Bachelor of Science with Honours
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School of Applied Social and Policy Sciences
Sociology at Ulster has a record of excellence in teaching and learning, regularly achieving 100% satisfaction rates in the National Student Survey.
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, digital sociology, 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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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 excellent external examiner reports and very high approval ratings in the National Student Survey (which is completed by final year students).
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.
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.
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:
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 near the start date and may be subject to 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 of attendance will often 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 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 Masters 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 methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be via one method or a combination e.g. examination and coursework . 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 four learning outcomes, and no more than two 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.
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 Masters 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 Masters degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.
Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.
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.
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 (20%) or Lecturers (55%).
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) by Advanced HE - 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.
Figures correct for academic year 2021-2022.
The Belfast campus is situated in the artistic and cultural centre of the city, the Cathedral Quarter.
High quality apartment living in Belfast city centre adjacent to the university campus.
At Student Wellbeing we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.
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.
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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.
This module provides an important opportunity for students to practice the craft of sociology by applying core theories and concepts to a vast range of social phenomena. The module endeavours to augment their existing sociological skills and increase their capacity to analyse, evaluate and think critically across local, national and global issues.
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 demographic change, globalisation, technological advancements, climate change and the financing of welfare.
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.
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.
The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the nature of culture, diversity and social change in contemporary society. It will introduce students to a range of theoretical perspectives, concepts and methodologies that make a contribution to our understanding of culture and social change in contemporary society. Cross-cultural comparisons will be used and applied to a range of substantive topics.
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.
This module introduces students to quantitative research methods and provides the opportunity to develop skills in the collection and analysis of quantitative data. Students are able to interpret and assess results generated from statistical analysis used within sociological research. The module provides appropriate grounding for students undertaking a research project for their final year dissertation, and for future post-graduate opportunities, as well as employment.
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.
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 include surveillance, cyberbullying, digital migration, internet activism, and the 'digital divide'.
This module considers the complex, dynamic and dialectical relationship between state and society, and provides students the opportunity to develop sociological understandings of power, state and civil society.
This module introduces the main qualitative methods in social research. It provides students with a solid understanding of the philosophical foundations of social research enquiry. 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 dissertation students.
This module introduces students to methodological debates in sociology. 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 considers the politics and ethics of social research and how debates relate to students' own proposed research projects to be undertaken in the following semester.
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.
The module aims to ensure that students have an in-depth and critical understanding of the highly contested nature of global development. It will equip students with knowledge and deep understanding of the historical roots and interconnections between societies in the global North and South. The module applies a range of theories, comparative data and case studies to critically explore contemporary development issues and global inequalities.
This module provides the student with a structured opportunity to apply 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.
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 thesis on that investigation.
Students can draw upon skills and knowledge acquired from taught modules and will also have the academic guidance of one-to-one supervision from the staff member assigned as their supervisor and/or other staff members who can lend their expertise in collegiate collaboration.
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 the relevance of sociological theories and concepts to a critical understanding of the mass media. The module provides a critical assessment of mass media representations of a range of key social issues and problems, including war, structural violence, social stratification and conflict.
This module is optional
This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to study a major and influential institution in contemporary society, the education system. It focuses on the relevance of sociological theories and concepts to a critical understanding of education as a socialising agent in our lives. The module provides a critical assessment of education in relation to a range of key social issues and problems, including social stratification and conflict.
This module is optional
This module gives students an opportunity to gain professional employment experience in a work-based learning environment as part of their Sociology degree. It provides 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.
This module is optional
This module introduces students to the main theories, concepts, issues and debates in the sociology of sport. There will be an emphasis on developing students' sociological imagination by encouraging students to think critically about the role of sport in contemporary society. Students will be exposed to the key classical and contemporary theoretical perspectives that underpin the sociological study of sport and they will apply these to a variety of sports-related issues and controversies.
This module is optional
This module covers a range of approaches to understanding armed conflict, violence, peace, and security. As well as examining the causes of armed violence, the module also explores peacebuilding, transitional justice, and processes that seek to manage conflict. In undertaking such a task, the module seeks to challenge many assumptions and values that underpin dominant understandings of conflict and peace. Assessment for the module includes a group presentation (25%), an essay assignment (50%), and a policy paper (25%). The module will offer students an important opportunity to apply sociological solutions and creative thinking to a range of issues that are applicable not only to Northern Ireland but across a range of global post-conflict settings.
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.
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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 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.
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.
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Graduates from this course are now working for:
With this degree you could become:
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. In recent 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, Education, and Heritage Studies.
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.
Sociology students have the opportunity to take a year out from their programme to carry out a work placement or participate in one of the study abroad schemes. Students who successfully complete the year abroad will either be awarded a Diploma in Professional Practice (DPP), based on work experience, or a Diploma in International Academic Studies (DIAS), based on study at an educational institution.
Fees illustrated are based on academic year 22/23 entry and are subject to an annual increase.
If your study continues into future academic years your fees are subject to an annual increase. Please take this into consideration when you estimate your total fees for a degree.
Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply.
The price of your overall programme will be determined by the number of credit points that you initiate in the relevant academic year.
For modules commenced in the academic year 2022/23, the following fees apply:
|Credit Points||NI/ROI Cost||GB Cost||International Cost|
NB: A standard full-time undergraduate degree is equivalent to 120 credit points per year.
It is important to remember that costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges) and normal living will need to be covered in addition to tuition fees.
Where a course has additional mandatory expenses (in addition to tuition fees) we make every effort to highlight them above. 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 Wi-Fi are also available on each of the campuses.
There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as a part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs, as well as tuition fees.
See the tuition fees on our student guide for most up to date costs.
Course Director: Niall Gilmartin
T: +44 (0)28 9536 7313
Admissions Contact: Susan McRoberts
“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.”