Subject Lead for Sociology: Ms Nicola Ash

Sociology by Ms Nicola Ash

"There is not a day that passes by that I do not reflect on my learning and teaching of sociology. For me, sociology has provided me with a better understanding of social behaviour, social institutions, and reasons for the differentials in group opportunities and outcomes. By studying sociology people learn how to think critically about social issues and problems that confront our society. The study of sociology enriches students' lives and prepares them for careers in an increasingly diverse world. After reading Max Weber’s ‘The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism’ it enthused me to look at religion from a sociologist perspective, and how religion has played a vital role in society, but society has just as equally influenced religion. It has allowed me to understand, not just society, but myself better."

Why Study Sociology?

Sociology can completely change the way you see the social world around you and your place in it. It forces us to question the assumptions we hold about the roles we adopt in society, the patterns of our own behaviour in everyday life as well as in the major life decisions we take (e.g. family, work decisions). It examines the reasons why our society is organized the way it is, asking ‘Is our society just or unjust?,’ ‘Why is power distributed in the way it is?,’ ‘What shapes people’s choices about their family lives, religion, educational and professional choices?.’

Course Description

In asking questions in Sociology A level, you will look at the major theoretical perspectives that have shaped our thinking about the social world around us from those that defend and validate the social world we live in, such as functionalism, to those that offer a radical challenge to the world we live and its claim to be a just society, such as Marxism and feminism.

In Year 12, you will look at the role and purpose of education, including vocational education and training, in contemporary society. Differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender, and ethnicity in contemporary society. The application of sociological research methods to the study of education with particular reference to the economy and to state policies. Changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, separation, divorce, childbearing, and the life- course, and the diversity of contemporary family and household structures.

In Year 13, you will study different theories of crime, deviance, social order, and social control. The social distribution of crime and deviance by age, ethnicity, gender, locality, and social class, including recent patterns and trends in crime. On top of this, you will study either the different beliefs in society, which is based largely on the role of religion in contemporary society, or the sociology of the media.

Beyond A level

The GCE in Sociology qualifies for UCAS points. It gives candidates a wide choice of progression options into further study, training, or relevant employment. Candidates who successfully complete the qualification will be well equipped to move onto degrees in areas such as: Community development worker, counsellor, further education lecturer, social researcher, social worker, charity fundraiser, housing manager/officer, human resources officer, primary school teacher, probation officer, secondary school teacher, youth worker.

Entry Requirements

It is not necessary that you have studied Sociology at GCSE. To take the course, it is strongly recommended to have achieved GCSEs at grade 6 or higher in English Language, as well as in Mathematics. What is absolutely required though is that you have an interest in society and debating.

Technical Details
Exam Board AQA
Qualification Type A Level
Course Title Sociology
Specification Code 7192
  Number Duration Weighting of total A Level
External Exams (end of Year 13) 3 2hr each 33.3% each