A Level – Sociology

‘In Sociology things are not what they seem’


Members of Department

Head of Sociology:  Mrs Maria Mc Elroy


If you are fascinated by the behaviour of others and why we act the way we do, then Sociology is for you.  Sociology seeks to understand all aspects of Human Behaviour, including the social dynamics of small groups of people, large organisations, communities, institutions and entire societies.  Sociologists are motivated by their desire to understand social life.  If you chose to embark on the wonderful world of Sociology, you will begin to understand more about your motivations and behaviours whilst gaining a wide range of very valuable skills that can be applied to a variety of University courses and future careers. 

A-Level Subject Content

AS Level – Year 1

Paper 1(50% of AS marks)

Education (short answers and extended writing)

Methods in Context (extended writing)

Paper 2(50% of AS marks)

Section A: Research Methods (short answer and extended writing)

Section B: Families and Households (short answer and extended writing)

A-Level – Year 2

Paper 1(33.3% of A-level)

Education (short answer and extended writing)

Methods in Context (extended writing)

Theory and Methods (extended writing)

Paper 2(33.3% of A-level)

Section A:  Families and Households (extended writing)

Section B: Beliefs in Society (extended writing)

Paper 3(33.3% of A-level)

Crime and Deviance (short answer and extended writing)

Theory and Method (extended writing)

Method of Assessment

Students will be assessed externally through written examinations.  Students will be assessed on their extended responses to the taught options within each paper and to draw upon integral elements and core themes.  Students will be assessed on subject content and the skills of application, analysis and evaluation.

Recommended GCSE Subjects and Grades:

English at grade B or above

Humanities at Grade B or above (Geography or History)

Other Contributory Subjects:

Psychology, Health and Social Care, Political Studies, Religious Studies


Current Students

‘I thoroughly enjoy studying Sociology as it enables me to understand society and social occurrences better.  Sociology exposes me to new ideas and interpretations of the world we live in.  The skills of analysis developed will aid my development in a future Law course.’

Cara Year 14

‘Sociology is excellent for improving your written and oral communication skills.  It also makes you think more clearly and critically about the world you live in.  Knowledge and skills amassed where really helpful when I was completing my HPAT.’ 

Eimear Year 14

Sociology has allowed me to gain great insights into how society is organised and how we experience life.  It has developed a wide range of skills such as critical thinking.

Eva Year 14

‘Sociology is a subject I am very passionate about.  I have greatly enhanced my understanding of the functions of society.  It has developed my skills in critical reflection which I know will be invaluable for university and a wide range of careers.  There are no limits to the sociological imagination and as a subject it helps to reveal all that is hidden!’

Ellie Year 13

‘Sociology helps our understanding of real life issues and social problems.  I love learning in Sociology through the many diverse teaching methods.  Through research, I know that studying Sociology will help me progress within a wide range of careers.’

Shannon Year 13

‘Sociology is completely different from any other subject, it’s simply intriguing! Assessments, homework and classwork are never a chore as the topics are all relevant to everyday life.  I love studying Feminism and The Family’

Sarah Year 13

Past Student

‘The Sociologist Weber argues that Sociology is a Science which attempts to understand and interpret social action to arrive at causal explanations.  In other words we need to understand why people act the way they do.  Within my role in The Probation Board for N Ireland, I engage with young offenders in order to produce positive changes in attitudes and behaviour to reduce reoffending by supporting the offender to commit to change.  To enable me to perform my job effectively, I follow Weber’s views.  Sociology inspired me at A-Level and influenced by choice in completing a Social Work degree.  Sociology has directed my career in a positive and meaningful way.’

Career Possibilities

Contemporary research shows that students entering the job market will change careers several times, which begs the question, ‘Why limit yourself to one type of job?’ Sociology trains you to answer the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about human societies, giving you a competitive edge and a strong intellectual background for University courses and the professions. Students find Sociology steers them into Health and Welfare Services, Education and Teaching, Law, Journalism, Public and Human Relations, Government and Research agencies and Criminal Justice.

Other Information

The skills you learn in Sociology make you very marketable and highlight your intellectual curiosity and understanding of the world around you.  Sociological theory helps you become a critical thinker because it exposes you to many different ways of seeing the social world and this gives you an informed sense of social life to allow you to engage effectively in many courses and careers.  You will develop great communication, interpersonal, analytical and leadership skills and together with your insights into the workings of society, it is not surprising that Sociology students are seen as highly desirable.