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Sociology A-Level at Priestley College

Course description

Sociology is the scientific study of people in society. It is a social science which uses various methods of empirical investigation to try to explain why different people behave in different ways and how our lives are shaped by factors such as our social class (wealth), gender and ethnicity.

Sociology is an academic and challenging subject. Sociology students are expected to try to think critically, and make their own judgements based on sociological evidence and not common-sense opinions assumptions and stereotypes.

Our students frequently tell us that Sociology is one of their hardest subjects because of its complex theoretical subject matter and the emphasis on essay based writing, and also the additional amount of independent reading and study needed to succeed. However, students also tell us that studying Sociology is thought-provoking and enjoyable. If you are seriously thinking about Sociology, please bear these points in mind before committing yourself.

Course content

At AS and A Level you will study Socialisation and Culture; Youth Cultures; Education; and Methods of Sociological Enquiry. For A Level, you will also study Power and Stratification; and Crime and Deviance. Each topic is underpinned with sociological perspectives based on the work of key theorists. Some of the issues we look at include: What is culture? Why do working class pupils get worse results than middle class pupils? Why do males commit more crime than females? How do sociologists conduct research?

Entry requirements

Sociology in not a commonsense based subject and therefore it is essential that you are able to construct logical and critical arguments and articulate them effectively in class discussions and written assessments. A very good command of English is crucial.

Our minimum entry requirements remain 5 GCSEs at grade C or above, however there are now a number of restrictions on the type/range of programmes you can take at Priestley which will reflect your overall GCSE grade profile.

If you do not have a GCSE Grade 4 or the old Grade C in English Language and/or Mathematics by the time you join Priestley you will be required to continue working to improve in these subjects so you may find your programme options more limited.


At AS, you will sit two written exams at the end of one year in May. At A2, you will sit three written exams at the end of two years in May and June. Your progress will be rigorously monitored through a range of written assessments; tests and progress reviews.

Future opportunities

Sociology provides a strong intellectual background for students considering careers in the police, probation service, journalism, anthropology, social work, teaching, law and any other career where you will have to deal with people from different social backgrounds. Sociology combines well with many subjects like English, Law, Politics, Media Studies, Health and Social Care, History and Business Studies.

Further information

Sociology students get to visit the People’s Museum in Manchester, the Magistrates Courts in Warrington and also attend sociological related conferences in Manchester and Liverpool.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 10 October 2016
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