Sociology with Counselling Skills (Including Placement Year)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2024/25
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
Sociology with Counselling Skills (Including Placement Year)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Sociology and Criminology
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree
BA L330


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).

  • Applied Data Science: In order to be eligible for the qualifier, you must successfully complete the following modules: Year One: SC101 – (30 credits) Researching Social Life I Year Two: SC202 - (15 credits) Analysing Social Life SC208 – (15 credits) Crime and Inequality Across the Life Course Final Year: SC385 – (30 credits) Modelling Crime and Society SC830 – (30 credits) Quantitative Research Project Recommended modules for the pathway: The following modules are recommended options but are not considered essential in passing the pathway: Year Two: GV205 (15 credits) Measuring Public Opinion (requires GV207) GV207 (15 credits) Quantitative Political Analysis SC213 (30 credits) Social Psychology: Self and Interaction SC207 (30 credits) Social Data Science: Code, Text and Networks Final Year: Please note that the following two modules do not run every year. SC308 (15 credits) Race, Ethnicity and Migration SC338 (15 credits) Religion in Modern and Post Modern Societies

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 21 October 2024 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 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC101-4-FY-CO  Researching Social Life  Core  30  30 
02  PA123-4-AU-CO  Understanding Individuals Groups and Organisations : An Introduction to Psychodynamic Concepts  Core  15  15 
03  SC111-4-FY-CO  The Sociological Imagination  Compulsory  30  30 
04  PA125-4-SP-CO  Child, Adolescent and Adult Development: Loss, Conflict and Growth  Compulsory  15  15 
05    Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
06  SC199-4-FY-CO  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC201-5-FY-CO  Power and Agency in a Global World  Compulsory  30  30 
02  PA132-5-AU-CO  Observation Skills for Counselling  Compulsory  15  15 
03  PA411-5-SP-CO  Madness and its Cure  Compulsory  15  15 
04    Sociology methods option from list  Compulsory with Options  15  15 
05    SC204-5-FY or Option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
06    Sociology spring term option from list  Optional  15  15 
07  SC199-5-FY-CO  Career Development and Making a Difference  Compulsory 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC700-6-FY-CO  Placement Year  Core  120  120 

Year 3 - 2027/28

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01    Capstone option from list  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
02  SC301-6-FY-CO  Rethinking Modernity  Compulsory  30  30 
03  PA210-6-AU-CO  Counselling Skills and Therapeutic Work  Compulsory  30  30 
04  SC326-6-AU-CO  Psychiatry and Mental Illness  Compulsory  15  15 
05  SC387-6-SP-CO  The Age of Trauma  Compulsory  15  15 
06  SC199-6-FY-CO  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

  • 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 provide students with basic counselling skills and an overall understanding of the helping relationship.
  • To provide students with an understanding of the nature and the causes of emotional and relational difficulties which influence behaviour.
  • 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.

NB. Some modules may require a DBS check to be carried out.
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 and social institutions (B)

A4: An understanding of social context, culture, social diversity and social change (B)

A5: A knowledge of the relationship between theory, concepts and substantive issues (B)

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

A8: A knowledge of the epistemological, ethical and political dimensions of research in sociology and social psychology (B)

A9: Knowledge of key counselling ideas and techniques

A10: An understanding of the nature and function of the counselling relationship

A11: Understanding how key concepts and issues in sociology and counselling are understood in a different academic and national context (Year Abroad only)

A12: Applying academic learning outcomes in a work-related context (Placement Year only)

Learning methods

A1-8 are acquired via lectures and classes in Sociology which 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.

A9 and A10 are acquired via lectures and workshops in Counselling Skills (delivered by the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies)

In each module 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 modules.

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.

Classes, and preparation for classes, provide the opportunity for students to develop their knowledge and understanding of the content of the modules.

In addition student learning takes place through the work they do preparing essays and assignments.

In the first year on SC101 students are required to produce assignments based on selected empirical and methodological studies in sociology/social science. They also 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.

In the second-year Module 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

Through all stages of the course, Counselling Skills modules are delivered through lectures and seminars for theoretical learning, but also include experiential learning, such as reflective groups and practice workshops.

Assessment methods

Outcomes A1 to A8 are assessed through Module work and unseen written examinations.

Module work includes assessed oral presentations, essays, assignments, journals, and a research proposal.

A9 and A10 are assessed through essays, written observations, observation commentaries and case studies.

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 (B)

B4: An ability to formulate sociological questions

B5: An ability to assemble, evaluate and interpret evidence (b)

B6: A capacity to apply psychodynamic concepts and ideas to individuals, families and groups

B7: An ability to understand and describe the underlying factors behind manifest behaviour

Learning methods

Students enhance the above intellectual skills primarily through the work they do for their modules, although lectures and classes provide a means by which teachers demonstrate these skills.

Preparation for classes and class presentations involves the reading, interpretation and evaluation of sociological and psychodynamic counselling texts and the collection and evaluation of empirical data.

For the observation-based learning in the counselling modules, students will be observing out in the community or in a placement. Students will receive feedback on their own ‘in the community’ or ‘placement based’ observations in observation seminars. Both tutors and students will be contributing to feedback, comment and discussion.

Class tutors provide feedback on class presentations and contributions to classes through comment and discussion.

Similarly, the preparation of essays and other assignments also develop the listed intellectual skills.

Students are provided with feedback on all assessed work and this is crucial to their intellectual development.

Their work for the first, second and third-year journals and the third year research project is also vital to the Department's learning and teaching strategy for this degree.

Assessment methods

Outcomes B1 to B4 are assessed by coursework and exam. 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, and these skills are specifically assessed in some of the assignments for SC203.

B6 and B7 – Counselling Skills modules – are assessed through essays, written observations, observation commentaries and case studies.

On all Modules 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 sociologial material.

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

C7: An ability to take up an observer role and observe the detail in human behaviour

C8: A capacity for self-awareness and to reflect on personal experience

C9: An ability to develop a psychodynamic stance in placement-based work

Learning methods

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.

In PA123 students carry out observations in the community and in a placement, developing skills in psychodynamic observation including greater self-awareness and reflective practice.

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 PA236 students will be studying case studies in the light of distinct theoretical approaches.

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.

Assessment methods

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).

C7, C8, C9 are assessed by written observation commentaries and via the subjective and reflective elements of all Counselling Skills assignments.

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

D4: An ability to carry out simple statistical calculations

D5: An ability to identify problems and propose solutions

D6: An ability to plan work and manage time


D8: Become effective in interpersonal functioning

Learning methods

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 Module work 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 Module.

In Counselling Skills modules students are encouraged to take up the opportunity of learning about their own communicative and interpersonal functioning within seminar discussion and reflective groups. Problem solving skills are developed by the assessment of case examples and via discussion in psychoanalytic observation seminar.

Assessment methods

Communication and debating skills are assessed throughout the degree by continuous assessed Module work (including oral presentation) 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 assessments such as the sociological journal and in the literature review assignment for SC203.

Numeracy skills are assessed in the assignments for SC203, which includes the computer application of statistical procedures.

D1, D7 and D8 are assessed in Counselling Skills modules by essay, observation commentary, case study and reflective reports. D5 - Problem solving is assessed via all assignments but particularly in case studies.

Problem solving skills are assessed in almost all assignments.

Since the curriculum is structured in a progressive manner, student skills in improving learning and performance are also assessed through the related structured progression of formal assessed work.


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