Students drinking tea


The science and study of humans, cultures and the world around us

Studying Sociology at university

How can we understand and explain diverse social and political issues? Why does social inequality continue to exist? And how can we improve people's lives and experiences?

Sociology considers these issues and more. If your students are thinking about studying a degree in Sociology, here's a taster lecture from our academics. They'll see what it's like to study this fascinating subject, and the skills and knowledge they'll develop to engage critically with the world around them.

Why study Sociology?

Sociology lecture

Join Dr Emily Nicholls as she explores what it means to study Sociology at university.

Hi, everyone, and welcome to this session, which is going to be about studying sociology at university.

So my name's Dr. Emily Nicholls and I'm a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Portsmouth.

I'm also the course leader for sociology and I'm the admissions and recruitment lead for our school, which means that I'm responsible for doing quite a lot of work around the university open days and around outreach to schools and colleges where we go and talk to them about what sociology looks like at university and what it's like to study sociology at a degree level.

So this is a outreach talk targeted at schools and colleges.

I appreciate that we might have some quite different people in different audiences, so some students who are already studying sociology, some students who aren't, some students who already have a good idea that they want to go to university and study the subject and others who are just starting really to think about whether they want to go to university at all.

So hopefully what I'll do in this talk is try and have a bit of something for everyone and to give you all a bit of a flavor of what it's actually like to study sociology at a university level.

So I'm not going to talk specifically about the University of Portsmouth.

I'm not here to pitch it, but I might be drawing on some examples so obviously when I talk about things like what a typical week might look like at university, I'm going to be showing you a timetable of a Portsmouth student, for example.

So I'll try and talk more generally about sociology at university as a whole, but I might draw on some Portsmouth examples.

So what I wanted to really do today is think about a couple of things really.

So, firstly, what does it mean to think like a sociologist at undergraduate level and what is it like actually day to day studying sociology in a university environment? I also want us to think today about the kinds of graduate jobs that sociology students tend to go into, the sort of skills that we can develop on a sociology undergraduate course, and a little bit about what other subjects you might study in combination with sociology.

A bit of a heads up when I deliver this talk in person, when I go and visit schools and colleges, I have some interactive elements where I get you guys to share some of your ideas with me.

That's obviously not going to work in the same way on recorded PowerPoint, but there are going to be some sections where I have questions or things I want to ask you guys.

So if you want to, you can pause the recording at these points, jot down some notes, have a think about the questions that I'm asking.

Or if you're listening to the presentation with other students or with someone else, you can discuss the questions with them and then we'll come back to me and all kind of go over some of the things that people usually say when I deliver these outreach sessions.

So I'll be a little bit less interactive, well, a lot less interactive than usual.

But bear with me and hopefully they'll still be some elements of interactivity that you guys can get bring to the presentation.

So as I said, what I'm going to go run through today is what is it like studying sociology at university? What can I do after university? And finally, what should I look for in a sociology course? I just wanted to start with this slide with different images on and really think about why have all these different images together and what these different images mean.

And of course, importantly, what on earth has all of this got to do with sociology? So really what all of these things have in common is that that kind of visual representations of some of the things that I've explored and looked at in my own research.

So as a sociologist myself, as a social science researcher these are some of the topics that I've written about, and I teach about and the topics that interest me from a sociological perspective.

So personally, one of the things that I really love about sociology is that it allows us to cover and think about this huge, diverse range of topics and it helps us to kind of understand and make sense of the everyday world around us.

So a couple of images here represents alcohol consumption and the girls night out.

And this reflects my own PhD work, which looked at what the girls night out with female friends means to young women and in particular, how do they kind of perform or embody that gendered identity through the girls night out.

So drinking certain types of drink, dressing in certain ways, behaving in certain ways on a girls night out became a way to kind of do femininity or to do girliness or girlhood for my participants.

So I was really interested in the role, in particular that alcohol and drinking practices played in young women's kind of embodiment or performance of gender and femininity.

I've also got some shoe and footwear related images on there, so I've done some work around working with podiatrists who are working with patients who need to make changes to their footwear.

So patients are seeing podiatrists because they've got foot pain or foot conditions and podiatrists try and encourage their patients to change their shoes, but they often encounter a lot of resistance and reluctance, even though medically it makes sense for these patients to start wearing more healthy or sensible shoes.

So this project was really exploring how shoes and footwear are really an important part of who we are and an important part of our identity.

So if someone says to you, you need to just stop wearing high heels and start wearing these sensible trainers that have been approved by the podiatrist, some of the resistance around that might come because, you know, shoes play an important part in our sense of who we are and the sense of the person that we want to convey to other people.

So did some really interesting work around this issue and it allowed me as well to kind of build some bridges between some academic sociology and foot health professionals or podiatrists who were working in the NHS with patients with foot problems.

So that's another thing I really love about sociology is its kind of real world relevance and the fact that we can do this kind of research that actually allows us to work with other professionals or allows us to think about policy or allows us to think about how we can make differences to people's lives.

And I've got a few other images around now that reflect things around my teaching.

So I teach a lot around gender and sexuality and I've got RuPaul's Drag Race on there because often a really interesting show that I talk about with my students as we think about how both gender and sexuality are kind of again performed or embodied in those settings at a few images around risk as well.

So the other area that I teach is around how we can think about risk sociologically and how risk is socially constructed.

So all of these topics and themes are things that are really interesting to me, and I feel that sociology is is the subject really where I can bring all of these diverse and different and exciting areas together and explore them and bring them into my research and my teaching.

So that kind of leads us to a related question, really.

As I said, that was quite a diverse bunch of images and topics, but in that sense, in that case, what actually is sociology? What do we think sociology is? And you might want to pause a recording here and just take a couple of minutes to jot down anything that comes into your head.

So it could just be the first couple of points or buzz words that you think of.

Or you could, if you're with the people, have a discussion.

And what does sociology mean to you? What is it that makes sociology a subject? OK.

So hopefully you had a bit of a think or bit of a discussion around what sociology means to you and what you think it is.

But let's have a think about how some key kind of sociological thinkers have defined it and thought about it as well.

So Giddens argues that sociology is the scientific study of human life and our source of interest is the human world.

It's a dazzling and compelling enterprise on its subject matter is our own behavior as social beings.

So a couple of really interesting things to pick out from this quote.

The first one is that Giddens wants to emphasise here that sociology is a scientific endeavor.

So we fall in a kind of interesting way between the kind of social sciences and the hard sciences, if you like.

So there's actually been quite a lot of debate about whether we can think of sociology as a science or whether we need to kind of conceptualise and think about it differently.

We're often not searching for single truths or right answers in sociology.

So can we really think of it as a science in the same way that many sciences conceptualise and position themselves as concerned with evidence and the kind of right answer about something.

So that's one point to note from Giddens.

He also remarks here.

It's about our behavior as social beings.

So this emphasis on social beings is quite important I think.

It's one of the things when students ask me, you know what? What really is the kind of difference between something like psychology and sociology? You might suggest that psychology in several ways focuses more on the kind of level of the individual, whereas as sociologists, we're really interested in levels of kind of social interaction and the way society is structured.

So we're more interested in the social and the interaction between that kind of individual and the social.

Sociology is really about studying and understanding the everyday world around us.

So as I alluded to, this is why I love sociology, because it's is really drawing from the material and the content that we see all around us.

What sociology is.

Is the things that surround this in our everyday lives.

And Bauman kind of builds on this and suggests, you know, everything can be the subject of sociology and anything that sociology talks about was already there in our lives.

So it was already something that we might be thinking about and talking about.

And the other key point that we can highlight there, of course, is this point I've made about social issues.

So the other thing I love about sociology is it really is about thinking about the kind of real world issues around us and key social issues around social justice and around inequalities.

For example.

So Bauman and May would also argue that one of the important things about sociology is it's about exploring that which is taken for granted.

So it's the things that we don't really normally question, like to link it back to my own research about alcohol.

Why is there this kind of gendered idea around men drinking pints and pints being associated with masculinity and other certain drinks thing associated with femininity? That's a kind of taken for granted thing that we might never really question, but as a sociologist, it's a question that I've spent a lot of time thinking about and a lot of time interviewing and speaking to young women about, so it's really the things that we that we don't really question, all the things that become the subject of sociology.

Bauman and May may also argue that sociology has the potential to disturb the comfortable certitudes of life by asking questions no one can remember asking, and those with vested interests resent being asked.

So I think that last point that is really interesting as well, this idea that sociologists sometimes we want to ask questions that those who are in power and those with vested interests resent being asked.

So they might not want us to ask these kinds of questions.

So sociology is in this sense reflexive, so it's about asking why the world is the way it is rather than a) making assumptions about it, or b) just accepting that that's the way the world is.

And linked to this then, sociology can be critical, evidence base and radical.

So a lot of sociologists are concerned with implementing social change and with tackling social inequalities.

So it links backs that Bauman and May point, this idea that sometimes those with vested interests, i.e.

the people in power, the people who have the system running that way, resent the questions that sociologists ask.

They don't want us to ask why does the gender pay gap still exist or how does racism manifest in 21st century Britain? Or how can we explore and understand key factors behind the Brexit referendum result, for example, they don't necessarily want us to ask those kinds of questions.

So sociology in this sense can be political at all.

My self identify as a feminist sociologist.

So do a lot of work around gender and sexuality.

A certain feminist methods or methodologies that I bring into my research and my research is concerned with kind of representing.

I'm making spaces for the voices of women and thinking about gender inequality, thinking about social structures and social inequalities in society, and thinking about how we can change society and make it a better place.

So many sociologists, we have this interest in the political and these might be kind of issues that you're, as you're listening to the talk, thinking that, you know, you might have some of these kinds of issues and concerns and interests as well.

So that's a little bit about kind of what I think sociology means to me and what sociology is concerned with and preoccupied with.

Obviously, if you're already studying sociology, then you'll probably recognise a lot of those kinds of points and arguments from the sociology that you're studying at the moment.

And that will just be kind of extended and developed and built upon and through studying sociology at a degree level.

So what does that look like to study sociology at university? So the first point that I wanted to make here, which is a really important one, is that sociology and other kinds of social sciences or more kind of essay based subjects often really place an emphasis on independent learning and independent reading.

And so in contrast to maybe more kind of vocational or practical or lab based courses, a subject like sociology is going to be really led and driven by you.

So there's going to be a lot of time spent on you doing independent research, independent learning and reading more widely around the topics that you find kind of interesting and thought provoking.

So to study sociology, you have to have a certain degree of self-motivation.

You have to be able to manage your time and you have to feel able to kind of, you know, work independently and follow up on and read about the things that you find interesting.

So obviously we support to develop these skills at university, but just to emphasise that there really is that kind of real emphasis on you guys taking ownership of your learning and pursuing the topics that are interesting and exciting for you.

Linked to that then you get quite a lot of freedom and flexibility to choose different modules or units at the university level when you study sociology.

So most universities will have something called units or modules and these are different kinds of topics every year.

So usually study 120 credits in an academic year and these are divided into different modules that might be worth usually 20 credits, but sometimes you'll have a bigger module or unit that will be 40 credits.

So you probably do five or six different units or modules per year.

So different topics and these will be divided into core and optional modules.

So the cool modules are the ones that everyone takes and they tend to predominate in first year.

So you'll have them more in your earlier years of study, understandably and then as you progress more and more with throughout your degree, you'll start to get a real choice around what optional modules you want to do on top of the core modules.

So the core modules tend to focus on sociological theory, research methods and kind of key themes, sorry, or issues in sociology.

And there might also be a module or part of a module that focuses on study skills that's increasingly common in the first year as well.

And as you progress onto your more optional modules in second and third year, you'll start to look into more depth at specific topics.

So specialists indepth topics.

So the way that this works at Portsmouth, let's think about the topic of gender.

So we have a first year module called 'Developing Your Sociological Imagination', and we spend a week on that module talking about gender and I think another week talking about feminism, for example.

So that's a kind of key core first year module with a couple of weeks on gender.

However, in your second and third year, you can choose a whole entire module just looking at gender and sexuality and so a really specialist in depth module, and that will be taught by an expert in the field.

So as you progress, lots of choice to shape your degree.

And when you're looking at different university courses, make sure that you find out what the syllabus looks like and find out what these core modules are that are offered and what are the optional modules that are offered, what's the like area of expertise or specialism that the university has? And is this something that you find interesting or want to learn more about? Sociology is largely essay based in terms of assignment, students usually like that bit of news.

So certainly at Portsmouth and more widely as well, we don't really tend to assess that much using exams.

We think that getting students to kind of write essays is a more, more effective way of assessing their level of learning and understanding.

So a lot of assignments will be essay based.

This doesn't mean that that will be standard essays in terms of being asked a question and expected to formulate a set answer.

So for my gender and sexuality module in the third and second and third year, my students have to do a gender case study so they have to choose a topic that interest them.

That shows us ways that certain norms or rules around gender or sexuality are either challenged or reinforced.

And so this is where thinking back a few slides where RuPaul's Drag Race comes in when I talked about my own kinds of interest in sociology, so a lot of students might choose a show like RuPaul's Drag Race to write about and show how norms around gender might be challenged and or reinforced through through the show.

So even though it might be less exam based, it doesn't mean that it's all essays in the traditional sense.

There's also things like reflective accounts getting you to reflect on your learning, there might be group work and group presentations (sorry to break it to you guys) as well and other more creative things.

So for one of my second year modules, I get my students to go out there and do a small piece of research, relate to the sociology of risk and then one of their assignments for that module is to produce an academic poster sharing the findings of their research.

Another point tonight, then, is studying sociology at university is really all about developing and defending and supporting arguments and thinking critically about issues and the world around us.

OK, so you need to be analytical.

You need to be able to build and develop an argument and you need to be intellectually curious.

You want to question the world around us.

Want to challenge the world around us.

And want to be able to think critically about key social issues.

We often study research methods, and that's another thing to look at when you're looking at different degree courses.

So you know how much stuff around research methods is there if you're studying sociology at the moment, you probably already are doing some of this.

But one of the real things that we emphasise at Portsmouth is around studying these methods to then enable you to go out and do some real world research.

So by the second year, our students are going out doing interviews, doing focus groups, designing a questionnaire and actually talking to people and understanding their experiences.

In the final year of your sociology degree, you'll do a major project or dissertation.

I talked a little bit earlier about credits and I said most modules are worth 20 credits.

The sociology dissertation or major project is kind of a double weighted module that's worth 40 credits, which means that it's a bigger extended piece of work that you spend the whole year working on.

And for for the dissertation students choose any kind of sociological topic that interests them.

So I have students writing about the young woman's use of social media and Instagram and how that shaped by social class.

I have students writing about taboos around periods and how that's changed by speaking to women of different generations about their experiences growing up.

I have students writing about.

I don't know, young men's involvement in the feminist society at university and how it feels to navigate that identity as a male feminist.

So students can choose anything they're interested in for that big dissertation project.

And we encourage them to go out again and do this real-world research, do some interviews, do some focus groups and speak to people.

So let's think about what a typical week might look like for one of our students then.

So here I am going to draw on a Portsmouth example, but it's gonna be fairly similar across different universities, ok.

So you can see here on this timetable, the student has about 11 hours in a week of what we would call 'contact time'.

So these are the kind of timetabled classes that all students have.

And as I say, or as I said earlier, this is supplemented or complemented by the independent reading that you'd be expected to do.

So actually, the student has quite a limited amount of contact time when they're actually in university, but that's because subjects like sociology, wherever you study them, the emphasis will really be on that key, important independent work that you do outside of those classes.

So most of these classes will take the form of lectures and seminars.

So for each 20 credit, let's say 20 credits usually module that you study, you might have a lecture earlier on in the week and then a seminar later in the week.

So the lecture would tend to be a bigger group of everyone on the module.

Maybe up to 100 students sat in a lecture theatre tends to be a little less interactive than some other ways of teaching and the lecturer will be kind of delivering taught content.

So maybe going through a PowerPoint presentation and giving you the key kinds of information that you need to understand that week's topic.

So they generally tend to be a little bit less interactive and about kind of transmitting and giving you guys information and an introduction to the topic.

The seminars then would be generally in much smaller groups.

They might have, say, 20 students in a seminar and you'd be expected to do some preparation or reading for a seminar.

So maybe following the lecture you'd read something and make some notes and then you go to the seminar.

And the emphasis really here is on that kind of interaction and discussion that you have with your peers and with the lecturer or the seminar tutor.

So whilst the lectures tend to be more about giving you the information that you need, the seminars are about exploring that, discussing that, getting your/having your understanding clarified if there's anything you're not sure about, but also really about understanding competing perspectives and views.


So in sociology, we really place a great deal of emphasis on understanding different arguments, different perspectives, different values.

So these seminars are really valuable as a space for you to kind of discuss and share your ideas with others.

We also have other ways of teaching as well, like workshops and film screenings.

And as I said, that independent reading is really important.

So I managed to accelerate ahead of myself and I've already talked a little bit about different kinds of assignments.

But here's a couple of examples listed here.

We've talked about essays, portfolios, case studies and as I mentioned, there is an element of group work and some presentations.

And again, that's going to be fairly standard across different universities.

And then you have aspects such as the independent research projects or your big final year project or dissertation.

So what kinds of strengths and skills you think would be useful for a sociology student? So again, you might want to just pause recording briefly here and have a think about it.

Sociology, the right subject for you and what kinds of skills and strengths do you think would be useful? OK.

So these are some of the things that I think are really useful in skills for a sociology student to have.

And what I should stress here is we're not expecting you to come to university with all of these skills already completely perfected.

So the other great thing about sociology is that you'll develop these skills even further through your degree program.


So these might be skills that you're developing through studying sociology or other subjects at the moment, but they can be further developed through the degree program as well.

And you don't have to have studied sociology before.

You don't have to taken it for A-level.

This is often where these core first year modules come in in terms of bringing everyone up to the same level.

So I would say being open minded is really important for a sociology student.

I have some very strong views that may, may or may not surprise you to know about things in life.

But one of the things about sociology is, you know, you have to be prepared to defend those views or to rethink those views or have them challenged.

So, you know, as a feminist sociologist, I can have even without the feminist debates and discussions about feminist issues, and it's about being open minded, thinking about people's perspectives and experiences and values, and thinking about how we might come up things differently.

So being open minded, being curious, being prepared to have your views on something, perhaps change through studying sociology.

Sometimes some of my my gender students say that they really do kind of see certain things in the world in a slightly different way after they've thought about gender and sexuality and from a more sociological perspective.

Being analytical is a really good skill to have and one that would be developed through the program as well.

So being able to kind of think critically about certain things, being able to analyse particular data or particular arguments and being inquisitive, so being curious and wanting to know more about the world around you.

Being independent as well.

So I've talked about this a million times already, but being able to kind of manage your own studies and want to pursue things in your own time without kind of having anyone necessarily there to kind of really like push you towards doing your work.

So really being able to kind of work independently and manage a research project independently.

Good time management as well.

So being able to think about when you're studying at university, they'll be different deadlines that you have to manage, different tasks that you have to do for different modules setting out to manage your time in that sense.

Being able to develop a coherent argument.

So, and this can be in different ways as well.

So not just in terms of like an essay, but also being able to develop good communication skills, being able to convey and express your ideas and your arguments to others.

And then good writing skills as well.

So Sociology is primarily obviously an essay based or written assessment based subject.

So it's about thinking about the kind of skills and strengths that you have now and the subjects that you're studying now and how that might translate to sociology at university level.

Like I say, we help you as well to develop these skills further and universities have support in place like, you know, learning support tutors that can help with things like academic writing.

But you know, as a baseline starting point, do you think that some of these kind of skills and some of these kinds of values already apply to you? So what can I get from studying sociology? So one of the really great things about sociology is it allows us to develop what we call 'transferable skills'.


So if you go to universities to study nursing or dentistry, it's very much about studying a specific thing to go into a specific line of work that you're training to be a nurse or be a dentist.

Obviously, for most people to do a sociology degree, they're not actually going to be sociologists.

So it's about thinking about these transferable skills, these wider skills that employers are looking for and that they value.

So developing independent research skills, so the ability to actually go out there and do and manage your own piece of research.

So recruiting people, collecting data, analysing data, these are really good skills to have.

The ability to look at a range of competing perspectives and make reasoned argument, so to look at understand things from different angles.

And the ability to be critical and analytical.

So I think this is a skill that employers really value, being able to look deeper at things, not just take things at face value, but actually reflect and critique and analyse things.

And an understanding of human experiences.

So you'll see when I talk about the kinds of jobs that sociology students tend to go into, that this understanding of human experiences and lived experiences and everyday life is really valuable and it often shapes the kinds of jobs that our graduates go into.

So here's a quote that's a few years old now from one of my former students who said that "through studying sociology, she'd learn how to view society with a more informed understanding of its various parts and how they interact.

It's given me a genuine excitement for the world and discovering where I fit within it".

So for this student, studying sociology was almost like a journey where the student kind of found out more about the world around them, but also about their own kind of place and position in the world and how they fit into it.

But in terms of the transferable skills point, they just take my word for it, so 60 percent of UK business and political leaders have a humanities, social science or arts degree.

So these are all kinds of the kinds of degrees while you're getting these transferable skills, you're not training to be anything specific necessarily, but rather you're getting these wider skills around communication and being critical, and being independent that can help you in a future job.

So these are the main kinds of jobs that I think sociology graduates tend to go into.

I might be speaking more about Portsmouth here, but I would imagine that these are fairly common across the sector.

So the first category, if you like, is kind of people focused careers.

So a lot of our students go on to do something where they're working with other people and perhaps partly because sociology encourages us to reflect on people's experiences to be empathetic.

So jobs like social work, counselling, youth work and for our combined honours students who might want to study sociology with criminology, roles like probation or police service or something like, for example, human resources or recruitment, they tend to be quite popular ones as well.

Educational roles is kind of the second category.

So some of our students will go on to do a teaching qualification or even beyond that to maybe do a masters and a PhD and get into lecturing.

And then finally, research and policy roles.

So those actual research skills that you develop through your degree could take you into local government or central government market research, maybe working with a charity or an organisation in the voluntary sector or working with a pressure group or a think tank to kind of do work around kind of policy and data gathering and data analysis and research.

Some of our students also go on to further study as well, say to do a taught or research masters or to do a PhD.

So I wanted to get you some actual real concrete examples of the kinds of things that our students or the sociology students in general might tend to do.

So here's some examples of things that Portsmouth graduates at least have gone on to do in the last couple of years.

So social work, you see quite a lot of our graduates have gone on to work in the NHS and we've got a staff co-ordinator, a human resources adviser, so they go to tend to do these kind of more people facing roles within organisations.

One of our students has also gone on to be an equality, diversity and inclusion coordinator.

So again, you can see how studying something like sociology because it helps us to think about social inequalities, it helps us to think about social justice and social structures, it feeds quite nicely into roles around social inclusion or diversity or thinking about social equality.

We've also got a few students that go into kind of like housing rows or other roles within local governments.

So as you can see, quite a diverse range of careers is available to our graduates, but they tend to have to be things that if I can say this without sounding too cheesy are around, kind of supporting people, working with people and making some kind of difference in the world around us.


So I just wanted to finish with thinking about what I look for in a sociology course.

So you might be starting to think, OK, maybe sociology is something I could study at university, but what kind of things do I need to look for and what I'm thinking about where I want to study? So the first thing, maybe the obvious thing is going to be around university and subject league tables.


So you can Google things like the Complete University Guide and the Guardian league table and find out where the university is that you're looking at sit within these kind of national rankings or these national league tables.

I think what generally tends to be perhaps more helpful than a university league table, of course, is a subject league table as well.

So many of these league tables you can differentiate by subject and find where your chosen course sits, if you like, within the university hierarchy.

So there's no point going to the best university in the country to study dentistry if actually before the subject level performance for dentistry is is really not as good or quite low.

So maybe look at where the particular course that you want to do sits within those league tables.

Another thing you can look at is this thing called the TEF I've written here so the TEF is the teaching excellence framework.


And it's a kind of nationwide exercise that universities were involved in that used a range of measures to rank the quality of the university's teaching as gold, silver or bronze.

And this is based on different factors, including quite a bit around actual feedback from the students themselves.

So what did the students say about about the university experience? So you might want to look at how your university performed in the TEF.

Did it get a gold, silver or bronze rating for the quality of teaching and the quality of student experiences? You might also want to attend some open days and applicant days.

So as I'm recording this current PowerPoint, this is quite a tricky one.

There's not any in-person open days and applicant experience days going on just right now, during the time the Corona virus.

But, you know, keep an eye out for online opportunities, virtual open days, even if you can't physically travel in-person to go down and get a flavour for and a sense of the university and make the most of any of those kinds of virtual or in-person opportunities that are available to you.

And then entry requirements is an important one to look at as well.

Be realistic and think about your expected kind of grades and how might that translate into the different courses that you're looking at.

So what's the kind of typical range of UCAS points? At Portsmouth we tend to say for A-levels, sort of CCC to BBB, say 96 to 112 UCAS points, but there also is some flexibility there as well, so that's not set in stone for Portsmouth by any means.

So other universities might have some flexibility as well.

So think about those entry requirements, but use them as a kind of guideline.

Definitely look at the course content and structure.

So I talked to a little bit about different modules and optional modules and core modules.

So it's really important to think about what the courses at different universities look like.

Do they seem appealing? Do you like the sound of the courses and the modules that are available? Do you like the way the course is structured? And to definitely make sure that you get hold of that information about the structure and about module choices.

Look for student feedback as well, they've got student feedback on their websites.

There's something called the National Student Survey (NSS) that happens with final year students every year as well, which gives each course at universities a kind of overall student satisfaction rate.

So look for the 'NSS' schools for courses as well.

What percentage of students reported that they were satisfied with the course? You might also want to look at is the course a 'BSc 'or a 'BA', so a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts.

Here at Portsmouth, we are a 'BSc' because we have that research methods kind of components so we are way more labelled as a bachelor of science rather than a Bachelor of Arts, but, you know, check this with other universities and check the kind of, you know, how much stuff around me such methods do they offer, how much training they offer.

You might want to do a combined course as well.

So at Portsmouth, you can study sociology, single honors, you can study it with a media studies pathway.

You can study it with criminology or with psychology as like a smaller component, say two thirds sociology, a third criminology or a third psychology.

So again, look at different universities.

What combinations do they offer, are the two subjects weighed equally? A good tip for this is usually if it's an 'and' course, the two subjects are split equally, if it's a 'with' course, it's two thirds to the first course and on one third for the second.

So sociology and criminology would be 50/50 with the two subjects, sociology with criminology, two thirds sociology, one third criminology.

So that's a good tip if you're interested in thinking about what kind of balance of the subjects do you want, do you want it to be split evenly or do you want sociology to be the main subject and then you choose something else? Or of course you could do something with sociology as the minor subjects.

So you know, psychology with sociology for example.

So have a look at what different universities offer.

And then finally I'd say any added extras as well.

So are there any field trips? Can you have a placement year? A lot of universities will offer this.

So a year between your second and third year, where you can maybe go and study, where you can take some time out to have employment or to volunteer or to go and work abroad for six months, for example, so you can work with a lot of universities to design a kind of placement year to take between second and third year.

There won't be exchanges as well.

So maybe you can go and study a semester or teaching block abroad at a different university and it counts towards your degree program.

So I'd put a couple of examples on there on the slide as well.

So we've got a partnership with the University of Southern Denmark.

So in your second year, you can actually do a whole term at the University of Southern Denmark and get academic credits there.

And then we've got organisations like Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, we've got organisations working with local domestic abuse survivors, for example.

And these are the kinds of organisations that you can do placements with to get valuable work experience.

So try and, there's a lot to take into account for sure, but try and take into account and think about some of these issues or criteria when you're looking at different kinds of courses.

So that's all for me.

I've just left a couple of contact details on there as well.

So if you want to find out a little bit more about the specifics of sociology at Portsmouth, you can check out Instagram or Twitter or you're more than welcome to contact me directly by phone or email as well.

So I can help with the more Portsmouth's specific stuff but I am also more than happy to help if you've just got any general questions about studying sociology at university.

If you are interested in Portsmouth and you've got any more technical queries about grades or entry requirements, I've also popped the faculty admissions details on there as well.

So they usually more useful for kind of technical queries about entry requirements.

So I hope that was helpful for you guys and gave you a little bit of a flavour of what it's actually like to study sociology at university.

And as I say, please do feel free to contact me if you've got any questions or anything that you'd like to ask me.

Thank you.

Subject events for schools and colleges

Get an insight into studying subjects at university with our subject-specific events and Taster Days.

A female student smiling at the camera and a college student at a university event
See what's coming up

History, politics and international relations courses

Get the skills, knowledge and opportunities to develop a deep understanding of human behaviour, culture and society, and how they interact.

Students walk toward historical ship
Explore now

Reasons to get a degree

Discover the benefits of getting a degree and the opportunities you'll get at uni

Students laughing on Portsmouth campus, and a view of the historic dockyard.
Learn more