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Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations

  • PwC
  • Santander Bank
  • PRINCES TRUST
  • Simon Community
  • Health & Social Care Board
  • HMC Global
  • TEFL

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles

  • Research Officer
  • Consultant
  • Community Development Worker
  • Lead Teacher
  • Manager
  • Resource Specialist
  • Technologist

Overview

Important notice – campus change Students will complete the next two years on the Jordanstown campus (academic year 2019/20 and 2020/21). Thereafter, from 2021, they may transition campuses. Precise timings will be communicated as we progress through the final stages of the build of the enhanced Belfast campus. Find out more

Sociology at Ulster has a record of excellence in teaching and learning, consistently achieving 100% satisfaction rates in the National Student Survey

Summary

Sociology is concerned with developing theories and concepts to explain the origins and nature of the contemporary social world and seeks to justify such theories through systematically collected evidence. A central aim is to provide students with explanatory frameworks relevant to both the wider society in which they will live and the employment settings in which they will work.

Through the Sociology curriculum, you can explore in depth a range of social issues in contemporary Ireland and the world, and understandings of advanced industrial societies, the information society, global development, education, work, conflict, and diversity.

Our curriculum draws on the research strengths of our staff, ensuring you learn cutting-edge Sociological theory with the opportunity to explore real case studies. The Ulster University Sociology degrees provide a strong element of research training, giving our graduates access to the best research skills available, and access to a wide range of careers.

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About this course

In this section

About

There are three key emphases in the Sociology degree: an emphasis on the theories and explanatory frameworks found in Sociology; an emphasis on examining the social features of contemporary society within a global context; and an emphasis on developing student skills in the collection and assessment of evidence and the development of arguments.

During your degree, you will have an opportunity to apply your sociological knowledge through a range of projects and placements, as well as in in-depth discussions with teaching staff. Our approach to teaching and learning gives you a range of opportunities through the degree to reflect on and shape your developing areas of interest in Sociology.

Sociology at Ulster has a history of receiving very high approval ratings in the National Student Survey (which is completed by final year students). It has scored overall satisfaction ratings of 100% in three of the last five years.

Our teaching staff are established experts in the sociological study of conflict, development, diversity, education, work, sport, language and the media, as well as developing new methods for studying these areas. We are active in the British Sociological Association and the Sociological Association of Ireland and on the editorial boards of key Sociology journals.

We also take excellence in teaching seriously, with 2 Senior Fellows of the Higher Education Academy amongst our staff, and we undertake research into higher education teaching methods to support our students' experience and development.

Associate awards

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards

Attendance

The Sociology degree is a 3 year programme. Students take 6 modules each year.

Each module usually involves two hours of lectures plus a one hour seminar each week. Workshops may be offered in applied modules.

In addition, students are required to undertake substantial directed independent learning.

Start dates

  • September 2020
How to apply

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Students on the Sociology degree learn through a range of lecture, seminar and workshop classes. Projects and placements support the applied elements of the degree.

Assessments on the degree include essays, reports, exams, and presentations. Students are introduced to a range of different formats to increase transferable skills and provide the opportunity to apply knowledge in a range of contexts. You will also be invited to explore current technologies in the presentation of your work.

All students complete an independent research study (dissertation) in their final year. This is supervised individually by a member of staff who will help you to shape your chosen topic and create original sociological knowledge.

Content

The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

- the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor

- the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement

- the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

Attendance and Independent Study

As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

Assessment

Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

Calculation of the Final Award

The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Foundations of Political Thought

Year: 1

This module introduces students to the study of political thought in its ideological forms. Political ideologies have been implicated in all major political developments over the last two centuries and demand special attention. This module clarifies the principles of these major systems and identifies their implications for political practice.

Qualitative Research Methods

Year: 1

This module introduces the main qualitative methods in social research. It shows how to generate research topics and how to select appropriate methods of inquiry. The methods are applied in practical research situations enabling students to compare and critically evaluate alternative approaches. The module provides the appropriate grounding for those students who wish to undertake a research project for their final year dissertation.

Introduction to sociology

Year: 1

This module provides a general introduction to the main themes and perspectives within sociology. It explores the relationship between social theory, methods and research in sociology, and shows how sociological concepts can be used in the analysis of social processes and social institutions in contemporary society.

Sociology of Health and Illness

Year: 1

The aim of this module is to enable students to understand current issues in health and illness from a sociological perspective. On completion of the course, students will be able to identify significant social, cultural, economic and political issues associated with various aspects of health and illness. Students are encouraged to reflect upon their own health interests by exploring a range of issues related to health, illness and health care.

Contemporary Culture & Social Change

Year: 1

The module complements the introductory sociology module the introductory sociology module by focusing on a more specific and in-depth exploration of contemporary culture and social change. Sociological theory and concepts will be applied to everyday activities and contemporary social life. The module will focus specifically on Ireland and Britain but whenever possible will make comparisons with cultures, social processes and social structures in other countries.

Introduction to Social Policy

Year: 1

This module introduces students to key Social Policy concepts. They are also introduced to a number of contemporary issues in Social Policy and key debates on topics including poverty, housing education and the financing of welfare.

Year two

Classical sociological theory

Year: 2

This module gives students the opportunity to develop their understanding of Sociological theory through the examination of the writings of central classical theorists. The module focuses on the writings of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Parsons and Shimmel and aims to develop the students' ability to compare and evaluate the positions of these writers and to apply their ideas in the explanation of the origins and nature of modern societies.

Research Methodology

Year: 2

This module develops students knowledge of Sociological research and Sociological explanation. It focuses on the issues that lie behind and inform the collection of data and the development of explanation within Sociology.

Quantitative research methods

Year: 2

This module introduces quantitative research methods and provides the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in relation to the collection, analysis and interpretation of quantitative data. On successful completion of the module, students are able to interpret and assess critically the results generated from the most common forms of advanced statistical analysis used within sociological research. The module provides the appropriate grounding for those students who wish to undertake a research project for their final year dissertation.

Sociology of advanced industrial society

Year: 2

This module focuses on the study of advanced industrial society using an integrated theoretical and empirical approach. Theoretical arguments concerning the nature of advanced industrial society are critically examined. A comparative approach will be utilised to undertake a detailed consideration of specific institutions within advanced industrial society. Lectures, seminars and reading throughout the module are focused on a critical assessment of globalisation.

Populism

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module begins by assessing the meaning of populism, the relationship between people and the state. Then, it analyses concepts and theories of populism. Finally, an analysis is undertaken of the politics of populism in 21st century global society.

The Information Society

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module introduces students to the main sociological issues and debates that have emerged as a result of recent developments in information and communication technologies. There will be an emphasis on developing a deeper understanding of contemporary society by encouraging students to think critically about the social and political impacts of these changes. Topics will include: the changing nature of surveillance; cyberbulling; internet activism; the transformation of intimacy; virtual communities; and the emergence of ICT-related inequalities, often referred to as the 'digital divide'.

Racism and Diverse Societies

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module offers students an in-depth exploration of the range of theoretical and empirical approaches to racism in sociology. Students are introduced to a range of sociological approaches to understanding 'race' and ethnicity, and the intersections between these and other areas of significant interest for sociology. They will become familiar with contemporary and historical understandings of racism, investigate structural and cultural barriers to racial and ethnic equality, including the impact of intersections with gender, class, and sexuality on relations of power and privilege, and explore the nature of contemporary racism through recent events.

Ethnographic writing

Year: 2

This module is optional

This second year module offers students a hands-on exploration of the ethnographic fieldwork and writing methods used by social science researchers. The course aims to develop students' skills in ethnographic writing as well as to understand the questions of knowledge, representation, and power relations that underpin emergent ethnographies. Students will be introduced to some of key debates in anthropology, which inform the ways in which ethnographies are written, the questions anthropologists ask and the techniques they use to answer them.

Year three

Study Abroad

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK. It is an optional year out for all Sociology and Sociology Modular students on an intercalary study abroad year at the end of Year 2. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of sociology whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Year four

Contemporary sociological theory

Year: 4

The aims of this module are to further develop and consolidate the students' knowledge of Sociological theory through the examination of a number of Schools of Contemporary Sociological theory. The module will examine the application of such theories in explaining central features of the modern/post modern world.

Dissertation

Year: 4

The module is designed to allow students to conduct and independent critical investigation of an area of concern or interest to sociology and to write a report on that investigation. Students can draw upon skills and knowledge acquired from taught modules and will also have the expert guidance of one-to-one supervision from a staff member.

Sociological placement

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module provides the student with a structured opportunity to apply Sociological concepts to practical settings. The placement encourages students to reflect on the relevance of Sociology and to develop a number of central skills and competencies.

Methodology, Ethics and Politics of Research

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module introduces students to the main methodologies debates in sociology and to the epistemologies that underlie them. It examines the relationship between these methodologies and research techniques. The module will look at: positivism, interpretative social research, quantitative and qualitative sociology, critical social research, feminist methodologies and postmodern methodologies. It will also consider the politics and ethics of social research. The module considers how these issues and debates relate to students' own proposed research projects to be undertaken in the following semester and written up as sociological dissertations.

Sociology of development

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module provides students with sociological theories and concepts in order to critically analyse a range of development issues facing 'third world' countries. It is concerned with the comparative analysis of socio-economic changes and historical and contemporary links between Western industrialized societies and the 'third world'. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the nature and origins of global processes, impacts on 'third world' development and the implications for an increasingly unequal world.

Sociology of the Media

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to study in depth a major and influential institution in contemporary society, the mass media. It focuses on two main issues: first, the relevance of sociological theories and concepts to a critical understanding of the mass media, its structures, processes and social effects; and second, a critical assessment of mass media representations of a range of key social issues and problems, including war, violence and pornography and the political conflict in both Northern Ireland and globally.

Sociology of education

Year: 4

This module is optional

The purpose of this module is to develop a critical understanding of the key theories and themes in the sociology of education. The sociological theories will provide an insight into the way that schools and the education system in the UK functions. Students will be introduced to theories of sociology of education and the changing policy context of education within the UK. The emphasis in on students using literature to understand, critically evaluate and analyse the impact of sociological theory upon schools and education system in general.

Gender and Social Policy

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module introduces a range of debates and theoretical positions, which help students to conceptualise gender relationships to social policy and provision. It uses particular examples, such as reproductive rights, family relationships, and community care, to enable students to identify the implications social policy has on gender.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

In this section

A level

The A Level requirement for this course is BCC* - BBC*.

* Applicants can satisfy the requirement for an A-Level Grade C by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications recognised by the University.

Applied General Qualifications

Overall BTEC Level 3 QCF Extended Diploma award profile DMM (to include a minimum of 7 distinctions if the asking grades are set at BCC equivalent, or a minimum of 8 distinctions if they are set at BBC equivalent.

OR

BTEC Level 3 RQF National Extended Diploma with profile DMM.

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard. Examples of combinations include:

A levels with BTEC Level 3 QCF Subsidiary Diploma or BTEC RQF National Extended Certificate

A level with BTEC Level 3 QCF Diploma or BTEC Level 3 RQF National Diploma.

For further information on the entry requirements for this course please contact the administrator as listed in Contact details.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Overall Irish Leaving Certificate profile H3H3H3H4H4 - H3H3H3H3H4.

English Grade H6 (Higher Level) or above, or Grade O4 (Ordinary Level) or above, if not sitting at Higher Level, is required.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum of 24 points (12 at higher level) - 25 points (12 at higher level).

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall Access profile 60% - 63%.

GCSE

GCSE Profile to include CGSE English Language grade C or above (or equivalent).

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

A number of colleges offer a two year part-time Certificate in Higher Education in Social Sciences. Candidates who successfully complete this Certificate are eligible to apply for admission directly onto the second year of any of our full-time Sociology degrees.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course have gained employment with a wide range of organisations. Here are some examples:

  • PwC
  • Santander Bank
  • PRINCES TRUST
  • Simon Community
  • Health & Social Care Board
  • HMC Global
  • TEFL

Job roles

Graduates from this course are employed in many different roles. Here are some examples:

  • Research Officer
  • Consultant
  • Community Development Worker
  • Lead Teacher
  • Manager
  • Resource Specialist
  • Technologist

Career options

The course provides the opportunity for you to acquire a valuable combination of skills and opens up a wide range of postgraduate educational and career opportunities. The detailed knowledge and understanding of society and social life that you will gain from the degree equips you with core skills to work in a rich variety of settings. Over the past two years our graduates have found employment in areas including: human resource management, health administration, PSNI, the Civil Service, market research, industrial relations, health administration and private sector consultancy. Many others have gone on to take postgraduate courses in Sociology, Media Studies, Social Work and Education.

Our graduates stay in touch with us, offering advice and support to current students, and sharing knowledge from each of their industries. In addition, employability skills sessions are built into our curriculum, ensuring that you can demonstrate excellence in a wide range of skills on graduation.

Work placement / study abroad

All Sociology students undertake a work placement during their degree. The placement is embedded in an academic module to support and develop work-related skills and provide a strong connection between placement work and academic study.

Study Abroad options are available to all students in Europe, the USA and the rest of the world.

Apply

How to apply Request a prospectus

Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.

Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU:
£4,275.00

England, Scotland, Wales
and the Islands:

£9,250.00  Discounts available

International:
£14,060.00  Scholarships available

Scholarships, awards and prizes

The Legal Island Award for for Scholarship in Equality and Diversity is awarded annually to the graduate with the best contribution in the sociology of equality and diversity.

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.

Testimonials

“Lecturers provide excellent resources made available via Blackboard. Interesting guest lecturers. Staff take an interest beyond their own module, concerned about future of their students. Staff are always encouraging and promoting opportunities to enhance studies/experience.”

“Lecturers are very welcoming and are always available to help with problems that students have. The coursework encouraged students to be reflective of experiences and allowed us to apply our sociological learning to everyday situations in our placements.”

“Lecturers are very approachable and extremely helpful. I would definitely recommend University of Ulster to anyone who may be considering university. I will be sad to leave as it feels part of my daily life now.”

“I believe all the staff in my department care about the needs of the students. They care when students are experiencing difficult circumstances. I believe they genuinely want to share their knowledge and expand ours. We are not merely a big class, they make the effort to get to know their pupils individually.”

“Lecturers are all excellent. They are enthusiastic about what they teach. Overall fantastic.”