What is Sociology?
A Level Sociology provides students with an opportunity to explore the social world in further depth, examining the impact of social change and policy making on individual experiences. Students study five key units; Families and Households, Education, Crime and Deviance, Social Inequality and Research Methods. This provides opportunities for detailed discussions and insights into a changing world and to examine the differences in relation to ethnicity, age, gender and social class.
COMPONENT 1: CORE, FAMILIES, HOUSEHOLDS AND EDUCATION
Percentage of total A level mark: 40%
Method of assessment: 2 hours and 30 minute examination paper, which consists of six compulsory questions, requiring students to display a range of skills including knowledge and understanding, application and interpretation and analysis and evaluation. Some questions are short marks requiring students to demonstrate supporting evidence to a topic of discussion and others are made up of essay based questions and answers which require students to demonstrate a structured argument.
COMPONENT 2: RESEARCH METHODS
Percentage of total A level mark: 20%
Method of assessment: 1 hour and 45 minute examination paper with one compulsory question divided into four parts. This is based on stimulus material and one question will involve an extended writing piece where the students have to design, justify & evaluate a piece of sociological research.
COMPONENT 3: SOCIAL INEQUALITY AND CRIME AND DEVIANCE
Percentage of total A level mark: 40%
Method of assessment: 2 hours and 30 minute examination paper which includes four compulsory questions, requiring students to display a range of skills including knowledge and understanding, application and interpretation and analysis and evaluation. Some questions are short marks requiring students to demonstrate supporting evidence to a topic of discussion and others are made up of essay based questions and answers which require students to demonstrate a structured argument.
Students will learn and build upon a range of skills which they will practice through both their verbal contributions to lessons and written work. In particular, students will develop their analytical and interpretative skills and become confident to structure and write detailed essays which show evidence of debating and evaluation.
Students who study Sociology go into working environments and careers in a range of areas: education sector, the police, social work, media and journalism, advertisement, criminal justice work and public relations.
What is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of society. Students will study the world we
live in today and come to explore, discuss and debate a variety of
reasons for social behaviour. In Sociology, we do not study people
as individual, yet social groups explaining why particular patterns
and trends exist based upon social factors such as social class, age,
gender and ethnicity.
What do you study in Sociology?
A Level Sociology at Loreto consists of studying five core units:
Family & Households, Education, Research Methods, Crime &
Deviance and Social Inequality.
In the first year, students will start by studying the Family &
Household unit, examining the families which exist today, their
purpose and function and the roles of family members such as
adults and children. Students will then move onto the Education
unit, where they will explore debates around the purpose of the
education system and discuss reasons for differences in
achievement. The final unit in the first year is Research Methods,
exploring ways in which Sociologist collect evidence and the
positives and negatives of different approaches.
In the second year, students will study Crime & Deviance first,
learning reasons for criminality together with explaining key
patterns and trends around crime statistics such as why men
appear more criminal than women. Students will study the final
unit of Social Inequality after Crime & Deviance, coming to explore
reasons for differences and inequality linked to social class, age,
gender and ethnicity.
What is the difference between Sociology and Psychology?
The key difference is that Sociology studies the behaviour of social
groups and Psychology studies the behaviour of the individual.
We do not look at scientific and numerical explanations unlike Psychology, hence why the assessments are more essay based.
Is there lots of information to revise?
Yes, lots of content is covered in the classroom but the way in which
the material is taught and delivered and the departmental
resources produced makes the content very manageable.
For each unit taught students are given a booklet, which has all
knowledge and content inside. Furthermore, students are given a
second booklet, an exam booklet, which marries to the content and
enables students to have ample examination practice.
How is it assessed?
Sociology is mainly essay based and students who were able to
write essays in their English and History GCSE find the essays easy
Students follow the Eduqas examination board and are required to
sit three exams at the end of their second year of studying.
These exams are long, two being 2 hours & 30 minutes and the
other being 1 hour & 45 minutes, however teachers will prepare
student and ensure lots of practice is given inside the classroom.
No coursework is required in Sociology.
What other subjects go well when studying Sociology?
Sociology is a social science, which means lots of other subjects go
well with Sociology for different reasons. Therefore, we advise
students to pick three subjects that they enjoy and want to learn
For example, subjects such as Law, Criminology and Psychology go
well due to overlap in the key units being studied and the structure
of content (although they may argue different things!). However,
other subjects such as English, History and Theology go well due to
the overlap with examination skills and essay base focus.
What are the average class sizes in Sociology and what grades are required to study Sociology at Loreto?
Sociology is a popular subject at Loreto and class sizes of
approximately 22 students in each class. We are a popular subject
with over 500 students in the department and 8 teachers who have
a wealth of experience to share with students.
Students need six GCSEs 9-4, two from English, Maths OR Science
(two at least grade 6) to take Sociology.
What is the pass rate like for Sociology at Loreto?
Sociology has an excellent pass and high-grade rate here at Loreto
and students far exceed national averages.
Each student is given a target grade based on prior GCSE
performance when they join Loreto and it is common for many
students to achieve beyond this.
Can you only go into social work or any other careers paths available after studying Sociology?
People think social work and sociology and that is it, yet the paths
that students take are very diverse. Sociology gives students a
platform to go into a range of fields both at Higher Education level
and within the employment field.
Many of our students have gone into social work and other public
sector jobs, teaching, the police and civil service. Yet others have
gone into other social science related courses and career paths such
as law, psychology, criminology, social policy and social
anthropology. Others have used their high grade in Sociology
alongside Science and Maths related courses to pursue a career in
medicine and finance.
Could I be doing anything before the course starts and what support will I get on the course?
Yes, we would recommend taking an interest in current affairs and
the news as these will become useful for making contemporary
examples and links to support exam answers. Perhaps begin
reading a range of newspapers or digesting the news online as a
When taking Sociology, the department and teachers offer students
lots of support throughout their two-year study programme.
Students all receive their own booklets for each unit to work from,
stationery and revision material are given out to all students,
revision guides and plans are shared, together with revision
timetables and past paper questions and model student answers.
Regular assessments with constructive and detailed feedback are
scheduled on a departmental basis, and all teaching material and
resources are shared online for students to access together with
additional material to stretch students further.
Drop-in support sessions are run throughout the year together with
revision lessons and support programmes, and teacher support