Sociology: A-Level

Course Description
This A Level Sociology course a Magna Academy has been designed so that candidates will acquire the essential knowledge and understanding of central aspects of sociological thought and methods, together with the application of a range of skills. It has also been designed to allow the integration of sociological themes, such as socialisation, culture and identity, and social differentiation, power and stratification. To Study Sociology A’ Level there is no prerequisite that it should have been studied at GCSE. Instead, candidates who have Grade C in English Language or similar attainment at Key Stage 4 will find that those skills will suitably equip them for the study of this specification. No prior learning is necessary for candidates to undertake a course of study based on this specification and those candidates returning to study, as part of their lifelong learning, will need no previous attainment in this subject.
 
This A’ Level lays an appropriate foundation for further study of Sociology and related subjects in higher education. In addition, it provides a worthwhile course for candidates of various ages and from diverse backgrounds in terms of general education and lifelong learning. Equally, material studied would be useful for candidates intending to pursue careers in the field of Social Sciences.
 
Course Aims
 
Acquire knowledge and a critical understanding of contemporary social processes and social changes.
Appreciate the significance of theoretical and conceptual issues in sociological debate.
Understand and evaluate sociological methodology and a range of research methods through active involvement in the research process.
Develop skills that enable individuals to focus on their personal identity, roles and responsibilities within society.
Develop a lifelong interest in social issues.
Foster the development of critical and reflective thinking with a respect for social diversity.
Provide an awareness of the importance of social structure and social action in explaining social issues.
Provide candidates with an awareness of social structure and social action which emphasises different interpretations of social experiences.
 
Course Outline
 
Student will study a range of sociological theories and sociological perspectives. In addition, students will use various research methods to obtain and scrutinise data and consider its relative merits and weaknesses. Core themes will include socialisation, culture and identity along with social differentiation, power and stratification. The themes should be understood and applied to particular substantive areas of sociology. However, these themes are to be interpreted broadly as threads running through many areas of social life and should not therefore be regarded as discrete topics.
 
 
Paper 1: Education with Theory & Methods
 
The role and functions of the education system, including its relationship to the economy and to class structure.
Differential educational achievement of social groups by social class, gender and ethnicity in contemporary society.
Relationships and processes within schools, with particular reference to teacher/pupil relationships, pupil identities and subcultures, the hidden curriculum, and the organisation of teaching and learning.
The significance of educational policies, including policies of selection, marketisation and privatisation, and policies to achieve greater equality of opportunity or outcome, for an understanding of the structure, role, impact and experience of and access to education; the impact of globalisation on educational policy.
 
Paper 2: Topic in Sociology - Option 1 - Culture & Identity
 
Different conceptions of culture, including subculture, mass culture, folk culture, high and low culture, popular culture and global culture.
The socialisation process and the role of the agencies of socialisation.
The self, identity and difference as both socially caused and socially constructed.
The relationship of identity to age, disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, sexuality and social class in contemporary society.
The relationship of identity to production, consumption and globalisation. 
 
Paper 2: Topic in Sociology - Option 2 – Stratification & Differentiation
 
Stratification and differentiation by social class, gender, ethnicity and age.
Dimensions of inequality: class, status and power; differences in life-chances by social class, gender, ethnicity, age and disability.
The problems of defining and measuring social class; occupation, gender and social class.
Changes in structures of inequality, including globalisation and the transnational capitalist class, and the implications of these changes.
The nature, extent and significance of patterns of social mobility.
 
Paper 3: Crime & Deviance with Theory & Methods
 
Crime, deviance, social order and social control.
The social distribution of crime and deviance by ethnicity, gender and social class, including recent patterns and trends in crime.
Globalisation and crime in contemporary society; the media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes.
Crime control, surveillance, prevention and punishment, victims, and the role of the criminal justice system and other agencies. 
 
Course Assessment
Paper 1 – 2 hour written exam (33.3% of total A’ Level)
Paper 2 - 2 hour written exam (33.3% of total A’ Level)
Paper 3 - 2 hour written exam (33.3% of total A’ Level)
 
Career Opportunities and Progression to University
 
Students who study Sociology are found in a wide range of occupations. This might lead to jobs in social services, education, criminal justice, welfare services, government, counselling, charities and the voluntary sector. They include charity fundraiser, community development worker, counsellor, lecturer, housing officer, teacher, probation officer, social researcher, social worker and welfare rights adviser. There are a range of specific abilities and skills associated with the study of sociology, but there are also wider transferable skills that you can develop. The specific skills include ability to judge and evaluate evidence; understanding the complexity and diversity of situations, including organisations themselves; collecting information; making reasoned and logical arguments. Sociology students will also develop a wider set of transferable skills like team-working; verbal communication skills; showing initiative; being able to work in a way that is supportive of equality and diversity in the workplace.