Sociology is a highly subjective area of study, that requires students to form their own opinions. Despite this subjectivity, the key definitions of sociology are ‘the science of society’ or ‘the study of society’. The content of a sociology degree will differ slightly at each institution.
Your degree will encompass a wide range of topics, including the behaviour of humans as social beings, the patterns of human relationships and interaction, as well as gaining an insight on the different aspects of society through other social sciences, such as history, psychology and economics.
Highlighted courses and degrees in Sociology
A sociology degree will require you to develop your knowledge in a variety of areas. These will include the sciences, humanities, mathematics, economics and history, among others. You will be given the opportunity to develop your higher education research skills, as well as gain experience of social life in the contemporary world.
Your modules will be delivered mainly as lectures and tutorials. Depending on your institution, you may have the chance to undertake some practical work either on campus, or as part of a placement off campus.
Depending on where you choose to study, you may be offered the chance to specialise towards the end of your degree. This can be an important thing to do, as sociology covers a broad range of topics. If you are interested in a certain area of sociology, you should choose a course that offers that as a specialisation. Common specialisations include:
If your course requires you to write a dissertation, this will give you a chance to further research a favoured area of sociology.
The accreditation of your degree will vary from institution to institution. In the UK, you will most likely be awarded a bachelor of the arts, with a minority of universities offering bachelor of science in sociology.
There is currently no official certification for a sociologist, as the careers available are so varied. If you choose to go into a certain field, you may be required to gain extra qualifications during your career.
An undergraduate degree in sociology will normally last three to four years. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates can take up to two years when studied full-time.
After successful completion of your degree, you can either seek employment or further your studies. Continuation of studies could be in the form of a postgraduate degree, such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate. If you do choose to further your studies, you will able to focus on a more specific area of sociology.
The entry requirements for a sociology degree will vary at each institution. Some universities may require you to sit an entrance exam, and some may rely on previous exam results. Some universities may expect you to have studied certain subjects, where some may consider previous relevant work experience.
You should check each institution you are interested in to see what entry requirements they have for their sociology programmes.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Tuition fees for international students are not fixed, so will vary from institution to institution. You should make sure that you are aware of how much your course will cost you.
You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This might be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.
Sociology graduates will have been provided with a large variety of skills, meaning that career options are plentiful. You may choose to work in a public institution, or a government department. Positions include community development worker, social researcher, teacher and counsellor, among many others. If you enjoy working with different people from various walks of life, you will be able to look at a career in social work or support work.
The transferable skills gained will be highly applicable in any career graduates enter. Skills such as research methods, perceptiveness, reasoning and analytical and statistical methods make sociology an incredibly holistic degree.
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