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Sociology A level at Bishop Thomas Grant Catholic Secondary School

Course description

Sociology is the study of the society in which we live.  It examines how we are influenced and shaped through being members of groups and organisation.  Sociology is a challenging, academic subject and, as such, is highly regarded by universities and employers.  In order to succeed, students will be required to read widely for this course.  If you have an interest in news and current affairs then the chances are, you are already doing this. 

The Sociology department currently deliver the AQA A-Level specification at key stage 5.  This Sociology specification has been designed so that students will acquire the essential knowledge and understanding of central aspects of sociological thought and methods, together with a range of skills.  The specification lays an appropriate foundation for further study of Sociology and related subjects in higher education.  In addition, it provides a worthwhile course for students of various ages and from diverse backgrounds in terms of general education and lifelong learning. Equally, material studied would be useful for students intending to pursue careers in the field of Social Sciences.  Sociology allows students to develop their literacy and numeracy skills via extended essay writing and statistical analysis.  It also provides an opportunity to develop critical thinking and research skills.

Course content

Sociologists study people in society, looking at groups like the immediate family, larger ones like a school or workplace, very large institutions like the education system or the political system, and whole societies like Scotland or Britain.  Put simply, sociology is the attempt to understand how society works.  It provides description and analysis of the patterns and structures in human relationships, and encourages us to see the world through the eyes of other people.

Students studying Sociology can expect to use a variety of learning methods in their lessons, including group work, debate, and guided reading.



Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content: 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.

Research Methods 

Students must examine the following areas: quantitative and qualitative methods of research; research design: sources of data, including questionnaires, interviews, participant and nonparticipant 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.

Topics in Sociology Families and Households 

Students are expected to be familiar with sociological explanations of the following content: 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. 

Beliefs In Society;                                                             

Different theories of ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions.

The relationship between religious beliefs and social change and stability. Religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice.

Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods

Different theories of crime, deviance, social order and social control.

The social distribution of crime and deviance by age, ethnicity, gender, locality and social class. Crime control, prevention and punishment, victims, and the role of the criminal justice system The sociological study of suicide and its theoretical and methodological implications. The connections between sociological theory and methods and the study of crime and deviance.

Entry requirements

GCSE Grade 6 in English Language or Literature. 


Paper 1: Education with Theory and Methods

2 hour written exam; 80 marks; 33.3% of A-level

Paper 2: Topics in Sociology

2 hour written exam; 80 marks; 33.3% of A-level

Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods 

2 hour written exam ; 80 marks; 33.3% of A-level 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Bishop Thomas Grant Catholic Secondary School directly.

Last updated date: 01 December 2016
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