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A Level Sociology

Course Level: 

Level 3

Job opportunities after this course: 

Sociology is useful for students hoping to get into nursing, teaching, human resources, the police force, legal profession, counselling, social work, probation work and youth and community work.

Overview of the course: 

Awarding Body - AQA

The course will cover a wide range of contemporary topics and will encourage students to develop skills such as analysis, evaluation and synthesis. Students will be required to partake in a range of interactive group activities and to also work independently and complete a range of written activities. Students will be encouraged to develop empathy and understanding when dealing with a range of sensitive issues and will be encouraged to view a range of topics from multiple perspectives. Assessment is 100% exam based so students will be required to consolidate and revise information throughout the course. Students will also develop exam technique. Students will take AS exams at the end of the first year and A level exams at the end of the second year. The written exams require students to answer a range of small mark questions and large mark essay questions.

Entry requirements: 

For Sociology you will need grade 6 or above in GCSE English.

For a 3 A level programme you will need to have a minimum of five 9-4 grade passes at GCSE which includes English and Mathematics.

For a 4 A level programme you will need to have a minimum of six 9-4 grade passes at GCSE which includes English and Mathematics; it is expected that the majority of passes will be at 7-9 grade.
Entry onto any course at East Durham College is subject to final approval from the Assistant Principal. Where relevant, the term ‘entry requirements’ also includes DBS checks, references, fitness to practice, etc.


Paper 1 Education with theory and methods: Students will cover the topic of education, exploring the reasons for the under-achievement of particular social groups within the British education system. Students will explore issues such as cultural and material deprivation, stereotyping of pupils and racism within the education system. Students will also explore a range of theories such as Feminism. There will also be a focus upon individual identity and the impact of this upon educational attainment. The topic of theory and method will also be covered, this will require students to explore the various research tools that are used by sociologists in the field. Students will analyse the advantages and disadvantages of a range of methods such as observations and field experiments. Students will review the work of previous research such as that of James Patrick who covertly studied a violent Glasgow gang. This paper will also include a methods in context section which will require students to make links between education and research methods.

Paper 2 Topics in Sociology: The first topic that students will cover for paper 2 is that of families and households. This will include an in-depth study of power relations within the family where students will study a range of sensitive issues such as domestic violence. Students will also review examples of childhood around the world and the concept of childhood as a social construct, comparing childhood in the west to childhood in developing countries. Students will be required to analyse a range of sociological theories such as Functionalism, Marxism and Feminism and their opposing views on the family. The second topic covered on this paper is that of Beliefs in society. In this topic students will explore the relevance of religion in the modern world. Students will research a range of cults and sects, which have at times ended with horrific consequences. Students will also address the issue of religion in the contemporary world which will involve the topics of religious fundamentalism and western imperialism. Again there will be a heavy focus upon theory.

Paper 3 Crime and deviance with theory and methods: Crime and deviance will be studied in depth and from multiple theoretical perspectives. The issues of gender and crime and ethnicity and crime will also be explored. Students will review a range of theoretical explanations of crime and will also consider this issues of punishment and reform. Case studies of real life crimes will be taken from the media and analysed in relation to moral panic theory. Students will also be required to study further information around the topic of theory and methods. Students will take an in-depth look at both structural, Interactionist and post-modernist theories. Students will also debate if sociology is a science and the role that sociology can play in the creation of social policy.

How is the course assessed?: 

The course is assessed through four exams, two at the end of As-level year and two at the end of A2. Your overall grade will be made up of your marks from across all four exams.

Further study options after this course: 

Sociology is very appealing to universities as it demonstrates skills of empathy and analysis. Many students go on to study sociology at university after their A-levels. Sociology also allows students to study politics, social policy and criminology at university.

Length of the course: 

2 Years, Full Time.


Peterlee Campus

When does the course start: 

September 2019

More important information about this course:


*We make every effort to publish correct fees, however all fees are subject to change. Fees are correct as at the current time (24 Jun 2019 15:09) and are subject to change up to the date of enrolment. Fees quoted are payable annually

What our students say: 

We regularly work with QDP, the UK’s largest independent provider of questionnaire based feedback services to the education sector, so that any results can be benchmarked against other colleges and the voices of over 600,000 learners QDP gathers feedback from over the course of an academic year.
Our feedback scores consistently place us in the top quartile of colleges in the country, indicating that we not only meet but often exceed student expectations. Some results from the 2015/2016 on programme and exit surveys and the 2016/17 induction survey can be seen below.
98% stated it was easy to apply for the course
96% said the teaching on my course is good
99% felt that their teacher knows their subject well
97% told us they felt safe at college
98% said expected standards of behaviour were made clear
95% told us they felt they had developed the skills they needed to get a job/take their next step
95% agreed the teachers consistently challenge them to do their best
97% said teacher feedback told them what was going well and where to improve
Other comments by students on this course are:

'The course content is always thought-provoking and relevant – I am always pushed to exceed my expectations' – Scarlett

'Sociology has stretched my mind' – Beth

'I have enjoyed the course a lot and would recommend taking Sociology' - Bethany

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How to apply: 

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Alternatively, if you need assistance with your application or you would like to apply over the phone or using a paper-based application form, please call Student Services on 0191 518 8222.

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