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A Level Sociology

Do you want to find out more about the world we live in? What makes us the people we are? What our role and function in society is? A-level Sociology appeals to those with a lively and enquiring mind. If you have an interest in current affairs and a desire to explore new ideas, this course would be ideal for you.

Entry Requirements

A minimum of five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English Language and usually Mathematics.

Course Content

Sociology covers key areas such as family structures, our education system, crime, deviance and criminology, as well as the role and functions of religious groups, cults and sects. Throughout the course we focus on the key themes of gender, ethnicity, class, age, stratification, globalisation and power.

Year 1

Unit 1: Education – Why do some pupils achieve more qualifications than others? Is it because of their class, gender or ethnicity, or is there an exact correlation between hard work and exam results? We will examine the functions of education; patterns of academic attainment by class, gender and ethnicity; labelling and subcultural pupil groups; policies affecting education. We will also discover how Sociologists research education.

Unit 2: Families and Households – Is the nuclear family still the most common type? Are families patriarchal (male dominated), or are families in contemporary society more equal? We will also learn about key Sociological theory: Functionalism, Marxism, Feminism(s), the New Right, Postmodernists and Foucault.

This unit also includes a section on research methods.

Year 2

Unit 3: Beliefs in Society – We investigate the role and importance of religion in society. Is religion a force for social change, or does it simply maintain power imbalances? We look at a range of religious groups, cults and sects, as well as Black Liberation and Feminist Theology.

Unit 4: Crime and Deviance – We study patterns of criminal and deviant behaviour. Why are Black men stopped and searched by the police more than White or Asian men? Why do men commit more crimes than women? Does capitalism cause crime? We also look at crime prevention policy, victimisation, and a range of theoretical perspectives including Radical Criminology and Left Realist Approaches.

How will I be assessed?

There is no coursework required, as both years are assessed by exams:

Year 1:  An external exam to check your progress

Year 2: Three x 2 hour exams taken at the end of Year 2

Exam techniques will be taught throughout the course and extra revision classes will be offered to our students.

What qualifications will I get?

Upon successful completion of the two-year course, you will be awarded an A-level in Sociology.

What will it allow me to do in the future?

A good A-level pass in a range of subjects will help you to progress to Higher Education or relevant employment.  A Sociology degree, and the skills it brings, are invaluable for careers in Social Research, Law, Teaching/Lecturing, Social Work, the Police Force, Journalism, Media, Politics and many others.

Course Information

For further information please contact:

Kate Dennis: kdennis@southdowns.ac.uk

Bonnie Feltham: bfeltham@southdowns.ac.uk

Students, aged over 19 on the 1 September of the year the course commences will be required to pay tuition and assessment fees. If you are in receipt of an income based benefit please ask about financial assistance, which may be available.

This course no longer attracts government funding subsidy for students aged 24 or above on the start date of this course. To help pay for these fees you may be entitled to the 19+ Advanced Learning Loan.

This subject became a Linear A-level in 2015.  This means in order to achieve a full A level you will study the subject for two years and take all your exams at the end of this period.  Further information will be available at your College interview.

Further Information

Please contact Customer Services on 0800 056 0511 or email customerservices@southdowns.ac.uk for further information.


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