Sociology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad)

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Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Sociology with Human Rights (Including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: BBB

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

For courses with Counselling skills, please note that a satisfactory enhanced DBS check will be required prior to starting any placement(s) for this course. This will be organised by the University. A satisfactory Overseas Criminal Record Check/Local Police Certificate is also required, in addition to a DBS Check, where you have lived outside of the UK in the last 5 years for 6 months or more.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
If you select Essex as your firm choice, you will be able to take advantage of a flexible offer. This offer will specify alternative entry requirements to those published on our website.

If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 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 listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 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.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this 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 here.

Course qualifiers


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

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.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 24 October 2022 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2022/23

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  HU100-4-FY  Foundations of Human Rights  Core  30  30 
02  SC111-4-FY  The Sociological Imagination  Core  30  30 
03  SC101-4-FY  Researching Social Life I  Core  30  30 
04    Option(s) from list or Outside option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05  SC199-4-FY  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  HU200-5-FY  Human Rights & Social Justice: Structures, Theory and Practice  Core  30  30 
02  SC201-5-FY  Power and Agency in a Global World  Compulsory  30  30 
03  SC202-5-AU  Analysing Social Life  Compulsory  15  15 
04    SC203-5-SP or SC208-5-SP  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
05    2nd year Sociology option(s) from list or outside option(s)  Optional  30  30 
06  SC199-5-FY  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  AW600-6-FY  Abroad Modules 60 Credits  Compulsory  60  60 

Year 3 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  HU300-6-FY  Selected Issues in Human Rights  Compulsory  30  30 
02  SC301-6-FY  Rethinking Modernity  Compulsory  30  30 
03    Capstone option from list  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
04    Final year Sociology option(s) from list or outside option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05  SC199-6-FY  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

1. To provide students with an understanding of the distinctive character of sociological thinking (B) together with an understanding of human rights from a multidisciplinary perspective
2. To provide students with a knowledge of the main theoretical traditions of sociology (B) and of human rights
3. To provide students with an understanding of the main sociological methods (B) and of the main methods used in the investigation of human rights
4. To develop students' capacity for critical enquiry, argument and analysis
5. To develop students' capacity for independent learning
6. To provide students with the knowledge and skills to enable them to proceed to further study and research in sociology and in human rights.

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 (b)

A3: An understanding of the relationships between individuals, groups, social practices, social institutions and social structures

A4: An understanding of social inequality, identity, social diversity and social change

A5: A knowledge of the relationship between theory, concepts and empirical evidence

A6: A knowledge of the principles of research design and the main approaches to data collection (b)

A7: An understanding of the analysis and interpretation of empirical data and the value of comparative analysis

A8: A knowledge of the epistemological, ethical and political dimensions of sociological research (b)

A9: An understanding of the essential terms and concepts necessary to comprehend the field of human rights, and of the international, regional and domestic systems to promote and protect human rights

A10: A knowledge of key sociological, philosophical, legal, political, economic and historical perspectives on human rights

A11: A knowledge of some important contemporary human rights problems

Learning methods

The Sociology Department and the Human Rights Centre use 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.

Students' theoretical understanding of sociological work is developed through the progressive structuring of the material in SC111, SC201 and SC301.

Students' understanding of human rights is developed through the progressive structuring of the material in HU 100, HU 200, HU201 and HU 300.

Their sociological and human rights knowledge and understanding is further enhanced through the work 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 critical review, an essay and answer a quiz for SC111 and have a required examination question on key sociological issues and key concepts.

SC111 also specifically introduce students to examples of ongoing research in the Department.

Students also do methodological assignments for SC101 including an ethics reading review, the use of archival data, an essay on quantitative methods and quizzes which test understanding of qualitative and quantitative research terms They have the opportunity to develop methodological skills further in a methods option.

In the second year course, SC201, there is a particular focus on reading key sociological texts.

In their first year in the human rights component, students have to participate in a forum on HU 100, as well as two reports on contemporary human rights issues.

In the second year course, HU200 and HU201, students complete an assignment on the application to a human rights topic of research methods from a range of different disciplines, as well as a quiz; and in the third year course HU 300, students do group presentations and three essays on contemporary human rights problems.

In their third year all students on the degree have to carry out independent work for a research project on the sociology of human rights for SC831 or SC830 which they receive some individual supervision, or they can elect to take one of our other capstone modules (SC340 and SC390). Students on SC390 have the opportunity to develop their knowledge of sociological concepts and theories through practical work-based learning.

Assessment methods

Outcomes A1 to A11 are assessed through coursework and unseen written examinations.

Coursework includes assessed oral presentations, essays, reports, presentations, quizzes, forum participation, critical reviews and data analysis exercises.
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 (b)

B3: An ability to develop a reasoned argument

B4: An ability to formulate sociological questions

B5: An ability to assemble, evaluate and interpret empirical evidence

B6: An ability to understand, summarise and critically assess human rights norms, principles and practices

B7: An ability to compare the approaches of a number of different disciplines to human rights issues

B8: An ability to assemble, evaluate and interpret empirical evidence about human rights

B9: An ability to apply a sociological approach to human rights issues

Learning methods

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 sociological and human rights 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 the third-year research or capstone project is also vital to the Department's learning and teaching strategy for this degree.

Assessment methods

Outcomes B1 to B4 are judged and evaluated in every piece of assessed sociology work that the student has to do as part of this degree scheme.

BI is also specifically assessed through a compulsory question for SC201 requiring the interpretation of a passage of 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, SC203 or SC208.Outcome B6 is evaluated in the work assessed for HU 200, and outcome B7 is evaluated in the work assessed for HU201.

Outcomes B6, B7 and B8 are evaluated in the work assessed for HU 300.

Outcome B 9 is evaluated through the third year research or capstone project.

C: Practical skills

C1: An ability to retrieve evidence using bibliographic and web searches

C2: An ability to compile bibliographies and provide references according to accepted conventions

C3: An ability to use theoretical terms correctly

C4: An ability to summarise, report and evaluate arguments, texts and findings

C5: An ability to frame a research proposal and to identify and apply the appropriate research methods

C6: An ability to plan, conduct and present a small scale piece of research

Learning methods

Throughout the three years of the degree practical skills are developed through preparation for classes, preparing essays and other assessed assignments, undertaking qualitative and quantitative analysis using software, giving presentations and doing written examinations.

In SC101, students carry out an archival analysis and SC111 requires students to undertake a reading review to demonstrate reflexive awareness in interpreting sociological material.
The work for SC 201 includes the detailed examination and interpretation of key sociological texts.

The third year project for SC831 and SC830 are particularly valuable in developing students practical sociological skills.

Some of these skills are further developed through the work students do for Human Rights and optional modules.

Students receive detailed feedback on all their coursework and presentations.

Study skills advice and training is available from the Study Support Manager in the Sociology Study Centre, which is dedicated to this purpose.

Assessment methods

Skill C1 is specifically assessed in a first-year assignment for SC111, but also forms part of the assessment of almost every piece of assessed coursework.

Skill C2 and C 3 are assessed in the majority of pieces of assessed coursework and written examinations.

C4 is particularly assessed in the assignments for SC201 and HU100 and HU300.

C5 is assessed in SC101and SC203/SC208 and C6 in the third year project.

D: Key skills

D1: An ability to present ideas and evidence to others both orally and in writing 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 official statistics; an ability to carry out simple statistical calculations

D4: An ability to identify problems and propose solutions


Learning methods

Generic skills are taught and learned throughout the degree through a range of strategies; for example, through requiring students to give oral presentations, giving them specific assignments such as carrying bibliographic and web searches, giving them 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 deadline for their work which they have to meet.

They are given feedback on all their coursework and are encouraged to reflect on their own work and improve it.

Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in working in groups through their participation in the classes for every course.

Assessment methods

Key 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 in Sc 101 and HU 100 such as the sociological journal and the human rights journal.

Numeracy skills are assessed in the assignments for SC101, which include a statistics tests, and HU200 which includes the ability to interpret a statistical table.
Problem solving skills are assessed in assignments for SC101, and HU 100, 200, and 300.

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.


The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

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