Title: Sociology 2008 AS/A2 (AQA)

Origin: Submitted by: Julian Salisbury, South Cheshire College

Date: 16.06.08

What’s on the Course?

Sociology is all about human social behaviour. It looks at how society works and how the various parts of society relate to each other. Core features of the course include the different views sociologists have about the subject; the disagreements surrounding the nature of society & the various ways in which researchers learn about the social world.

Themes that run through AS & A2 courses are culture, identity, power, social class, gender & race & ethnicity. Sociology is a well respected academic subject that is valued by employers and Universities alike.

Sociology is a useful qualification in a number of careers like law; police, media, journalism, nursing, social work, probation services, research & the civil service. It also provides valuable knowledge & transferable skills that would be useful in the world of business & commerce.

Sociology AS Level

Unit 1: SCLY1

Assessment: 1 hour written examination = 60 marks

Weighting 40% of the total AS Level marks, 20% of the total A Level marks

Students answer one question which is divided into five parts

Families & Households

Students learn how the family has shaped the nature of society & the economy. The course also examines how government policy has attempted to influence the family. Other topics of interest include the changing pattern of marriage, divorce, separation, cohabitation, child-bearing choices & living arrangements.

The course examines debates & evidence as to whether women still take most of the responsibility for domestic chores & childcare, or whether it is now shared more equally between both partners. This topic also involves looking at power relationships within the family like who makes the important decisions? We also explore the nature of childhood & the status of children as a special group. Finally, students learn about demographic change like birth rates, death rates & family size.

Unit 2: SCLY2

Assessment: 2 hour written examination = 90 marks

Weighting 60% of the total AS Level marks, 30% of the total A Level marks

  • Students answer one four part question from Education & one single part question on theory & method relating to the context of Education
  • Additionally, students answer one free standing question on research methods which is in four parts.


On the course you will learn about the role of the education system & why certain groups do better or worse than each other in terms of performance. Students examine some of the hidden processes than go on in the classroom concerning roles, regulating behaviour & teacher student relationships. You will look at education policies & the history of the education system & our different experiences of the process.

Sociological Methods

Students learn about the different ways in which we actually generate knowledge about society. These methods might include; questionnaires, surveys, observation, experiments or interviews. On the course we also apply theory to an understanding of sociological approaches because some sociologists say that we should be objective & the best way to do that is through numerical data (statistics) whilst others say sociology should be humanistic, concerned with feelings and explanations & the best way to do that is through spending time with people & groups.

Sociology A2 Level

Unit 3: SCLY3

Assessment: 1 hour 30 minute examination = 60 marks

Weighting 20% of A level marks

  • Students answer one compulsory question which may be in two or three parts & one essay where there is a choice.

Beliefs in Society

Second year students learn about a range of systematic beliefs & how science relates to religion. On the course we debate whether religion promotes change in society, or continuity, keeping things the same. The course looks at different types of religious organisations like Churches, Sects, Cults & Denominations. Students also broaden their knowledge by examining how religion influences the contemporary world & we assess whether we are becoming more secular (non religious & rational) or not.

Unit 4: SCLY4

Assessment: 2 hour examination = 90 marks

Weighting 30% of A level marks

  • Students answer one question in two parts from Crime & Deviance & one methods question in two parts.

Crime & Deviance

This topic on the course looks at the nature of order & social control. Students learn about who commits crime & to what extent by examining factors such as gender, race & ethnicity, social class, age & locality. Prevention of crime, the criminal justice system, deterrence & punishment are also covered. Other issues include globalisation of crime, a sociological understanding of suicide & theories & methods used in the understanding crime & deviance.

Theory & Method

You will build on the issues covered in the first year in order to develop a deeper understanding along with the development of more sophisticated skills. Additionally, the course focuses on sociology & social policy (laws), the nature of science & the status of sociology & we also develop understanding of more abstract ideas like modernity & post-modernity.

Julian Salisbury, South Cheshire College 16.06.08