A Level Sociology

Sociology is an ever evolving and fascinating A Level to study. A subject that has direct links to the world we live in, unlike other A Levels it never stands still. Changes in society mean that new research is constantly being done. It can be studied alongside other Humanities subjects, and many students take it in conjunction with Science or Health based courses. Sociology students tend to follow a career path that involves working with people in some capacity. The present Year 13 cohort for example, are currently applying for courses in Nursing, Physiotherapy, Midwifery, Teaching and Social Work. Previous students have also gone into the Police. It can give students that edge, particularly in interviews, as they can often demonstrate a wider understanding of society as a whole, and its impact on people lives.

Assessment details
It is intended that all students are taught the AS content in one year and so will be able to sit the stand alone, AS exam at the end of Year 12. The content taught is then re-examined on two of the three papers students take at A2 with the final exam testing knowledge of units taught in Year 13.

AS Qualification
Unit 1 – Socialisation and Culture and Identity 70%
How culture and identity is formed and the impact of class, gender, nationality and ethnicity on identity. Youth Cultures – how have they changed and their relevance in society today. Education, the role of, and implications for changes in Education, and how sociologists explain them.
Unit 2 – Methods and Sociological Enquiry 30%
How do sociologists study society? A critical evaluation of the effectiveness of a range of research methodology.

A2 Qualification
Unit 1 – Socialisation and Culture 40%
Examining the content taught in Unit 1 at AS but including a wider range of knowledge and a greater emphasis on skills such as interpretation and evaluation.
Unit 2 – Methods of Sociological Enquiry 20%
Examining the content taught in Unit 2 and AS though in addition to critically evaluation other sociological research students will be expected to design their own.
Unit 3 – Power and Stratification 40%
Crime and deviance looks at how and why people commit crime, identifying changes and sociological explanations for patterns of crime in contemporary society. Social Stratification looks at patterns of inequality based on class, gender and ethnicity, and how sociologists have explained these changing patterns.

Entry Requirements
It is not a course requirement that students have taken Sociology at GCSE but they require a B Grade in English or a Humanities subject as an entry requirement.

In order to be successful students need to be able to work independently. They need to have strong literacy skills, and be able to read texts, make notes and take part in small-scale research projects. Whilst these skills will be taught alongside the course content, it is important that students are confident and happy to write in depth and detail.

Outside of the Classroom
The Department has links with Plymouth University and our Sociology students have attended open days where they are given the opportunity to visit the University campus and take part in mini-lectures. We believe it is vitally important for students to be given the chance to experience society on a wider level in order to support their understanding of Sociology. As part of their A Level course Sociology students visited London to work with Year 6 students in a primary School in Tower Hamlets. Both sets of students gave presentations on growing up in different areas of the UK, and its impact on their culture and identity. Our students were able to work with students within the classroom, and were also taken on a tour of the local estate by the primary students.

Reasons to Study this
Students who study Sociology often move on to careers in Education, Health, Social Work and the Police.

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