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Syllabus: AQA

1 - Why study Sociology?

Sociology is the study of social change and social life. It also examines the social causes of human behaviour and the consequences of this. As a sociologist you will investigate the structure of groups, organisations and societies and you will focus on how people interact within these contexts.

You will also learn about the research methods used by sociologists including primary methods like interviews and observations. You will also be given the opportunity to analyse secondary data such as official statistics and documents.

If the following questions interest you, then Sociology is the A level for you:

  • Does society shape who we are as an individual?
  • Why do girls do better than boys in education?
  • Why do people commit crime?
  • Why are there different types of families in society today?
  • Has technology developed too quickly?
  • Is society fair?
  • What role does religion play in society today?
  • What crimes have developed from globalisation?
  • Does the law apply to everyone in the same way?

2 - What will you study?

Year 12

Introduction to key concepts and research methods.


Education with research methods in context

Year 13

Introduction to Theory and Methods
Crime and Deviance

Crime and Deviance

Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods

3 - How will you be assessed?

Paper 1 – Education with Research Methods (2 hours)
Paper 2 – Options paper (Beliefs and Families) (2 hours)
Paper 3 – Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods (2 hours)

4 - What skills will you develop?

Explanation – learn how to explain key sociological ideas, arguments and theories using key terminology effectively.

Interpretation – develop your skills in understanding and interpreting data in different forms including written and numerical sources.

Analysis – discuss from different perspectives the consequences, advantages, disadvantages, implications of and links between key ideas and theories.

Evaluation – form well-evidenced judgements about key sociological ideas, events and processes.

Communication – practice organising your thoughts and communicating them clearly and precisely through a variety of different mediums including discussion and debate.

5 - What makes a good Sociology student?

A good sociology student will come to lessons having completed their pre – reading. They will take an interest in all topics and ask thought provoking questions that will develop their analysis skills. They will take part in class discussions, debates and presentations. To be successful, it is vital that you find all areas of the subject interesting, as you will need to carry out independent work outside of the classroom to develop your knowledge and understanding. You should have an interest in current affairs and the experiences we face in the real world, as this will really help you to understand the significance of society in our lives.

6 - Where can Sociology lead?

  • Anthropology
  • International Development
  • Criminology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Law

Sociology is particularly useful in any career that involves working with people – management, nursing, social work, teaching, police, human resources, journalism, law, etc.

7 - Reading list and preparation*

Required Textbooks

Sociology for A level year 1 AQA by Ken Browne
Publication Date: 8 Feb 2013 | ISBN-10: 0745655513 | ISBN-13: 978-0745655512 | Edition: 4th Edition.

Sociology Themes and Perspectives by  Haralambos and Holborn.
Publication Date: 28 May 2013 | ISBN-10: 0007498829 | ISBN-13: 978-0007498826 | Edition: Eighth edition

Overview of sociological theory

https://www.tutor2u.net/sociology/reference/sociological-theory-functionalism - Functionalism

https://www.tutor2u.net/sociology/reference/sociological-theory-marxism - Marxism

https://www.tutor2u.net/sociology/reference/sociological-theory-feminism - Feminism

Building Cultural Capital

  • We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Living dolls: The Return of Sexism – Natasha Walker
  • No one is too small to make a difference – Greta Thunberg
  • The God Delusion – Richard Dawkins

8 - Stretch and challenge resources

Sociology review: https://thesociologicalreview.org/

Improving Global Health at Harvard University (a certificate is awarded on completion): https://www.open.edu/openlearn/society-politics-law/questioning-crime-social-harms-and-global-issues/content-section-0?active-tab=description-tab

Society, Law and Politics at the Open University covers a range of additional courses pitched at different levels, a statement of qualification is awarded on completion: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses/full-catalogue

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