(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Sociology (Including Foundation Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
UK and EU applicants:
All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you
- think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
- have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
- are returning to university after some time away from education; or
- are looking for more support during the transition into university study.
Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.
Examples of the above tariff may include:
- A-levels: DDD
- BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
- T-levels: Pass with E in core
If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.
Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:
We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.
Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.
IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications
If you are an international student requiring a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.
Rules of assessment
Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.
Dr Aneira Edmunds
Senior Lecturer School of Law, Politics & Sociology
External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment.
External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course.
They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards.
External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.
- To provide students with an understanding of the distinctive character of sociological thinking (B).
- To provide students with a knowledge of the main theoretical traditions of sociology (B).
- To provide students with an understanding of the main sociological methods (B).
- To develop students' capacity for critical enquiry, argument and analysis.
- To develop students' capacity for independent learning.
- To provide students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to further study and research.
Reference to the QAA Benchmarks for Sociology are indicated by the letter B.
Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods
On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:
A: Knowledge and understanding
A1: A knowledge of the intellectual foundations of sociology
A2: A knowledge of key sociological concepts and theories
A3: An understanding of the relationships between individuals, groups and social institutions
A4: An understanding of social context, culture, social diversity and social change
A5: A knowledge of the relationship between theory, concepts and substantive issues
A6: A knowledge of the principles of research design and the main approaches to data collection
A7: An understanding of the analysis and interpretation of empirical data
A8: A knowledge of the epistemological, ethical and political dimensions of sociological research
The Department uses lectures to present material - ideas, data and arguments - in a clear and structured manner using examples, mapping the field and the contours of debates.
Lectures are also used to stimulate students' interest in the area under discussion.
In each course the issues and arguments covered in lectures are explored further through weekly classes or workshops for which students have to prepare.
The curriculum is designed to involve clear progression between the foundational work in the first year and the subsequent compulsory courses.
In particular there is a strong emphasis on developing students theoretical understanding of sociological work through the progressive structuring of the material in SC111, SC201 and SC301.
Their sociological knowledge and understanding is further enhanced by the work that they do for their options.Classes, and preparation for classes, provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the courses.
In addition student learning takes place through the work they do preparing essays and assignments.
In the first year students have to produce a glossary of sociological concepts and a sociological journal on a topic of their choice for SC111 and have a required examination question on key concepts.
SC111 also specifically introduces students to examples of ongoing research in the Department.
Students also do methodological assignments for SC101 including a statistical test and a piece of observational work.
On SC203 students gain knowledge of research methods through workshops and small groups, in the context of preparation for the final year project.
In the second year theory course, SC201, there is a particular focus on reading key sociological texts.
In their third year all students on the degree have to produce an essay on epistemological issues for SC301 and also have to carry out independent work for a research project on SC831, for which they receive some individual supervision.
Outcomes A1 to A8 are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations.
Coursework includes essays, a sociological journal, the glossary, a statistics test and an observational study.
Written examinations not only include standard essay type questions, but SC201 involves a compulsory question interpreting a passage of text from a sociological classic.
In addition, the assessed work for all third-year students includes a research project.
B: Intellectual and cognitive skills
B1: An ability to understand, summarise and critically assess sociological work
B2: An ability to compare competing theories and explanations
B3: An ability to develop a reasoned argument
B4: An ability to formulate sociological questions
B5: An ability to assemble, evaluate and interpret evidence
Students enhance the above intellectual skills primarily through the work they do for their courses, although lectures and classes provide a means of teachers demonstrating these skills through example, and in the first year staff give specific presentations on their ongoing sociological research.
Preparation for classes and class presentations involve the reading, interpretation and evaluation of original sociological texts and the collection and evaluation of empirical data.
Class tutors provide feedback on class presentations and contributions to classes through comment and discussion.
Similarly the preparation of essays and other assignments also develops the listed intellectual skills.
Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development.
Their work for both the first-year journal and the third-year research project is also vital to the Department's learning and teaching strategy for this degree.
Outcomes B1 to B4 are judged and evaluated in every piece of assessed work that the student has to do as part of this degree scheme.
B1 is specifically assessed through a coursework essay for SC201 and a compulsory examination question requiring the interpretation of a passage from a classic text.
Not all assignments require the evaluation and interpretation of empirical evidence (B5) though many do, but these skills are particularly assessed in some of the assignments for SC101.
On all courses students are required to marshal material in order to expound an argument.
C: Practical skills
C1: An ability to retrieve relevant sociological evidence using bibliographic and web searches.
C2: An ability to summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings
C3: An ability to frame a research proposal and to identify and apply the appropriate research methods
C4: An ability to apply introductory statistical techniques to sociological data
C5: An ability to demonstrate reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material
C6: An ability to conduct and present a small scale piece of research
C7: An ability to recognise how sociological skills can be used within employment contexts
In the first year assignments cover tasks such as producing a bibliography on a sociological topic, producing a glossary, describing and evaluating a sociological text and producing a sociological journal.
In addition students do an employability module which consists of a work placement or volunteering, reflections on which inform career decision making.
Throughout the three years of the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and other assessed assignments, giving presentations and doing written examinations.
In SC101, students carry out an observational study and SC111 requires students to produce a journal which demonstrates reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material.
The work for SC 201 includes the detailed examination and interpretation of key sociological texts and in SC203 students frame a research proposal and select the appropriate research methods.
In addition the third year project for SC831 is particularly valuable in developing students practical sociological skills.
Some of these skills are further developed through the work students do for their optional courses.
Students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations.
Study skills advice and training is available from the Student Support Officer in the Resource Room, which is dedicated to this purpose.
Skill C1 is specifically assessed in a first year assignment, but also forms part of the assessment of almost every piece of assessed coursework.
Skill C2 is assessed in the majority of pieces of assessed coursework and written examinations, and particularly in the assignments for SC201, including a compulsory question unseen examination question on interpreting a passage from a classic text.
C3 is assessed in SC203 and in the project (SC831), skill C4 is assessed in a statistics test for SC101, C5 is assessed in the journal for SC111, in observational work for SC101, and in the course assignments for SC203.
C6 is also assessed in SC101 and SC203, as well as in the research project (SC831).
D: Key skills
D1: An ability to present ideas and evidence to others in a clear and concise manner
D2: An ability to collect and present materials using information technology
D3: An ability to read, interpret and draw inferences from statistics and an ability to carry out simple statistical calculations
D4: An ability to identify problems and propose solutions
Generic skills are taught and learned throughout the degree through a range of strategies, for example, requiring students to give oral presentations, through giving them specific assignments such as carrying bibliographic and web searches, through specific assignments requiring numerical skills, and through class discussion and class and essay preparation.
Students have the opportunity to discuss essay plans with staff and are given clear deadlines for their work which they must meet.
They are given feedback on all their coursework and are encouraged to reflect and improve upon their work.
Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in the classes for every course.
Communication skills are assessed throughout the degree through continuous assessed coursework and examinations.
IT skills are a component in the evaluation of most assessed work which require bibliographic and web searches, but there is a particular focus on them in first year assessments such in SC101 where students need to find sources for an archive assignment. Software skills are a key focus of SC203 and SC208 where students are introduced to the NVivo and SPSS packages as the sociological journal and in the literature review assignment for SC203.
Numeracy skills are assessed in the assignments for SC101 and SC203/SC208, which include a statistics quizzes and analysis taskstests.
Problem solving skills are assessed in almost all assignments.
Since the curriculum is structured in a progressive manner, students' skills in improving learning and performance are also assessed through the related structured progression of formal assessed work.