Number of credits: 40

Entry requirements: None


The aim of this module is to introduce students to the key theories, methods and topics within sociology. To critically appraise the development of key institutions within society, and provide a sociological perspective to social problems within society.

Intended learning outcomes

Assessable outcomes

By the completion of the module the student will be expected to:

  • be able to identify common themes within sociology
  • critically appraise sociological theories
  • understand sociological investigatory techniques.

Additional outcomes

Students will also be able to:

  • critically understand historical and contemporary social problems
  • apply sociological thinking to every aspect of social life.

Outline content

This module is divided into three parts over three terms. The first term provides an introduction to traditional and developing sociological theories and perspectives, such as functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology. Students will be introduced to the key theories needed for the investigation of society. For example, concepts such as society, socialisation, social interaction, deviance and social control will be examined. These theories are then applied to a number of topics and issues in the subsequent terms.

In the second term the topics covered concern social inequality and we examine issues such as social stratification, global stratification, race and ethnicity, and gender and sexuality. The third term looks at social institutions such as the economy, the state, families, religion, and the mass media.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods

The module will involve weekly lectures to be followed by a combination of:

  • weekly seminar/tutorials
  • video presentations related to topics examined
  • keynote lectures from other members of the academic staff who are engaged in actual research.

Student views of this module

Folajimi Alli-Balogun (Nigeria)

'I chose to study Sociology because I wanted to know about the less obvious aspects of society.
Remembering to support my work with necessary and relevant authorities has been challenging but it has been interesting to be able to include my opinions and findings in my written work.
Students of Sociology should try as much as possible to observe what is going on in society as this might be useful for their studies.'

Yui Narashima (Japan)

'I chose to study this module because it looked interesting and it relates to other subjects.
Whilst I have found it challenging to write good essays and justify the sociological theories, studying Sociology has helped me to develop my ideas and to look at issues from different points of view.'

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