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  • Social Sciences (Sociology)

    Welcome to the Sociology department

    Curriculum Intentions and Aims

    The range of Social Sciences subjects (Law, Sociology, Psychology, Criminology) all have similar learning intentions; for students to understand more about human beings and how we make sense of the world around us; how and when we have personal responsibility for our choices and behaviours; how to live our best lives as individuals and as members of society, and to gain a deeper understanding of the reasons why as citizens we live in the ways we do and have the expectations we do. At its core, all Social Science is about people – how we function as individuals, and how we interact with others – so students develop an enquiring mind as to how they, and the rest of us do this – and how to do it better.

    What is Sociology?

    Sociology is the systematic study of society. It is about all types of social relationships people share with each other; in their families, communities, schools and workplaces. The methods developed by sociologists are used in many other disciplines such as market research and management studies.

    What topics do we study?
    The AQA A-level course concentrates on four topic areas: Families and Households, Education, The Media, and Crime and Deviance. All of these topics look at the patterns, changes, and influences which impact us – in our family lives and structures, in how we are educated, in the media content we consume, and the criminality within our societies. Social theory connects all topic areas – whether thinkers like Marx, or Functionalists of Postmodernists have accurate views and theories about society. Students also learn about the methods used by sociologists and have opportunities to apply this knowledge.

    Why study sociology?
    Sociology is the kind of subject liked by many professional careers including medicine, education and business, which require some knowledge of society and social theory. Sociology works well alongside a range of other A-level subjects, including Law, Psychology, History and Philosophy and Ethics. You will develop useful skills including communication (discussion, debate, presentation etc), analysis, evaluation and research. Above all – Society is about people – so if you are interested in how people ‘work’, how we interact, and why we have constructed society in the way we have – then give it a go!

    What are the course requirements?

    Subject entry requirements: English Language Grade 5 or higher (students with a Grade 4 at English Language will be considered if they have achieved a Grade 5 in similar subjects, eg History or Geography.) Sociology has quickly become one of the largest subjects at Finham Park, with more A Level entries than ever before.

    Course outline

    The study of society focuses on the following five areas:

    1. Families and Households – You will study how families are organised and what functions they perform in society. We look at roles within the home, modern childhood and trends regarding family life.
    2. Education – We explore why society needs educated citizens. We look at different types of schools and the policies which lie behind them, and look at the different experiences of education based on gender, ethnicity or social class.
    3. Society and the Media – this topic looks at the influence the media has on society – positive and negative. It explores the nature of the news, Media ownership and control, and how the Media chooses to represent various social groups.
    4. Crime and deviance – Crime is a fact of life in all societies. How do we deal with it? Who commits it? Are there really class or ethnic differences in crime data? Is the Media’s portrayal of crime accurate?
    5. Research Methods – In addition, students learn about how social scientists investigate issues in practice. Students will be involved in their own research as part of the course, on a number of occasions.

    For further information contact or

    Please see Mr Ratcliffe or Mrs Baker if you require any further information about this course.

    Department Staff

    Head of Department Mr D Ratcliffe (BA)
      Ms C Baker (BA)