Sociology is primarily the study of social structures. It looks at institutions such as the education system, the criminal justice system, and the mass media. Sociologists have developed numerous theories about how people are organised within these structures and the various ways in which much of what compiles our daily lives is, in fact, socially engineered.
Key concepts within the study of sociology are the emergence and development of feminism, the stratification of society by class, ethnicity, age, and gender, and the role of government legislation and social policy. The subject also incorporates sociological methodology and the consideration and application of a diversity of theoretical perspectives.
A-level Sociology allows students to think critically about the society we live in and how various socio-economic structures impact upon different groups' experience of social life.
In the first year we examine the institutions of the education system and the family unit, considering the context of how and why these cornerstones of society have changed over time. Students will also study the development of social and educational policy.
The methodological and theoretical practices undertaken by sociologists are studied across both years and are central to the the AS and A-Level examinations.
In the second year of study, students will build upon their existing knowledge and apply it to the criminal justice system and the various theories pertaining to criminal and deviant activity, as well as considering the role and imapct of the mass media in contemporary society.
To be successful within this discipline students must be capable of constructing arguments and applying and evaluating theoretical concepts. It is advantageous for students to have an interest in, or at least an awareness of, national and international current affairs, as this will often form the basis of class discussions.
Those who have studied Sociology often go on to Higher Education to study for degrees in Sociology, Psychology, Criminology, Social Policy, Media Studies, Law, Journalism, Social Work, Nursing, or other humanities-related courses.
Sociology is useful to any career in which you work with people and need an understanding of equality and diversity.