Exam Board: AQA
Entry Requirements: Grade 5 or above in GCSE English Language or GCSE English Literature.
watch our video about sociology a-level
From the Gruffalo and Brassed Off, to punk music and teddy boys – to state crime and the criminal justice system!
Many previous students have described studying sociology as a ‘game changer’, having chosen it as an unknown additional subject and then end up studying it at university.
Lessons tend to be discursive in nature with students being encouraged to voice their opinions based on their understanding of the various studies conducted by the sociologists specialising in each topic. We reflect on contemporary debates and relevant issues raised in the media. It greatly helps if students have an interest in sociologically relevant issues.
Our staff have a real enthusiasm for the subject and believe that teaching and learning should be an enjoyable experience for all concerned. Lessons are punctuated by regular discussions about topical news stories, to enhance discussion and sociological debate. Staff also provide invaluable support and mentoring to students who may be experiencing difficulties in adjusting to Sixth Form.
Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behaviour. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organisations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. We consider what factors determine this behaviour and consider the ideas of norms and values, socialisation, and conformity and deviance in shaping who we are.
Sociology works well combined with psychology, English, health and social care, economics, geography, history, or any other essay-based subjects.
Some of the topics covered are:
Culture and Identity
- Socialisation and the construction of identity
- Youth subcultures, such as mods and rockers, skinheads, punks and goths
- The impact of globalisation on culture e.g. McDonaldisation
- Aspects of identity such as gender, class, ethnicity, age, disability, sexuality, consumption and leisure.
- Why do girls outperform boys in education?
- How the middle class have economic and cultural advantages in the education system
- The impact of government policies towards education e.g. tuition fees and the potential impact on social class
- The hidden curriculum in education and the influence of peer groups.
- The mass media and the impact of new media and social media
- Media representations of gender, sexuality, disability etc.
- Who owns and controls the media and how this impacts on the presentation of the news.
Crime and Deviance
- Policing and institutional racism
- State crime and human rights abuse
- Theories of crime
- The role and purpose of punishment such as prison.
Theory and Methods
- The different sociological theories: functionalism, Marxism, feminism, interactionism and postmodernism
- How sociologists research the different topics above and how this is influenced by their theoretical approach
- How sociological research can inform real-world policies
- Is sociology a science?
Beyond the classroom
We have a planned trip in Year 13 to Shrewsbury Prison, an 18th century jail which closed in 2013, to support the Crime and Deviance unit. The department also has an active Social Science Club run by staff in the department which explores contemporary issues in social sciences beyond the classroom. Past topics have included freedom of speech on campus, masculinity and femininity, and the dark side of TikTok. Students who take part are encouraged to bring their own topics for discussion which sometimes centre around interesting documentaries, podcasts or articles.
A vast range of higher education courses and career options are available, from research to social work, marketing to PR, the health service, law, journalism, teaching, criminology, politics, social policy and government research. Students can gain access to a very wide range of university courses with a sociology A-level and sociology is accepted by all of the Russell Group universities.
A sociology degree can lead to postgraduate study or any of the above careers. Former students have also successfully applied to courses in medicine, sciences and languages. One former student is a senior correspondent for the Guardian newspaper.