What is A/AS Level Sociology?
Sociology is the study of society and human social behaviour. Its aim is to investigate and explain what people do and why.
The sociologist looks at the institutions in society such as education, the mass media, the political system, the family and the legal system, as well as different groups such as women, the working class, young people and ethnic minorities and seeks to explain why things are as they are and how this affects the individual.
These investigations require a willingness to reject what is ‘obvious’ or ‘common sense’ and to go beneath the surface. The fascination of sociology is that it makes us see our world in a new light and realise that things are not what they seem.
Is Sociology suitable for me?
Students indicate that the need to read in depth on current affairs and issues is very demanding, but enjoyable.
“Sociology teaches you to open your ears and eyes – which helps you open your mind!” Helen
“Adults say teenagers think they know everything. Sociology helps me to argue my case…” Lucinda
“Sociology broadens your mind and makes you question attitudes and systems you’ve always taken for granted. Even if you don’t want to take it any further it’s a liberating experience.” Hannah
How will I learn?
Lessons include a range of teaching styles from class debates to group presentations/videos and role play. There are lectures/seminars and class notes from acetates.
- Education (major changes and reforms in the UK)
- The Family (is it a thing of the past?)
- Class/Gender/Ethnicity (how do these affect our lives?)
- Crime and Deviance (is crime increasing?)
- World Sociology helps see all these things in context
In order to understand these issues in depth you will need to look at thinkers who have been influential to the modern world and understand and evaluate their theories. You will need to read widely. Newspapers, journals and novels will all help your understanding of social issues and there are many television programmes which also broaden understanding.
We go to Sociology Conferences where well-known sociologists and politicians tackle issues under study.
For each topic you will complete two research essays (occasionally timed) and some short answer questions. You will need to do 4 to 5 hours of study each week outside of class time. There are new books being placed in the Library regularly for your use and in the Learning Resource Centre you will find useful CD ROMs and the Internet to help keep you up to the minute on issues. There are people to help and support the technophobe.
How will I be assessed?
Coursework Year 1 – 0%; Year 2 – 0%.
The AS consists of two units, the first of which will look at the individual and society. The second unit look at culture and self. Both units will be tested by separate examination papers at the end of year one.
In Year 2 (A Level) you will go on to look at Crime and Deviance and World Sociology. These units are tested by two separate examination papers.
Sociology is a good preparation for study in Higher Education and for a wide variety of careers. A sociological background is of particular value for management, market research, teaching, law, journalism, administration, nursing, social work, the police and business.
Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.
You will also need a good awareness of social issues and current affairs combined with the ability to write good essays.
You need not have taken Sociology before to choose this subject, in fact it will be completely new to most students. Students who have done well either in Science or Arts subjects at school can be highly successful in Sociology A Level.
All students will be expected to provide their own textbooks, stationery, computer disks and calculators (where appropriate).
Costs are outlined below:
Essential: £30 for textbooks
Optional: £35 for magazine subscription, materials and trips (which are an optional extra)
If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.
WJEC - SY
- Sixth Form Course: