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Sociology
BSc (Hons)

2020/21 Part-time Undergraduate course

Award:

Bachelor of Science with Honours

Faculty:

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:

School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences

Campus:

Jordanstown campus

Start date:

September 2020

With this degree you could become:


  • Social Researcher
  • Civil Servant
  • Community Development Worker
  • Policy Officer
  • Further Education or Secondary School Teacher
  • International Aid Development Worker
  • Human Resources Manager

Graduates from this course are now working for:


  • PwC
  • NI Civil Service
  • Start 360
  • Deloitte
  • Princes Trust
  • PSNI
  • 5 Health & Social Care Trusts

Overview

Sociology at Ulster has a record of excellence in teaching and learning, 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

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-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). 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.

Attendance

This course typically takes 6 years to complete on a part-time basis. The Course Director will work with you at the beginning of your studies to discuss and agree an appropriate choice and sequence of modules studied, based on how many modules you wish to complete per year as a part-time student.

Each module usually involves two hours of lectures plus a one hour seminar each week. In addition, students are required to undertake substantial directed independent learning.

Start dates

  • September 2020

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.

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    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.

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    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.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Jordanstown campus

The largest of Ulster's campuses.


Accommodation

Jordanstown is our biggest campus in an idyllic setting surrounded by lush lawns and trees. It's just a few hundred metres from Loughshore Park and promenade, and just seven miles from Belfast city centre.

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Sports Facilities

At our Jordanstown Campus we have world class facilities that are open all year round to our students and members of the public.

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Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

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Jordanstown campus location info

  Find out more about our Jordanstown campus

Address

Ulster University
Shore Road
Newtownabbey
Co. Antrim
BT37 0QB

T: 028 7012 3456

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.

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.

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.

Year two

Qualitative Research Methods

Year: 2

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.

Contemporary Culture & Social Change

Year: 2

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: 2

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 three

Classical sociological theory

Year: 3

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.

Sociology of advanced industrial society

Year: 3

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.

Contemporary Ireland

Year: 3

This module provides an introduction to the study of Irish society North and South. It aims to increase awareness and provide the means for better analysis of the socioeconomic system of contemporary Ireland.

Year four

Quantitative research methods

Year: 4

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.

The Information Society

Year: 4

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: 4

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.

Year five

Contemporary Ireland

Year: 5

This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to study aspects of contemporary Ireland in depth. Its focus is on society, politics, economics and culture in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In as far as possible, topics will be approached in a comparative way. Although independent in its own right, the module has close links with other modules in the BSc (Hons) Sociology degree, in particular Sociology of Advanced Industrial Society and Sociology of Development.

Sociological placement

Year: 5

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.

Professional Placement

Year: 5

This module is optional

This module provides students with an opportunity to gain professional employment experience in a work-based learning environment as part of the Sociology degree programme. It provides students with robust self-development opportunities that enhance employability and nurture a diverse range of transferable skills. Students are encouraged to reflect on their experiences, as well as their overall personal and professional development, and relate these to the learning outcomes of the degree and their future career aspirations.

Year six

Contemporary sociological theory

Year: 6

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: 6

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.

Sociology of development

Year: 6

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: 6

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: 6

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.

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.

A level

Applicants should satisfy the University General Requirements e.g.

Provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (GCSE English Language grades A-C/ 4-9 or equivalent); and Provide evidence of passes in five subjects, two of which must be at A level (grades A-E) and three at GCSE level* (grades A-C/4-9); or Provide evidence of passes in four subjects, three of which must be at A level (grades A-E) and one at GCSE level* (grades A- C/4-9); or Provide evidence of an approved qualification at an equivalent level such as a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma or Access to Higher Education qualification or equivalent; or Provide evidence, for a process of formal accreditation by the University, of learning you have gained through work or other experience. The Subject Committee will consider a range of qualifications, experience and other evidence of ability to complete the course satisfactorily when considering applications for part-time study.

* GCSE English Language (grades A-C/4-9) may be used as part of the GCSE requirement.

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.

United States of America flagAdditional information for students from United States of America

Undergraduate

Each programme will have slightly different requirements, both in terms of overall points and certain subjects, so please check the relevant subject in the undergraduate on-line prospectus.

Normally Ulster University welcomes applications from students with:

Qualification
High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and to include grades 3,3,3 in 3 AP subjects
High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and to include 1000 out of 1600 in SAT
Associate Degree with GPA 3.0

English Language


Financial Information

In addition to the scholarships and bursaries open to all international students, US students may apply for Federal and Private US loans

Qualification
Level 12 English Lang in HSD

View more information for students from United States of America  

Careers & opportunities

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • PwC
  • NI Civil Service
  • Start 360
  • Deloitte
  • Princes Trust
  • PSNI
  • 5 Health & Social Care Trusts

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

  • Social Researcher
  • Civil Servant
  • Community Development Worker
  • Policy Officer
  • Further Education or Secondary School Teacher
  • International Aid Development Worker
  • Human Resources Manager

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 have the opportunity to undertake a professional work placement during their degree. The Professional Placement module is offered to final year students and enables them to gain professional employment experience as part of the sociology degree programme.

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

Apply

Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

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.”