St John Plessington Catholic College

About the Course:

This subject is offered as an A Level course. Sociology entails the scientific study of human society. Sociology is the systematic study of human groups and social life in modern societies. It is a subject which looks at how people lead their lives and how they communicate with one another. It investigates social areas such as Education, The Family, Power and Politics, Crime and Deviance,  Poverty, The Media, Religion and Methodology. Methodology introduces us to the use of research methods - something which is of  great importance in higher education. The study of Sociology leads to the understanding of complex issues and it is a good basis for  university level study in all disciplines. This course requires a desire on the part of the student to inquire into society and its structures and so it is essential that each student takes an active interest in current affairs. It is expected that students will have gained at least a C grade at GCSE English to take this course.


Unit 1 - Families Households
Students will sit an external examination which lasts 1 hour on:

  • the main sociological theories of the family and government policy towards the family
  • the changing patterns of marriage, cohabitation, childbearing, divorce and separation and family diversity
  • the division of domestic labour and the distribution of power in the family

Unit 2- Education and Sociological Methods
Students will sit an external examination which lasts 2 hours on:

  • explanations for the differences in educational attainment between different social classes, gender and ethnic groups
  • the hidden curriculum, pupil subcultures, teacher-pupil relationships and the organization of teaching and learning
  • government policies which have shaped the education system
  • how education is researched in Sociology including the different methods of investigation


Unit 3 - Beliefs in Society
Students will sit an external examination which lasts 1 ½ hours on:

  • the relationship between religious beliefs and social change and stability
  • religious organizations; cults, sects and New Age movements
  • the relationship between different social groups and religious movements
  • the significance of religion in modern society

Unit 4 - Crime and Deviance and Theory and Methods
Students will sit an external examination which lasts 2 hours on:

  • the distribution of crime by age, ethnicity, gender, locality and social class
  • crime in contemporary society including the mass media and crime; green crime; human rights and state crimes
  • crime control, prevention and punishment and the role of the criminal justice system
  • suicide
  • how crime and deviance is researched in Sociology including the different theories and methods of investigation

Is there anything else I need to know?

A Level Sociology combines well with English, History, Government and Politics, Psychology and Religious Studies.

Progression Routes:

Many students who study Sociology at SJP go on to university to study Criminology or Sociology. Both degrees offer graduates a wide choice of future employment opportunities such jobs in higher education or in social services such as social work, mental health nursing, counselling and teaching.

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