Why should I study AS/A-Level Sociology?

Sociology is a subject to be studied if you are interested in social life. If you want to understand

what makes this or any other society possible; or why most of us conform to rules and norms as

if they were fixed; or what lies behind everyday interactions between individuals and groups, then Sociology may be for you. Sociology is about social relationships. We try to understand how individuals behave in groups/institutions like the family, school, etc. In addition we try to identify the ways in which membership of certain groups, over which the individual may exercise very little control, exerts a profound influence over his/her life. Sociology will not give you all the answers but it will ask some very interesting questions such as:

  • Is the nuclear family (2 adults, 1.6 children) universal?
  • Why are boys underachieving at GCSE level nationally?
  • Who commits crime & why?
  • Which research method is best to use for any given topic of study?

The aim of AS/A-level Sociology is to go beyond common sense explanations, taking a more academic approach towards an understanding of various theoretical perspectives and different research methods. If you are interested in society, if you have an enquiring mind and you want to examine how we live today, then Sociology is for you. There is also the opportunity for students to apply the theories and issues learnt in Sociology to significant historical events on departmental trips, such as the residential trip to Poland (visiting Auschwitz).

What will I study in AS/A-Level Sociology?

A wide range of topics will be taught from the AQA Sociology specification:

  • Families and Households
  • Education
  • Beliefs in Society (Religion)
  • Crime and Deviance
  • Theory & Methods

How will I be assessed?


  • Paper 1: Education with Methods in Context – short answer and extended writing questions (1hr 30m)
  • Paper 2: Research Methods and Topics in Sociology – short answer and extended writing questions (1hr 30m)


  • Paper 1: Education with Theory and Methods – short answer and extended writing questions (2hrs)
  • Paper 2: Topics in Sociology – extended writing questions (2hrs)
  • Paper 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods – short answer and extended writing questions (2hrs)

Nb. The AS and A-level are now stand-alone qualifications!

What can it lead to?

In Higher Education, almost all British Establishments offer Sociology both as a single honours degree subject and in combination with other subjects, which could lead to pure/academic/applied research.  Vocationally, sociology is considered an advantage in occupations involving dealing with people, (and can be part of the training required to enter such professions) e.g. management, teaching, the police force, nursing, social work, public administration, politics, journalism and advertising.

Is there anything I can do before I start the course?

Ensure that you are up to date on current sociological issues by regularly reading a quality newspaper as well as watching relevant documentaries on television. It is also important that you read around the subject, using the Study Centre or ask members of the Sociology department for further guidance.

Who can I contact for more information?

For further details contact: Mrs V Walker