How can we understand and explain diverse social and political issues such as Brexit, drone warfare, veganism, the #metoo movement and celebrity culture? Why does social inequality continue to exist? How can we find out more about, and improve, people's lives and experiences?
On this BSc (Hons) Sociology degree, you'll explore these pressing contemporary social issues and delve into the latest sociological research.
As well as applying classic sociological theories to contemporary situations, you'll have the opportunity to study specialist areas of sociology that interest you most, such as nationalism, happiness and emotions, the body, social class, and gender, sexuality, and race. You can also follow a media studies pathway, studying topics such as digital cultures and media fandom.
You'll develop the skills and knowledge to engage critically with the world around you, enhancing your understanding of it so you can consider how to fight to change it.
You'll be taught by sociologists who are currently doing research that tackles social inequalities, explores people's lives and investigates pressing contemporary issues. The content of many modules is based on this research, giving you an experience and perspective you won't get anywhere else. You'll also develop the skills to carry out your own research into topics you care about.
The course prepares you for a variety of people-focused careers, from health and social care to teaching and research. You can also do further training or study after your degree.
What you'll experience
On this course you'll:
- Develop a critical and independent understanding of the world we live in
- Learn how our lives relate to each other's and how they intersect with wider social structures
- Develop an understanding of how sociology can help us to understand and fight inequality and injustice
- Build research skills that support you to carry out your own research and analysis of issues you're passionate about
- Take specialist optional modules taught by leading sociology researchers, on topics such as food, nationalism, emotions, social class, gender and race
- Develop transferable skills that will impress employers, as you learn to think critically, lead research projects, communicate effectively and analyse data
You'll have the opportunity to:
- Spend a sandwich year studying abroad or doing a work placement after year 2
- Boost your career prospects and link your learning to the wider world by volunteering or doing a work placement alongside your studies
- Follow an optional media studies pathway, focusing on topics such as media fandom, digital cultures and comedy and graduating with a Sociology with Media Studies award
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- Written essays and tests
- Group and individual projects
- Seminar participation
- In-class tests
- A 10,000-word dissertation in year 3
Examinations typically only make up around 10–20% of your final mark.
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
The way you’re assessed may depend on the modules you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
- Year 1 students: 18% by written exams and 82% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 17% by written exams, 17% by practical exams and 66% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 12% by written exams and 88% by coursework
Teaching methods on this course include:
There's a practical focus on this course. You'll take part in group debates and discussions and get hands-on experience with different research and interview techniques.
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.
For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.
Careers and opportunities
The knowledge you gain on this course, coupled with the communication, research, critical thinking and analysis skills you learn, means you'll have lots of career options when you graduate.
Many of our sociology graduates go into people-focused roles, or in roles that allow them to do research, shape social policies or bring about social change.
Areas you could go into include:
- Teaching and lecturing (with additional training or further study)
- Research and policy
- Health and social care
- Marketing and media
- Local government
- Community development
- Careers advice
- Charity work
- Human resources and recruitment
- Business and personnel management
Job roles some of our recent graduates have gone into include:
- Equality and diversity co-ordinator at HS2
- Housing policy officer in local government
- Recruitment manager and human resources manager in the NHS
- Events organiser for Bank of England
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing the ideal job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.
We'll work with you to identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and allow you to use the skills you've learnt.
We'll also be available to help, advise and support you for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.
This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option. This means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you do alongside your study.
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.
Examples of placement organisations include:
- Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service
- Why Me? Restorative Justice
- SEK International School, Spain
- Aurora New Dawn - a charity giving safety, support, advocacy and empowerment to survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.