Accessibility links

Sociology at Gateshead College

Course description

In sociology you will learn about the complexity and diversity of social situations.

You’ll learn how to apply sociological theory to organisations such as schools, hospitals and work places.

You’ll learn how to develop reasoned arguments using your understanding of research methods, analysis and statistical techniques. You’ll develop your own opinions on society’s contemporary issues.

This A level will suit anyone who has an interest in understanding how the world around them works, and who enjoys critical thinking and exploring ideas from different viewpoints.

Students who have shown an interest in and ability for English and/or History almost always do well in Sociology, although success in the subject is not limited to such students.

Sociology is an excellent complement to other subjects on social sciences and humanities, such as Psychology, Politics and Communication Studies, but it also provides a good balance if your other subjects are mainly science-based.

Course content

Sociology at A level runs over 2 years, with AS student completing year 1.

Year 1

  • Education and Methods in Context

This unit, 'The Sociology of Education' aims to look at the issues around education in the UK. This involves asking challenging questions such as: why do girls outperform boys in exams? Does your social class have an influence on your education? Does race have an impact on a person's educational chances? Who are the winners and losers in the education system? Is education really equal for everybody? We like to think that education and schooling is a 'social good' and that it aids everybody because it teaches them to be literate, use numbers, be creative and achieve their full potential. However, if we look at it closer and use the lens of sociology, there is a darker side than we first originally thought. This unit will explore some of the barriers in society for some people who go through the education process.

  • Families and Households and Research Methods

'The Sociology of Families and Households' explores the nature of the family structure, how it has changed throughout time and history, and why some put forward criticisms of the family or create the family as 'ideal'.  This unit explores the function of the family itself: can it ever be beneficial to society? Has the family ever had a 'golden age'? Why is the modern family so diverse? Has it always been this way? How do we socialise our children? It is helpful in this unit to watch television programmes, films and books which show the family structure (and different types of families) so we can discuss them in lectures! 

In your second year with us you will study:

  • Crime and Deviance & Theory and Methods

A firm favourite of students in second year, unit 4 seeks understanding of different theories of crime, deviance, social order and social control, and how the social distribution of crime and deviance differs by age, ethnicity, gender, locality and social class, through recent patterns and trends in crime.  Students broaden their vision of crime by researching globalisation and crime in contemporary society; the mass media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes, and how crime is controlled, prevented and punished.  The sociological study of suicide and its theoretical and methodological implications leads students to analyse hard hitting topics, whilst developing further their skills in sociological theory and methods in the study of crime and deviance.

  • Beliefs in Society

This unit looks at different theories of ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions.  We develop an understanding of the relationship between religious beliefs and social change and stability, whilst exploring ideas around religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements, and their relationship to religious and spiritual belief and practice.  All of this is geared around trying to answer the questions surrounding the significance of religion and religiosity in the contemporary world, including the nature and extent of secularisation in a global context.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of four GCSEs A* to C
  • An equivalent Level 2 qualification
  • Diploma Level 2

Future opportunities

Sociology is an academic subject which equips students with a range of skills beyond those of the core curriculum. In our classes you will learn to think critically, to question common-sense assumptions, to solve problems, to work independently and as part of a group and to write a clearly structured, analytical essay. All of this is excellent preparation for university or for a whole range of careers.

Sociologists go on to work in the media, law and other institutions of criminal justice, public relations, market research, social work, foreign aid and development and teaching; many of course are inspired to stay in an academic environment researching aspects of sociology for the remainder of their careers!

Many of our Sociology students go on to study Social Sciences at university, particularly Sociology.  What is notable is how many males studying with us go on to choose a course in a sociological field, which tends to be female dominated.

Further information

Each year we organise a variety of trips to ensure that the study of sociology can be transferred to a real life setting. Within previous years we have had guest speakers visit, and witnessed a court case at the Crown Court We also attend an annual Criminology conferences hosted by academics at Newcastle University.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 12 April 2016

Key information


  • More information
    • Gateshead College's Baltic Campus is located on the Gateshead quayside, just minutes from Newcastle City Centre and its attractions.

      The College is situated behind the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and The Sage Gateshead.

      The College has its own car park, but at busy times alternative parking is available nearby.

      There is a charge for parking. Students can apply for a permit to allow free parking during study time.