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Sociology BSc(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code/apply Year of entry
3 years full time L300 2017
2018
4 years full time including foundation year L301 2017
2018
6 years part time Apply direct to the University 2017
2018
Joint honours: see course combinations for UCAS codes

Why choose this course?

  • Study contemporary social issues in London, one of the world's most dynamic cities.
  • Join our vibrant department in making sociology work for change.
  • Tackle global social problems: inequalities, migration, war, climate change.
  • Innovate for the future through creative and cultural practice.
  • Award-winning teaching: 'Taking Race Live'.

National Student Survey 2016

The latest National Student Survey (NSS) results for 2015/16 showed that overall 94% of Sociology BSc(Hons) students at Kingston University are satisfied with the quality of the course. This builds on previous year's results and reflects our commitment to engaging with students and responding to their needs.

Develop critical spirit

The world faces an uncertain future. We need to question established ways of addressing social problems and to find new solutions, both locally and globally. Our cutting-edge research at Kingston will stimulate and inspire you to be part of this challenge. You are the rising generation of global citizens. We look forward to nurturing your curiosity and hearing what you have to say.

Employability – a degree that leads to jobs

Today's creative economy demands a range of skills provided by the Sociology BSc(Hons). You will gain experience highly relevant to growing sectors such as think-tanks, NGOs, governmental and international organisations, and local and urban agencies. We offer you a platform to meet like-minded people from different backgrounds on one of most diverse campuses in the UK. Together we help you build new networks and work collectively to translate ideas into practice in order to become an entrepreneur for social change.

Foundation year

If you are thinking of returning to education after a break you could apply for our foundation year course. This course will provide you with the academic and transferable skills you need to study an undergraduate degree in any of the Social Sciences. At Kingston these include Criminology, Sociology, Psychology, Economics and Politics.

Throughout the year-long course, you can study a range of these subjects, allowing you to get a better idea of which ones you prefer. It'll guide you in the direction of a social sciences degree that you're particularly interested in. The foundation year will develop your independent study skills and help you to better understand your academic ability, a potential career path and how to develop the skills that employers look for in graduates.

Watch this video to find out what our students have to say about studying this course at Kingston University:

What you will study

Sociology is all about people and society. It is concerned with how we influence one another as individuals and groups, and the ways in which wider social factors affect what we do and how we think. Sociology challenges our prejudices and assumptions.

The Sociology BSc(Hons) explores questions about the nature of society, human relationships and behaviour. It looks at issues around power and inequality, social change, conflict and development.

Theme week

You will also take part in the annual School of Psychology, Criminology and Sociology themed week. During one week, regular teaching is put on hold for a series of workshops, presentations, discussion and reading groups on a contemporary social issue, all led by expert speakers. Our 2014 Gender Week, 2015 War and Peace Week, and 2016 Race and Ethnicity Week were all great successes. We look forward to your participation in 2017's Poverty and Inequalities Week.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Foundation year

  • The module introduces you to a wide spectrum of disciplines and approaches in social and behavioural sciences. It'll look at common features of any social sciences degree, like the study of collective and individual human behaviour, and defining features of the individual disciplines.

    A key focus will be on the overlapping boundaries between different disciplines in the social and behavioural sciences. You'll learn how to use qualitative research methods to understand collective and individual human behaviour.

    By the end of the module, you'll have a better understanding of the differences and commonalities of the individual fields of study within the social and behavioural sciences and the key features of each.

     
  • Practical Research Skills gives you the opportunity to carry out a research project on a topic agreed with a supervisor, who will guide you in conducting a literature review, formulate a research question, design a research study, collect data and present findings.

     
  • Using Quantitative Methods enables you to apply mathematical knowledge to solve a range of problems within social and behavioural scientific contexts. You'll learn how to use calculators and computer software to analyse and present mathematical data in a variety of formats, and develop your competence in algebraic, graphical, numerical and statistical techniques, as well as elementary formal logic.

     
  • This module aims to prepare you for undergraduate study and gives you the skills and knowledge related to the study of social and behavioural science subjects. You'll cover research skills (like using a library and electronic resources), planning, note taking, building a bibliography, and avoiding plagiarism. You will also develop your communication skills, especially focusing on essay and report writing, delivering presentations and being an active participant in debates and discussions. It'll give you helpful strategies for time management and stress management, particularly focusing on recognising points at which stress needs to be dealt with.

    The module will encourage you to develop the independent learning, critical analysis, and reflective skills crucial to succeeding in a degree.

     

Year 1 (Level 4)

  • Contemporary Issues in Sociology has two key objectives. The first is to provide the theoretical grounding necessary to becoming a sociologist. It introduces students to some of sociology's key thinkers and tracks the historical development of sociological theory from ‘classical' to 'contemporary'. It presents a critical account of theory and by the end of the module students will have a repertoire of theory available to them. The second objective is to make theory ‘useful' by offering the professional tools necessary to apply it to a range of fresh, contemporary social issues.

    Students are expected to demonstrate their full engagement with the module by keeping a regular, up to date personal research diary. This diary will be used to produce research notes relevant to everyday experiences and students will be expected to reflect on these experiences within the context of the theoretical discussions in the lectures. Students will be expected to discuss their diary entries in seminars.

    The module teaches theory and its application and provides an appropriate theoretical and skills grounding for Levels 5 and 6.

    Read full module description

     
  • A key task of sociologists is to understand the routine aspects of everyday life.

    This module will focus your attention on how researchers have utilised a range of qualitative and quantitative research methods to develop attentiveness to the seemingly mundane that is everyday life and how lives are lived at the junctures of self, family, culture and social worlds. This module aims to ground your understandings of everyday life through practical application of methods and data analysis. You will gain hands-on experience of research skills throughout the module that can be applied to future study and employability

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  • This module introduces students to some of the major theoretical and analytical perspectives surrounding contemporary approaches to self and identity, drawing on sociological, psychological and psychosocial perspectives. It explores the inseparable interweaving of the social and the psyche, the individual self and social structures, the psychological and the socio-political. More specifically, the module looks at the complex interrelation between the social, psychic and affective dimensions that constitute human subjects and how they operate to articulate and negotiate relationality, intimacy, material and embodied practices, emotions, belonging and identities. The first part of the module will address and discuss a number of key concepts related to the formation and negotiation of self and identity and how they have been understood and theorised in sociology, psychology and psychoanalysis. The second part of the module will identify a number of key issues which will be analysed with reference to the key concepts and theoretical perspectives discussed in part one.

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  • Violence, Transgression and Society explores who is policed and disciplined in societal, popular and political cultures. It thinks about why some people and their behavior are seen as especially violent and transgressive while others are not. It shows that responses to violent and transgressive people are shaped by historical and social context, geographical location and intersections of social identity, such as race, ethnicity, gender, sex, class, faith and age.

     

    Students will learn about who is policed and disciplined, how, why and by whom across teaching blocks 1 and 2. In teaching block 1 there is emphasis on histories of violence, and in teaching block 2 there is emphasis on contemporary forms of transgression. Examples include: riots and anti-social behaviour, social ‘groups' like homeless people and ‘problem' families, and communities such as white working class and Muslim communities.

     

    Throughout the module, the question of who is policed and disciplined, how and why, is explored through national and global real-world events and case-studies and in relation to criminal, social and racial justice. Students bring academic knowledge to real-world events and issues in weekly interactive workshops and the module assessment.

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Year 2 (Level 5)

  • Through TV, newspapers, and other forms of media we are continually told that we live in a fast-moving globalised world. Yet whilst ‘globalisation' is now a common term, what it entails and how it affects our lives is often more difficult to discern.

    Focusing on the social, cultural, political and economic aspects of globalisation, this module exposes the different dimensions and implications of global social change. Opening with a critical examination of the meaning and competing definitions of globalisation, it moves on to examine: processes and theories of uneven global development, international inequality, the evolution and changing face of global capital, the significance of global environmental risk, the creation of global cultures and the transformation of local culture, migration and transculturalism, the rise of global cities and the urban experience, and the significance of global networks.

    Although not a pre-requisite, this module is also a good preparation for students wishing to study Migration and Social Transformation (SO6022) in level 6. The module will help to prepare students for a variety of professions in which knowledge and understanding of international and global social processes is relevant.

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  • Building on SO4001 ‘Contemporary Issues in Sociology' and SO4003 ‘Social Selves', this module will develop the concept of ‘the sociological imagination', first outlined by the US theorist C. Wright Mills to indicate "the vivid awareness of the relationship between personal experience and the wider society" (1959). Although Mills was writing in the post-war era, the concept can be traced back to the development of the discipline as it emerged in response to the challenges of social life in industrial cities of the 19th century. Hence this module will use a range of classic and contemporary thinkers to address the double role that sociology has inherited from its origins: not just to understand the world, but to try to change it. This problem will be explored within the context of the city as a strategic unit of analysis in order to understand wider processes of modernisation, industrialisation and the subsequent onset of postmodernity and post-industrialism.

    By studying original texts and placing them within their social and historical contexts, students will deepen their understanding of the discipline's critical engagement with different aspects of social life. There will be a strong focus on London with opportunities for fieldwork.

    The module will be team-taught and will address the underlying questions: what role can sociologists play in tackling different forms of social injustice and inequality?   

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  • Module Summary

    This module provides students with a critical insight into key issues and controversies in the delivery of justice, social control and punishment.  It encourages students to think critically about the role of the state in the regulation of behaviour and provides an overview of key changes that have occurred in the field of crime control and criminal justice. The first part of the module is dedicated to developing understanding of the concepts of ‘policing' and the ‘police'. Key issues confronting contemporary policing are explored together with an enhanced awareness of the historical context within which contemporary policing has developed.
    Debates about policing are situated within broader debates of social control and governance, with a critical appreciation of the police function and role. It also considers the implications of globalisation for policing both at an organisational and conceptual level. The second part of the module provides students with the opportunity to undertake a critical examination of contemporary
    debates on the purpose of punishment. Students will be introduced to a range of theoretical perspectives and debates on the use of punishment to address criminality and will consider the purpose of punishment in modern societies. This will be accompanied by an examination of different forms of punishment including an in-depth exploration of the use of imprisonment and comparative penal systems.

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  • This module focuses on historical and theoretical conceptualisations and methodological approaches to researching ‘race' and ethnicity in contemporary society. Key questions that are interrogated on the module are: In what ways do the researcher and participants' racial and ethnic identities impact on the research process? In what ways are race and ethnicity shaped, and in turn shape, the experiences of class, gender, sexuality and religion? How do they intersect with other forms of social difference to affect relations of power and privilege? What are the ethical dilemmas of doing such research? How are different social contexts shaped by, and shape, race and ethnicity? What are the ways in which individuals, groups and communities challenge racism in order to raise awareness and contribute to social change? Throughout the module students will work to expand their critical thinking and research skills, make meaningful connections between theoretical concepts and lived experience, and to better understand how experiences of race and ethnicity interact with broader social structures.

    Read full module description

     
  • This module provides students with a critical insight into key issues and controversies in the delivery of justice, social control and punishment.  It encourages students to think critically about the role of the state in the regulation of behaviour and provides an overview of key changes that have occurred in the field of crime control and criminal justice. The first part of the module is dedicated to developing understanding of the concepts of ‘policing' and the ‘police'. Key issues confronting contemporary policing are explored together with an enhanced awareness of the historical context within which contemporary policing has developed. Debates about policing are situated within broader debates of social control and governance, with a critical appreciation of the police function and role. It also considers the implications of globalisation for policing both at an organisational and conceptual level. The second part of the module provides students with the opportunity to undertake a critical examination of contemporary debates on the purpose of punishment. Students will be introduced to a range of theoretical perspectives and debates on the use of punishment to address criminality and will consider the purpose of punishment in modern societies. This will be accompanied by an examination of different forms of punishment including an in-depth exploration of the use of imprisonment and comparative penal systems. 

    Read full module description

     
  • This module considers what is understood by the term youth, as a social category and life stage, and explores young people's lived experiences. As such, it examines the history of youth culture and subcultures and styles, and critically considers the notion of ‘problem' youth and societal responses to this including intervention and multi-agency working. Bringing together sociological, criminological and cultural studies theory from Level 4, the module considers youth from both an individual and structural view point. We will also look at how we have come to deal with young offenders in the youth justice system and considers the contradictory messages about welfare, diversionary measures, human rights, punitive justice, managerial and crime prevention discourses and strategies.

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  • This module is a core requirement for students taking Human Rights at level 5, and can also be taken as an option by students in related fields. The module introduces the contested and evolving relationships between the theory and practice of securing human rights.

    It starts with an overview of key frameworks and mechanisms designed to secure rights at the international, regional and domestic levels.  A central feature of the module is to introduce key critical themes, from which issues can be dissected and analysed through a range of contemporary and international case-studies.

    Themes may include:

    • Human Rights, Security and Forced Migration', which analyses the way in which the issue of forced migration brings together a variety of legal, political and security debates.
    • The Politics of Human Rights in Development', which examines the recent convergence of the fields of human rights and development (inclusive of ‘the right to development' and the proliferation of ‘rights-based approaches to development').
    • Rights in the aftermath? Truth, Justice and Reconciliation', which examines the globalization of transitional justice discourses and the propagation of different mechanisms (ranging from International Criminal Tribunals, to national truth commissions, to local justice initiatives).
    • And, ‘Indigenous Peoples, Rights and Beyond' that engages with central issues surrounding indigenous peoples' claims, whilst also probing the gravity of particular contested issues (such as ‘the right to self-determination' and broader ‘sovereignty' challenges).

    The module concludes by asking: what is the future for human rights? 

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  • This module will introduce students to the controversies and debates over slavery and other forms of violence committed against groups of people in the modern world and their responses seeking emancipation. Beginning in 1492 with the development of a modern racism, it looks at the destruction of indigenous peoples in the Americas, the subsequent development of US Slavery, and the struggles of African Americans into the twentieth century. These cases will be revisited from the perspective of gender, and compared to other forms of structural oppression of colonised peoples and workers.

    The module will consider the challenges in identifying the standpoint of the oppressed and study examples of how ‘subaltern' oppressed groups enter politics.   There are case studies of different historical and contemporary movements for emancipation, exploring some of their key debates and the challenges of constructing unity whilst respecting diversity. The module as a whole will encourage the critical analysis and assessment of the various interpretations that have been put forward and facilitate the development of students' research skills, ability to work together and communicate their ideas.

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Year 3 (Level 6)

  • This is a level 6 optional module that draws upon both criminological and sociological debates and knowledges. Students will learn by observing and undertaking work-based practice.

    The principle underlying this module is that worksites are important contexts for students to test, validate, expand upon, supplement and enrich their academic learning. The module requires students to undertake a minimum of 40 hours of fieldwork in an organisational setting. The form that the fieldwork will take will depend upon the type of placement secured, but, typically it may involve interning, shadowing or volunteering in subject relevant placements (for example across social justice, criminal justice/crime prevention, welfare and support fields).

    Whilst in their placements students are encouraged to think about the social aspects of organisations and working life, including their structural forms, interpersonal relationships and their practices. Students will be supported in securing their placement at level 5 in preparation for the commencement of the module at level 6.

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  • This module takes a critical look at the concepts of crime, power and class in the contemporary world, and the impact of ‘crimes of the powerful' on the struggle for human rights and social justice.

    The gaze of many political scientists and criminologists tends to be focused firmly ‘downwards', towards analysing the misdemeanours of the poor, the dispossessed, the underclass

    This module, in contrast, will focus ‘upwards', in an attempt to understand and explain deviant actions by states, corporations, and the ruling class more broadly. Through the use of case studies, presented by the teaching team but also generated by students, we will examine issues such as war crimes, torture, corruption, global supply chains, police abuses, and state terrorism. 

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  • Global migration has intensified rapidly since 1960, with the UNPD estimating an increase from 80 to 210 million by 2009. It has become a contentious political topic with far-reaching consequences for contemporary societies, and arguably for established sociological paradigms (e.g. methodological nationalism).

    The module will equip students to understand and investigate in depth the social dynamics of migration and its consequences, and enable them to offer informed and critical comment on contemporary debates (e.g. media coverage of migration, on the economics of migration, and on migration's consequences for social solidarity).

    It offers students the opportunity to build on interests and skills developed at Level 5 (e.g. in International Perspectives and Sociological Approaches), and broadens the department's offering at Level 6 to a new area of contemporary social relevance.

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  • This module explores the social intersections between gender, race and class. It begins by examining historical conceptualisations of these terms and intersections, and the social and civil movements that challenged how these terms were considered in both women's and men's lives.

    From the beginning, the module will introduce you to a wide range of feminist approaches in order to make sense of various intersections of gender, race and class. In this module you will consider how such categories and intersections contribute to identity constructions and contestations. You will reflect on these elements within contemporary examples of everyday life – for example, consumption, families and intimacies, education and sport. Upon completion of this module you will have expanded your skills in critical reflection and analysis of social intersections and inequalities.

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  • Module Summary

    This module provides students with an opportunity to develop their own sociological specialism by conducting an extended and in-depth study on a topic of their choosing. Students will be tutored in the skills necessary to successfully complete a final year dissertation and will work with a staff supervisor to develop a critical understanding of their research topic. These skills, involving an ability to organise and plan work effectively and autonomously will enhance their employability.

    Read full module description

     
  • This module provides students with an opportunity to develop their own sociological specialism by conducting an extended and in-depth study on a topic of their choosing. Students will be tutored in the skills necessary to successfully complete a final year dissertation and will work with a staff supervisor to develop a critical understanding of their research topic. Students will also work together to organize a student conference at which they will present their work, thereby learning the skills of event organization and management as well as have an opportunity to disseminate their dissertation to a wide audience. These skills, involving an ability to organise and plan work effectively and autonomously will enhance their employability.

    Read full module description

     
  • The module studies the role played by race in all aspects of the criminal justice systems in the United States and United Kingdom. It takes as its point of departure Professor Paul Gilroy's 1993 concept of the ‘Black Atlantic' as a cultural-political ‘space of hybridity' involving Africa, America, Britain and the Caribbean, and we use that concept to examine the extent to which crime and the criminal justice system have been politicised.

    The module concerns itself with the shifting politics of race within the criminal justice system. Among other topics, it explores historical representations of race and crime; press and media depictions of black male offenders; racial profiling and the ‘othering' of female offenders; and the commodification of prison that has led to the United States having the highest incarceration rates in the world.

    Other focal areas include racial disparities within the criminal justice system, the politics of punishment and sentencing, and empirical, theoretical, practical and policy issues. The module addresses issues of representation, the production of knowledge, the historical contexualisation of minority experiences in theoretical perspectives, and the ethical duties of criminologists working within minority experiences.

    The module includes a field trip to Bristol to explore the history of immigration and emigration as it relates to crime. 

    Read full module description

     

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of terms dates for this course can be found here

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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This course is taught at Penrhyn Road

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