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Sociology A Level at Carlisle College

Course description

Sociology is the study of human social relationships and institutions. Sociology’s subject matter is diverse, ranging from crime to religion, from the family to the state, from the divisions of race and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture, and from social stability to radical change in whole societies. Unifying the study of these diverse subjects of study is sociology’s purpose of understanding how human action and consciousness both shape and are shaped by surrounding cultural and social structures.

Course content

Core unit 1: Education with Methods in Context

  • The role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy and to class structure
  • Differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society
  • Relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships, pupil identities and subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning
  • The significance of educational policies, including policies of selection, marketisation and privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or outcome, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of and access to education; the impact of globalisation on educational policy.

Methods in context
Students must be able to apply sociological research methods to the study of education
Unit 2: Research Methods and Topics in Sociology
Unit 2 differs from unit 1 in that there is an option of which topic to study. There is the compulsory content of sociological research methods. The topics to choose from are:

  • Culture and identity
  • Health
  • Families and households
  • Poverty and welfare

Families and households has been the most popular topic of study over the last few years, this is likely to continue.
Research methods

  • Quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design
  • sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and non-participant Observation, experiments, documents and official statistics
  • The distinction between primary and secondary data, and between quantitative and qualitative data
  • The relationship between positivism, interpretivism and sociological methods; the nature of ‘social facts’
  • The theoretical, practical and ethical considerations influencing choice of topic, choice of method(s) and the conduct of research.

Families and households

  • The relationship of the family to the social structure and social change, with particular reference to the economy and to state policies
  • Changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, childbearing and the life course, including the sociology of personal life, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures
  • Gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships within the family in contemporary society
  • The nature of childhood, and changes in the status of children in the family and society
  • Demographic trends in the United Kingdom since 1900: birth rates, death rates, family size, life expectancy, ageing population, and migration and globalisation.

Entry requirements

Students would need to have achieved a minimum of 5 GCSE's at grades A* - C or Scottish equivalent.


Assessment will be based around two exams per year.

Future opportunities

A wide range of possibilities are available. Straightforward is to move on to study a degree in History, but the skills that you will gain will provide you with the transferable skills to be incredibly analytical. The possibilities to study humanities are endless!

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Carlisle College directly.

Last updated date: 14 September 2016
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