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Sociology A Level at Samuel Whitbread Academy

Course description

In Sociology there are three compulsory units on Education, Methods in context and Research Methods. Students will then study the topic of Families and Households. In the Education and Research Methods paper we study the role and function of the education system - whether education is fair and if it promotes or hinders social mobility. Alongside this unit we also study Research Methods, evaluating strengths and weaknesses of methods and considering which are the most suitable within different contexts of the study of education. In Families and Households students explore how the family has changed over time due to social and political changes and what functions it performs for society and the individual. We examine contemporary issues including the impact of globalisation on demography as well as the increasing diversity of family types.

In A level Sociology students study Crime and Deviance theory and methods and Beliefs in Society. Year two of the A level takes a deeper and broader exploration into sociological theory as well as further considering issues surrounding research methods. In the Crime and Deviance unit students are encouraged to consider the social profile of who commits crime and explore in detail the theory explaining crime and deviance. The unit examines the role of punishment in society and its effectiveness for all stakeholders: victims, individuals and society as a whole, how society deals with offenders and the effects crime has on societies. Students study broad sociological theory building on their understanding of methods from year 12. In Beliefs in Society we consider the role and function of religion; students deepen their understanding of the sociological perspectives and explore the validity of science as a modern belief system. At A level students develop deep and sophisticated skills of analysis and evaluation and are coached on how to write with flare demonstrating a critical understanding.

Course content

Key Features

• The course uses a very wide range of material – text, cartoons, statistics, newspapers, magazines – which you will need to interpret and analyse

• Sociology is about debate and argument – the abilities to use evidence in a balanced way and draw conclusions are crucial skills developed in this course

• You need to be interested in what is going on in society – Sociology changes as fast as the society in which we live

• It is a thought-provoking and challenging subject because it makes you re-think ‘common sense’ views and assumptions

Entry requirements

• APS 3.9

• Grade 4 in GCSE Language or Literature

• Anybody who is interested in the society in which they live and in the differences between people should consider this course. A lively interest in current affairs is desirable, and you need to be prepared to undertake additional reading from textbooks, periodicals, magazines and newspapers.


• 100% external examination 

Future opportunities

The skills you learn in Sociology are marketable and having it on your CV shows that you understand the world around you. Sociology trains students to answer the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about human societies giving students the competitive edge in the job market. Health and Welfare services, Education, Journalism, Public Relations, Police, Research and Medicine. Dr Catherine Heffernan: “I find that my sociological background is invaluable to my day-to-day work… A fantastic grounding for public health work.”

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 21 December 2017
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