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Sociology AS/A Level at Croesyceiliog School

Course description

Never heard of sociology before? Don’t worry; it could still be for you.

It is a very popular subject amongst 16-19 year old students everywhere and the vast majority of them have not studied sociology at GCSE. It is also a well respected and established subject in universities.

What is it about?
Sociology involves asking questions about society. It doesn’t come up with all the answers, but it will encourage you to think about social issues in a questioning and sometimes critical way, for example:

  • How significant is youth culture for people in the transition between childhood and adulthood?
  • Why do men earn more, on average, than women?
  • Why are girls now getting better examination results than boys?
  • Are certain people more likely to be convicted of crimes than others?

Sociology is not a subject that you leave at the classroom door. You will find yourself using ideas learned in Sociology in all sorts of discussions you may have with friends and family. This is because it is so relevant to real life outside school.

Course content

The AS Course
In Year 12 you will study two modules leading to an AS qualification. Both of the modules will be assessed by examination.The first module studied is ‘Exploring socialisation, culture and identity’. This involves developing an understanding of what makes groups of people behave the way they do. We will study the findings of sociologists who have carried out research into how individuals develop ideas about themselves i.e. their identity. We will also examine how sociologists carry this research out i.e. the research methods they use, such as questionnaires and interviews.

Students will then look more specifically at how individuals acquire culture. This will involve studying youth cultures in Britain. Youth cultures are significant in the development of identity and cultural norms for people in the transition between childhood and full adult status. Peer groups set norms and values and as such are central to our understanding of how culture is transmitted across the generations. Some examples of youth cultures studied are skinheads, teddy boys, new romantics and mods and rockers.

The second unit of the AS course looks at research methods used by Sociologists which is central to the academic study of Sociology. Students will look at methods of research, practical and ethical issues and key studies.

Finally, students will acquire a deeper understanding of how social structures affect individuals. The option that students will study will be the ‘Sociology of Education.’ Education is a major agency of secondary socialisation. It acts as an agency of social control and there are significant sociological debates as to its influence on life chances. Although education may act as an opportunity for individual development, it may also reflect the nature of the social system which created it and act as a limiting factor on the development and progression of entire social groups and thus play a part in the creation of social inequality.

The A2 Course
The A2 course consists of a further two modules. One of these will involve you studying crime which is crucial to an understanding of power within contemporary society.

The final module involves studying social divisions and inequality in our society in depth, particularly in relation to class, gender, ethnicity and age.

There will be a lot of discussion and analysis of sociological research during lessons, so you must be prepared to contribute actively to class debates. At home you will have a lot of writing to do, so you must be confident about writing at length. An interest in current affairs is also valuable.

Entry requirements

  • A minimum 5 A* to C grades.
  • A minimum of a grade C in Maths and English.

It is important for candidates to have good written communication skills: a useful indication of this would be a good English GCSE grade. It is also vital to be able to analyse and to set out arguments logically and coherently.

Sociology is one of the most popular choices at Croesyceiliog. If a group should be oversubscribed we will also take into consideration GCSE grades in subjects that require extended writing (where a B-grade is necessary) as well as year 11 attendance in deciding who will be taken on to the course.

Future opportunities

Sociology plays a useful part in the training programme for many professions: teaching, police, journalism, social work, personnel and management, probation service, medical, plus many other professions that involve understanding people. You can go on to study sociology on its own in university or combine it with other subjects such as English, media, law, business studies, women’s studies, psychology etc.  Many students from Croesyceiliog have gone on to study sociology at university or to study subjects directly related to sociology such as criminology, social policy or early years studies.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Croesyceiliog School directly.

Last updated date: 19 December 2014

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 years