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Sociology AS/A Level at Brockenhurst College

Course description

Sociology is the study of society, explanations of social behaviour and an investigation into individuals' relationship with society.

It focuses on the social world, to include the influence of families, mass media, education, religion, criminal justice system, social class, race and gender. Sociologists would claim that society is the single most important influence in your life, and would argue that our behaviour can be largely explained by social circumstances and experiences.

A Level Sociology will introduce you to points of view on society, including those which largely approve of the way it works (Functionalism) to those which argue for change (Marxism and Feminism).

There is no absolute right or wrong in Sociology because so much of what we investigate is open to interpretation; it is therefore desirable if students enjoy discussions and debates.

By studying Sociology you will learn to think critically and independently about society and your place in it, gain the tools to think for yourself, and develop a critical and informed understanding of the world around you.

You will study a range of sociological theories, perspectives and methods in order to understand the nature of social life. You will answer questions, such as:

  • Why do working class students achieve lower GCSE grades than upper class students?
  • Can violent video games lead to criminality?
  • How can music taste influence a person's identity?
  • Can women reach the top positions in society?

Sociology helps you to explore the relationship between the individual and society.

Course content

There are four units which will be covered over the course of the two year linear A-Level qualification, with four examinations at the end of the two years.

Component 1
Socialisation and Culture
Students will learn about key concepts and processes of cultural transmission and the acquisition of identity, explore the processes around the family and look at behaviour relating to education and media. They will develop for example an understanding of the impact the education system has upon individuals’ socialisation and the roles people play in society.

Component 2
Methods of Sociological Enquiry

Students will apply their skills to a stimulus material and the design of a piece of research.

Component 3
Power and Stratification

Students will learn about social stratification and differentiation and choose one question from four options: crime and deviance, health and disability, politics, world sociology chosen by popularity based on student feedback.

All examinations are essay style and therefore an ability to write in a coherent and analytical way would be a major advantage on this course.  You may also take a stand alone AS in this subject. At AS you will study Component 1 and 2.

Course Structure & Teaching Methods

We use a range of teaching methods such as individual and group work, debate, discussion, videos, structured lectures and individual internet research. You will be expected to complete worksheets, write essays and revise independently as it is essential to consolidate your knowledge after lessons.

Entry requirements

This is available to students who have a minimum of 5 GCSE grades at C or above. It is essential that at least a grade B is achieved in English Language or English Literature. We also expect you to have a GCSE average score of at least 5.0 (grade C at GCSE overall). You do not need to have studied Sociology at GCSE, but it is important that you have an interest in social issues.To succeed students must be able to read and write fluently. Sociology is assessed by written exams which require coherent, essay-style answers. You must be open-minded and responsive to new views and ideas, whilst being sensitive to the position of others.


The course is 100% exam-assessed, there is no coursework element. A Level:

Component 1
Socialisation and Culture-Written examination - 2 hours 30 minutes - 40% of qualification.

Component 2
Methods of Sociological Enquiry Written examination – 1 hour 45 minutes-20% of qualification.

Component 3
Power and Stratification Written examination – 2 hours 30 minutes - 40% of qualification.

In addition there will be internal assessments to monitor progress.

Financial information

Students will be asked to buy a textbook to the value of about £20 and are encouraged to subscribe to 'Sociology Review', a magazine for AS/A2 students, at a cost of £12.50 each year.

Future opportunities

Past students have gone to Universities such as Cardiff,  York, Bath,  UWE, Sussex, Canterbury,  Portsmouth, Southampton, Kent, LSE and Plymouth to study subjects such as Social Work, Primary Education, Mental Health, Nursing, Criminology, Psychology and Law.

Following university, career routes include: police, social work, teaching, probation work and academic research.

Further information

Sociology is a social science and is best combined with subjects such as Psychology, English, History, Philosophy, Critical Thinking, Law, Politics, Media Studies or Health and Social Care.

However, many students combine Sociology with a range of subjects and it is not essential to be studying the aforementioned subjects to succeed in Sociology.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 18 February 2016

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