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Sociology A level at Sharnbrook Academy

Course description

Sociology is the study of individuals in a social setting that includes groups, organisations, cultures and societies. Sociologists study the interrelationships between individuals, organisations, cultures and societies.” Giddens (1989).

Sociology is a rapidly developing subject that studies how people think, act, relate and organise themselves in society. As you study the course you will progressively build an understanding of theoretical frameworks which in turn will provide you with an in-depth understanding of social processes, organisations and group relationships.

Sociologists investigate social life and how these experiences shape people's behaviour, beliefs and identity. By understanding the social world, we gain a better understanding of ourselves and our own social situations.

Throughout studying the course you will be introduced to the main concepts, themes and perspectives of sociology, including key theoretical approaches and methods of research.

This course challenges your everyday assumptions about the world. It encourages you to think critically and imaginatively about your lives, the communities in which you live and the social relations that make up society.

Course content

Some topics discussed within the course:

  • What is culture and how has it changed over time?
  • What is socialisation?
  • What is a hybrid identity?
  • What is British identity?
  • How and why are youth subcultures formed?
  • Why do people participate in deviant subcultures?
  • What does sociological research set out to do?
  • How important are ethics in research?
  • What are the main stages of the research process?
  • Which methods are used in sociological research?
  • What are the main trends in social inequality?
  • How can trends in social inequality be explained?
  • What is the relationship between globalisation and digital forms of communication?
  • What have been the impacts of digital communication?
  • Does prison work?
  • Why are crime rates higher in inner-city locations?
  • How influential is sociology in government policy making?


Entry requirements

All students must meet the minimum entry requirements which are:

  • a minimum of five GCSE passes at A* to C, plus mathematics and English language at level 4 or above.
  • ECDL or an equivalent IT course where studied. Please note that, where a student wishes to take at least one A level course and has level 2 BTEC qualifications, those level 2 BTEC qualifications can only count for up to a maximum of two of the required GCSE passes at A* to C, or mathematics and English language at level 4 or above.

If sociology is right for you, you will have an interest in people and in discovering different ways of looking at the world. The ability to write well-structured, reasoned arguments in timed conditions is an essential skill to succeed in this course.

Sociology students are as diverse as the subject itself. Broadly speaking, you are interested in the world around you. To you, the world is a puzzle: why are things the way they are and how could they be different? You are inquisitive and independently minded and keen to explore your own and other cultures in depth. If you enjoy engaging with evidence to analyse and understand the world around you, applying creativity in solving problems, and are keen to make a difference, then this course could well be for you.


Component 1: 90 minute examination worth 30% of the total A-level.

Socialisation, culture and identity:

  • Agencies of socialisation
  • The nature / nurture debate
  • Formal agencies of social control
  • Informal agencies of social control
  • National identity
  • Culture, norms and values

Youth subcultures:

  • Patterns and trends in youth deviance
  • Deviant subcultures
  • Anti-school subcultures
  • Gangs
  • Folk devils and moral panics
  • Deviance amplification
  • Criminal subcultures
  • Social order
  • Gender and gang association
  • Ethnicity and gang association

Component 2: 135 minute examination worth 35% of the total A-level.

Researching and understanding social inequalities:

  • Marxist theories
  • Feminist theories
  • Functionalist theories
  • Social groups and social inequalities
  • Quantitative methods of primary research
  • Qualitative methods of research
  • Questionnaires and interviews
  • Secondary sources of data

Component 3: 135 minute examination worth 35% of the total A-level.

Globalisation and the digital social world:

  • Globalisation
  • Virtual communities
  • Digital communication
  • Social networks
  • Postmodern perspective of digital communication
  • Hyper reality

Crime and deviance:

  • Functionalist, strain and subcultural theories
  • Labelling theory
  • Marxist theories
  • New Right Realism
  • New Left Realism
  • Gender, crime and justice
  • Ethnicity, crime and justice
  • Crime and the media
  • Globalisation, human rights, green & state crimes
  • Control, punishments and victims
  • Suicide
  • Sociology and science
  • Objectivity and values in sociology
  • Sociology and social policy

Future opportunities

The skills and abilities that you develop over the duration of the course open the door to a range of opportunities and careers in fields as varied as:

  • Accountancy
  • Advertising
  • Anti-social behaviour coordination
  • Audience and market research
  • Broadcasting
  • Campaigning groups
  • Child welfare
  • Civil services
  • Community care
  • Community development and research Community, health and social work Education
  • Government
  • Government advisory departments
  • Health promotion
  • Healthcare
  • Housing
  • Human resources
  • Human rights, migration, refugee support Investigating justice and victim support Writing, journalism and media
  • Legal professions
  • Local government
  • Marketing and PR
  • Mental health
  • Police
  • Policy analysis and consultancy
  • Policy and administration
  • Politics
  • Probation
  • Protective agencies
  • Public relations
  • Research
  • Sales management
  • Social and welfare professions
  • Social policy development
  • Social work
  • Teaching
  • The civil service
  • The criminal justice system
  • The press and public relations
  • The voluntary and community sector

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Sharnbrook Academy directly.

Last updated date: 27 October 2017

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