Sociological Studies students in a seminar.

Sociology BA

Department of Sociological Studies

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You are viewing this course for 2021-22 entry. 2022-23 entry is also available.

Key details

Course description

Sociological Studies student in Elmfield Lecture Theatre One

This course covers the fundamentals of sociological analysis. Subjects include crime and deviance, religion and belief, migration, surveillance, race and racism, new genetics and masculinities. We'll also give you training in research techniques and information retrieval.

Specialist third-year modules explore current thinking on a range of important issues. You'll learn from experts and explore your own ideas in small groups. In the final year, you will carry out a research project of your own.


The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:

Title: Sociology BA course structure
UCAS code: L300
Years: 2021

Core modules:

Classical Sociological Theory

The aim of this module is to introduce foundational theories in sociology. The lectures will describe the ideas of leading theorists Durkheim, Marx, and Weber with reference to the social context in which they lived and wrote. Lectures will analyze the primary texts of sociological throught with reference to the social contexts in which they emerged. This will include a look at the concerns of the first generation of sociological thinkers, their understanding of changes in European societies at the time, and the way in which their ideas inform an understanding of issues and problems in the contemporary world.

10 credits
Doing Social Research

This module builds on the knowledge and skills acquired by students in the module Introduction to Social Research. Students will be given the opportunity to deepen their understanding of theoretical, methodological and practical issues in conducting empirical social research through a staff interview project. The project will be introduced and explained in lectures, and students supported in interviewing their assigned Departmental member of staff via tutorial sessions and guided independent learning. Students will produce a portfolio of research work and a final 1,500 word project report which they will present to the class. The module will equip students with some of the basic skills necessary to: undertake empirical social research, from project planning through interviewing to writing up research findings; develop their collaborative and presentational skills; and enhance their appreciation of the relationship between research, teaching and the concepts of sociology and social policy more broadly. An additional positive outcome of the module will be the familiarisation of students with the research interests of all staff in the Department, preparing them for study at levels 2 and 3 and, in particular helping them in their choice of dissertation topics at level 3.

10 credits
Exploring Classical Social Thought Seminars

The purpose of this seminar module is to provide a medium for students to discuss, evaluate, assess, and engage foundational theories in sociology. The seminar topics will seek to relate major sociological theories to (historical) events of concern to the theorists themselves, and events of interest to contemporary students of social affairs. The discussions will emphasise ideas and concepts in key sociological writings and their contribution to shaping sociological enquiry.

10 credits
Introducing Criminology

Crime is a major social problem in virtually all societies. In this module, sociological understandings of crime are discussed, often with reference to their implications for policy. The module will introduce you to major research about crime in contemporary Britain and help you to understand the contribution of sociology to its analysis. This module will be of value to anyone thinking about a career in the criminal justice services, journalism, public service, the voluntary sector and anyone interested in understanding the significance of crime in contemporary British society

10 credits
Introduction to Social Research

Students will be introduced to theoretical, methodological and practical issues in conducting empirical social research and become equipped with some of the basic skills necessary to undertake qualitative and quantitative projects, from project planning through to writing up research findings. Students will also be given the opportunity to explore different areas of social research in small groups through class presentations and debates

10 credits
Social Divisions Seminar

The aim of this unit is to explore a key concern of sociology to explain how and why material and symbolic rewards are distributed unequally. The unit will focus on how social constraints and opportunities arise from social divisions and will explore how various social divisions interact to produce unequal outcomes. It will evaluate critically sociological research that provides evidence of structured inequality in society. A key aim of the unit is to provide students with a sociological framework to assess critically how social divisions operate in their own lives through the constraints and opportunities they encounter.

10 credits
The Sociological Imagination Seminar

Drawing upon the lectures in the accompanying module (SCS100), students will use the seminars to explore a range of everyday life situations - such as mobile phone use, shopping, and travel - from a sociological perspective. Emphasis will be placed on students reflexively exploring their own experience, on the one hand, and gathering exemplary material from print and digital media. Students will be required to do exercises on specific topics.

10 credits
The Sociology of Everyday Life

This module aims to introduce students to basic sociological concepts, such as 'the sociological imagination', 'social interaction', 'social identity', 'deviance' and 'globalisation' and illustrate how these can be applied to everyday life. Drawing on the work of key thinkers in sociology, a range of everyday life situations, such as mobile phone use, shopping and travel will be used as exemplary cases

10 credits
Understanding Inequality

The aim of this unit is to explore a key concern of sociology to explain how and why material and symbolic rewards are distributed unequally. It will consider the unequal distribution of wealth, privilege and power and, in doing so, will question common-sense understandings of various inequalities in society. It will focus on various social divisions including the `big three' of social class, gender and race, as well as sexuality, age, religion and disability. Major themes will be explored with a predominantly British- and policy-related focus, although global divisions and inequalities will also be included for consideration.

10 credits
Welfare Politics and the State

This unit introduces students to some of the material and theoretical concerns of social policy by focusing on the politics of `welfare'. It is organised around unpacking common contemporary 'welfare myths' - e.g. 'the benefit scrounger', 'welfare tourism' and the need for austerity - by taking a long view of their articulation through history, exploring their ideological roots, examining policy responses and assessing the empirical evidence to support them. In doing so the unit also focuses on the policy making process, examining in particular issues of power in contemporary UK and the role of the media in perpetrating 'welfare myths'.

10 credits

This `zero credit module is designed to support students as they transition onto their degree programme in Sociological Studies (SCS) at the University of Sheffield (TUoS). In particular, it is designed to support student awareness of the high quality learning environment within which the programme aims and outcomes will be delivered. The module will introduce students to the notion of the Sheffield Graduate, and what it means to be a student at TUOS. Through a range of online activities and tutorials, it will induct and introduce them to the support services provided by the department and the University. Helping them to articulate their learning requirements, it signposts opportunities for personal, professional and peer support. In doing so, it will help to create a solid foundation for the distinct communities of learning that will help to sustain them throughout the course of their degree at Sheffield.

Optional modules include:

Gender, Sexuality and Society

This unit intends to address the following questions regarding gender and sexuality and their interaction with society: What do we mean by gender and sexuality? How do we do gender and sexuality? How do we see gender and sexuality? How do we control gender and sexuality?

10 credits
Introduction to Media and Communication in Society

This module examines the relationship between media and society. It examines the nature of influence and persuasion, representation, ownership, and identity in contemporary media environments.

10 credits
Earth, Wind, Ice and Fire

This course is intended to provide an introduction to the general principles of physical geography for students with diverse backgrounds.

Part I will aim to give students an understanding of the origin and history of the Earth. It will include explanations of tectonic, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic activity, the history of crustal processes as well as reviewing the development over geological time of the evolution of the geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere.

Part II will use a systems-based approach to physical geography to examine several other key environmental systems, including the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, and the cryosphere. It will include explanation of key interactions between physical systems and discussion of the impacts and consequences of system perturbation, such as climate change, over time and space.

Part III of the course will introduce concepts of geomorphology as a means to investigate the landforms of the earth; mountains, valleys, slopes, river beds and dunes. It will include explanation of fundamental principles of landscape and landform development considering issues such as temporal and spatial scale, equilibrium and interaction between different landscape processes and components.

20 credits
Exploring Human Geographies

The module provides an introduction to human geography including key principles and processes in economic, social and cultural geography. It describes the main elements and issues involved in the global economic system including the process of uneven development and how local economic activities are moulded by global forces. It also provides an introduction to social and cultural geography focusing on a range of concepts, current debates and contemporary issues. Drawing examples from around the world and at a variety of geographical scales, the module highlights the value of a geographical perspective on current economic, social and cultural issues.

20 credits
Reason and Argument

Arguments are everywhere - in our newspapers, on our television screens and radios, in books and academic papers, on blogs and other websites. We argue with our friends, families, teachers and taxi drivers. These arguments are often important; they help us to decide what to do, what to believe, whom to vote for, what car to buy, what career path to follow, or where we should attend university (and what we should study). The ability to recognise, evaluate and produce arguments is therefore immeasurably valuable in every aspect of life.

This course will teach you how to recognise an argument, how to understand it, how to evaluate and criticise it, and how to produce your own. Students in this module will learn how to extract an argument from a complex text, how to uncover hidden assumptions, and how to recognise and critique bad reasoning

10 credits
Philosophy of Science

It is virtually impossible to overstate the importance that science has in our everyday life. Here is a brief list of things that would not exist without modern science: computers, phones, internet, cars, airplanes, pharmaceutical drugs, electric guitars. Imagine your life without these things. It looks very different doesn't it? Science, however, is not important only in virtue of its practical applications. in fact, many would agree that the the primary value of science is that of being the best available source of knowledge about the world. Indeed, it seems fair to say that we made more discoveries after the 17th century scientific revolution [e.g. the laws of planetary motion, the principles underlying biological evolution, the laws governing quantum phenomena, the structure of DNA, the cellular architecture of the brain] than in all the previous millenia. This raises important philosophical questions.

First, what is science? What are the criteria that demarcate science from non-science? For example, what is the difference between science and religion? Second, how does science work? What are the methods and eplanatory strategies that make it so successful? Is there such a thing as the scientific method, and what counts as a scientific explanation? Third, is science objective? That is, is science a form of rational and unbiased inquiry, or does it reflect ethical, political, and social factors? Finally, is science the fundamental source of knowledge about the world? Does science tell us how things really are? These are some of the questions that we will tackle in this course.

20 credits
Philosophy of Sex

Sex is one of the most basic human motivators, of fundamental importance in many people's lives, and a topic of enormous moral, religious, and political contention. No surprise, then, that it turns out to be of great philosophical interest. We will discuss moral issues related to sex' asking when we might be right to judge a particular sex act to be morally problematic; and what political significance (if any) sex has. We will also discuss metaphysical issues, such as the surprisingly difficult questions of what exactly sex is and what a sexual orientation is. Throughout our study, we will draw both on philosophical sources and on up-to-date contemporary information.

10 credits
LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans* and Queer) Studies

This module introduces students to study of genders and sexualities, and LGBTQ scholarship, both historical and contemporary. It examines genders and sexualities in society, culture, media, and their academic study, as well as contemporary issues of inequality affecting sexual minorities in different global contexts. The module is team taught by experts in different departments at the University of Sheffield, who will introduce students to a wide range of theoretical and methodological perspectives, such as philosophy, history, social sciences, psychology, evolutionary biology, education, cultural studies, and critical study of religion. The module is assessed by a coursework portfolio, where students answer a number of short questions on different topics in the syllabus.

10 credits
Information and Communication Skills

The skills needed to be able to find, evaluate, summarise and critically evaluate information are all vital to success in an undergraduate degree programme, and are also key transferable skills. This module provides basic knowledge of a range of methods for information-gathering and forms of communication. The teaching is delivered through a mix of lectures, workshops and student-led discussions, with students expected to take more responsibility for their own learning as the module progresses. . Lectures provide basic knowledge on method for information gathering and forms of communication, whilst workshops and a range of exercises are used to develop these skills

10 credits
World Civilisations

The popular image of archaeology is captured by the fictional Indiana Jones in his search for the lost secrets of ancient civilisations. This module explores some of the most famous early civilisations, including Mesopotamia, China, and Egypt in the Old World, and the Inca in the New World. Similarities and differences in the development of these civilisations are evaluated, as are the contentious roles of colonisation, diffusion, trade and world systems. The classic civilisations are placed in a wider context by looking at human cultures as diverse as the Vikings, Zimbabwe, and the Plains Indians. In conclusion, the module discusses changing understandings of what it may have meant to be 'civilised'. Since the emergence of anatomically modern man and the inception of farming and sedentism, human societies have undergone radical changes, including the development of urbanism, advanced craft specialisation and long-distance trade, writing and bureaucracy social stratification and warfare, statehood and empire, colonialism and globalisation. This module explores the nature, causes and consequences of these changes.

20 credits
Child Psychology

This module explores the relationship between psychological theory and educational policy and practice, considering some of the ways in which Education and Local Authority services have been influenced by ideas about children developed in psychological research. Some of the core concepts of Psychology are introduced such as cognitive psychology (intelligence, language and learning), behaviourism (including modification techniques), social and emotional development (including family and attachment, trauma) as well as the study of individual differences (with reference to psychopathologies such as autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder).

20 credits
The Digital University

What is it like to be a University of Sheffield student, without ever setting foot on campus? What can learners in Mumbai, Adelaide, Capetown, and Shanghai learn from each other? And what new possibilities and challenges are digital technologies opening up for higher education? These questions, and more, will be explored in this module about online, distance, and blended learning: all forms of digital learning where students can be based anywhere with an internet connection. An experience of digital learning is part of the module, and participants will both take an active role in and learn from this experience.

20 credits
Popular Music Studies

This module provides an introduction to the academic study of popular music. You will explore the various definitions of 'popular music' in relation to their socio-cultural context, and investigate some of the major issues and debates of popular music studies.

Lecture materials and in-class tasks will engage with approaches to the analysis of popular music and media, issues of representation, and the relationship between popular musicians and their audiences. Assessments involve critical engagement with the themes of the module in relation to a popular music artist or piece of your choosing.

10 credits
Philosophy of Religion

This course will pose and try to answer philosophical questions about religion. These include questions about the nature of religion. For instance does being religious necessarily involve believing in the existence of a God or Gods? And is religious faith compatible with adherence to the scientific method? Other questions that the course will cover include questions about the theistic notion of God. Does the idea of an all-powerful being make sense? Is an all-knowing God compatible with human freedom? And is an all-powerful, all-knowing and perfectly good creator of the universe compatible with the existence of evil? Further questions concern God and morality. Is it true that if there is no God, then there is no right and wrong? The course will examine philosophical arguments for the existence of God, and question whether these arguments are sound.

10 credits

This module is mainly about death itself [whereas PHI125 is mainly about killing}. What is death? What happens to us when we die? Could there be an afterlife? Would it be a good thing if there were? What is it about death that we dislike so much, or that makes it bad? Is it rational, or even possible to fear death? What is the right attitude towards our own death? Do we have moral duties towards the dead? The course will clarify these questions and attempt to answer them. Readings will be taken from both historical and contemporary sources.

10 credits
Introduction to Comparative Politics

This module examines the utility of the comparative approach to politics with a particular focus on democracies, dictatorships, and semi-democratic regimes. The key features of each regime type are considered and these are used to explain the nature of the comparative method, its strengths and weaknesses. This course also applies a comparative lens to processes such as democratisation, modernisation, and mobilisation. This course will draw on a wide range of examples from democratic, authoritarian, and semi-democratic countries.

20 credits
British Politics

This module will introduce students to key concepts and debates in British politics through an examination of post-1976 British political history. Each lecture will take as its starting-point one day in recent British history and will describe what happened on that day and what happened as a result of that day. Each of the seminars will then follow that discussion: paying particular attention to concepts and ideas within the study of politics which can help us make sense of those events.

20 credits
Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Whether you're a journalist writing stories for the public, or a social research analyst working in government, you need to be able to understand, use and present data. This 10 credit module aims to demystify data and encourage critical thinking on statistics; often wrongly used, and sometimes in very misleading ways. The module will equip you with the knowledge and skills you'll need to become a discerning data user, through engaging teaching, active learning and examples from the news media. The module is comprised of a mix of lectures and computer workshops and is assessed through a multiple choice exam.

10 credits
The Environmental Challenge

Human impacts are significantly altering the natural environment, and ecological degradation poses threats to human society. This module introduces students to these challenges and how they might be addressed. It aims to (1) to examine the key environmental challenges facing human societies with a particular focus on climate change; (2) to provide students with theoretical knowledge and practical understanding to help in confronting environmental challenges in a context they know (3) Provide an awareness of society’s main political institutions and regulatory procedures concerned with environmental protection and climate change (4) Develop skills in report writing and critical thinking related to environmental issues.

10 credits

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Learning and assessment


You'll learn through a mix of interactive lectures and seminars, with time for independent study.

We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

Learning support facilities and library opening hours

At Sheffield, you will be taught by our academic staff, who are at the leading edge of critical sociology.


You will be assessed through a combination of coursework and exams. In your final year of study, you will undertake a research project on a topic of your own choosing, working closely with your dissertation supervisor. You will develop your skills as a social researcher demonstrate how you can use the theoretical frameworks and methodological tools of the discipline to investigate and report on a significant social or sociological issue.

Programme specification

This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

Find programme specification for this course

Entry requirements

With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

Standard offer
Access Sheffield offer

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:

A Levels + additional qualifications | BBC + B BBC + B

International Baccalaureate | 32 31

BTEC | DDM in a relevant subject (BTECs in Public Services and Uniformed Services are not accepted) DDM in a relevant subject (BTECs in Public Services and Uniformed Services are not accepted)

Scottish Highers | AABBB ABBBB

Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + BB B + BC

Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a relevant subject with Distinctions in 24 Level 3 credits and Merits in 21 Level 3 credits 60 credits overall in a relevant subject with Distinctions in 15 Level 3 credits and Merits in 30 Level 3 credits

Mature students - explore other routes for mature students

English language requirements

You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

Equivalent English language qualifications

Visa and immigration requirements

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

Department of Sociological Studies

You'll learn about key concepts like community, identity and welfare. Our degrees explore important sociological issues including crime, migration, gender and poverty.

Our world-leading research shapes our teaching, so you're always challenged and up to date. Our interdisciplinary approach brings sociologists, social policy analysts and social workers together under one roof.

Our staff are experts in their field and work with organisations in the UK and worldwide, bringing fresh perspectives to your studies. They'll give you the advice and support you need to excel in your subject. There are around 130 places available on our courses.

Department staff also play key roles in the Faculty of Social Science's Digital Society Network (DSN), an active group of researchers working on all aspects of digital-society relations. The DSN hosts events and activities to stimulate and support research in this area.

Our courses develop students who are socially aware, with strong analytical skills and a flair for approaching problems in new ways. You'll become skilled at research and bring your own insights to key issues that affect our lives. In your third year, specialist modules allow you to investigate current thinking on a wide range of topics. You'll learn about the latest research from subject experts and explore your ideas in workshop-style sessions.

Department of Sociological Studies students are based in the picturesque Elmfield building where our staff have their offices and some seminar and small-group teaching takes place. Teaching may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.

All the University buildings are close together so, it’s easy to get around. The University Sports Centre is just next door, and accommodation, the Information Commons and the award-winning Students’ Union are all within easy walking distance.

Department of Sociological Studies

Why choose Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield

  A Top 100 university 2021
QS World University Rankings

  Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014

  No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019, 2018, 2017

Department of Sociological Studies

79% of our research is world-leading or internationally excellent

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Graduate careers

Department of Sociological Studies

Our graduates work in a range of sectors including broadcasting, the police service, teaching and social work. They are also employed in local government, the civil service, charity and campaign organisations and market research.

Some have carried out graduate training with national and international companies, and are employed around the world. Many go on to masters courses in sociology and social policy and other areas such as human resources.

You could pursue a career in marketing, communications and PR, or work in museums, theatres or charitable organisations.

Sociological Studies graduate Salma Haidrani

"I'm proud to have achieved my goal of becoming a freelance journalist. I'm privileged to be able to write articles that are of interest to me."

Salma Haidrani Sociology BA

Salma has gone on to achieve great success as a freelance journalist since graduating with a degree in Sociology. Here, she shares her story with us.

Fees and funding


Additional costs

The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

Examples of what’s included and excluded

Funding your study

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

Visit us

University open days

There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

Open days: book your place

Taster days

At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.

Upcoming taster sessions

Applicant days

If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

Campus tours

Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Book your place on a campus tour

Apply for this course

Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:

The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

Our student protection plan

Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

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