Sociology students in seminar
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2019, September 2020

Apply through Clearing

To start this course in 2019 call us on +44 (0)23 9284 8090 or go to our Clearing section to chat with us online.

Entry requirements for this course may be more flexible during Clearing.

Our Clearing hotline is open 9.00am–5.00pm (Monday to Thursday) and 9.00am–4.00pm (Friday).


Society, and how we interact with it, is a complex but rewarding field of study. If you’re interested in studying classical and contemporary social theory, and applying it to our social institutions, this BSc (Hons) Sociology degree is a great option.

You’ll explore pressing contemporary social issues and get an understanding of specialist areas of sociological study such as food, happiness, violence, sport, social class, gender and race.

The course prepares you for a variety of careers, from health and social care to banking and administration. You can also do further training or study after the course.

100% of students were satisfied with this course in the 2017 National Student Survey.

92% Graduates in work or further study (DLHE, 2017)

93% Overall student satisfaction (NSS, 2018)

What you'll experience

On this Sociology course you'll:

  • Develop a critical understanding of the world we live in
  • Get an in-depth understanding of our society and how we interact with it
  • Learn how our lives relate to each other's and intersect with wider social structures
  • Focus on specialist areas, such as food, happiness, violence and sport
  • Be taught by specialist staff who are undertaking research, ensuring you keep abreast of the latest developments in the field
  • Do research that connects your studies to what's happening now in society
  • Boost your career prospects by volunteering or doing a work placement alongside your studies
  • Hone your ability to research, analyse, and communicate complex data and ideas

Careers and opportunities

When you complete this BSc (Hons) Sociology degree course, our Careers and Employability team will work with you to find the employment that you need to kick-start your career.

What can you do with a Sociology degree?

You'll have the knowledge and skills to pursue a career or further training in areas such as:

  • teaching and lecturing
  • research
  • health and social care
  • advertising
  • marketing and media
  • local government
  • community development
  • careers advice
  • teaching
  • charity work
  • human resources and recruitment
  • business administration and personnel management

Our Careers and Employability team will support you for up to 5 years after you leave the University.

What you'll study on this BSc (Hons) Sociology degree

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.


Core modules in this year include:

  • Class, Inequality and the Lifecourse
  • Developing Your Sociological Imagination
  • Observing Society
  • Research Design and Analysis
  • Theorising Social Life

There are no optional modules in this year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Doing Sociological Research
  • Modernity and Globalisation
  • Risk and Society
  • Work, Employment and Society

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Challenging Global Inequality 
  • Consumer Society: Critical Themes and Issues 
  • Emotions and Social Life
  • Equality Or Liberation? Theorising Social Justice
  • Family, Career and Generation 
  • Food, Culture, and Society 
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Gender and the Media
  • Health, Wellbeing, and Happiness 
  • Learning From Experience
  • Media Networks: Exploring Digital Culture
  • Media, Culture and National Identity
  • Modern Foreign Language
  • Nationalism and Migration: Chaos, Crisis and the Everyday 
  • Physical Culture, Sport and Health 
  • Race and Racism 
  • Screen Media
  • Social Power, Elites and Dissent 
  • Sociology of Culture: Taste, Value and Celebrity 
  • Study Abroad
  • Violence, War and Society

On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Core modules in this year include:

  • Dissertation

Optional modules in this year currently include:

  • Challenging Global Inequality 
  • Consumer Society
  • Emotions and Social Life 
  • Equality or Liberation? Theorising Social Justice
  • Family, Career and Generation 
  • Food, Culture and Society
  • Gender and Sexuality
  • Health, Wellbeing and Happiness
  • Introduction to Teaching
  • Learning From Experience
  • Media Fan Cultures
  • Nationalism and Migration: Chaos, Crisis and the Everyday
  • News, War and Peace
  • Physical Culture, Sport and Health 
  • Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates
  • Race and Racism 
  • Social Power, Elites and Dissent 
  • Sociology of Culture: Taste, Value and Celebrity 
  • Studying Comedy
  • TV Drama and Society
  • Violence, War and Society

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

I have been able to study matters that are really interesting and relevant to contemporary society. My degree has enabled me to gain many skills that I am now transferring to my new job and I have also made some friends for life. I would definitely encourage people to come to the University of Portsmouth, it is a fantastic place to study!

Chloe Plummer, BSc Hons Sociology student

Harry's story
"It just had a really good feel to it..."

Hear how Harry felt right at home from day one in Portsmouth, and how his time studying a BSc (Hons) Sociology degree has opened doors to exciting opportunities

How you're assessed

You’ll be assessed through:

  • written essays and tests
  • both group and individual projects
  • seminar participation
  • examinations
  • a 10,000-word dissertation

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.

Examples of placement organisations include:

  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Why Me? Restorative Justice
  • SEK International School, Spain
  • Aurora New Dawn - a charity giving safety, support, advocacy and empowerment to survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing the ideal job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We'll work with you to identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and allow you to use the skills you've learnt.

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option. This means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you do alongside your study.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • workshops

There's a practical focus on this course. You'll take part in group debates and discussions and get hands-on experience with different research and interview techniques.

You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.

How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

At university, as well as spending time in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and tutorials, you’ll do lots of independent study with support from our staff when you need it.

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Sociology degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars and workshops for about 11 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Term times

The academic year runs from September to early June with breaks at Christmas and Easter. It's divided into 2 teaching blocks and 2 assessment periods:

  • September to December – teaching block 1
  • January – assessment period 1
  • January to May – teaching block 2 (includes Easter break)
  • May to June – assessment period 2

Extra learning support

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get face-to-face support from teaching and support staff when you need it. These include the following people and services:

Personal tutor

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.

Learning Development Tutors

You'll have help from a team of faculty Learning Development Tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.

They can help with:

  • improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
  • delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
  • understanding and using assignment feedback
  • managing your time and workload
  • revision and exam techniques

Academic skills support

As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.

Library support

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

Support with English

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free English for Academic Purposes programme to improve your English further.

Ask me anything about BSc (Hons) Sociology
An 'ask me anything' session with BSc (Hons) Sociology Course Leader, Emily Nicholls

Watch this video for answers to questions such as 'What career opportunities are on offer to someone studying sociology?' and 'How does this course keep up-to-date with current issues in society?'

Entry requirements​

Entry requirements for this course may be more flexible during Clearing.

BSc (Hons) Sociology degree entry requirements

Qualifications or experience
  • 96-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

Qualifications or experience
  • 96-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.

See the other qualifications we accept

English language requirements
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

What skills and qualities do I need for this sociology degree course?

As well as meeting the course entry requirements, you need to be interested in how society is organised and how social inequality is produced. You should be fascinated by – but suspicious of – everything.

How can I prepare for a sociology degree?

You don't need a sociology qualification or background to join us. The first year of the course is a full introduction to studying sociology at university level and provides a comprehensive overview on topics such as social inequalities, sociological theories and research methods.

If you'd like to do some background reading before you begin the course, these core texts are useful:

  • Zygmunt Bauman and Tim May (2019) Thinking Sociologically (3rd edition). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell
  • Charles Lemert (2011) Social Things: An Introduction to the Sociological Life (5th edition). London: Rowman and Littlefield
  • Charles Wright Mills (2000[1959]) The Sociological Imagination. Oxford: Oxford University Press

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £13,900 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You’ll need to cover additional costs, such as travel costs, if you take an optional placement or placement abroad.

These costs will vary depending on the location and duration of the placement, and can range from £50–£1000.

Common questions about this subject

Can't find the answer to your questions about this course or anything else about undergraduate life? Contact us

Common sociology questions

Sociology is the systematic study of the world around us.

What does a sociologist do?

Sociologists seek explanations for why the world is organised and structured the way it is and why social inequalities persist.

They're interested in social structures and institutions, how these shape the lives and life chances of individuals, and how ‘common sense’ or individualised explanations are insufficient to understand social phenomena.

As a result, sociologists often seek to bring about social change that moves in the direction of decreasing inequality and increasing social justice.

Studying sociology encourages you to engage critically with the world around you, ask questions about the social world and challenge some of the things we often take for granted.

You'll develop the ability to be analytical, consider different perspectives and communicate your ideas effectively. These are transferable skills that are valuable to any employer.

Employers recognise the valuable transferable skills – such as critical thinking, communication and research skills – that sociology graduates gain at university. This means future demand is likely to be high for sociology graduates.

Our sociology graduates go into a diverse range of occupations including people-focused roles (such as teaching or social work), research and policy roles (in local and central government or the voluntary sector) or management roles.


How to apply

To start this course in 2019, call our Clearing hotline on +44 (0)23 9284 8090 or go to our Clearing section to chat with us online.

To start in 2020 you need to apply through UCAS. You can start your application now and submit it from 4 September 2019.

In the meantime, sign up to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

When you apply, you'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – L300
  • our institution code – P80

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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