The River Thames outside DLD College London

Do you want to study Sociology at University?

29th October 12

Emma studied A levels at DLD College London

What A Levels will I need to Study Sociology at University?

As a rule, most universities don’t expect you to have any specific A Levels. But like a lot of social science, Sociology encompasses elements of both science based subjects, and also more humanities based discipline. You will be doing a lot of essay writing, but also a lot of statistical analysis, so it is a good idea to choose you A Levels wisely. A good foundation would be some Mathematical and Social Science type A Levels mixed with some more traditional subjects.

One of the big questions most prospective Sociology students ask is “Do I need Sociology A Level to study for a Sociology degree?” And the simple answer is “No”. It’s not required by any university, but if you want to do it, a Sociology A Level can give you a good start in the subject, but it won’t give you any significant advantage over any of your fellow degree students when you start your university course.

The Complete University Guide 2013 lists the following five universities as the best place to study Sociology in the UK.

University of CambridgeDepartment of Sociology

Cambridge are likely to offer you A*AA at A Level. They don’t ask for any specific subjects, but stress that as Sociology is such a broad course, you try to have a decent range of subjects. From Maths and Social Sciences like Psychology or Politics, to arts subjects like English or History.

University of BathDepartment of Social and Policy Sciences

A typical offer from Bath will be between AAB and BBB at A Level. Like Cambridge, they don’t ask that you have any specific A Levels, but do like their students to be as rounded as possible. So the  wider the range of A Level courses you can do, the better. They do require that you have at least a C grade in both GCSE Maths and English.

University of DurhamSchool of Applied Social Sciences

A standard offer from Durham to study any of their Social Sciences courses is AAB at A Level. Once again, they are not overly fussy about which A Levels you have, just that you do as diverse a range of subjects as possible, and that you show enthusiasm for the subject in your personal statement.

London School of EconomicsDepartment of Sociology

The London School of Economics and Political Science are likely to offer you ABB at A Level to study Sociology. You must have at least a grade B in GCSE Maths, but that is the only specific requirement. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, chose a wide range of subjects at A Level, study hard and you’ll get an offer.

University of Surrey – Department of Sociology

Surrey will offer you ABB at A Level, and, you guessed it, they have no mandatory A Level courses you must take to be offered a place. You will need to have at least a grade C in GCSE Maths and English though.

Once I’m there, what can I expect?

Sociology is essentially the study of societies, individuals within those societies, and how these interactions shape and affect the individuals, their behaviour and their identity. Sociology is a broad topic and you will find yourself studying a wide variety of subjects.

Expect modules in social theories, history and philosophy, where you will become good friends with the likes of Marx, Comte, Jung and Spencer. Expect to learn how societies have evolved through history, dealing with topics such as urbanisation, industrialisation and globalisation, socialismcommunism, capitalism, and consumerism. Beyond history and theory you will study issues of race and ethnicity, class, employment, inequality, gender, politics, crime, human rights, social psychology and social analysis.

As Sociology is such a broad topic, it is often offered as a joint degree. Some popular combinations being:

What skills will I develop?

Lots. Not only will you have an intimate understand of how society is organised, and how this impacts on individuals, you will have learnt how to conduct independent research into your own theories and how to present them. Your communication skills will be exemplary, as will your research, critical thinking and problem solving skills.

What will my career prospects look like?

While Sociology does not lend itself to a specific career path, you will have a wide range of transferrable skills and a great deal of knowledge prized by employers in a number of different sectors.

Many Sociology graduates take up careers that are predominantly people focussed. Think careers in social work, the public service, counselling, youth work, education, charity or in the prison services. Some will go into politics or law or financial analysis or policy development. Just like the subject itself, the opportunities open to you will be wide and numerous.

Good luck!