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School of Social Sciences

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BSocSc Sociology
Learn to critically analyse and interpret societies and gain skills for a variety of careers.

BSocSc Sociology / Course details

Year of entry: 2017

Course description

  • 91% of students on our BSocSc Sociology are satisfied with their course (National Student Survey 2016) 
  • Do you want to be part of one of the largest and most reputable groups of sociologists currently working in the UK?
  • Would you like to develop the skills to analyse and interpret today's social developments and problems?
  • Do you fancy learning research skills that will allow you to carry out your own sociological investigations?
  • Would you like to study abroad for a semester in your second year?
  • Take the right course units and you can apply for a paid summer internship through Manchester's Q-Step programme .

Sociology is the study of social life and social change - a domain with huge scope that Zygmunt Bauman describes as any aspect of the world 'that bears the imprint of human activity'.

This can lead the sociologist to many different topics of study from reproduction of inequalities in relation to social categories (eg race, class or gender), to the shaping of intimate relationships by wider cultural contexts, or the generation of resistance and protest by economic trends and crises.

The degree in Sociology engages you in research and writing on a range of sociological topics.

When you study these areas you will be looking at patterns of individual and group behaviour, the rules and norms that govern that behaviour in different societies and the meanings that people attribute to their own life circumstances, their social identities and their relationships.

You will learn and use a range of theories and concepts to help understand topics of interest, and a set of rigorous and systematic approaches to gathering and interpreting information to help you develop reliable knowledge.

When you study sociology at The University of Manchester you encounter course units examining the latest sociological puzzles through up-to-date theories and methods.

You will be given a thorough grounding in a wide range of classic and contemporary theoretical approaches as well as a set of research skills that allow you to carry out your own sociological investigations.

Each year you will be asked to select from a wide range of course units. We can guide you to select options that fit your developing intellectual interests - but by the third year most of our students know exactly what type of sociologist they are.

Special features

  • Our teaching received a 93% satisfaction rating from our students.
  • Our Sociology department was ranked top in the country for research. 'Excellence' in research feeds into teaching so that students are taught by experts with a real passion for their subject.
  • As part of Manchester's Q-Step centre, Sociology offers exciting paid internship opportunities for students.
  • Sociology at Manchester gives you guidance on study skills and employability throughout your degree through the 'Professional Development for Sociologists' (PRoD) programme. It has a successful peer mentoring scheme and student society.

Our students

Sociology students in figures (2014):

  • Students on the course came from 6 countries
  • Their ages ranged from 17 - 51
  • The male / female ratio was 22 : 78

Meet our students

Teaching and learning

Most course units feature formal lectures supported by smaller tutorials or seminars, in which you will be able to explore the contents of lectures and recommended reading in greater depth.

Tutorials and seminars are also key elements in improving your written and oral communication skills through group discussions, essay-writing and presentations.

Students are assigned an Academic Advisor, an academic member of staff who takes a friendly interest in your progress and can advise you on selecting course units and career opportunities.

Coursework and assessment

The assessment in most Sociology course units is a combination of exams and assessed coursework such as essays.

  • First year course units: examination supported with non-assessed essays, used to give you feedback on your progress.
  • Second and final year course units: a combination of coursework and examination.

The way that you study and are assessed will depend on which units you choose. The range of methods is carefully designed to promote in-depth learning and understanding.

  • Essays, coursework and other mid-term evaluations allow fuller development of and feedback on students' knowledge and understanding
  • Coursework, essays and dissertations promote the development of argument and fuller understanding of academic material and test the extent to which students can carry out work independently
  • Presentations and group projects promote teamwork and develop your communication skills.

Course content for year 1

This is a foundation year, compromising of two core areas, classical and contemporary social theory, and research methods. Students will acquire the basic conceptual resources for tackling substantive and theoretical issues in their second and third years of the degree.

You will study 120 credits of courses.


  • Researching Culture and Society
  • From Modernity to Postmodernity I
  • From Modernity to Postmodernity II

Optional (at least two of these):

  • Media, Self & Imagined Community
  • Media, Culture and Society
  • Sociology of Personal Life
  • British Society in a Globalising World
  • Work, Organisations and Society

You can also choose another optional unit or take 20 credits of free choice courses.

Free choice units

Go beyond the boundaries of your degree with University College for Interdisciplinary Learning

Study a language and improve your career prospects

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Foundations of Social Thought SOCY10421 20 Mandatory
Contemporary Social Thought SOCY10432 20 Mandatory
Researching Culture and Society SOCY10440 20 Mandatory
British Society in a Globalising World SOCY10401 20 Optional
Media, Culture & Society SOCY10441 20 Optional
Global Social Challenges SOCY10462 20 Optional
Sociology of Personal Life SOCY10471 20 Optional
Work, Organisations and Society SOCY10912 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

In the  second year  you build on your previous courses but can also begin to specialise in certain areas if you wish. There are compulsory research methods courses in qualitative methods and survey research, but all other courses are optional. In the Research Methods modules you will develop skills such as interviewing, analysis of documents, ethnography, and secondary survey analysis.

The aim is to enable you to conduct independent research and to prepare you for your third year dissertation. In addition, Sociology normally offers about ten optional course units in Year Two, from which you can choose up to four. The course units cover a range of perspectives and issues, for example gender and sexuality, racism and ethnicity, globalisation, new media, popular music, sustainability and consumption, the environment, and work and the economy.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Qualitative Research Design & Methods SOCY20091 20 Mandatory
The Survey Method in Social Research SOST20012 20 Mandatory
Sociology of Popular Music SOCY20012 20 Optional
Sociology of Nature, Environment and Risk SOCY20022 20 Optional
Work, Economy and Society SOCY20031 20 Optional
Social Network Analysis SOCY20041 20 Optional
Education and Society SOCY20052 20 Optional
Sociology of Science SOCY20081 20 Optional
Sustainability, Consumption & Global Responsibilities SOCY20232 20 Optional
New Media SOCY20241 20 Optional
Global Migration SOCY20271 20 Optional
Social Change in China SOCY20281 20 Optional
Self and Society SOCY20402 20 Optional
Gender, Sexuality and Culture SOCY20891 20 Optional
Racism and Ethnicity in the UK SOCY20962 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 15 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In your final year you can choose from a wide range of units which reflect the current research of our staff, including urban sociology, protest and social movements, the family, multicultural Britain, debates in social theory, and human-animal relations.

You'll also undertake a dissertation, based upon independent empirical research or theoretical work. You are encouraged to select your own topic and are provided with supervision from a lecturer.

The aim is to build on the research methods training of the previous two years and enable you to acquire some experience in designing and carrying out your own research.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Sociology of Human Animal Relations SOCY30041 20 Optional
Urban Sociology SOCY30061 20 Optional
Reproduction & New Medical Technologies SOCY30072 20 Optional
Forced Migration SOCY30082 20 Optional
Changing Social Attitudes SOCY30092 20 Optional
Post-Colonial Theory & Politics SOCY30112 20 Optional
Sociology of the Body SOCY30141 20 Optional
Secrets, Lies & Mass Deception SOCY30151 20 Optional
Identity, Power & Modernity SOCY30171 20 Optional
Multicultural Britain SOCY30272 20 Optional
Applications of Social Networks SOCY30292 20 Optional
Power and Protest SOCY30461 20 Optional
The Sociology of Family Life and Intimacy SOCY30842 20 Optional
Dissertation (20 credits) SOCY30920 20 Optional
Dissertation B (40 credits) SOCY30930 40 Optional
Gender, Time and Change SOCY30981 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 16 course units for year 3

What our students say

'Sociology at Manchester is engaging, thought-provoking and exciting.'

Amy Ibister , BSocSc Sociology student.

'The Professional Development for Sociologists (PRoD) sessions in my course are really useful especially when it comes to planning for my future career.

From these sessions I've learnt more about what to do with my sociology degree and how to prepare my profile. As a result of this, I started looking around for part-time jobs, internship and volunteering opportunities to improve my CV.'

Sherita Tam , Sociology student.

  • 96% of students agreed that our staff are good at explaining things and make the subject interesting (Source: Unistats)


Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: