A Level

Sociology is a great choice of subject for people who want a career in teaching, local government, law, the public services and caring professions, such as nursing, social work, the police and civil service. It has also become a popular choice for those seeking careers in personnel management, written and broadcast media.

It is seen as a great subject to combine with other social science / humanities subjects such as Criminology, Psychology, Anthropology, Politics, History and Philosophy.

An A Level in Sociology is also a great choice for anyone with an interest in what lies behind how the various institutions of society operate; including the family, education and law enforcement agencies. It is great for developing a wider understanding of how cultural beliefs around the world operate to influence social policy.

100% Examination

Course Information

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Course content


A Level Sociology requires students to achieve at least the minimum entry requirements for their chosen pathway plus a grade 5 or higher in GCSE English Language.




The department uses 2 classrooms that are equipped to the highest standards. In addition, the department makes good use of the college’s excellent IT facilities as part of an Accelerated Learning teaching strategy that seeks to support all learning styles. The department makes wide ranging use of interactive online and textbook resources to facilitate independent learning and promotes a structured programme of Assessment for Learning leading to Individual Learning Plans for students.

Sociology teachers are highly qualified and experienced practitioners who ensure opportunities are available to enhance learning, develop skills and confidence in the classroom. The Sociology department values a close relationship with students, tutors and parents. It provides ‘surgeries’ during lunchtimes and ‘twilight sessions’ to support all levels of learner.

The department organises an annual residential trip to London to take learning beyond the classroom and widen students’ sociological imagination. This year, the trip includes a Sociology of Education conference, West End show ’Matilda’ and a visit to The Old Operating Theatre. The department also organises talks from Sociology professors. This year, speakers include Prof Steve Tombs on corporate crime and Prof Simon Winlow on his undercover research with bouncers in Sunderland.

Topic 1: Families and Households

We will examine the role of the family, changing family patterns, family diversity and the life course, families and social policy, childhood and relationships within the family and sociological theories of the family.

Topic 2: Education with Research Methods

We will study sociological theories of education, the role and purpose of education, processes within school, differential educational achievement, class, gender, ethnicity, educational policy and research methods in the context of education.

Topic 3:  Beliefs in Society

We will investigate theories of religion, ideologies of science, religion and social change, whether or not there has been a decline of religion, postmodernity and beliefs, religion in a global context, religious organisations, movements and members and social patterns of belief and participation.

Topic 4: Crime & Deviance with Theory and Methods

We will analyse functionalist, strain and subcultural theories of crime and deviance, Labelling theory, Marxist theories of crime and deviance, Realist theories of crime and deviance, class, gender and ethnicity, the media and crime, globalisation, green crime, human rights and state crimes, control, punishment and victims, research methods and theory in context and how sociologists investigate and explain crime.

In year two we will also revisit sociological theory and methods.  The complete specification, together with past exam papers, can be seen on the AQA website.


The A Level course is delivered over 2 academic years. Students will receive 4 hours 40 minutes of lessons per week, although they are also expected to complete work independently outside of lessons.

Lessons will develop your skills of critical thinking, evaluation and essay writing. There will be thorough and regular classroom based assessments to help monitor progress.

A Level Sociology is assessed by 100% examination. You will sit three 2 hour exam papers at the end of the course. The exams are essay based, so a love of reading and writing is essential.


The department offers lunchtime ‘surgeries’ and intensive revision sessions as well as lots of additional help in-between lessons and by email.

The department organises talks from Sociology professors to take learning beyond the classroom and extend student knowledge beyond the textbook. This year, speakers include Prof Steve Tombs on corporate crime and Prof Simon Winlow on his undercover research with bouncers in Sunderland. We also organise a residential trip to London.

What does this course lead to?

Having A Level Sociology can open up a world of opportunities in both university choices and career options.

If you are considering applying to university to study Sociology, Criminology, Anthropology, Social Policy, Social Work,  Psychology, Public Administration, Journalism, Marketing & Advertising and a host of other Humanities based subjects then A Level Sociology is essential.


Possible career choices that require A Level Sociology include the Public and Civil Service, Caring Professions, Law, Voluntary Sector, Teaching, Media, Advertising and Personnel Management amongst a range of others. In fact, having an A Level in Sociology is desirable for a huge range of careers, as it is a great qualification to have.


The start of the A Level course is always challenging, but you will find these tasks aid the transition from GCSE.


  • Keep up to date with the news media; written and broadcast
  • Visit A Level Sociology websites & try out the activities and reading available e.g. Sociology
    Exchange and Sociology Central
  • Complete activities online at, the website for one of the textbooks used in the Sociology Department. This will prepare you for the first unit of study at A Level

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