Why study this course
Gain a broad skill set by combining sociology theory with research skills and practical application
Guaranteed free interview for PGCE and free interview training
Work based study and direct access to local employers embedded within your course
Cutting-edge research and theoretical perspectives that will help you challenge dominant understandings of society
BGU’s Sociology undergraduate degree provides a comprehensive and exciting introduction to the study of all aspects of the social world. The course takes you on a journey from the 19th-century foundations of the discipline through to the social, cultural and political changes that are reshaping our globalising world. Along the way, you’ll see how sociological thinking is crucial for people who want to understand the world around them, whether as students, tuition-fee payers, citizens, employees (or via any of their other social roles).
Mode of study
Bishop Grosseteste University
About this course
Studying Sociology at BGU in Lincoln means you won’t ‘just’ be studying sociological theory – you’ll be exploring the ways theories help demystify phenomena like terrorism, nationalism, sexism, surveillance, globalisation and multiculturalism. Similarly, when you study research methods you won’t ‘just’ be studying research methods – you’ll be looking at how those methods are used in the real world by marketing agencies, governments, local councils, advertising agencies, PR companies, polling companies and many others.
This undergraduate course showcases sociology’s relevance beyond the confines of academia. Studying a Sociology degree at BGU will provide you with state of the art understanding of key classical and contemporary social, cultural and sociology theories as well as rigorous training in social research methods that are in demand from employers. On completion of this course, you’ll leave us equipped with a wide range of transferable skills that work successfully in an array of public, private and third-sector settings.
At BGU our commitment to small group teaching and one-to-one supervisions means that you’ll never be an anonymous face in a large lecture theatre. Over the course of your degree, you’ll benefit immeasurably from such direct access to academics. We believe that students learn best when they’re being taught by staff who are actively engaged in high-quality research. That’s why our staff have drawn upon their own extensive research experiences to create this degree programme.
What you will study
As a student on this course, you may study some or all of the modules listed below.
This module is designed to help and support you to adapt to studying sociology at undergraduate level. During this first-year module the basic skills, techniques and values that make for successful undergraduate learning and study are introduced via a programme of lectures, practical group tasks, seminars and one-to-one tutorial sessions. As the module progresses, increased emphasis is given to developing specific sociological skills that you require as you move towards more advanced undergraduate study. Overall, the module equips you with the skills necessary to undertake empirical social research (from project planning to write up findings), develop your collaborative and presentational skills and enhance your appreciation of the relationship between sociology and the “real world”. The module provides knowledge and understanding which will be developed at Levels 5 and 6.
This module is the first in a research methods ‘pathway’ that continues across level 5 and level 6 of the degree. In this module you will be introduced to the basics of empirical social research. A diverse range of qualitative and quantitative research methods for studying two key types of social data (i.e. textual and interactional) will be discussed, as will your respective strengths and weaknesses. As part of this introduction you will be provided with an understanding of the theoretical questions that underpin the application of such methods in empirical social research, and the methodological and practical issues that arise during their application. You will explore different areas of social research in lectures, small group tasks, class presentations and debates in a module with a strongly practical flavour. You will not only follow along as the research process converts various types of textual and interactional data into research findings and presentations. You will also get a chance to experience the practical challenges of managing and negotiating this process for yourself. In this way students will become equipped with some of the basic skills necessary to undertake qualitative and quantitative projects, from project planning and set-up right through to the conduct of ‘real world’ research and the final presentation and dissemination of research findings.
The study of crime includes the study of criminals and criminal justice. There are many different approaches to criminology and the subject itself has been shaped by many different academic disciplines. This module explores crime from a sociological perspective. It outlines the distinctiveness of a sociological approach to crime and suggests how this differs from other approaches. Specifically, in this module, we consider how sociologists have studied crime, and we raise some of the methodological issues involved in using criminological data. To approach criminology through a sociology lens enables you to maintain a broad vision of forms of order and disorder and the power relations that uphold these. In particular, we will examine the ‘criminological imagination’, which means understanding that: 1. Crime is a truly sociological concept and what is regarded as crime varies across time, place, and people. 2. The criminal is also socially constructed, defined as such by the same social processes that define certain acts as crimes and others not. 3. Crime control and punishment are also shaped by social influences that determine the seriousness of acts defined as criminal, and the priority with which they are to be addressed.
Most sociologists – whether university freshers, applied sociologists working in the public, private or third sectors, or experienced university professors – will be challenged at some point during their studies/careers about the point and purpose of a social science subject such as sociology. It is not uncommon, for instance, for sociologists to find themselves having to engage with questions or claims like: “what’s the point of sociology?”; “doesn’t it just involve the study of common-sense?”; “social science just isn’t as rigorous and/or effective as proper scientific research”. This module is designed to give you a positive view of the impact that the social sciences have had, and will continue to have, on modern societies, polities, cultures and economies. It equips them with the intellectual resources to understand and how the point and purpose of sociology can be demonstrated, articulated and, where necessary, argued. A broad range of classical and contemporary social and sociological theories are presented with the aim of showcasing the power, promise and potential of a sociological imagination for anyone wishing to understand the world around them and their place within it. Lectures, practical tasks and activities show that and how the application of sociological knowledge empowers us to link seemingly isolated events to the wider social forces, structures, trends and processes that shaped them and that, in turn, were shaped by those events. The accompanying learning sessions and fieldwork tasks provide you with the opportunity to explore a range of everyday life from a sociological perspective, reflexively exploring your own experiences of daily life, gathering and discussing exemplary materials from print and digital media and completing various exercises on specific pre-set topics.
The aim of this module is to introduce you to the moving image as a central and distinctive feature of modern societies. In a mediated world where graduate employers are increasingly recruiting employees that are confident in working with and across various communicational formats (e.g., documents, videos, websites, brochures) it is crucial for you to understand the art of ‘reading’ the ‘language’ of the moving image. During the first half of this module, you are introduced to a range of canonical television programming, with particular reference to the UK and North America. Sessions are given over to screenings, lectures, class discussions and activities that foster understanding and insight into both the formal narrative conventions of certain television formats (e.g. the news, documentaries, soap operas, sit-coms) and the contexts within which those formats developed. During the second half of the module, each substantive lecture will involve the screening of an influential and acclaimed 20th century film. Associated class discussions, presentations and projects provide for a setting in which both formal and sociological readings of such films can be developed, considered and assessed. This module will act as a foundation for subsequent modules at level 5 (e.g., SOC50122) and level 6 (e.g., SOC60122).
This module is intended to introduce you to the issues of crime, culture, and social change, otherwise known as cultural criminology. It does this by engaging with questions such as Why do people commit crime? What causes crime rates to rise or fall? How do societies promote the welfare of individuals and families? Why are people given different (sometimes vastly) sentences for the same crimes? What impact does austerity, Brexit, climate change and changes to the welfare system have on society and its relationship with crime? Cultural criminology is a new theoretical approach based on cultural studies and critical theories of criminality, that understand deviance and phenomena of crime control as an interactionist, symbol-mediated process and analyses them with recourse to primarily ethnological research methods. This module will provide a theoretically informed, and critical understanding of sociological and contemporary cultural perspectives on crime, deviance, disorder, and harm. It will enable you to develop an awareness and understanding of the links between social changes and crime (including connections between individual and society and shifting nature of global capitalism). It will provide you with the opportunity to explore the diverse range of social, economic and political forces that affect patterns and experiences of crime, disorder and harm.
The module provides you with an understanding of the contested cultural meanings underpinning crime. Too often study of crime is satisfied by adopting definitions of criminality at face value, when really it means very different things to different people and in different contexts. The module examines how media representations propagate particular perceptions of crime, criminality and justice. It goes on to consider the manner in which those who 'offend' experience and interpret their own behaviour which may be focused on the attainment of excitement or indeed on attaining their own conception of justice. The module explores these contradictions in a world where crime, control and the media saturate everyday life. In doing so it considers a diverse range of concepts; youth culture, hedonism, hate crime, risk taking, moral panics, the image, emotionality and consumerism. We examine the nature of a late-modern society where criminality inspires great fear and resentment, whilst at the same time it provides imagery which is harnessed to produce entertainment and sell a range of consumer goods. Working broadly from the perspective of cultural and visual criminology this module engages with theories and debates about the media and its relationship with crime, examining representations of crime and justice in the news media and in popular culture. It considers the role of power and perception through of crime through the media and formation of a mediated crime oriented culture.
This module taps into a growing movement within the social sciences towards refiguring sociology as a specifically public sociology. The aims of the movement are to refresh the discipline’s sociological imagination, engaging audiences beyond the academy and contributing in a meaningful way to the debates that are sparked by, and the solutions that are proposed in response to, pressing societal issues and challenges. It is in that context that this module has been designed to help you understand some of the highest profile intellectual debates on social issues in the contemporary public sphere in relation to three key sociological categories: race, religion and sexuality. Religion has not always had a positive encounter with either sexuality or racial minorities and these encounters continue to be an area of significant importance for sociologists. This module will offer you opportunities to encounter issues of race, racism, poverty, sexuality, gender, powerlessness and liberation. It will explore the implications these global issues have for sociology in order to provide insights into how academics have been able to influence policy debates and learn how to apply the social science understandings developed in lectures and workshops to the critical analysis of public debates. You will also have an opportunity to develop the ability to explain some of the ways in which your studies have wider relevance to society. You will also be supported to recognise that some, at least, of the arguments encountered are not as clear cut as they might seem, and that identifying the best evidence to justify political and/or policy arguments can be quite challenging. There will also be the opportunity for you to develop some valuable transferable skills, in particular learning how to prepare and present a sustained complex argument and how to defend an argument in response to questions and opposing points of view.
Sociology of sport is a discipline of sociology that studies sports as a social phenomenon. Sports sociologists critically examine the functions, impacts and roles that sports have on different societies. The sociology of sport encompasses research in various other fields such as political science, history and anthropology. The aims of the sociology of sport are: 1. To critically examine the role, function and meaning of sport in the lives of people and the societies they form. 2.To describe and explain the emergence and diffusion of sport over time and across different societies 3. To identify the processes of socialisation into, through, and out of modern sport. 4. To investigate the values and norms of dominant, emergent and residual cultures and subcultures in sport. 5. To explore how the exercise of power and the stratified nature of societies place limits and possibilities on people’s involvement and success in sport as performers, officials, spectators, workers or consumers. 6. To examine the ways in which sport responds to social changes in the larger society. 7. To contribute both to the knowledge base of sociology more generally and also to the formation of policy that seeks to ensure that global sport processes are less wasteful of lives and resources. 8. The sociology of sport also seeks to critically examine common sense views about the role, function and meaning that sport has in different societies. By challenging ‘natural’ and taken-for-granted views about sport, sociologists seek to provide a more social and scientifically adequate account that can inform both the decisions and actions of people and the policy of governments, NGOs and sport organisations. This module explores the origin of the sociology of sport as a sub-field of sociology. It then examines in detail the four major sociological theories that are employed in the study of sports: functionalist theory, conflict theory, interactionist theory and feminist theory. The second half of the module focuses on exploring in impact of sport on the sociological categories of gender, race and ethnicity and disability.
This module will focus on connections between psychology and sociology in examining joy; sociology and religion in determining how beliefs and values shift in relation to happiness; and the role of happiness in developing sociology in new directions of study and contribution to society. What makes you happy? Why does it make you happy? How long does it make you happy for? How does your behaviour / attitudes / beliefs / values change when you are happy? How do sociologists measure happiness? Happiness was a topic in early sociology and interest in the subject briefly revived in the 1970s in the context of social indicators research. Today it is a vital strand of emerging research in the context of austerity, climate crisis and in response to the covid-19 pandemic. Happiness can be measured at two levels, the individual (micro level) and the collective one (macro level). It can be done through standard sociological methods – quantitative and qualitative, but often the results are then used to consider more standard themes of sociology – poverty, crime, consumerism, alienation and anomie. Understanding how we can measure or quantify happiness means better understanding the importance of definitions and criteria. For example, happiness could be described as three distinct elements chosen for their own sakes: positive emotion, engagement, and meaning. These three elements would be more measurable and definitive than happiness. This module will enable students to refine and hone your research skills by asking you to explore something so intangible and personal as happiness. This will be vital for success in your third year capstone project.
This module focuses on equipping you with the skills necessary to undertake empirical social research using both primary and secondary data drawn from online and offline contexts. Traditional (or ‘offline’) methods of social research (e.g. interviews, focus groups, diary research, ethnography) are taught alongside a range of cutting-edge ‘online’ methods (e.g. the various theoretical, methodological and analytic strategies available when seeking to explore data drawn from internet chatrooms, websites, blogs, fans forum pages, social media sites, emails, and so on) that have developed within the social sciences and humanities in order to grapple with the challenges of understanding online spaces of social interaction and self-preservation. This module is structured around the different methodological approaches that can be taken in social research. Each approach will be focused on through a different case study, to broaden both your knowledge and understanding of different context, and to help you understand how best to plan and implement meaningful research.
This module explores sociological approaches to work, but it does so critically in that we apply sociological perspectives to explore the value and purpose of work in society. This encourages a critical reflexive appreciation of the kind of expectations that fundamentally shape working life. The first section of the module discusses classical interpretations of the rise of ‘market society’ before analysing different systems of capitalism and welfare in Europe and the role of the state in shaping economies and societies and responding to pressures for institutional change. The second section focuses on contemporary experiences of work and unemployment in Western Europe, including the relationship between skills and work, services work, flexible work and the impact of ‘globalisation’ on work. In particular, we engage with debates on change and continuity in working lives in ‘post-industrial’ Europe. Finally, in the third section, Western European labour markets are analysed through the prism of labour migration. We examine policies on high skilled and low skilled labour immigration, as well as foreign workers’ experiences in different labour markets. The significant amount of time on the course will be spent focused on practical experience of the workplace through a negotiated placement related to an aspect of sociology. This will enable you to gain first-hand experience relevant to your capacity post-graduation rather than a part-time job whilst a student. It will also enable you to critically engage with the development of what constitutes enterprise, and how that is related to the focus of social change that drives sociology as a discipline
Sociology of Education is a sub-discipline of Sociology that takes a critical and analytical look at the design, development, experience and outcomes of the education system. Over the course of the module we will take the UK education system as a case study for helping us to understand the ways in which political, social, moral and economic agendas have shaped (and continue to shape) schools and universities. Paying close attention to key policy-making, we will ask critical questions about the role and purpose of education in relation to wider society. This module offers a critical perspective on the ways in which education is organised and delivered, the values and power relationships that underpin it, and the outcomes it produces. You will be introduced to a variety of sociology of education theories, enabling you to critically evaluate education systems, processes and practices. You will explore a range of current issues and debates, e.g. those relating to the (re)production of inequalities, the sociology of knowledge, and school-to-work transitions. Finally, you will investigate alternative approaches to education.
In an increasingly global, informational and mediated world, an ability to understand and communicate effectively through various forms of technology (e.g., PC and Mac compatible textual, visual and video production software) and/or technological platforms (e.g. social media, blogs and vlogs, video sharing websites) is a vital employability skill. The aim of this module is for you to consolidate but also to extend your research, critical evaluation, presentation and technological skills in the context of contemporary social and sociological debates. The module is hands-on, practically-oriented and built around a form of problem based learning. Lecture time is given over to equipping you with the basic skills required to master various cutting-edge digital production technologies. Independent study time is then given over to the completion of two forms of assessment. The first project involves the design, construction and production of a poster that effectively communicates the details of your dissertation project. The second project centres on a fictional client brief designed deliberately to mimic the type of project that BGU graduates might well experience in the workplace. Working in small-groups you then get to produce seven-minute video presentations that meet your client’s brief, display your sociological research skills and utilise your newly acquired video production and editing skills. Upon completion of this module you will know how to make most types of video and poster presentations media. You will also have developed a portfolio of content that may well assist you in entrepreneurial work in the creative and cultural industries. Finally, you will understand how new and digital technologies are not only complementing, but also challenging, existing forms of culture, politics, law, and business. The module will build on introductory modules at level 4 and intermediate modules at level 5.
This module introduces you to the study of surveillance society. The module draws on key sociological concepts such as crime, inequality, social class, gender, race, ethnicity, the body, and globalisation, to offer an analysis of the ways in which forms of surveillance pervade individuals' everyday lives and how they are utilised by agents of control. This includes: a) various forms of contemporary surveillance in a globalised world; b) the relationship between surveillance and power; c) the ways in which surveillance functions as a form of 'social sorting', and d) the ways in which public and private organisations 'watch' certain populations and/or individuals. The module will build on introductory modules at Level 4 and intermediary modules at Level 5.
The human body is, at one level, biologically given. But it is also socially inscribed by various cultural norms and hierarchies, expectations, pressures, fears and anxieties. It is therefore a highly politicised site; a site for the expression of (and the resistance towards) various forms of power. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising that within the social sciences and humanities, the human body is increasingly being recognised as a fit and even crucial object for social analysis. The module begins by considering key social theories of the body, highlighting perspectives drawn from medical and historical sociology, medical and cultural anthropology, social and political theory and the history of science. These are theories that invite us to question how power works through bodies, how we take up (or refuse) invitations to work on our bodies, and how various forms of identity are visible in our bodily dispositions. The module will then consider how those concepts and theories can be put to use ‘in practice’ by examining a series of case-studies drawn from every day, media and popular cultures. You will encounter and be asked to critically consider topics such as tattooing and body modification, the gendering of cosmetic surgery, fitness regimes and the neoliberal body, female bodies and male medicine, the deviant and/or criminalised body, the cyber-body of science fiction and popular culture, the spectacular body within the contemporary advertising and music industries and the classed body within contemporary lifestyle and make-over television shows
The aim of this module is for you, supported by formal training seminars and supervision meetings, to undertake a piece of sociological research on a topic of your own choice and to pursue this research in-depth and with rigour over the course of the final year.
By looking at the relationship between justice, social control and punishment, this module seeks to critically explore how societies respond to crime. We will explore key concepts in criminology and criminal justice, and attempt to understand what punishment is, whether it works, how and what consequences it has for those who experience it and for societies. We will focus on key debates in prison sociology and criminology to question whether imprisonment—both as a crime control measure and as an institution of rehabilitation—is successful. We will investigate why the prison is a core feature of liberal democracies, while it is also a source of much controversy and debate. Particularly as prison populations in England and elsewhere remain unprecedentedly high, and as technologies of punishment, regulation and control extend well beyond the physical boundaries of prison walls and are consistently affecting those who are most disadvantaged in society, the stakes of these debates are high. This course will introduce you to the sociological analysis of prisons and penal policy within a contemporary setting. It will examine and focus on: •An investigation of the growing 'crisis' of imprisonment. •An examination of the reasons for the growth of imprisonment in both the UK and America. •The imprisonment of women and ethnic minority groups/ asylum seekers and refugees / economic migrants.•An exploration of issues impacting on the experience of imprisonment. •A consideration on the future of imprisonment. Each of these areas will be examined through key case studies in the field of prison sociology, enabling you to conceptually, theoretically and empirically challenge, question or critique the rationales of punishment in a global context and explores its consequences. The module aims to situate the modern prison within its broader social, historical, political and economic context, and it will end by exploring key social and legal issues arising from punishment by evaluating challenges of prison reform; and exploring alternatives to incarceration but also alternative perspectives in ‘doing justice’.
The Sociology of Personal Life is a theory created by Carol Smart recognising how families and households have moved away from traditional ideology and headed towards a more intimate and meaningful experience for individuals. We will use it to explore questions around what sociology can tell us about our personal lives, our families, pets and our intimate relationships. The Sociology of Personal life is strongly influenced by Interactionist ideas and contrasts with structural theories. Sociologists from this perspective believe that to understand families, we must start from the point of view of the individuals concerned and the meanings they give to their relationships. Consequently, this module prioritises the bonds between people, the importance of memory and cultural heritage, the significance of emotions (both positive and negative), how family secrets work and change over time, and the underestimated importance of things such as shared possessions or homes in the maintenance and memory of relationships. By focusing on people’s meanings, the sociology of the personal life focuses our attention on a range of other personal or intimate relationships that are important to people, even though they may not be conventionally defined as family. These include all kinds of relationships that individuals see as significant and give them a sense of identity, relatedness and belonging, such as pets, close friends, fictive kin, ‘chosen families’ for LGBT couples and individuals, and relationships with dead people who live on in memories and rituals.
You will normally need 96-112 UCAS tariff points (from a maximum of four Advanced Level qualifications). We welcome a range of qualifications that meet this requirement, such as A/AS Levels, BTEC, Access Courses, International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge Pre-U, Extended Project etc.
However this list is not exhaustive – please click here for details of all qualifications in the UCAS tariff.
To find out more about the international application process including English Language requirements, please visit bishopg.ac.uk/apply-now/international
Click here for important information about this course including additional costs, resources and key policies.
In accordance with University conditions, students are entitled to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning, RP(C)L, based on relevant credit at another HE institution or credit Awarded for Experiential Learning, (RP(E)L).
How you will be taught
There is no one-size-fits-all method of teaching at BGU – we shape our methods to suit each subject and each group, combining the best aspects of traditional university teaching with innovative techniques to promote student participation and interactivity.
You will be taught in a variety of ways, from lectures, tutorials and seminars, to practical workshops, coursework and work-based placements. Small group seminars and workshops will provide you with an opportunity to review issues raised in lectures, and you will be expected to carry out independent study.
Placements are a key part of degree study within many courses at BGU. They provide an enriching learning experience for you to apply the skills and knowledge you will gain from your course and, in doing so, give valuable real-world experience to boost your career.
In Sociology, we see assessment as a powerful driver of student learning and a means for demonstrating what students have learnt. We believe it’s a great way to develop the employability skills that employers demand from graduates. As a result, the course incorporates a range of assessment methods which will allow you to demonstrate a wide range of skills whilst providing a selection of post-degree career paths. These assessment methods include coursework, small group work, report writing, oral presentations, multi-modal presentations (posters, videos, print), examinations and individual dissertation projects. Where appropriate, assessment tasks are designed to mimic the type of challenges faced by employees in graduate-level jobs.
Careers & Further study
The wide range of graduate-levels employment related opportunities and positions available to BGU Sociology graduates include activism and campaigning, advertising, arts, bankers (e.g. investment bankers, analysts), charity administrators, community and youth workers, curators, entrepreneurs, film makers, financial analysts, journalists, lawyers, lecturers, marketing, police officers, public relations (PR), researchers, school and college teachers and social workers.
What Our Students Say
Discover what life is like at Bishop Grosseteste University from our students.
Studying at BGU is a student-centred experience. Staff and students work together in a friendly and supportive atmosphere as part of an intimate campus community. You will know every member of staff personally and feel confident approaching them for help and advice, and staff members will recognise you, not just by sight, but as an individual with unique talents and interests.
We will be there to support you, personally and academically, from induction to graduation.
Fees & Finance
A lot of student finance information is available from numerous sources, but it is sometimes confusing and contradictory. That’s why at BGU we try to give you all the information and support we can to help to throughout the process. Our Student Advice team are experts in helping you sort out the funding arrangements for your studies, offering a range of services to guide you through all aspects of student finance step by step.
Click here to find information about fees, loans and support which will help to make the whole process a little easier to understand.
Undergraduate course applicants must apply via UCAS using the relevant UCAS code. For 2023 entry, the application fee is £27, and you can make a maximum of 6 choices. For 2024 entry the application fee is £27.50.
For all applicants, there are full instructions at UCAS to make it as easy as possible for you to fill in your online application, plus help text where appropriate.