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Sociology BSc (Hons)

Be part of critical debates on social issues and inequalities as they vary around the world on this BSc (Hons) Sociology degree, from gender and sexuality, and race and racism, to nationalism, human emotions, and even the food we eat. Customise your studies with your choice of specialist subjects and graduate with transferable skills suited to a wide range of careers.

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University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

UCAS code:

L300

Typical offer:

104-112 UCAS points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
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Overview

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Understand how and why society is changing on this BSc (Hons) Sociology degree course. 

Step into critical debates on social issues and inequalities as they vary around the world, including gender and sexuality, race and racism, nationalism, human emotions, even the food we eat. Make sense of what’s going on, why it’s happening, and what we can do about it.

On this BSc (Hons) Sociology degree, you’ll learn classical sociological theories and how to apply them to the topics that most inspire you. You'll be taught and supported by the same expert staff and active researchers who introduce you to ideas and concepts in lectures, and encouraged to discuss these with them in more depth alongside other students.

As you work towards your choice of final research project, you'll pick subjects you want to explore further from a wide range of specialist subjects, such as social justice, wellbeing and happiness, and the sociology of education.

You'll graduate with transferable skills sought after by employers across many sectors, as well as the confidence, knowledge and methods to enact positive change within a broad range of careers.

The University of Portsmouth is ranked the number 1 modern university for research quality in Area Studies.

Research Excellence Framework (REF), 2021

Read more about our excellent research in Area Studies

Course highlights

  • Tailor your studies to topics that matter most to you – from gender, sexuality, race, and social class, to happiness, the body, and social power and dissent - and be taught by experts in those fields
  • Discover ways to apply classical sociological theories, such as developing policies and actions to produce social change and solutions to issues affecting the world right now
  • Learn from leading sociologists about their impactful research on key social issues, such as the Researching Migrant Homelessness project
  • Hear from industry specialists on topics such as racism, asylum and gender-based violence – recent guest speakers have come from Friends Without Borders and Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Services (PARCS)
  • Build skills that support you to carry out your own research and analysis of issues you're passionate about – previous student dissertations were on the Black Lives Matter movement, online dating, musical taste and K-Pop, happiness and social media, becoming vegan and racism in sport
  • Follow an optional media studies pathway, where you could explore topics such as digital cultures and media fandom
  • Have the opportunity to do a work placement year after your second or third year on this Connected Degree - we're the only UK university to offer flexible sandwich placements for undergraduates
  • Choose to learn a foreign language for free as part of your degree, from a selection of Arabic, British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish

100%

of graduates in work or further study

(HESA graduate outcomes survey 2020/21)

100%

of students said teaching staff were very good or good at explaining things

(NSS 2023)

Courses in Sociology

Hear our students and lecturers explain the benefits of studying a sociology course with us.

Chloe: I think I wanted to study sociology because it's got so many different components that you can't find it not interesting.

Dr Joseph Burridge: We offer three courses: Sociology, Sociology with Psychology and Sociology with Criminology.

Dr Rusten Menard: On our sociology courses, we offer a broad range of topics.

Joseph: Social inequalities and injustices, gender and sexuality, about race and racism, about nationalism, about the emotions, about food. It's a very versatile course.

Abby: At uni, it's interesting because everybody comes from a range of different places. You kind of learn about things that can relate to your life and people in your classes lives.

Rusten: It makes me feel amazing that students can connect their everyday experiences to these much larger topics that we're all dealing with on an everyday basis, even though we don't know that we are.

Joseph: There's a range of reasons that students will study the course, but I think that the most important one is that they're interested in understanding society and also wanting to change it.

Chloe: We’ll be sat in the seminar and everyone from different corners of the room is bringing in their own opinion.

Rusten: There are so many different kinds of jobs that our students go into, such as HR, marketing, the 

Abby: charities sector, non-government organisations, 

Asan: a higher education lecturer, a social researcher.

Chloe: I went and did a month out in Tanzania and I was working in a school there and I got picked to do that because I did sociology.

I chose to study at the University of Portsmouth because I just love the city as a whole.

Asan: It's a beautiful city. There’s lots to do here. There's always somewhere I could go.

Chloe: It's great that you can have that city environment with the kind of fast pace of life but you can walk 15 minutes up the road and be on a beach, relaxing, having an ice cream.

Asan: All the lecturers, the staff, they're very knowledgeable. You can go to them for anything. You can tell when your lecturer is really excited about the topic and that makes you feel more excited about the topic too.

Joseph: The thing I enjoy most, I think is the student journey. Meeting them on that very first day, they're fresh to the institution and then seeing them develop over the three or four years that they're here and ultimately seeing them graduate and, you know, having them come back and tell us how they're getting on and what they're doing. That's one of the most rewarding parts of it.

I love studying sociology at Portsmouth because there is such a large variety of modules available and they are taught by real experts of those fields who never shy away from continuing any discussion with students outside of lectures.

Maya Kirwin, BSc (Hons) Sociology

Contact information

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Connected Degrees®

Only at Portsmouth you have the choice to take a traditional sandwich placement before your third year, or to take your placement after your final year.

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Discover how Clearing works

Clearing 2024 opens on 5 July and closes on 21 October

Every year thousands of students find their ideal undergraduate course through Clearing. Clearing matches students who are looking for a different course or university from their original choice, or who are applying for the very first time after 30 June, to courses that universities still have places on.

The majority of people apply through Clearing once they receive their exam results on A level / T level results day (15 August 2024).

You can apply through Clearing if:

  • You don't meet the conditions of your offer for your firm (first) or insurance (second) choice courses
  • Your exam results are better than you expected and you want to change your course or university 
  • You don't hold any offers
  • You've accepted an offer but changed your mind about the course you want to do
  • You're applying for the first time after 30 June 2024 

Find out more on UCAS

Yes, we welcome Clearing applications from international students and you can apply in exactly the same way as UK students do. 

The majority of UK students apply through Clearing once they receive their A level / T level results in August 2024, so as an international student if you already have your exam results you can apply when Clearing opens. 

Make sure that you have time to get your visa, funding, and English language certification sorted out before the beginning of term.

If you would like further information or guidance, please contact our international office for advice. 

The entry requirements for courses can change in Clearing but if you want an idea of what grades we usually accept, take a look at our undergraduate course pages.

Even if you don't quite meet the entry requirements, we'd still encourage you to apply as you could still get a place.

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Clearing Hotline: 023 9284 8074

Entry requirements

BA (Hons) Sociology degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBC-BCC
  • UCAS points - 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and 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

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Typical offers

  • A levels - BBC-BCC
  • UCAS points - 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent (calculate your UCAS points)
  • T-levels - Merit
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 25

You may need to have studied specific subjects or GCSEs - see full entry requirements and 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

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

Sociology Graduate Samantha Byrne's career journey

Samantha shares her journey, from studying Sociology at Portsmouth to becoming an employment advisor and making a tangible difference in peoples' lives.

Samantha: My name is Samantha Byrne and I am an Employment Advisor at Maximus UK.

Before going to university, I really wasn't a big fan of education. I didn't really get on at school or at college and then I started studying sociology at college and I discovered something I really enjoyed. I discovered feminism and that kind of led to my journey of going to Portsmouth.

I think the thing that stood out the most for me at the University of Portsmouth was the lecturers. The effort they put in and the support they gave was genuinely second to none. I don't think I would have achieved what I did without their support and them pushing me and telling me and affirming me that I could do what I managed to do. I wouldn't have been able to see things probably as well beyond my own perspective if I didn't learn about other people's lived experiences and how they come into play in sociology.

I wasn't originally going down this career path when I left university. I went to see a careers adviser and he gave me some skills assessments to do. The top result on all of them was an employment adviser and about three to four months later I got my first employment adviser role and I've been doing it for about four years now.

I think my proudest moment is recently, I had a woman on my caseload. She's a single mother and has had some really difficult times in her life and she got offered a job. She realised she wasn't able to do the work because she couldn't afford the childcare. Recently we were able to fund two thousand pounds worth of childcare for her so she can start work in August.

I think in this job, that's probably the most proud I've been, to be able to be part of that. I am not saying this to exaggerate but I genuinely don't think I would be where I am today without the University of Portsmouth. I think if I hadn't have gone to university, I think I would have accepted the bare minimum. I would have just not pushed myself, not really thought I could achieve much. It really did change where everything in my life has gone. 

Careers and opportunities

Studying sociology encourages you to engage critically with the world around you, ask questions about the social world and challenge 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, which means you'll have lots of career options when you graduate.

You could also continue your studies to a PhD or other postgraduate qualification, following in the footsteps of your lecturers.

What sectors can you work in with a sociology degree?

Many of our sociology graduates go into people-focused roles, or in roles that allow them to do research, shape social policies or bring about social change.

Areas you could go into include:

  • teaching and lecturing (with additional training or further study)
  • research and policy
  • health and social care
  • advertising, marketing and media
  • local government
  • careers advice, human resources and recruitment
  • charity work and community development

A global survey of 1000 business leaders by the Harvard Business Review [...] found that the skills most in-demand by employers are those in which Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts graduates specialise – from communication, problem solving and creativity, to research and analysis. 

Ian Diamond, The British Academy

What jobs can you do with a sociology degree?

Roles our graduates have gone on to include:

  • refugee resettlement welfare officer
  • domestic violence project worker
  • criminal justice support worker
  • fundraising and project manager
  • equality and diversity inclusion coordinator
  • hr adviser
  • housing strategy and policy officer
  • social worker
  • trade union project officer
  • teacher
  • peer support and young person's service manager
  • business development manager
  • global events manager
  • senior research executive
  • marketing manager
  • data consultant
  • fraud analyst

Graduate destinations

Our graduates have worked for companies such as:

  • Washington Frank International
  • Kantar (data analytics and brand consulting)
  • Enham Trust (disability charity)
  • The Prince's Trust
  • NHS Foundation Trust
  • Youth Futures Foundation
  • Solent Mind
  • Chance UK 
  • Strictly Come Dancing (production)
  • YouGov
  • Bank of England
Female student at computer

Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

Placement year opportunities and work experience

Taking an optional placement year after your second or third year of study will give you the experience you need to increase your chances of landing your perfect role. You'll get valuable work experience and the chance to grow your professional network and enhance your CV.

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. Our students also regularly work on research projects for the local community.

You could also choose to set up your own business, or take a voluntary placement.

Potential destinations

Previous students have taken placement roles at organisations including:

  • Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS)
  • Why Me? Restorative Justice
  • Volkswagen
  • SEK International School, Spain

Study abroad

You'll also have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner universities. Studying overseas is a fantastic opportunity to enhance your CV and experience a different culture as an international student.

Many of our students describe their time spent studying abroad as truly life-changing, as well as an excellent way to stand out to future employers.

Why study abroad?

Experience another culture. Learn another language. Develop a network of international contacts. There are so many reasons to study abroad as part of your degree.

Meet students from our Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, who have studied abroad in countries such as France, Japan and Senegal.

Zianne: Theres so many good things about studying abroad. 

Tamarra: It's really hard to list all the skills and all the value that it brings because really it makes you such a well-rounded individual.

Sorina Toltica: All humanities and social sciences courses have got the option to study abroad. This includes the United States of America, France, Spain, Japan, Australia, and we are also developing some partnerships within the African continent.

Zianne: Through my year abroad, I was able to develop a lot of resilience and being able to adapt because when you're not speaking your own language, you kind of have to adapt every single day and you can't just give up. You just have to keep going. 

Tamarra: There is a little bit of pressure, obviously, since we're in a new environment. I remember getting off the airplane and seeing the Czech language and I just thought to myself, How am I going to get through this? But in the university and here they offer Czech language courses for beginners. You meet other international students who are on the same boat as you. You guys can just come together and explore it yourself. 

Zianne: I met loads of people from around Europe who are also on Erasmus, so now I have friends from Norway, Germany and Croatia that I probably would have never met if I wasn't in Salamanca at that particular time.

Tamarra: My flatmates are from France, Norway, from Belgium, Hungary. We've always had these monthly dinners together where we try out each country's cuisine and traditional foods. 

Charlie: It's helped me to understand people better, it’s helped grow my confidence, helped grow my independence. 

Bethan: The most valuable thing that its brought me has been an appreciation of a completely different way of thinking. You learn to appreciate that there is value and beauty in different ways of thinking, even if you don't agree with it. 

Tamarra: You really have to immerse yourself into that country to get the full experience.

Bethan: I have always felt supported by the university. When I was abroad, I knew that I could contact my personal tutor. There are so many services there and I knew theyre always available. 

Charlie: They helped me with the application. They helped me find the opportunities in the country that I wanted to study in. 

Zianne: I also benefited from speaking to the wellbeing team whilst I was out there because that is still on offer to you, which I really appreciated.

Tamarra: All the students should study abroad because not only is it good for friendships and for memories, but in terms of the future in your careers, you can also get a lot more confidence. 

Charlie: Coming out here you really realise how big the world is, how many people there are, how many different stories people have. I think it really just opens your eyes to the possibilities that you have available to you.

Sorina Toltica: One of the biggest differences in my students before and after they come from study abroad. It's their adaptability and resilience and knowledge of the world and their excitement about possibly going back. 

Bethan: If I was to give some advice to someone considering going to study abroad, I would just say do it. Doing the year abroad with the University of Portsmouth has opened up so many career opportunities for me, and I wouldn't be where I am today without them.

14/05/2021.University of Portsmouth - B Roll - Day Two..All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0)7790805960.Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.

Get credit towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements

You have the option to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) module – getting credit from paid/unpaid work, volunteering, research placements, internships and other work related learning, including self-employment. You'll have the freedom to arrange your own activities, and we'll support your achievements through workshops, events and tutorials.

Modules

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, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

Not a fan of exams?

On this course, you won't have to sit any exams. Instead, you'll submit coursework, assignments and presentations to demonstrate your knowledge. Take a look at how you'll be assessed on this course.

What you'll study

Core modules

You’ll critique contemporary topics and debates to understand how sociologists make sense of the social world in radically different ways than common assumptions.

As well as reviewing current research and theories, you’ll gain crucial skills you’ll need to succeed in your degree and become an independent, creative thinker.

You'll examine a range of films and documentaries to reveal what they say about key social theories and the way societies are constructed. We'll watch films and documentaries that each reflect a specific social theme and use them to think critically about how these themes affect society today.

You'll also explore how visual media, like films and documentaries, shapes the way people think and affects the social policies that govern our lives.

You'll spend most of your time learning how to analyse data for your research, looking at both quantitative and qualitative methods, and how to examine data ethically.

You'll learn about ways of collecting data, such as surveying, interviewing and observation, before drawing conclusions and presenting what you've learned.

You'll learn how to create clear research plans that investigate real-world issues, and how research can be used to make positive changes in business, government, advocacy or academia.

On this module, you’ll investigate the structures of power, privilege and inequality that shape society. You’ll examine intersectional perspectives on how gender, race, class and other categories intertwine to limit opportunities – discussing urgent issues like educational outcomes, discrimination, welfare failures and more.

You'll also explore ideas that challenge the status quo and innovative policies aimed at balancing the scales.

With sociological research as your guide, you'll tackle thought-provoking questions head on: What barriers do people face at school, work and beyond? How do setbacks compound over a lifetime? And what hope exists for creating a truly just world?

You'll examine traditional and modern social theories in relation to your own personal experiences and current events happening in society today.

Get to grips with the big ideas in social theory and how they can be used to understand modernisation, power structures, social justice and the human condition.

As you learn, you'll also develop skills in critical analysis, conceptual thinking and effective communication.

Core modules

You'll work as part of a small group with your fellow students, choosing a sociology problem to research and designing a project to investigate it.

You'll work together to create research strategies, collect and analyse data, and share findings - taking your project from idea to completion.

Your research project will help you gain skills in working with others and progressing your work through peer feedback. You'll also learn how sociological research evidence is created and used for different purposes.

You'll look at ideas on industrial employment from key figures in history such as Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, considering how these hold up against today's modern workplaces and economies.

You'll study the ways that workers themselves have shaped employment through fighting and negotiating for their rights. Through class discussions and activities, you'll also develop an understanding of modern sociological ideas about the changing divisions of work, labour and employment, such as Emotional and Aesthetic work.

By the end of the module, you'll be able to explain complex ideas about shifting workplace dynamics and social divisions, and the evolving nature of employment in our rapidly changing world.

You'll learn about major economic, political and cultural changes in Western Europe over the nineteenth century, and how these affected the rest of the world as time went on.

You'll explore the big ideas that have shaped the modern world, and weigh up the benefits and perils of globalisation. Skills you'll develop on this module include independent research, critical thinking and effective communication.

You'll also learn to understand the opportunities and challenges of today's world from an informed, global perspective.

You'll explore this question on this module, looking at the uncertainties of our world and how these risks impact our everyday lives. Examine how social institutions shape people's perceptions of risk and how aspects of our own identities, such as class and gender, affect the way we approach risk as individuals.

You'll also have the chance to investigate risk and society in relation to a topic you're most interested in, for example, health, crime or technology.

Optional modules

On this module, you’ll critically analyse the complex economic, political, cultural and environmental impacts of consumption, thinking creatively about alternatives and solutions to the many controversies surrounding consumerism today.

By evaluating theories and research on consumerism, advertising, fashion, credit, debt and more, you’ll develop an insightful understanding of the profound consequences of our consumer lifestyles.

More information on this module will be available soon.

Armed with sociological, feminist and queer theories and real-world examples, you'l discover how gender and sexual norms permeate society and everyday life. You'll examine how we 'do' gender and sexuality through everyday activities, how bodies are policed and categorised, as well as how norms and expectations around gender and sexuality can be and are being resisted and subverted. Paying critical attention to how contemporary societal structures continue to maintain inequality, you'l learn how to engage with and challenge contemporary 'common sense' understandings that we now live in an equal 'post-feminist' society. We'l take a strong intersectional approach, looking at how gender and sexualities intersect with other social categories and positions such as race, age, class and disability.

You’ll debate ideas relating to wellness culture, self-help and self-improvement.

By examining theories of psychiatry and mental health, you’ll gain tools to analyse how individuals make sense of themselves and their own levels of happiness amidst complex social scripting.

This module will help you form your own nuanced perspectives on humanity’s timeless quest for meaning and inner peace.

Learn about the influence of TV, movies, ads, online platforms, and newspapers in the US, Canada, and Ireland. Understand how these outlets build a sense of who we are. You’ll develop key research skills to delve into the media’s cultural role.

You’ll get to watch films, listen to lectures, and work on a detailed project. This will help you learn ways to study identity, assess media in context, and create your own studies on how national stories affect our identity.

This module will equip you with the ability to critically evaluate the media’s role in forming national identity and give you the tools to conduct your own research into this complex process.

You'll learn to apply intersectional theories to decode how racism intersects with privilege and oppression, and look at the rise of 'colour blind' racism in recent decades.

Through reflective analysis of case studies on both sides of the Atlantic, you'll develop your sociological imagination, critical thinking abilities, and passion for social justice.

You’ll trace the development of film, TV, and digital media, grasping historical impacts and the concept of spectatorship. Look into expert analyses to explore how interactive technologies shape audiences and people. You’ll contextually analyse screen entertainment as an industry, considering economic factors and passive vs active engagement. Through a mix of practical and theoretical work, your projects will showcase your in-depth understanding of the subject. You’ll also evaluate online materials to support your findings.

By the end, you’ll have a well-rounded understanding of screen culture. You can use this to pursue many careers, from media programming to content creation.

You'll challenge assumptions about the subjective nature of personal taste as a marker of social class, examining how people make judgments about 'good' and 'bad' taste and how this brings them together and sets them apart. You'll consider whether cultural attitudes have become more tolerant, as well as how culture provides meaning in the world through stories, symbols and sounds. By examining celebrity culture and the attribution of value in society, you'l learn about cultural production and tensions with market forces, individual expression vs societal norms, and cultural appropriation vs appreciation.

In this module, you’ll explore European colonisation of Africa, asking questions like - how did they justify colonial rule, and how did African peoples respond to these colonisers?

You’ll learn how, after World War II, colonial rule was increasingly challenged from both within the empire, by growing African demands for political rights, and in the international arena, with the global trend towards trusteeship, development and self-determination.

You’ll also explore European relations with Africa in the post-colonial era, looking at themes which may include ideas about civilisation, universalism and race, modern attempts to 'rehabilitate' empire in the media, and the legacies of colonialism in Britain, Europe and Africa.

You’ll collaborate with students on other courses to explore and address societal and environmental challenges faced by local and global communities. You’ll choose projects from a range of topic areas aligned with the university's Civic Strategy.

With input from local organisations, you’ll think about your topic from multiple perspectives, developing your interdisciplinary thinking and ability to work with others.

You’ll analyse the essence of security, exploring how security needs are addressed around the world and on a national level, down to a community and even an individual basis.

You’ll explore different forms of societal risk and insecurity, and approaches to dealing with security threats, taking into account the nature and impact of economic and political developments.

You'll learn how to think critically about the key concepts that link language, culture and communication, considering the benefits and limitations of these ideas.

You'll explore the different ways in which communication intersects with culture across themes such as identity, education, gender, and the media.

Alongside what you learn, you'll improve your skills in analysis, research and intercultural awareness.

You'll learn about consumer behaviour and brand strategy, and spend time examining real-world marketing campaigns. You'll also think about how social, political and technological forces can affect the way businesses approach marketing their products and services.

Skills you'll develop include carrying out market research and learning how to use what you learn, crafting targeted messaging across different marketing channels, and presenting your ideas verbally and in writing.

You’ll unpack the language of tabloids, broadsheets and online news, analysing how journalists shape public understanding of current events.

Develop your critical thinking by confronting moral panics and polarised politics in reporting.

Create your own news stories and gain real insight into mass communication in a rapidly changing landscape.

You'll analyse major cases of economic crime and weigh up their wider societal implications.

You'll also learn how to recognise disciplinary perspectives, become familiar with the key investigating organisations, identify investigative techniques, and gather and analyse real case information.

You’ll analyse American texts against the backdrop of intellectual, social and political change, evaluating how writers grappled with emerging ideas around national identity, race, gender and more.

By honing skills for contextual analysis and independent thought, you’ll form your own interpretations of iconic works that reflect the American experience.

You’ll analyse diverse transitional justice approaches balancing community healing and judicial accountability after mass atrocities.

Comparing mechanisms like war crimes tribunals, truth commissions and reparations programmes, you’ll evaluate effectiveness in restoring dignity and preventing recurrence.

With case studies from Europe to Africa, from Latin America to Asia, you'll examine tensions between western models and local cultural perspectives, assessing what ‘justice’ means to vulnerable peoples.

Throughout, you'll trace incremental human rights legislation advances, assessing global institutions’ roles protecting civilians from authoritarian regimes and wartime abuses.

Through interactive lectures with academics, speakers and professionals, you'll discuss, debate and complete practical exercises exploring wildlife crime alongside your classmates.

You'll spend time examining wildlife crimes and the factors behind them, as well as environmental justice and sustainability.

You’ll explore sociological perspectives on the emotional experience, looking at how factors like gender and culture make a difference.

You’ll consider the growth of therapy and self-help culture and the complex nature of distinct emotions like anger, fear and love.

You’ll evaluate debates around emotional labour in service sector jobs and the gendering of emotion management in family life. Working in small groups and with real-world case studies, you’ll learn how to apply academic concepts to our emotional lives.

On this module, you’ll explore radical frameworks for understanding and eradicating intersectional oppression. We'll analyse different ways of challenging injustices, from interrupting homophobic microaggressions to disrupting the social impacts of global issues like the climate crisis.

You'll learn about how ideas like feminism, anti-racism and inclusive education can challenge domineering structures like capitalism, racism and patriarchy. You’ll examine the politics of knowledge itself alongside ideas that empower the disadvantaged.

By reviewing theories and debates around concepts like work-life balance and gender roles, you'll gain insight into how career choices can be influenced by social expectations and family pressures.

You'll bring these ideas together and consider the interesting ways in which 'what we do' and 'who we are' exist in a very close relationship with each other.

You’ll explore emerging technologies to understand how the internet, social media, and ambient media shape—and are shaped by—human behaviour. Consider expert opinions to spark discussions about online communities and the idea of an ‘information society.’ We’ll show you how to find trustworthy sources online, helping you delve into the participation culture across platforms.

By making your own digital content, you’ll learn about the impact of what people create and share in our always-connected world. Crucially, by taking part, you’ll improve your ability to use different media platforms and develop your creativity, preparing you for jobs in today’s digital-first workplace.

You’ll look critically ideas of nationalism historically and today with a focus on the everyday, intimate and embodied boundaries of nation-states and how these shape our lives, including those of us living in the most privileged parts of the world.

You’ll explore real-world cases to understand the individual and societal impacts on human lives, developing your analytical skills and imagining more compassionate alternatives.

With a minimum 80-hour commitment, you’ll apply what you’ve learned so far on your degree to real-world professional settings within our community of local businesses, social enterprises, and third-sector organisations.

You’ll have support from interactive workshops, tutorials, and guest speaker events, encouraging you to set achievable professional goals and evolve your professional identity.

You'll look critically at corporate, state, technical and consumerist norms within our society, and how these powers-that-be are challenged by resistance from protest movements that highlight the ways society is failing those with the least power.

By investigating historical and modern case studies of revolutions and revolts, you'll think about how we can apply social justice and ethical practices to other societies by generating ideas and developing creative solutions of benefit to society and the economy.

On this module, you’ll explore the sociological significance of education.

Moving beyond the classroom, you’ll explore how schooling shapes identities and uphold society - for better or worse.

Through iconic texts, you’ll interrogate big ideas around inequality, control and reform, and form your own views taking into account pressing issues like class, gender and race.

You'll examine key theories and research methodologies for understanding personal life, relationships, sexuality and generational change.

You'll have the opportunity to pursue topics matching your interests, whether that's shifts in dating cultures, new family forms, LGBTQ identities, or issues like consent, respect and ethics.

The module develops critical thinking skills by evaluating different frameworks and perspectives on contemporary intimacy and relationships. There is an emphasis on inclusivity, diversity, and social justice throughout.

Optional modules

It's up to you what your dissertation is about – this will be your chance to showcase your passion for sociology by choosing a topic that most interests you.

You'll draw on everything you’ve learned so far to investigate, analyse, craft and refine your dissertation project, using existing texts, sources and artefacts to support your arguments and give them social and historical context.

You'll have the support of a dedicated dissertation supervisor to guide you throughout this module.

This real-world, project-based module lets you address an identified need or gap by designing an innovative product, service or resource.

With support from university staff and external partners, you'll demonstrate critical thinking, ethical awareness and project management abilities.

Your final project and presentation will showcase your employability and capacity for high-impact solutions.

Research from diverse lenses to build a questioning, reflective grasp of celebrity's principles and boundaries. Hone skills in independent thought, analysis, and articulation of ideas. Use presentations to illustrate arguments around the societal role of fame.

On this module, you’ll critically analyse the complex economic, political, cultural and environmental impacts of consumption, thinking creatively about alternatives and solutions to the many controversies surrounding consumerism today.

By evaluating theories and research on consumerism, advertising, fashion, credit, debt and more, you’ll develop an insightful understanding of the profound consequences of our consumer lifestyles.

Considering diverse theories from sociology, feminist and queer studies, you'll evaluate everyday 'common sense' ideas alongside norms that police our bodies and behaviours.

You'll examine how today's societal structures continue to maintain inequality, building your ability to question assumptions, identify bias and pursue equity across intersections of race, age, class and more.

You’ll debate ideas relating to wellness culture, self-help and self-improvement.

By examining theories of psychiatry and mental health, you’ll gain tools to analyse how individuals make sense of themselves and their own levels of happiness amidst complex social scripting.

This module will help you form your own nuanced perspectives on humanity’s timeless quest for meaning and inner peace.

You’ll get familiar with the big issues and contemporary debates in education studies as well as the role and expectations of a teacher.

You’ll develops fundamental knowledge and skills that teachers require, as well as your capability to structure and critique a lesson plan.

By analysing global case studies, you’ll assess how journalism prioritises sensational stories over peaceful resolutions during war. You’ll scrutinise the political and societal impacts of media coverage that favours violence and engage in discussions about this bias, forming your well-researched viewpoints.

This module invites you to consider how ethical journalism can transform the way we understand global discord.

You'll learn about the job application process from the perspective of both candidates and recruiters, thinking about what employers look for in graduates and how you can optimise your own professional profile.

Through mock interviews and assessments, you'll hone your skills and learn how to communicate your achievements and career goals, ready to take the next step after you graduate.

You'll learn to apply intersectional theories to decode how racism intersects with privilege and oppression, and look at the rise of 'colour blind' racism in recent decades. Through reflective analysis of case studies on both sides of the Atlantic, you'l develop your sociological imagination, critical thinking abilities, and passion for social justice.

You'll challenge assumptions about the subjective nature of personal taste as a marker of social class, examining how people make judgments about 'good' and 'bad' taste and how this brings them together and sets them apart.

You'll consider whether cultural attitudes have become more tolerant, as well as how culture provides meaning in the world through stories, symbols and sounds.

By examining celebrity culture and the attribution of value in society, you'll learn about cultural production and tensions with market forces, individual expression vs societal norms, and cultural appropriation vs appreciation.

You’ll consider the growth of interest in emotions in sociology, and examines their role in classical sociological theory. Working in groups and workshops, you’ll weigh up debates on emotional life and apply them to real examples.

You’ll also explore sociological approaches to a range of distinct emotions, as well as the rise of therapy and self-help culture in contemporary western society.

On this module, you’ll explore radical frameworks for understanding and eradicating intersectional oppression. We'll analyse different ways of challenging injustices, from interrupting homophobic microaggressions to disrupting the social impacts of global issues like the climate crisis.

You'll learn about how ideas like feminism, anti-racism and inclusive education can challenge domineering structures like capitalism, racism and patriarchy. You’ll examine the politics of knowledge itself alongside ideas that empower the disadvantaged.

On this module, you'll explore the surprising interconnections between generations, personal relationships, life stages and the changing meaning of a 'career'.

By reviewing theories and debates around concepts like work-life balance and gender roles, you'll gain insight into how career choices can be influenced by social expectations and family pressures.

You'll bring these ideas together and consider the interesting ways in which 'what we do' and 'who we are' exist in a very close relationship with each other.

Explore popular texts that have sparked dedicated fan bases. You’ll learn theories to grasp why audiences get so engaged. Study the roots of subcultures united by favourite movies, TV shows, and merchandise. Look at research on how fans interact, create communities, and set themselves apart. You’ll also get hands-on experience by joining fan groups online to study and support ideas about our strong connections with media.

With a mix of critical analysis, real-world examples, and practical research, you’ll uncover the social dynamics of fandom.

This module will deepen your understanding of why people become fans and how these communities operate, enriching your knowledge through both study and direct experience.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals from Africa and the Middle East attempting to breach borders by land and sea, many are asking questions regarding the responsibilities of Western nations, and 'the West' generally, for this mass movement of people.

On this module, you'll explore the nationalism that shapes many peoples' attitudes towards migrants, through lenses of history, identity and global inequality.

You'll examine anxieties around border breaches and cultural change - investigating how privilege and national identity shape perspectives.

With a minimum 80-hour commitment, you'll apply what you've learned so far on your degree to real-world professional settings within our community of local businesses, social enterprises, and third-sector organisations.

You'll have support from interactive workshops, tutorials, and guest speaker events, encouraging you to set achievable professional goals and evolve your professional identity.

You'll look critically at corporate, state, technical and consumerist norms within our society, and how these powers-that-be are challenged by resistance from protest movements that highlight the ways society is failing those with the least power. By investigating historical and modern case studies of revolutions and revolts, you'l think about how we can apply social justice and ethical practices to other societies by generating ideas and developing creative solutions of benefit to society and the economy.

On this module, you’ll explore the sociological significance of education.

Moving beyond the classroom, you’ll explore how schooling shapes identities and uphold society - for better or worse.

Through iconic texts, you’ll interrogate big ideas around inequality, control and reform, and form your own views taking into account pressing issues like class, gender and race.

You'll examine key theories and research methodologies for understanding personal life, relationships, sexuality and generational change.

You'll have the opportunity to pursue topics matching your interests, whether that's shifts in dating cultures, new family forms, LGBTQ identities, or issues like consent, respect and ethics.

The module develops critical thinking skills by evaluating different frameworks and perspectives on contemporary intimacy and relationships. There is an emphasis on inclusivity, diversity, and social justice throughout.

Optional modules

Work Placement Year or Study Year Abroad

Boost your employability by taking an industry-based work placement year or immerse yourself in another culture by studying for a year at one of our partner universities worldwide.

This is an amazing opportunity to either put everything you’ve learned so far into action in a real workplace in the UK or overseas, or to expand your horizons and set yourself up for your future career by studying abroad.

If you choose a work placement year, we’ll help you find and secure an exciting placement opportunity within an appropriate company or organisation. You’ll have the chance to try out skills and gain experience that’ll help you clarify your next career steps, while building capabilities employers seek. 

If you choose to study abroad, you’ll expand your global perspective and develop additional skills to boost your future career, as well as making memories, new friends and career contacts.

This is a Connected Degree

We're the only university that gives you the flexibility to choose when to take a work placement. Take it after your second year, before returning to finish your studies. Or after your final year, connecting you into the workplace.

If you're not sure if or when to take your placement, don't worry. You'll have plenty of time to settle into your studies and explore your options before making your choice. 

Find out more about Connected Degrees

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Alternative sociology courses

Not quite sure this course is right for you? Take a look at our other sociology courses to compare your options.

If you want to explore how human relationships and social structures influence behaviour and discover how power dynamics and inequalities create crime, take a look at our Sociology with Criminology degree.

If you want to study traditional psychology and social psychology concepts (such as consciousness, memory, personality and intelligence) while developing the skills to influence positive change, take a look at our Sociology with Psychology degree.

If you want to study specialist areas of sociological study while developing the knowledge and skills to expertly dissect the media, take a look at our Sociology with Media Studies degree.

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

Assessment

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework

Your coursework may include:

  • written essays
  • group and individual projects
  • seminar participation
  • a 10,000-word dissertation in year three

Coursework typically makes up around 100% of your final mark.

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.

Teaching

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. For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.

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

Teaching staff profiles

Laura Hyman Portrait

Ms Laura Hyman

Senior Lecturer

Laura.Hyman@port.ac.uk

School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics, and Literature

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Rosanna Alice Marvell Portrait

Dr Rosa Marvell

Senior Lecturer

rosanna.marvell@port.ac.uk

Read more
Charlotte Ann Morris Portrait

Dr Charlotte Morris

Senior Lecturer

Charlotte.Morris@port.ac.uk

School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics, and Literature

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

Read more
Simon Alexander Stewart Portrait

Professor Simon Stewart

Professor of Sociology

Simon.Stewart@port.ac.uk

School of Area Studies, Sociology, History, Politics, and Literature

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

PhD Supervisor

Read more

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.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

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 dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting you

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 support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

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 meeting.

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

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.

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

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.

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 In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Course costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship - may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship - may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £17,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

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 show your accommodation options and highlight 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 pay additional costs anywhere between £50–£1,000 to cover travel, accommodation or subsistence if you take a placement abroad.

The amount you'll pay will vary, depending on the location and length of your stay. It will also depend on additional funding the UK Government makes available after Brexit and if the UK remains part of the Erasmus+ student mobility programme or not.

During your placement year or study abroad year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, tuition fees for that year are:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)

The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.

Apply

How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

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

Apply now through UCAS

 

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

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

To start this course in 2025, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

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

Apply now through UCAS

 

If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

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

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.

Common sociology questions

Sociology is the systematic study of society and 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 groups and 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.

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.

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.

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
  • Lisa Wade (2022) Terrible Magnificent Sociology. W.W. Norton & Company