Students will learn to analyse issues through different perspectives, considering how a variety of different sociologists would consider the same problem. This will also help develop discussion skills as students learn to take on board differing opinions. They will also learn to evaluate the usefulness of theories and studies, considering the quality of the research carried out and its relevance to modern society. This will involve them designing their own sociological investigations.
The A Level is assessed entirely at the end of Year 13, focusing on three different units. The first focuses on the Education system, looking at questions such as ‘why do girls usually do better than boys?’ ‘Does the current education system benefit everyone?’ This unit also involves students considering the different methods used by sociologists, their strengths and weaknesses, and the usefulness of such methods for studying the Education system.
The second unit focuses on two important topics: Families and Households and Beliefs in Society. The former considers the recent trends in family structures and tries to explain why they have happened, while considering possible future trends. The latter will explore whether religion is beneficial to society, why certain types of people are more likely to be religious, and why people join controversial religious organisations like Scientology.
The third unit will look back at the methods in unit one, but this time in the context of Crime and Deviance. This topic considers why crime exists, who is most likely to be a criminal and the impacts this could have on people. A key part of this unit is to see how the media can have an influence on crime.
Paper one: Education with theory and research methods
Paper two: Topics in sociology: 1) Families and households 2) Beliefs in Society
Paper three: Crime and deviance with theory and research methods.
Sociology will appeal to students who enjoy debating social issues and who are keen to explore their ideas about society. As the examination is a combination of essays and short answer questions it is important that students have a good written style, with at least a Grade 6 in GCSE English Language or GCSE English Literature.
Studying Sociology equips students for many different career paths. It suits those who intend to study for a Humanities based degree or who would like a career requiring an understanding of human behaviour or social issues, such as healthcare, the judicial system, education, journalism, or law.