What is Sociology

Sociologists are interested in why society works in the way it does and the extent to which our behaviour, and even opportunities, can be shaped by our social class, age, gender and race. We question the society in which we live in order to understand the relationship between individuals and institutions such as the Education System and Health Service, Government, the Welfare State, Religion and the Mass Media. We consider whether the ways in which societies are run are fair for all individuals or whether such things as class, family background, gender or race may advantage some while disadvantaging others.


Who is it for?

Sociology is for people who are interested in the way people interact and organise themselves in communities, cultures and societies and the effect that this has on them and others.

People who like Sociology enjoy having a debate and discussing all sides to an argument so they are good at reasoning from different viewpoints. However, Sociology isn’t just about having opinions, Sociologists also conduct research, collect and analyse evidence to support or challenge theories about society.

To study A Level Sociology you will need to have GCSE Maths and English to at least a grade 4 as the course involves writing essays and using some statistics.

Sociology goes well with all subjects but especially Psychology, History, Geography, Health and Social Care and English.

A Sociology A Level can contribute to future employment in Education, Social Services, Human Resources, Civil Service, Police, the Justice System and many more areas! It tells universities and potential employers that you have an enquiring, reflective and open mind and you are interested in people, which is very important in today’s service industry dominated world.


What  and how will I study?

The A Level course is very much an introduction to Sociology assuming that students will not have formally studied the subject previously. The AS course covers a few areas to give you a flavour of the subject and the A level course both extends this and focuses in more detail. The course content given below briefly describes some of what will be studied in each unit.

Lessons will involve teacher presentations, small group work and lots of interaction, viewing clips, active research and much lively discussion on topical issues, history as well as current affairs.


The course is made up of:


Paper 1:  Education with Methods in Context

You will study the Education System and how it has changed and its influence: For example we will look at if and why girls do better at GCSE than boys, teacher/pupil relationships and pupil subcultures. We will investigate how Sociologists have collected and analysed data concerning schools and the Education System.

Paper 2: Families and Households and Research Methods

Families and Households and how they are changing: For example we will look at changing patterns of marriage, divorce and cohabitation and how roles within the family are changing. We will also discuss how Sociologists conduct their research and issues with this.


A Level:

Paper 1: Education with theory and Methods (extension of work covered at AS)

Paper 2: Topics in Society: Beliefs and Families

You will study Beliefs in Society For example, we will consider how people’s religious beliefs impact on their lives and how this is changing over time. Are people more or less religious now than in the past? What sort of beliefs and organisations, if any, are replacing traditional religion? What role does religion play in social change? You will also be assessed on Families and Households as covered in AS.

Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods

You will study Crime and Deviance with theory and methods or Stratification and Differentiation with Theory and Methods.
For example we will discuss different views as to what causes crime, how crime can be prevented, victims supported and whether rehabilitation can work. We will look again in more depth at how Sociologists gather data  develop our understanding of crime.


How will I be assessed?

Paper 1: A 1 hour 30 mins exam, short answers and extended writing. Worth 50% of AS

Paper 2: A 2 hour exam, short answers and extended  writing. Worth 50% of AS

 = Sociology AS (Exams in May 2017)


Paper 1: 2 hour exam, short questions and extended writing 33.3% of A Level. Worth 33.3% of A level

Paper 2: 2 hour exam, short questions and extended writing 33.3% of A Level

Paper 3: 2 hour exam, short questions and extended writing 33.3% of A Level. Worth 33.3% of A level

= Sociology A Level


More information?

See Mrs Livings or Ms Yemm for further details.

Download the AQA Sociology specification from


To download this Sociology information, please click here.