of socialisation
The nature / nurture debate
Formal agencies of social control

Informal agencies of social control
National identity
Culture, norms and values

Youth subcultures:

Patterns and trends in youth deviance Deviant subcultures
Anti-school subcultures
Folk devils and moral panics

Deviance amplification
Criminal subcultures
Social order
Gender and gang association
Ethnicity and gang association

Component 2: 135 minute examination worth 35% of the total A-level.

Researching and understanding social inequalities:

Marxist theories
Feminist theories
Functionalist theories
Social groups and social inequalities

Quantitative methods of primary research Qualitative methods of research Questionnaires and interviews
Secondary sources of data

Component 3: 135 minute examination worth 35% of the total A-level.

Globalisation and the digital social world:

Virtual communities
Digital communication

Social networks
Postmodern perspective of digital communication
Hyper reality

Crime and deviance:

Functionalist, strain and subcultural theories
Labelling theory
Marxist theories
New Right Realism
New Left Realism
Gender, crime and justice
Ethnicity, crime and justice

Crime and the media
Globalisation, human rights, green & state crimes
Control, punishments and victims
Sociology and science
Objectivity and values in sociology
Sociology and social policy

Skills and experience gained

Over the course you will develop a set of key skills valued by both universities and employers, including writing skills, research skills, presentation techniques, team working, ICT and communication skills.


Sociology 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 open the door to a range of opportunities and careers in fields as varied as:

Anti-social behaviour coordination
Audience and market research
Campaigning groups
Child welfare
Civil services
Community care
Community development and research Community, health and social work Education Government
Government advisory departments
Health promotion
Human resources
Human rights, migration, refugee support
Investigating justice and victim support
Writing, journalism and media

Legal professions
Local government
Marketing and PR
Mental health
Police Policy analysis and consultancy
Policy and administration
Protective agencies
Public relations
Research Sales management
Social and welfare professions
Social policy development
Social work
The civil service
The criminal justice system
The press and public relations
The voluntary and community sector

For further information, please contact:

Ms Rose, Mrs Saward