Sociology BA (Hons) (with Foundation Year)
UCAS Code: L301|Duration: 4 years|Full Time|Hope Park
UCAS Campus Code: L46
Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
Contemporary society is becoming ever more complex and the need to understand how it works is increasingly important. Sociology is the study of how society is organised, how this influences the attitudes and behaviour of individuals and the impact this has on social relationships, both within and between societies. Accordingly, sociology is now commonly regarded as an essential discipline for understanding the development of all modern societies. The Sociology degree at Liverpool Hope will help you to think critically and constructively about the key questions relating to modern society.
Our sociology degree is based around a core that provides inputs from social theory and from the comparison of different forms of society. The degree will help you to examine ‘common-sense’ assumptions about the world by exploring the issues that confront society, both nationally and globally, and by studying the theories and methods that help to explain and understand these issues. It also examines and evaluates the methods of research which make the study of society possible. The degree enables you to study a range of additional topics which cover the whole spectrum of sociological inquiry.
Staff are enthusiastic and dedicated and will help you to get the most out of your degree. In line with Liverpool Hope’s commitment to social justice, both nationally and internationally, Sociology attempts to understand social issues and problems that confront the modern world and, in so doing, challenges received wisdom.
Teaching on this degree is structured into lectures, where all students are taught together; seminars of smaller groups of around 15-20 students; and tutorials, which typically have no more than 10 students. You will also have workshops, guided reading activities and use the University’s Virtual Learning Environment. You will also have the opportunity to go on a number of field trips, and to meet regularly with your personal tutor.
If you are studying Sociology as a Single Honours degree, in your first year of study there are approximately 12 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 10 teaching hours in your second year and approximately 8 teaching hours in your third year. If you are studying Sociology as part of a Combined Honours degree, in your first year of study there are approximately 6 teaching hours each week, which reduces to approximately 5 teaching hours in your second year and approximately 4 teaching hours in your third year. Your remaining teaching hours at first, second and third years will be spent in your other subject as a Combined Honours student: again, approximately 6 hours at first year, 5 hours at second year, and 4 hours at third year.
On top of teaching hours, you are also expected to spend a number of hours studying independently each week, as well as studying in groups to prepare for any group assessments that you may have.
In your third year you will also be expected to attend one-to-one meetings with your dissertation supervisor, who will guide you through the process of conducting an independent research project.
Assessment and feedback
Throughout your three years of study, you will have a number of assessments, including essays, portfolios, reports, individual and group presentations, and written exams. In your final year, you will also complete a dissertation research project on a topic of your choice.
You will be given written feedback on your assessments and will also have the opportunity to discuss this with your tutor. You will also receive regular formative verbal feedback on your academic performance from your tutor.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree. Further details can be found here.
Your first year of study provides you with a comprehensive introduction to sociology and will encourage you to ‘think like a sociologist’ by helping you develop the knowledge and skills needed to foster a critical understanding of the social world and our place within it. You will study:
Foundations in Sociology
You will learn about, and how to develop and apply, a sociological imagination, using the influential work of American sociologist, C. Wright Mills. You will also explore what sociology is for and what it can hope to achieve. Study will then progress to examine one of the fundamental pillars underpinning sociological knowledge and inquiry: sociological theory.
Social Identities and Inequalities
Attention will then turn to examining some of the major social divisions that are a feature of contemporary society. Here attention will focus on issues of social class, race/ethnicity, and gender and disability. Current issues and social movements, such as Black Lives Matter and Me Too, will provide a way of understanding the corrosive impact of social inequality and the need for social change.
Here, we focus attention on key social institutions such as religion, the media, work and health. In these sessions, you will study how these organisations influence how society is structured and functions. Attention will also be given to the various ways that these institutions govern social norms and how they can meet the needs of individuals as well as society as a whole.
Becoming Sociological Researchers
Study will then progress to examine the second fundamental pillar underpinning sociological knowledge and inquiry: research methods. Here you will learn about a range of different methods through which sociologists can investigate the social world. You will be encouraged and supported to carry out research so that you can experience what it is like to do sociological research.
Understanding Social Change
Next, attention turns to developing a critical understanding of the determinants and effects of social change. You will learn about how globalization has been a driver of social change and the uneven impacts in the Global North and the Global South. You will also encounter topics such as social movements, nationalism, migration, and the environment.
Cradle to the Grave
Here you will learn about sociological approaches to the life course and consider the ways in which government, policy and social norms intersect with people’s lives. Here you will learn about distinct life phases such as childhood and emergent adulthood and engage in critical discussion about how the State and social institutions govern and reproduce norms of families and family life.
If you are studying Sociology as a Single Honours degree, you will also study:
Applied Social Sciences
Here you will be introduced to a wide variety of issues and approaches from across the Social Sciences.
You will study the following:
Here you will study the histories of particular, and often marginalised, social groups, including: Liverpool’s history, Black history, women’s histories, queer histories, among others.
You will examine the ways in which particular groups and social identities are mis/represented in culture. This includes the processes by which certain social groups are ‘othered’.
Here you will explore various ‘isms’ and their applications across the social sciences. These include: Marxism, Feminism, Postcolonialism, and Ableism.
Deconstructing Scientific Knowledge
This block of learning will cast a critical lens on scientific discourses and the ways in which scientific knowledge has been used to marginalise and oppress a range of minority groups.
In your second year, building upon the first, you will develop an understanding and working knowledge of leading theoretical frameworks in sociology, alongside key approaches to research methods, and the links between them. You will study:
You will begin by exploring key thinkers from within the classical sociological tradition. This part of the course will assess the lasting contribution of thinkers from the classical era to understanding contemporary social issues in the 21st century.
Study will then move to explore social thinkers from within the contemporary era. Here you will develop a deeper understanding of thinkers and ‘Schools’ of thought from within sociology and across the wider social sciences.
Social Research in Action
This part of the course begins by introducing you to the qualitative tradition of research within sociology, by which sociologists study the social world. Here you will learn about, and get ‘hands-on’ experiences of doing, social research, including ethnography, interviews, and how to process the data you gather.
Attention will then shift to learning how to work with quantitative data. Here you will develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work with, and to think critically about, about large-scale data sets.
If you are studying Sociology as a Single Honours degree, you will also study:
Gender and Sexuality
In this block, you will develop a deeper understanding of social issues and debates around gender and sexuality, including theoretical developments, issues of inequality and discrimination, and factors that perpetuate exclusion versus those that promote diversity and inclusion.
Class in the 21st Century
In this block you will further your knowledge and understanding of social class as a marker of identity and dis/advantage. You will explore how class is theorised, measured and inhabited as lived experience. Debates around the idea of a ‘classless’ society will be explored, alongside issues about how social class is mis/represented in popular culture.
The Problem of Race
Study continues by exploring ‘race’ within contemporary society. Here you will examine issues and debates surrounding contemporary practices of exclusion, prejudice and discrimination, alongside the long-lasting impact and legacy of racism, imperialism, and colonisation.
Religion and Society
You will also study the impact of faith and belief in contemporary society. Here you will examine debates around secularisation and the extent to which we are now a ‘post-secular’ society. You will also examine the relationship between religion and public life and some of the social explanations advanced to account for the resurgence of religious fundamentalism.
The third year study involves developing an advanced understanding of social processes and issues within contemporary society. You will study:
Advanced Research Courses
You will also have the opportunity to choose from a wide variety of specialist courses that reflect the research interests of staff within the School of Social Sciences. Subject to availability, these may include courses in the following areas: social aspects of death and dying, the sociology of stories/story-telling, gender and migration, critiques of contemporary capitalism, poverty and precarious employment, corporate power, health inequalities, and many others besides.
Utilising the knowledge and skills you have developed in the first and second years of study, you will conduct independent research on a sociological topic of your own choosing. You will do this under the supervision and direction of a member of staff from within the Sociology team.
Advanced Studies in Sociology
Alongside your independent research project, you will learn from the experiences of established researchers on how to do social research. Here you will be supported in your independent research by learning how to develop an idea for a project, how to conduct a literature review, navigate practical and ethical issues, analyse data, ‘write-up’ your research, and get your dissertation ‘over the line’.
You will also deepen your knowledge and understanding by learning about current issues - and the role of sociology - within contemporary society. These may vary from year to year depending upon the research interests of staff within the sociology team.
If you are studying Sociology as a Single Honours degree, you will study a range of themes related to real-world issues in the 21st century. These might vary according to the specialist research interests of staff within the sociology team but may include a focus of global social issues (such as human trafficking) and the impact of neoliberalism on individual lives and the communities of which they are a part.
You may also select to extend your undergraduate degree by doing a fourth year of study. By selecting this option (for which student loan funding is available) you will graduate with a masters level qualification - a Masters of Social Science (MSocSci) instead of a BA in Sociology. You will study:
Professional Strand Options
Here will choose from professionally oriented options in the following areas:
This is aimed at supporting you to develop clear and effective communication skills for workplace environments, where professional activities are increasingly organised around digital technologies.
In particular, graduate level occupations usually require advanced competency in identifying key trends across diverse information and data sources, and in communicating outcomes to inform organisational strategies, resource allocations, professional practices, and stakeholder relationships.
Learning will focus on five areas: key principles of digital communication theory; professional writing for cross-platform media; mobile technologies and professional social media communication; data analysis and communication; and report writing and presentation skills.
Here you will develop a critical understanding of strategic leadership and its practical application for personal and organisational effectiveness. The theoretical frameworks presented will be critically analysed against real world problems and contexts across a range of sectors.
Learning will cover a range of theoretical frameworks, from early leadership theory to current thinking. This includes the following: trait theory; style theory; situational/contingency theory; transactional/ transformational leadership; emotional intelligence; dialogical and distributed leadership. Alongside this you will explore integrated developments in, and current models of, leadership in the public, private and third sectors.
Managing Community Funding Bids
Here you will develop the skills needed for community and voluntary sector management focused on bid writing. You will learn about the central aspects of successfully applying for funding for community-based organisations.
You will learn how to identify the specific needs within particular communities and how to formulate focused aims and objectives in relation to developing community projects. Learning will also focus on further elements of using data to support project application and processes of evaluation to demonstrate achievement of outcomes and impact.
You will also examine theoretical frameworks and concepts and utilise practical examples to support your application of theory in practice. Contemporary management of Youth and Community Development will be investigated, reflecting current shifts and trends in practice.
Choices from MA Options
You will also get to pick options offered by the School of Social Sciences from across our existing M-Level provision.
These include modules from Sociology, Social Policy, Social Work, Criminology, Disability Studies, and Youth and Community Development. You can choose to study any of these options without necessarily having any prior subject specific knowledge of these areas.
A key element to the MSocSci is the professional placement, which is compulsory as part of the 4th year of study. These placements will help you to recognise the breadth of your potential and highlight future career opportunities. Placements can take place in a variety of areas and disciplines including the following:
- Welfare organisations, social care initiatives, educational establishments and not-for-profit organisations
- Political parties, charities, NGOs, campaign groups, government bodies and political and international organisations.
Placements will normally take place when you do not have any timetabled face-to-face sessions. You will be expected to complete a set number of days on your placement. You will be prepared for and supported during your placement by the School’s Placement Coordinator. You will undertake a reflective portfolio that will link directly to your placement activities. In most circumstances, placements will be arranged by the University. However, you can work with the School’s Placement Coordinator to create your own placement opportunity.
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
A degree in Sociology provides you with a wide skills base that is transferable to a variety of employment and career opportunities.
As well as detailed subject-specific knowledge, you will also learn skills that are vital for employment in a wide range of careers, such as critical thinking, problem solving and decision-making, effective written and oral communication, time management, and the ability to work both in a team and independently. You will also gain the ability to reflect critically on a wide-range of social issues and to research and analyse data in a variety of forms. Many employers find these skills essential and they recognise the value in employees having had a sociological education.
As the British Sociological Association (BSA) notes, a typical career pathway for graduates in Sociology has typically been social work or some other kind of public sector welfare employment such as the probation service. In practice, however, Sociology graduates now enter a wide variety of careers that include (but are by no means limited to) work within: the social services and wider caring professions; the civil service and local and national government; teaching and lecturing; third sector advocacy; think tanks and policy development; the police and criminal justice system; human resource management; media and creative industries; health promotion and public health; business and finance; ICT development; environmental campaigning; and international development. There is also the potential to go on to Postgraduate study and to become a professional Sociologist.
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
As part of your degree, you can choose to spend either a semester or a full year of study at one of our partner universities as part of our Study Abroad programme. Find out more on our Study Abroad page.
The tuition fees for the 2024/25 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
On top of your tuition fees, you also need approximately £100 to purchase core textbooks.
You will also need to consider the cost of your accommodation each year whilst you study at university. Visit our accommodation pages for further details about our Halls of Residence.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2024/25 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
This course is also available with Foundation Year as a Combined Honours degree with the following subjects: