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BA (Honours) Sociology - Learning outcomes

Educational aims

As the world changes around us, the BA (Hons) Sociology degree will offer you a chance to explore some of the major forces reshaping social life, in particular, equipping you with:

  • knowledge and understanding of social change, conflict and stability; social institutions, structures, and relations of power; social identities and social action; and patterns of social inequality, diversity, and stratification
  • the ability to analyse and evaluate competing sociological theories, interpretations and evidence, make reasoned judgements and construct informed arguments
  • practical skills in social research and the ability to plan and conduct an independent sociological project
  • a range of graduate-level competencies, skills and aptitudes – both sociological and generic – enabling you to participate more effectively in the world around you, whether at work or as active citizens.

The degree will introduce you to distinctively sociological ways of understanding and explaining the world, in the process challenging you to think more deeply about contemporary social problems and social change. On graduation, you will not only have a well-developed understanding of the nature of contemporary society but will be in a position to make a positive difference to it.

In the course of your degree, you will have the opportunity to study a range of stimulating topics. Some of these will be part of the mainstream of sociological debate, including class, gender, race, and sexuality. Others will be of a more diverse and surprising nature, such as: migration, shopping and consumption, social media and adolescent mental health, the internet and ‘fake news’, and even the women’s dress reform movement of the 19th century. Topics will be taught by nationally and internationally recognised specialists and will frequently incorporate ideas and research at the forefront of sociological thinking. You will also have the opportunity to engage in personal development planning, compile an e-portfolio and develop a range of graduate-level skills, competencies and aptitudes.

The modules will progressively build on skills and understanding of core sociological concepts, including social institutions, structures, and relations of power; social diversity and difference; and social change, conflict and stability. In studying those concepts, you will investigate the social forces that laid the foundations of the advanced industrialised societies and consider how those societies are changing. In so doing, you will question familiar explanations of major social problems and commonly espoused solutions to these. Your skills and knowledge-development will culminate in the final module with an opportunity to design and undertake an extended independent project on a sociological topic of your choosing. You will have the choice between writing a literature review designed to answer a specific question or conducting a small-scale piece of primary research.

Learning outcomes

The qualification provides opportunities for you to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills, and other attributes in the following areas:

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of this degree you have knowledge and understanding of:

  • the key concepts, theories and approaches in sociology, including its use of comparison
  • the major processes and phenomena that characterize social worlds, including social identities and diversity; inequalities, power and stratification; the relationship between social action and structure; the processes that underpin social change, conflict and stability; and those that shape individuals, groups, practices, institutions and structures
  • the selection and use of quantitative and qualitative social research methods; understanding of the ethical issues they raise; their appropriate uses; and the findings they generate
  • how sociology can be distinguished from other kinds of knowledge and how it can be practically applied in different contexts 

Cognitive skills

On completion of this honours degree, you will be able to:

  • identify and select evidence relevant to sociological concerns, and the ability to interpret, analyse, and critically evaluate this evidence
  • construct sociological arguments and draw reasoned conclusions on the basis of the evidence and/or explanations discussed
  • synthesise arguments and evidence; evaluate competing explanations; and question taken for granted assumptions
  • discuss sociological topics showing appreciation of sociological theory and debates

Practical and/or professional skills

On completion of this honours degree, you will be able to demonstrate an ability to:

  • recognise and critically evaluate personal viewpoints and engage respectfully with the views of others
  • identify and describe the value of sociological inquiry to real-world problems and matters of public debate
  • learn from feedback and reflect on the process of learning to evaluate personal strengths and weaknesses.
  • regularly review current and future goals for personal, academic and career development, and develop strategies to achieve these goals where necessary.

Key skills

On completion of this honours degree you will be able to:

  • accurately and effectively to communicate sociologically-relevant information, in a variety of ways suitable for a range of audiences, both formally and informally.
  • select, access and exploit a wide range of digital literacy practices to find, use, reference and share data and information relevant to the study of sociology.
  • plan, conduct and present independent sociological investigations that involve identifying the questions to be researched
  • work collectively with other learners in group situations to achieve joint outcomes.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will be taught through our highly successful ‘blended-learning’ approach. This combines print-based teaching texts, innovative online resources (including text, audio-visual material and interactive activities) and a mixture of face-to-face and synchronous online teaching and forums. Assessment is designed to help you build your skills as you progress through your degree, starting gently and building towards independent project work in your Stage 3 modules. Modules typically include a number of individual assignments and a longer piece of end-of-module assessed work. Unmarked online quizzes and other activities help you build knowledge and understanding towards your formal assignments, all of which are marked and count towards your module result. You will receive detailed feedback on these assignments to help you improve your marks in future work.