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Sociology A Level

Sociology is the study of the individual and society. It tries to explain human behaviour by studying how the different social groups which people belong to influence their actions and beliefs.


Many current social issues are studied by sociologists such as the increase in violent crime amongst young people (such as in the riots of 2011), the underperformance of boys in education due to a lack of male role models and the impact of new media on consumer choice and politics. 


A level students will study a two year linear A Level programme. At the end of their 1st year, students will sit internally assessed exams.


Exam Board: AQA



Search your university and career options if you study Sociology A Level

  • What will I study and learn?

    The aim of this course is to encourage a critical understanding of sociological ideas about society and social life. An exciting part of studying sociology is the way you can use it to help make sense of your own experiences in society. It can give you new ways of seeing the social world around you and lead to a questioning of things that are often taken for granted.

    There are 2 units of study in the first year and 2 units of study in the second year of the course:

    The first year covers:

    • Education with research methods: In this unit you will study the sociology of education and research methods. You will look at key issues in the sociology of education such as the underachievement of boys in school and why some ethnic minorities do not succeed in school. You will also consider relationships between teachers and pupils, looking specifically at the concepts of labelling and the self-fulfilling prophecy. We will also focus on research methods in the context of education.
    • Families and households: This topic aims to introduce key sociological terms and concepts such as cereal packet family, life expectancy, instrumental/expressive role and globalisation. You will focus on the changes in family and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures such as same-sex families and reconstituted family. Did you know that divorce rates rose in 1993 to 180,00 from 27,000 in 1961? We will explore the reasons for increase such as changes in law and society and rising expectations of marriage. You will also study the role and relationships in families, the nature of childhood, for instance the disappearance of childhood because of globalised media and lastly demographic trends such as immigration, birth/death rates and ageing population. In 2015, 65 years over accounted for 17.8% of the UK population and projected to 24.6 in 2045.

    The second year covers:

    • Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods: In this unit you will study criminology and its associated methodology. If you are thinking of studying criminology at degree level or getting a job in the criminal justice system this module will be perfect for you. You will study crime and its causes in relation to the role of globalisation, the effect of mass media and how social media caused the London riots in 2011. You will understand how governments are responsible for state crimes including assassination, genocide and torture. If you are interested in why and who commits crime this is the module for you.
    • The media: In this topic you will explore the numerous roles and relationships between the media and contemporary society. You will study the significance of new media, the relationship between ownership and control, who is the big six media corporations that control majority of the media? Why do sociologists refer to Rupert Murdoch as the ‘Phantom prime minister’? You will also look at the processes and selection of the news, representations of age, social class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability that views individuals in stereotypes such as working class individuals being seen as chavs and children perceived as innocent and angels. The hypodermic syringe model will appear in the relationship between the mass media and audiences. Is our behaviour shaped by the mass media? Is violence imitated from films, cartoons and TV shows just as the case of the killing of James Bugler.
  • How is the course assessed?

    There is no coursework, written examinations only. Each topic is assessed by a written examination.

    There are THREE papers each 2 hours long, consisting of a range of short and extended writing questions.

    Paper 1: Education with Theory and Methods

    Paper 2: Topics in Sociology ( Families and Households & The Media)

    Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods

  • What courses would combine well with this course?

    Sociology goes well with many A Level subjects, but some particularly good combinations are with history, English, government and politics and psychology. It would also prove an interesting contrast to science A Levels and could complement sports or economics A Levels too.

  • What skills will I need for the course?

    Sociology will appeal to you if you have an interest in social issues and the way societies work. The course involves reading articles and texts with an interest in discussing social issues. You will also need to develop good analytical and essay writing skills.

  • What formal entry requirements will I need?

    Minimum requirements - average points score of 5.5 including GCSE English Language at grade 6 and Maths at grade 4.


    Points calculation

    The average points score for entry to an A Level programme will be calculated using your 8 best GCSEs OR 6 GCSEs plus 1 technical qualification (equivalent to a maximum of 2 GCSEs and 10 points). From 2017 English Language, English Literature and Mathematics GCSE will be graded numerically (1 – 9. Grade 5 = a good grade C, grade 6 = grade B and grade 7 = grade A).


    To work out your average and find out more information, please see our Entry Requirements page.

  • What could the course lead to in higher education or careers?

    A Level Sociology is recognised for university entrance requirements and is a valuable subject to have studied for all types of work which involves an understanding of people and social relationships and the use of problem solving and analytical skills. The A Level can lead on to a sociology degree and is also a good preparation for a wide range of other courses in higher education and professions or business in health and welfare, administration, education, journalism, public relations, police or research.

  • Are there any costs involved?

    The main expense would be for one course textbook each year costing approximately £25. There may also be the possibility of trips to the cinema, theatre or conferences. These may cost between £5 and £15 each time.

  • Are you aged over 19?

    Students aged 19 or over on 31st August directly preceding their academic year may be required to pay tuition fees for that year of study. Advanced Learner Loans may be available for students studying at Level 3. If you are aged 19-23 as at 31 August and this is your first full Level 3 you may not have to pay fees.

    Students who are 19-24 years old with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) issued by the Local Authority are not required to pay course fees (ie tuition fees are free). Students will be required to provide a final copy of their EHCP provided by the LA as evidence.


    You can find A Level course fees for adults on our A Level page. 

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