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A-Level Sociology

Awarding Body

Course Code

Head of Department



7192 Jill Irle irle-j@beaconsfieldhigh.bucks.sch.uk

Why study this course?

Make a fresh start, try something new! Sociology offers you the opportunity to understand the world you live in.

Develop a wide range of transferable skills: conducting and evaluating research, in depth analysis of current issues and problems, theorising and problem solving and excellent communication skills.

Sociology graduates go on to careers in business, education, journalism, to name a few. Most health and welfare professionals study sociology to better understand factors affecting their patients and clients.  The study of sociology is often a requirement and a key benefit to any profession which involves working with the people and public service.

What level of prior knowledge, attainment and skills are required?

Good skills in English and Humanities will be useful and an interest in current affairs and the wider world. Sociology combines pretty well with most subjects, links in the content can be found with History, Geography and Philosophy and Ethics and English. A GCSE Grade 6 in English is required to study this course.

What does the course cover and how is it structured?

Education with Theory and Methods

  • the role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy  
  • differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society
  • relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships,
  • the significance of educational policies, including policies of selection, marketisation and privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or; the impact of globalisation on educational policy.

Crime and Deviance

  • crime, deviance, social order and social control
  • the social distribution of crime and deviance by ethnicity, gender and social class, including recent patterns and trends in crime
  • globalisation and crime; the media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes
  • crime control, surveillance, prevention and punishment, victims, and the role of the criminal justice system and other agencies.

Theory and Methods

  • in-depth study of the methods used by sociologists in the course of their research, their relationship to sociological theories; analysis and evaluation of application and usefulness

Families and Households

  • the relationship of the family to the social structure and social change, with particular reference to the economy and to state policies
  • changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, childbearing and the life course, including the sociology of personal life
  • gender roles, domestic labour and power relationships within the family, the nature of childhood
  • demographic trends in the United Kingdom since 1900: birth rates, death rates, family size, life expectancy, ageing population, and migration and globalisation.

Beliefs in Society

  • ideology, science and religion, including both Christian and non-Christian religious traditions
  • the relationship between social change and social stability, and religious beliefs, and organisations
  • religious organisations, including cults, sects, denominations, churches and New Age movements,
  • the relationship between different social groups and religious/spiritual organisations
  • the significance of religion and religiosity in the contemporary world, including the nature and extent of secularisation in a global context, and globalisation and the spread of religions.

How is the course assessed?

Paper 1 Education and Theory and Methods       

Paper 2 Topics in Sociology         

Paper 3 Crime and Deviance and Theory and Methods   

Each paper takes 2 hours and includes short answers and extended writing

Each is worth one third of the course

How can families help?

Prospective sociologists should be encouraged to take an interest in current affairs, watch the news and dip into news websites. The Guardian news site has sections that link directly to the topics we study in the course, for example.