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Study Sociology, why & how to study

Sociology is an increasingly popular course in the UK. It's the perfect subject for those keen to further understand how societies work.

Students attending a university lecture


  1. What’s Sociology?

  2. What Sociology degrees can you study?

  3. What do you need to get onto a Sociology degree?

  4. What topics does a Sociology degree cover?

  5. How will you be assessed?

  6. Why study Sociology?

  7. What do Sociology graduates earn?

  8. What jobs can you get as a Sociology graduate?

  9. What are the postgraduate opportunities?

  10. Similar subjects to Sociology

  11. Have any questions?

What’s Sociology?

Sociology is the scientific study of behaviour by people in the society in which they live, how it came about, how it's organised and what it may become in the future.

It's a social science. Studying Sociology uses methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis, which allows you to understand people as they adapt and change to order and disorder.

What Sociology degrees can you study?

Undergraduate degrees in Sociology include: 

  • Anthropology & Sociology BA
  • Criminology BA
  • Economic & Social History/Sociology (SocSci) MA
  • Human Sciences BA/BSc
  • Sociology BA/BSc
  • Youth & Community Studies BA 

Course options may include an integrated foundation year, professional placement, or a year studying abroad.

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  2. Find a Sociology undergraduate degree 
  3. Types of undergraduate degrees 

What do you need to get onto a Sociology degree?

Most undergraduate Sociology courses ask for 96–160 UCAS points, although some courses have higher or lower requirements. Qualifications required can range from:

  • A Levels: AAA–CCC
  • BTECs: D*D*D*–MMM
  • Scottish Highers: AAAAA–BCCDD (Advanced Highers: AAB)
  • International Baccalaureate: 38–27
  • Universities will usually ask that you’ve studied: a science subject at a higher level if studying Human Sciences, preferably biology

Other good subjects to have studied include:

  • an essay-based A Level subject (or equivalent)
  • General studies may be excluded from offers

Experience that would look good on your application:

  • Any work experience or volunteering that helps you understand issues faced by different groups, e.g. youth work, work in health or social care, or with a charity
  • Independent reading into the subject, or areas of research at your chosen uni
  • Summer schools, if available – for example with the Sutton Trust

Other requirements for this subject include:

  • If your qualifications include A Level science, a pass will be required in the practical element
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  2. Entry requirements 
  3. About UCAS points 
  4. Alternatives to A Levels

What topics does a Sociology degree cover?

Typical modules for courses in this subject include:

  • Social research methods
  • People and cultures
  • Anthropological field course
  • Behaviour and its evolution
  • Power, inequality, and difference: contemporary themes in sociology
  • Crime news and criminology
  • Media, society and crime
  • Making a difference
  • Concepts of good and evil
  • Youth and community models of practice
  • Social policy and social inequality
  • Understanding organisations

How will you be assessed?

Traditional courses may favour written work and exams. Others could offer a variety of assessments to build your skills in different types of presentations. Examples include:

  • blogs or podcasts
  • policy briefs or posters presentations
  • debates
  • dissertation
  • essays or written reports
  • exams (open and closed book)
  • literature review
  • portfolios
  • project proposals and evaluations
  • reflective learning journals
  • research projects

Why study Sociology?

Sociology teaches you to analyse the causes of behaviour and its consequences and to consider why we accept these norms. You’ll learn to make comparisons, attempt to solve issues and gain a rational understanding of some of society's more frustrating habits.

Career-specific skills:

  • A broad understanding of societal and cultural issues that affect business and public sector organisations
  • Producing written reports on complex topics with speed and accuracy

Transferable skills:

  • Analysing data and statistics
  • Ability to assimilate and evaluate a wide range of materials
  • Critical and independent thinking
  • Understanding and conducting research
  • Delivering well-considered arguments
  • Reflective and critical evaluation skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Collaborative working
  • Communication and presentation skills
  • Organisational skills

Professional accreditation: 

  • Degrees combined with other subjects may hold accreditation, for example, joint degrees including Psychology may be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS)
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  2. Read Reasons to study Sociology

What do Sociology graduates earn?

Sociology graduates can expect an entry-level salary of between £17,500–£23,000. 

Mid-career, earnings will vary depending on the career you enter. Those joining the Civil Service Fast Stream as a social researcher will earn from £27,000 rising to £55,000 or more after promotion. On the other hand, many community development workers are employed within the voluntary sector where salaries are lower, ranging from £23,500–£36,000.

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  2. See what students do and earn after graduation 

What jobs can you get as a Sociology graduate?

Sociology graduates are well equipped to work with people in a variety of roles. These could include:

  • Community development worker
  • Family support officer
  • Government social researcher
  • Housing officer
  • HR manager
  • International development aid worker
  • Journalist
  • Policy analyst
  • Probation officer
  • Public affairs manager
  • Social worker
  • Teacher
  2. Careers with a Sociology degree

What are the postgraduate opportunities?

A large number of postgraduate courses are available at both master’s and doctoral level. Examples include:

  • Criminology DPhil
  • Gender Studies MLitt/MPhil/PhD
  • Social Science Research (Social Policy) MSc
  • Global Migration MSc
  • Social & Cultural Anthropology MSc
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  2. Find postgraduate courses for Sociology
  3. Type of postgraduate degrees

Similar subjects to Sociology

If you’re interested in the structure and functioning of societies, you could also consider these subjects:

Have any questions?

Get in touch with your questions about studying Sociology by emailing We're here to help!

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