Sociology BA

Are we living in a ‘broken society’? What new forms of cultural identity are emerging? What are the effects of globalisation on cultural, economic and political life?

Answering questions such as these is the challenge of our era. Studying Sociology at Birmingham will provide you with the toolkit to form your own critical judgements on social changes reshaping the world today. In addition to these 'big picture' social theories we place a strong emphasis on developing social science research skills - so valued by employers - with research methods training in each year. This culminates in a final year dissertation where you research and write an extended piece on a topic of your own choice, with the support of an expert supervisor. 


Please be reassured that the vote to leave the European Union does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the UK university sector’s participation in EU programmes such as Erasmus and study abroad programmes. Visit our EU Referendum information page for more information.

Joe Taylor

Joe Taylor

Student, Sociology BA

“The lecturers are all researchers and are at the forefront of their respective fields. This is something that I have really benefited from; being taught by real experts makes your course so much more interesting. I have fulfilled my full potential at Birmingham, had so many new experiences, met great people and really enjoyed my course.”

This course provides the knowledge and skills to critically engage issues such as globalisation, the changing nature of work and the family, gender roles and sexuality, multiculturalism, the impact of the media and information technologies, and new forms of politics.

You will be given a broad grounding in the major approaches to the discipline, with emphasis on the cultivation of research skills. Your degree will culminate in a dissertation on a topic of your choice. This reflects our view that you should be doing Sociology, not just reading about it, from the very start of your degree.

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In addition to our Single Honours programme, Sociology can also be studied as part of a range of Joint Honours options including Political Science, Social Policy, Philosophy, and Education.

Why study this course

We pride ourselves on the quality of our teaching. Our staff are active researchers who want to share their enthusiasm for Sociology with you. We believe teaching and learning should be both rigorous and enjoyable, and seek to involve students in continually developing our activities.

As a Birmingham Sociology graduate you will be well equipped for your chosen career or further study. In particular you will have gained:

  • Critical ability – to read, absorb and assess complex ideas and arguments about the contemporary world
  • Research skills – practical experience of designing and conducting research, including interviews, questionnaires and developing core skills to understand information
  • Presentational skills – to present your ideas and research in appropriate formats
  • The capacity to work alone or in groups – you will have gained experience of independent study and research as well as working, solving problems and debating ideas with others

Modules

The programme has been carefully designed to advance your skills and knowledge each year: from broad, introductory level modules in the first year to specialist options and a substantial piece of independent research in the final year.

Each year there is a balance between compulsory modules in the ‘core’ parts of the discipline (eg, theory and methods) and the chance for you to develop your own pathway with a range of specialist choices in and outside of Sociology. Each year students take 120 credits, typically six modules. (Note that as with all degree programmes, not all optional modules will be available every year).

Modules in the first year

In your first year you will be introduced to degree level sociology through Social Worlds and the Sociological Imagination, gain an understanding of stratification through Social Divisions, and learn the basics of research design and methods. In addition, you can select optional courses from a wide range of modules in or outside the department (for example, languages, politics, psychology, economics, social policy, history or African studies).

Compulsory core modules

Optional modules

Choose 40 credits from the list of Modules Outside the Main Discipline (MOMD) including language modules available from the Centre for Modern Languages. Amongst the popular options are:

  • 20 credits - Introduction to African Culture
  • 20 credits - Introduction to Social Policy (Social Policy)
  • 20 credits - Social History of Modern Britain since 1870
  • 20 credits - Social Issues and Social Policy (Social Policy)

Modules in the second year

The second year builds on these foundations by developing your understanding of Modern Sociological Theory, and introducing debates about the nature of Global Societies. You can choose a specialist option in either Gender and Sexuality or Ethnic Relations, and receive more advanced methods training in data analysis and preparation for your final year dissertation. In addition, you can again choose from a range of optional modules in or outside the department.

Compulsory core modules

  • 20 credits - Modern Sociological Theory
  • 20 credits - Data Analysis and Research Design
  • 20 credits - Global Societies

One of the following must be taken (you can take both):

  • 20 credits - Gender and Sexuality
  • 20 credits - Sociology of Race and Ethnicity: a Global Perspective 

Optional modules

Please choose modules to fulfil your remaining 120 credits. NOTE: you are also eligible to take POLSIS modules.

  • 20 Credits - Contemporary Russian and East European Politics
  • 20 Credits - African Popular Culture
  • 20 Credits - British Politics
  • 20 Credits - Film-making practices A & B
  • 20 Credits - Foundations of Twentieth Century American Literature and Culture
  • 20 Credits - Criminal Justice Systems
  • 20 Credits - European Societies: a cross-cultural perspective
  • 20 Credits - Modern Political Thought
  • 20 Credits - New migration and super-diversity
  • 20 Credits - Poverty, Wealth and Inequality
  • 20 Credits - Social Theory and Social Policy
  • 20 Credits - The Place of Business in Society
  • 20 Credits - Teaching and Learning in School

Modules in the final year

The focus of the third year is your independent, supervised dissertation which brings together your research skills on a project defined by you. Your training in key sociological ideas is completed with a module on Contemporary Social Theory, and you can then specialise in the areas of the discipline that interest you most. Our teaching staff, who are active researchers, run options in their own specialist fields including the family, political sociology, celebrity culture, the sociology of technology, religion and society and ethnicity and migration.

If you want to take advantage of a unique opportunity to be supported with a work placement opportunity as part of your final year, this course includes the opportunity to undertake a 'Professional Development' module as part of your optional module choices.

Compulsory modules

  • 40 credits - Dissertaion
  • 20 credits - Contemporary Social Theory

Optional modules

Please choose at least 40 credits from the following options. NOTE: you are also eligible to take POLSIS modules.


Please note: The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2017. We aim to publish any changes to compulsory modules and programme structure for 2018 entry by 1 September 2017 and recommend you refer back to this page shortly after that date for any changes. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Fees and funding

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2017, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Learn more about fees and funding.

Home/EU students

Undergraduate Home/EU student fees 2017-18
Fee Band Full-time
Undergraduate £9,250

Overseas students

Overseas students entering in 2017-18
Fee Band (Undergraduate) Full-time
Band 1 (Classroom) £15,570

Scholarships

At Birmingham we ensure that fears about finance do not constrain prospective students from considering university and that excellence is rewarded.

The University offers a range of additional financial support for students studying at Birmingham in the form of bursaries, grants and scholarships.

Learn more about our scholarships and awards .

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
ABB
General Studies:
not accepted

Additional information:

BTEC Extended Diploma accepted - grades required DDD.

BTEC Diploma accepted when combined with an A level.

BTEC Subsidiary Diploma accepted when combined with 2 A levels.

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements.

International students:

International Baccalaureate Diploma: 6,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall.

Standard English language requirements apply
Learn more about international entry requirements.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com using code: L300.
Learn more about applying.

University of Birmingham's UCAS code number is B32.

UCAS

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Joint Honours combinations

You can study Sociology as part of a Joint Honours degree with the following subjects:

Year abroad options:

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

We advocate an enquiry-based approach to learning, which means that we encourage you to become an independent and self-motivated learner. Through the programme of study we offer, we will develop the qualities that employers value in today's university graduates - qualities that will set you apart in your future career.

How will I be taught?

During your time as a Sociology student at Birmingham, your learning will be facilitated through a blend of teaching, learning and assessment methods, and you will experience teaching through a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, classes and tutorials.

Learning settings

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

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Personal tutors

You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.

Support

We have dedicated welfare tutors who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

Contact hours

For all undergraduate modules students attend 1 lecture and 1 seminar per week. In total, this will comprise 20 hours of lectures and 20 hours of seminars for each module during the course of theyear. 

Internships and work experience

We have developed a range of internships and funded work experience placements that will enhance both your professional and personal skills whilst giving you the practical experience that is required by almost all graduate employers. In addition to funding and support, we offer unique opportunities to help you to rise above the competition, with global internships and placements available.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

Careers Network

Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.

Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoringglobal internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.

Careers Fair

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline, all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Visit the University of Birmingham Careers pages for further information on how we are 'investing in your future'.

Career opportunities

Our graduates enter a variety of occupations including management training, social and market research, policy and campaigns, the media, law and teaching. The Careers team offer drop in one-to-one advice sessions, web resources and workshops on developing a CV and getting the most out of a social science degree. They invite speakers from different organisations, and Birmingham Sociology graduates, to discuss their career experiences and offer advice on navigating the jobs market.

Hannah Beasley

Hannah Beasley

Sociology graduate

“My time at the University of Birmingham as a Sociology student was very positive. After gaining a first-class honours degree, I have been able to undertake my PGCE and hope to begin my career by teaching Sociology in a college or sixth form. However, the University has also encouraged me to strive for my goal of becoming a university lecturer. The excellent support during my final year of study enabled my dissertation to be published which has further sparked by interest in becoming a researcher and lecturer. I hope in the future to complete a Masters followed by a PhD and without the University of Birmingham, I never would have imagined such a career path to be possible.

Birmingham has transformed into one of Europe's most exciting cities. It is more than somewhere to study; it is somewhere to build a successful future.

Clubs and societies

The Guild has over 200 Societies, community volunteering groups and associations for you to join; they cover every topic and activity that you can think of - there really is something for everyone.

Shape your academic experience

Choose to study here and you will have a Student Representative, who works with the University and Students' Union on issues that directly affect students. You could even become one yourself. Not only would you be making a difference to the academic student experience, but you would also be developing transferable skills for the future. Find out more on the Guild of Students website

Accommodation

Coming to Birmingham might be your first time living away from home. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your new-found independence in safe, welcoming and sociable surroundings.

The City of Birmingham

One of Europe's most exciting destinations, Birmingham is brimming with life and culture, making it a wonderful place to live, study and work.

Our students fall in love with the city - around 40% of our graduates choose to make Birmingham their home.