Undergraduates

Quantitative Social Sciences (Sociology) BSc

Sheffield Methods Institute

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    You are viewing this course for 2023-24 entry. 2022-23 entry is also available.

    Key details

    Course description

    Undergraduates studying

    This course gets to the heart of social science and why it matters, with a particular emphasis on sociology. You’ll learn how high-quality research is done, how it's communicated and the difference it can make to our lives.

    As one of only 15 UK Q-Step centres, we deliver intensive training in quantitative methods. From gathering and interpreting data, to understanding trends and how social statistics are created and used, you'll learn data literacy and analysis skills in an accessible, engaging, rigorous way. 

    The degree will give you a solid foundation in social science knowledge with a focus on sociology, providing you with the fundamentals of sociological analysis, examining how personal attitudes and experiences relate to wider issues, understanding how group phenomena can give collective meaning to an individual’s actions, and exploring social change and the way that forces like globalisation impact on society.

    You'll become a highly proficient researcher, adept at communicating your findings to both a specialist and non-specialist audience.

    There are plenty of chances to get valuable work experience, including on our placement scheme. You might work on a project for a government office, go on placement with a company or do consultation or research work for an industry partner or research centre.

    Dr Andy Belle discusses the unique approach to undergraduate learning and teaching at The Sheffield Methods Institute.

    Modules

    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Title: Quantitative Social Sciences (Sociology) BSc
    UCAS code: L4L3
    Years: 2022, 2023

    In the first year you can also study modules in other subject areas up to the value of 20 credits, including Languages for All modules.

    Core modules:

    Data Visualisation

    This module consists of three key elements. The first is principles of good graphic design, combined with how figures can be used to lie and mislead. The second is learning how to make a wide range of graphs, maps, and figures, for a wide range of different audiences, using the latest and most powerful software. The third is interpreting visual representations of data, whether from other sources or by students on the module themselves, and using them to answer substantive research questions. Fundamentally, this is a hands-on module that allows students to make and understand data visualisations.

    10 credits
    Introductory Quantitative Data Analysis for Social Scientists

    This unit provides students with training in, and hands-on experience of, introductory quantitative data analysis techniques for social scientists. Students are introduced to descriptive statistics, data distributions, commonly encountered mathematical functions, principles of hypothesis testing, principles of statistical inference, and methods for testing bivariate relationships. The course includes hands-on experience of some commonly used statistical methods.

    20 credits
    Introductory research project in quantitative social science

    This unit introduces students to the skills required for the effective design, execution and communication of a social science research project utilising quantitative methods. Students will construct their own research project aimed at answering a particular problem in social science, will identify, obtain and analyse the data necessary to answer that question, and will present their findings both on a written project report and in a poster paper to be presented at a student conference.

    20 credits
    Survey Design and Data Collection

    Survey method is commonly used by government, business and other organisations to understand changes in the society. Yet, not always it leads to producing meaningful analysis as a result of bad survey design choices. This module will improve your understanding of the art of asking survey questions and the science underpinning survey data collection. Specifically, you will learn how to design an effective questionnaire, whom to include in the survey sample, how to organised your fieldwork and finally, how to process raw data and manage the final dataset. You will use online survey software to practice your skills.

    10 credits

    Optional modules - four from:

    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
    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
    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
    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, Du Bois 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
    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

    Optional modules (20 credits) - one or two from:

    Exploring Human Geographies

    The module provides an introduction to key principles, relations and processes that contribute to social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects of human geography.  It looks at spatial patterns of power, inequality and interdependence produced by economic and cultural globalisation, how those are experienced at the local scale, and how they have changed over time.  It outlines key concepts and current debates shaping how human geographers approach these issues by drawing on examples from around the world and at a variety of geographical scales.  It highlights the value of a geographical perspective on the world we live in.

    20 credits
    Living with Environmental Change

    This module will introduce students to a wide range of critical environmental issues facing the world today from physical science and social science perspectives. Using a range of environmental problems evident in the Global North and Global South (such as climate change, habit loss, water resources, land-use change, agriculture), the physical and social processes implicated will be examined. Drawing on a range of examples, students will critically explore the causes, consequences, management and solutions to environmental issues and learn how to question assumptions about environmental processes.

    20 credits
    Why Geography Matters

    Geography helps us plan for the future by investigating social and physical processes as they interconnect from the past through to the present. Geographers actively contribute to contemporary debates across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.  We address some of the most pressing issues facing the modern world, from climate change to food security, informing policy and practice. The module provides a challenging but accessible insight into the origins of the discipline and how these translate into the cutting edge of contemporary geographical research, and how this helps us understand our changing world. Serving as a bridge between the general introductory modules, and the more specialist modules taught at levels 2 and 3, this module provides an opportunity for students to engage with topical issues in contemporary human and physical geography led by academics actively engaged in cutting edge research on those subjects. Because you will be exposed to a wide range of topical areas and multiple approaches to these you will have the opportunity to enhance your understanding of the contexts and perspectives that inform  decision making and how those decisions can result in greater or lesser social justice.  You will also be able to develop your ability to apply knowledge to real world examples.

    20 credits
    Comprehending Criminology

    This module introduces students to key areas of criminological definitions, empirical study, theory and the development of criminal justice systems. The module looks at case studies of crime and deviance from contemporary life to help students understand how some of the history and theory of criminology can be brought to bear on social and legal issues. Topics may feature, for example, youth crime, spouse murder, football hooliganism and credit card crime but also other areas if and when interesting cases arise.

    20 credits
    Introducing Criminological Research

    This module focuses on how crucial criminological topics have been investigated. The module is taught by lectures and seminars/classes and assessed by two 'take-home' exercises. In the seminars/classes students will work in small groups to examine real research studies, and work out how to tackle research problems.

    20 credits
    The Changing Landscape

    This module aims to: - Introduce landscape and environmental planning as a means of intervening in landscape at the large scale. - Provide an understanding of landscape formation, change and the drivers of change. - Introduce the toolkit available to landscape planners. - Introduce the theory and technique of Landscape Character Assessment. - Develop report writing skills and visual literacy. - Introduce students to GIS. By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate understanding of/proficiency in: - The influences and processes that shape landscape. - The relationship between landscape planning and landscape policy. - Sourcing and interpreting landscape information. - Appreciating the (sometimes controversial) nature of landscape change. - Landscape Character and Landscape Character Assessment at an introductory level. Communicating landscape data and analysis at a planning scale in a critical imaginative and creative manner.

    20 credits
    Business Management in Context

    This module introduces students to the impact that society has on business and vice versa. It seeks to develop students' awareness of the importance of considering and understanding the social context within which businesses and managers operate. Through a critical exploration of contemporary issues, it highlights the importance of socially responsible work practices and challenges participants to reconsider their preconceived notions of how business should operate.

    20 credits
    Management Themes and Perspectives

    The module introduces students to some of the key themes and perspectives within a number of different subject disciplines within management. Through a series of 4 two-week 'packages' the module will introduce students to key issues within marketing, sustainable development, operations management and strategic management. The module is designed to help students to start to identify the interconnections between the different disciplines within management and to see how differing perspectives tackle key contemporary challenges. The module will be delivered through a series of 2-week subject 'packages' by experts in the different disciplines. While the lectures will provide the foundation for student learning, this will be supplemented by guest speakers from within industry to apply concepts to actual business settings. Seminars will provide space for more detailed discussion of issues and topics covered during the module. Key skills sessions will also be interspersed between the different subject packages so that students will be able to develop these generic skills which they can utilise in the various assessments components and for which they will receive feedback.

    20 credits
    Introduction to International Relations

    This module will introduce students to the discipline of International Relations (IR) and therefore the study of global politics. IR is a complex, multi-level and multi-actor field whose terrain spans global to individual issues. To provide a comprehensive introduction to IR, the module will focus on two questions: 1) What is the subject matter of IR? And 2) What is the unit of analysis? Structuring the module as such will introduce students to key debates in IR and provide a broad overview of the subject matter (from global governance to individual activism) and different actors (from the UN to terrorists).

    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
    Introduction to Global Political Economy

    This module provides an introduction to global political economy (GPE). It covers key mainstream and critical theories and considers critically what GPE is. Following this, the main focus will be on sketching the outlines of the global economy (past and present) by considering particular commodities. This provides a novel way to introduce the student to the major processes of global trade, finance and production. It also considers the political economy of race, class and gender as core theoretical themes that interweave the empirical examination of the global political economy, from roughly 1500 through to the 21st century.

    20 credits
    Analysing Politics

    This module is about (1) politics, and (2) how to analyse it. More specifically, it involves (1) understanding how power and truth operate in the contemporary world; and (2) discovering different ways to research these dynamics so as to build compelling and rigorous accounts of the political worlds that we find ourselves a part of. Students will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, and independent study; and will be assessed on the basis of an essay and online multiple-choice tests.

    20 credits
    Introduction to Western Political Thought

    This module provides an introduction to key themes and thinkers in Western political thought. It explores the different meanings of the nature of politics and the political in this tradition. One key theme will be the relation between human nature and politics. This will be explored through a series of deep conflicts between reason and desire, the state and individual, and the public and private. These conflicts are examined through the different visions of politics of a selection of ancient and early modern thinkers. The module will also engage with critiques of the canon of Western political thought itself, in particular from a postcolonial perspective.

    20 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
    The Environmental Challenge

    Humans are altering the climate, with significant impacts on livelihoods, wellbeing, equality, and the environment across the globe.  While international organisations and governments are crucial in mitigating and adapting to these threats, individual and small group collective action are also essential in creatively exploring how the necessary changes can be realistically and equitably implemented.

     

    This module uses the community linked to the University as a Living Lab.  Focusing on one aspect of daily life in which there is potential for more mitigation or better adaptation, you will identify and plan an investigation or intervention (a 'project') to take a step towards more or better climate action.  You will need to justify your choices by elaborating what you would consider success, how you would deliver it, as well as assessing the impact of its wider implementation.

    10 credits
    Economics for Spatial Planning

    This module provides an introduction to economic concepts and theories and to the way in which they are applied to the analysis of selected markets and policy challenges. The module seeks to offer an economic perspective on planning issues by focusing on land market and urban development. The overall aim of the module is to develop students' understanding of the economic environment within which planners and other urban professions operate and to enhance understanding of economic theory and the property market in general.

    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, tutorials and seminars, 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 seminars, tutorials and a range of exercises are used to develop these skills

    10 credits
    Cities

    The main aim of Cities and Inequality  is to introduce you to our urban condition in a global context, with particular attention to the multiple forms of inequality that pervade urban life. Drawing on a wide range of expertise within the Department, we will introduce you to a range of key issues in contemporary urban studies and help you to understand more about the roots of urban problems and questions of social differentiation and injustice in a range of global urban contexts. The course also aims to develop students' capacity for comparative urban analysis

    10 credits
    Housing, Home and Neighbourhood

    Issues relating to housing, homes, streets and neighbourhoods that we live in are in the news every day. Whether this is over concerns about housing shortages, affordability, housing bubbles, 'generation rent', social housing, housing evictions, Covid lockdown, city-centre housing, DIY and 'grand designs', or debates about the domestic sphere, 'home as a haven', 'benefit streets', flooding and shack settlements, housing is often at the centre of social science research. This module aims to introduce students to this broad and diverse subject by drawing on the expertise of staff who research across these multiple themes. The module focuses on contemporary concerns, while maintaining an appreciation of the impact of historical trends (e.g. the Global Financial Crisis of 2007/8). The module will make use of cases from the UK and abroad to illustrate trends, arguments and challenges. The module introduced students to various concepts and debates relating to housing, as well as indicating the linkages to housing and urban policy.

    10 credits
    The Making of Urban Places

    This module will introduce you to cities and urbanisation, from the very first settlements to contemporary metropolises, using examples from across the world. The module focuses on thinking about the role of cities within societies and civilisations throughout history. The first half, on the history of urbanisation and urban settlement, looks at how various forces have shaped cities, and the outcomes of urbanisation for cities and their populations. The second half, on contemporary global urbanisation challenges, examines some of the major global challenges facing cities today. Throughout, we will explore influential ideas which have changed our thinking about cities, and look at how urban governments and planners have sought to respond to the challenges of urbanisation.

    20 credits
    Development, Planning and the State

    The module provides an introduction to spatial planning in theory and practice, exploring arguments for and against spatial planning and the rationale for state intervention into land and property development. The first part of the module covers key debates on the purposes of planning, the historical development of planning as a state activity and the current structure of national, regional and local government. The central part of the module introduces key aspects of the English planning system and key debates about its role and purpose. The final third of the module explores how spatial planning responds to major societal challenges.

    20 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

    Learning

    You'll learn through a combination of lectures and seminars, and you'll also benefit from small-group teaching in the department.

    As part of the course you'll become highly competent in sampling, research and survey design, data collection and the generation and analysis of data.

    You'll also gain hands-on experience in the analysis of major national and international social science data sets such as the National Census or the Eurobarometer surveys.

    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

    Our courses draw on research and teaching expertise from across Sheffield's highly rated Faculty of Social Sciences. Our academics are highly respected leaders within their fields and are working at the cutting edge of their disciplines.

    Their world-class research addresses the major challenges facing society and it drives and enhances our teaching.

    Assessment

    Assessments on the course range from essays, projects and presentations to practical assignments based on real-life case studies and data. In your final year, you'll complete a dissertation and will be supported by a dissertation tutor.

    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

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    ABB

    A Levels + additional qualifications BBB + A in a relevant EPQ; BBB + B in Core Maths

    International Baccalaureate 33

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDD in a relevant subject

    BTEC Diploma DD in a relevant subject + B at A Level

    Scottish Highers AAABB

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AB

    Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in Social Sciences, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 30 at Distinction and 15 at Merit

    Other requirements
    • GCSE Maths grade 4/C

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    BBB

    A Levels + additional qualifications BBB + A in a relevant EPQ; BBB + B in Core Maths

    International Baccalaureate 32

    BTEC Extended Diploma DDM in a relevant subject

    BTEC Diploma DD in a relevant subject + B at A Level

    Scottish Highers AABBB

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + BB

    Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in Social Sciences, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 at Distinction and 21 at Merit

    Other requirements
    • GCSE Maths grade 4/C

    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

    Other qualifications | UK and EU/international

    Pathway programme for international students

    If you're an international student who does not meet the entry requirements for this course, you have the opportunity to apply for an International Foundation Year in Business, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Sheffield International College. This course is designed to develop your English language and academic skills. Upon successful completion, you can progress to degree level study at the University of Sheffield.

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

    Sheffield Methods Institute

    Undergraduate class at Sheffield Methods Institute

    The international jobs market is going to need a different kind of social science graduate. We're leading the way with two innovative degrees.

    Today, social science graduates are expected to have more than one area of expertise. Our degrees are taught by experts from across the social sciences faculty so you're not limited to just one subject. We also have a strong focus on research skills that will set you apart from other graduates.

    We're committed to providing individual support to help you succeed - while you're a student with us and after you graduate. Work experience and practical skills are a big part of our degrees. They're built into our courses so you'll have opportunities to go on work placements, for short periods or for a whole year, and you'll learn methods used by the world's leading social sciences researchers.

    Our courses draw on research and teaching expertise from across Sheffield's highly-rated Faculty of Social Sciences. Our academics are highly respected leaders within their fields and are working at the cutting edge of their disciplines. Their world-class research addresses the major challenges facing society and it drives and enhances our teaching.

    As part of one of the most diverse social science centres in the country, the Sheffield Methods Institute sits within the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Sheffield situated in the ICOSS building, near the centre of our campus.

    We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in ICOSS, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.

    Facilities

    At the SMI we bring together the brightest talents in the fields of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Our students have access to our specially-developed data laboratories and learn from our expert staff.

    Sheffield Methods Institute

    Why choose Sheffield?

    The University of Sheffield

      A top 100 university 2022
    QS World University Rankings

      92 per cent of our research is rated in the highest two categories
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      No 1 Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

    Sheffield Methods Institute

    World top 100 for social sciences

    Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020

    UK top 10 for social sciences

    Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020


    Graduate careers

    Sheffield Methods Institute

    Our courses have been specifically designed to meet the growing demand for social science researchers with data analysis skills. You might choose to apply your skills in the public or private sector, for a charity or an NGO.

    Previous students from the SMI have gone into analyst roles in local government and the private sector. Some have gone onto research positions and others have started their own business.

    Fees and funding

    Fees

    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:
    www.ucas.com

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    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

    2023-2024