Sociology (A Level)

Why should I study A Level Sociology? 

Sociology is the study of society and encourages students to look at the world in a critical and evidence-based way. Sociology enables students to understand the relationship between people and their society with a focus on current and global issues. Sociology is able to respond to and make sense of immediate events, understand social change and continuities as well as evaluate the impact of social policies.

You will learn how to apply different theoretical perspectives to an understanding of society, develop sociological research skills and be able to analyse and present sociological evidence in a confident and convincing way. Sociology topics include: Education, Research Methods, Families and Households, Beliefs in Society, Crime and Deviance and Sociology Theories.

Sociology is a highly relevant subject, helpful to students studying other social sciences such as Psychology, Politics, Law, Philosophy, Economics, Health and Social Care as well as History, Media/ Film Studies, Statistics, Mathematics, Religious Studies and any art, humanities or science subjects.

Good written skills are required as there is a significant level of essay writing. An example of an exam question asked in this course is: “Outline and explain two changes in the position of children in society in the last 50 years.”

Our Department is one of the largest in the country with 12 tutors, several of whom work with the exam board and have written Sociology A level textbooks.

During the Sociology course there will be opportunities to participate in a variety of activities such as the annual Sociology Revision Conference at Essex University, a Department trip to New York, class cinema excursions and a visit to the Hollytrees Museum of Childhood in Castle Park. We also have a student-initiated and organised ‘reading group’ for students who are keen to read and discuss original sociological studies and texts. 

Sociology students will also have the opportunity to take up a related Extended Project Qualification in Anthropology in their second year.

The Sociology department offers regular revision sessions, one-to-one support and a weekly film club showing documentaries and films with a wider sociological content. We also offer a bespoke A*/A study group and our own reference library which students can access.


This is split into approximately six major topics learnt over two years:

1.    Education

2.    Research Methods, Methods in Context and Methodology

3.    Families and Households

4.    Beliefs in Society

5.    Crime and Deviance

6.    Sociological Theories


Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.


Three written examination papers will be taken at the end of the second year, equally weighted which will form the full A Level qualification:

Paper 1: Education with Methods in Context and Theory and Methods (2 hours).

Paper 2: Topics in Sociology: Families and Households/Beliefs in Society (2 hours). 

Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods (2 hours).

The exam papers are assessed with short and longer answer questions, some of which have source ‘Items’ to analyse, based on the two years of study.

Minimum Entry Criteria

Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the Prospectus) and a minimum of: 

Grade 5

In at least one predominantly written based GCSE subject (from English Language, English Literature, History, Religious Studies or Sociology)



Grade 4

GCSE English Language



A strong emphasis and expectation is placed on students to complete independent study and revision throughout the course.


Sociology increases employability and can lead to careers which require good communication skills, an understanding of people and an ability to research and analyse information effectively, efficiently and independently. It enables students to present an argument concisely, precisely and analytically.


Social and market research, business, journalism, civil service, legal profession (police, lawyer, citizens advice, probationary), youth and social work, social reform and government policy, town and community planning, development and charity work, human resources, PR, advertising, counselling services, local government, housing and social/health services, retail management and any career which requires an understanding of today’s complex world and an ability to use initiative and creative thinking.