Study Sociology: A Comprehensive Subject Guide

This guide is your key to unraveling the intricacies of human society, culture, and behaviour. Delve into the theories, methodologies, and real-world applications that define the field of sociology. Whether you’re a budding sociologist, a curious student, or someone eager to understand the dynamics of the world around you, this guide is your indispensable companion on a journey to explore the complexities of human interaction and societal structures.


Table of Contents

What is Sociology?

Sociology is the scientific study of society, human behaviour, and the patterns and structures that shape human interactions and relationships within groups and communities. It is a social science discipline that seeks to understand, explain, and analyse various aspects of human society, including its institutions, norms, values, cultures, and how these elements influence individuals and groups.

Key areas of focus in sociology include:

  1. Social Structure: Sociologists examine the organisation of society, such as social hierarchies, institutions (e.g., family, education, government), and how they impact individuals and communities.

  2. Social Change: Sociology explores how societies evolve and change over time, including the impact of technological advancements, economic shifts, and cultural transformations.

  3. Social Interaction: This involves the study of how individuals and groups communicate, cooperate, and conflict with one another, as well as the role of symbols and language in shaping social relationships.

  4. Culture: Sociologists investigate the shared beliefs, values, norms, and practices that characterise different societies and subcultures, and how they influence human behaviour.

  5. Social Inequality: The examination of disparities in wealth, power, education, and access to resources among different social groups, including issues related to race, class, gender, and more.

  6. Social Deviance: The study of behaviours and actions that deviate from societal norms and expectations, and how societies define and respond to deviance.

  7. Research Methods: Sociologists employ various research methodologies, including surveys, interviews, observations, and statistical analysis, to gather and analyse data about human behaviour and social phenomena.


Why Study Sociology?

Studying sociology offers a wide range of valuable insights and benefits, making it a compelling field of study for individuals interested in understanding human society and behaviour. Here are some compelling reasons to study sociology:

  1. Understanding Society: Sociology provides a framework for comprehending the complex structures, dynamics, and forces that shape society. It helps answer fundamental questions about how societies function and change.

  2. Insight into Human Behaviour: Sociology explores why people behave the way they do, both individually and in groups. It delves into the factors influencing human actions, decisions, and interactions.

  3. Cultural Awareness: Studying sociology enhances cultural sensitivity and awareness. It fosters an appreciation for diverse cultures, beliefs, and practices, promoting tolerance and empathy.

  4. Social Problem Solving: Sociologists tackle pressing social issues such as inequality, poverty, discrimination, and crime. Their research can inform policy solutions and drive positive change.

  5. Critical Thinking: Sociology encourages critical thinking and analytical skills. It teaches students to question assumptions, gather evidence, and make informed decisions.

  6. Global Perspective: Sociology offers a global perspective, allowing students to examine societal issues and trends on a global scale. This is increasingly important in our interconnected world.

  7. Personal Growth: Sociology encourages self-reflection and personal growth. It prompts individuals to consider their place in society and their roles as citizens.

  8. Research Skills: Sociology equips students with research skills, including data collection, analysis, and interpretation. These skills are valuable in various professions.

  9. Advocacy and Social Change: Many sociologists are advocates for positive social change. They work to address inequalities and injustices, contributing to a more equitable society.

  10. Interdisciplinary Learning: Sociology intersects with other fields, making it an excellent foundation for interdisciplinary study and research.

  11. Intellectual Challenge: The study of sociology is intellectually stimulating and rewarding. It encourages curiosity, exploration, and a deeper understanding of the world.

Best Universities for Sociology in the UK

Here is a list of the top UK universities in this field according to the latest QS World University Rankings:

Entry Requirements for a Sociology Degree

RankUniversityEntry StandardsStudent SatisfactionResearch QualityContinuationGraduate prospects outcomesGraduate prospects on trackOverall Score
1University of Cambridge1953.5499.29478100
2University of Oxford1833.983.55929297
3University of Bath1553.973.3997.2888289.9
4University of Glasgow2063.823.4697.1668087.7
5London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London1714.073.37100585687.6
6Loughborough University1553.733.5798.2707287.2
7University of Bristol1643.573.2297.1707886.5
8Durham University1584.023.2394687886
9University of Warwick1473.963.2994.3748085.7
10UCL (University College London)1833.7699.3767684.9
11University of Manchester1523.623.5196.7627284.8
12The University of Edinburgh1883.53.2499.4546484.8
13University of Birmingham1423.853.4296.3706884.8
14University of York1493.793.4797.1606884.5
15University of Leeds1483.583.1796.7687684.1
16University of Nottingham1443.713.3296.1687084
17Lancaster University1473.83.4198.4586284
18University of Exeter1573.913.1694.5665483.7
19University of Surrey1324.13.2296.1687083.6
20Cardiff University1493.813.2995.1646083.2
21University of Southampton1423.843.5397.1545682.7
22University of Sheffield1423.82.9195.6687282.6
23Swansea University1373.973.1495.6626882.4
24University of Aberdeen1774.012.8694.3687081.8
25Glyndwr University, Wrexham1084.662.38100629281.6
26University of Stirling1923.793.2292.8527081.4
27University of Leicester1253.883.1897.7586681.2
28University of Liverpool1373.133.3297.2646881.1
29Aston University, Birmingham1263.712.9995.5667680.8
30University of East Anglia UEA1383.553.5389.6549080.7
31City, University of London1303.523.4396606680.7
32University of Kent1173.683.5695.8607080.6
33University of Hull1223.943.393.8607080.4
34Edinburgh Napier University1754.032.9994.8566680
35Queen's University Belfast1413.73.3494.9524479.6
36Royal Holloway, University of London1323.762.9795.6566079.4
37University of Sussex1283.553.2894.5586079.1
38Keele University1223.722.9294.2627078.6
39University of Worcester1214.242.3992.9667478.4
40University of Lincoln1203.823.3396.6465678.4
41Nottingham Trent University1203.882.8296.5586678.4
42Newcastle University1393.353.0896.5485878.3
43Manchester Metropolitan University1243.912.8292.9646278.3
44Bangor University1283.822.8197.6446078
45University of Plymouth1223.963.2693.8465477.6
46Brunel University London1063.812.8690.1668677.1
47University of Essex1233.633.488.9586077.1
48University of Central Lancashire1263.743.2390.7566276.9
49Edge Hill University1283.922.4891.4626076.9
50University of Portsmouth1273.872.9593.7525276.8
51Ulster University1233.833.3189.6585676.8
52University of Sunderland1113.842.7992.3687276.7
53Bournemouth University1143.892.1893668076.5
54University of Salford1243.893.1991.2506276.5
55Aberystwyth University1264.1197.4527876.3
56Oxford Brookes University1153.842.8292.8486875.7
57Northumbria University, Newcastle1293.353.0692.7505875.6
58Sheffield Hallam University1153.842.8994526075.4
59Bristol, University of the West of England1173.992.9292.2505875.3
60University of Roehampton1103.82.9490.3546274.9
61Leeds Beckett University1183.882.6192.1546074.7
62University of Suffolk1013.992.6984.2865474.7
63University of Winchester1183.62.2993.2586274.5
64Bath Spa University1113.862.7391.1605674.3
65Abertay University1603.942.3388.3626074.3
66Liverpool Hope University1223.852.4890.6427073.9
67Birmingham City University1243.932.4191.5446273.9
68University of Huddersfield1223.733.0889426073.9
69Staffordshire University1124.212.5597.6363273.9
70Liverpool John Moores University1233.952.5692.2425673.8
71University of Greenwich1213.932.5592.7425273.7
72University of Derby1234.042.5991.1425273.6
73University of Chester1263.62.2594.2465473.5
74Coventry University1164.012.9484.4526473.4
75Solent University (Southampton)1113.862.0492.7565872.6
76University of Brighton1103.482.8392.3465872.6
77University of Westminster, London1073.952.992.7305672.5
78Anglia Ruskin University1043.852.7389.1545872.4
79University of Gloucestershire1173.72.5390465272.3
80London Metropolitan University1023.843.187.3445471.8
81Canterbury Christ Church University1043.872.6589.8505471.6
82University of Northampton1043.821.9192.7506271.4
83Goldsmiths, University of London1123.213.2583.7526271.4
84University of Bedfordshire1023.943.0984.6466871.3
85University of Bolton1074.491.471.2
86Teesside University, Middlesbrough1163.82.687.5406070.7
87University of East London953.662.5988.1487070.3
88University of South Wales1203.4690.4585670
89De Montfort University1033.573.1887.4464069.9
90York St John University1164.042.0190.1345269.7
91Middlesex University1063.742.7980.1546469.6
92Leeds Trinity University1143.9287.4428069.5
93Kingston University1173.8392.8404869.2
94Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh1393.681.896.92668.4
95Buckinghamshire New University1023.7891.768.1
96University of Wolverhampton1003.892.6465068
97University of Bradford1173.6994.2343467.7
98St Mary's University, Twickenham1093.5988.766.9
99University of Cumbria1063.689.366.5
100London South Bank University1023.8485.6345864.8
101Plymouth Marjon University1154.2172.962.9

Entry requirements for a Sociology degree in the UK can vary depending on the university and the specific programme. Here is a general overview of the typical entry requirements you might encounter:

  1. Academic Qualifications:

    • A-Levels: Many universities require A-level qualifications or their equivalent. The specific grade and subject requirements can vary, but subjects such as Sociology, Psychology, History, English, or related social sciences are often preferred or required.
    • International Baccalaureate (IB): If you’re an international student, the IB diploma or certificates are generally accepted.
    • BTEC: Some universities accept BTEC qualifications in related subjects, such as Applied Psychology or Health and Social Care.
    • Access to HE Diploma: Mature students may be eligible for entry with an Access to Higher Education Diploma in a relevant subject.

Jobs for Sociology Graduates

Sociology graduates possess a versatile skill set that makes them well-suited for a wide range of careers in various fields. Here are some common job opportunities for sociology graduates:

  1. Social Worker: Social workers provide support and services to individuals and families facing social and emotional challenges, such as child protection, mental health issues, and substance abuse.

  2. Human Resources Specialist: HR specialists handle recruitment, employee relations, and workplace policies to ensure a positive and productive work environment.

  3. Counselor or Therapist: With additional training and certification, sociology graduates can work as counselors or therapists in areas such as marriage and family counseling, substance abuse counseling, or mental health counseling.

  4. Community Outreach Coordinator: These professionals work for nonprofit organisations and government agencies to develop and implement programmes that address community needs, such as homelessness, education, or healthcare.

  5. Market Research Analyst: Market research analysts collect and analyse data to help businesses make informed decisions about their products, services, and marketing strategies.

  6. Policy Analyst: Policy analysts research and evaluate public policies, propose improvements, and provide recommendations to government agencies, think tanks, or advocacy organisations.

  7. Crime Analyst: Crime analysts work with law enforcement agencies to study crime patterns and trends, aiding in crime prevention and investigation.

  8. Data Analyst: Data analysts collect and interpret data to support decision-making in various industries, including healthcare, finance, and marketing.

  9. Public Relations Specialist: PR specialists manage an organisation’s public image, handle media relations, and develop communication strategies to build and maintain a positive reputation.

Which Jobs Stand Out for Sociology Graduates?

Welfare and housing associate professionals (8%), protective service occupations (7%), care workers (6%), teaching professionals (4%), teaching and childcare support occupations(3%), admin (4%) and sales, marketing and related associate professionals (3%) are all among the top ten jobs held by sociology graduates.

Salary for Sociology Graduates

Check out the average salary for graduates in this field: 

Low skilled: £18,000

Medium-skilled: £20,000 

High-skilled: £24,000 

Topics for Sociology Dissertation

Below, we present a diverse array of research areas, each offering an opportunity to delve into the complexities of Sociology and make a significant contribution to its advancement:

  1. Social Inequality: Investigate the causes and consequences of social inequality, including income disparities, racial disparities, and gender inequalities.

  2. Family and Relationships: Explore the dynamics of family structures, marriage, divorce, and changing societal norms related to relationships and family life.

  3. Cultural Sociology: Examine the role of culture in shaping individual and collective identities, beliefs, values, and practices within societies.

  4. Social Movements: Study social movements and activism, including civil rights movements, environmental activism, and political protests, to understand their impact on society.

  5. Health and Healthcare: Investigate healthcare access, disparities in health outcomes, and the social determinants of health, such as socioeconomic status and race.

  6. Migration and Immigration: Analyse patterns of migration, immigration policies, and the experiences of immigrants and refugees in host countries.

  7. Environmental Sociology: Explore the relationship between society and the environment, including issues related to climate change, sustainability, and environmental justice.

  8. Education and Inequality: Examine the role of education in perpetuating or reducing social inequalities and disparities in access to quality education.

  9. Urban Sociology: Study urbanisation, urban development, and the social issues associated with cities, including housing, gentrification, and urban planning.

  10. Political Sociology: Investigate the impact of politics and governance on society, including the study of political systems, voting behaviour, and political ideologies.

How Much Does it Cost to Study in the UK

One of the most important things to consider is how much the degree is going to cost. Here is a general guide for 2023/2024:

  • For home students in England, universities can charge up to a maximum of £9,250 per year for an undergraduate degree.
  • In Wales, institutions can charge up to £9,000 for home students. However, Welsh students can apply for a fee grant to cover some of the cost of their tuition fees. This grant is currently not repayable or income-assessed.
  • Northern Irish universities will charge up to £4,275 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK.
  • Scotland does not charge home students fees at the undergraduate level; however, students from England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are expected to pay up to £9,250 per year. International students from outside of the UK will pay significantly more to study in Scotland.
  • International students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £26,000 annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees at universities across the UK. An undergraduate medical degree can cost overseas students up to £58,600 per year. As for postgraduate degrees, the average cost is estimated to be around £17,109 per year.
Besides the tuition fees, there are also several other cost considerations such as food, accommodation, phone bills, books, social life, memberships, and others. Remember to check out our free student budget calculator

Other Subjects to Consider

Given that you are interested in this subject area, you might also want to consider the following options: 

Frequently Asked Questions

Consider your interests, passions, and career goals. Research various degree programmes and their content to see which aligns best with your aspirations.

While earning potential is important, it’s also crucial to select a degree that you’re passionate about and suits your skills. A balance between your interests and potential career prospects is ideal.

Location can impact your overall university experience. Consider factors like cost of living, proximity to industry hubs, and personal preferences.

Evaluate tuition fees, available scholarships, and potential for part-time work. Create a budget to ensure you can manage your finances during your studies.

Consider combining your passions with practical skills. For example, if you love art but want job security, explore fields like graphic design or digital marketing.

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