Module code: SOC1052

Module Overview

This FHEQ Level 4 module will look at some of the major theorists and schools of thought in the history of sociology over the last two hundred years. We will begin with an overview of the development of the idea of ‘society’, before moving on to look at the work of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim. Each of these theorists was living at a time when the world was undergoing dramatic – and often bloody – change. As we encounter each theorist we will ask a series of questions: i) what do the offer in terms of a methodology for sociology?; ii) how do they conceive of ‘society’?; and iii) how do they explain the history of society and the changes going on around them? Towards the end of the course, we will begin to explore some critical issues.

Module provider


Module Leader

SEAL Alexander (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 127

Lecture Hours: 12

Seminar Hours: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

1. Understanding the rise of scientific ways of thinking and its relationship to sociological thinking. We begin to understand that, without the enlightenment period, we would not be able to conceptualise the social world in the ways in which we do today.

2. Durkheim, Marx and Weber – with each thinker we initially discuss their approach to sociology and therefore how each of them attempted to conceptualise the social world. We then turn to examining
recurring themes in their work, including: (i) the development of capitalism; (ii) class/division of labour within capitalist society. Through examining these themes, we see how each thinker laid the foundations to conceptualise the fabric of social life we experience today.

3. Critical Issues – where are the female thinkers? We examine the historical conditions that led to sociology becoming male dominated discipline and ask the question of how many historical female thinkers have been erased from the foundations of the discipline. Why also ask the question of how sociology should adapt and evolve in light of these issues.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
School-timetabled exam/test 1 HOUR TIMED ESSAY 50
Examination 1 HOUR EXAMINATION 50

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have developed an understanding of the core classical thinkers and can ‘think critically/reflect’ with this knowledge.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

One seen exam (1 hour);

One unseen exam (1 hour);

Formative assessment and feedback:

The move from a seen exam to an unseen exam is deliberately designed to ensure that the first assignment has clear formative links with the second. Students receive written feedback after the first exam and are also welcome to book individual one-to-one sessions. This provides formative feedback for the second assessment.

Module aims

  • To introduce students to the ‘founding fathers' of sociology/sociological theory
  • To encourage students to critically engage with these theories
  • To begin to explore what it means to ‘think sociologically' and to be ‘reflexive’ about the world around us (and the discipline itself)

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Have developed an initial understanding of classical sociological theory, laying the ground work for further study in this area K
002 Have a set of guidelines for identifying the theoretical underpinnings of the texts they will meet in their first year of sociology
003 Be able to apply theory to their own sociological work CP
004 Be able to begin ‘thinking sociologically’ – and to appreciate that both the world around them, and sociology itself, could be different

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to: introduce students to these core ideas and encourage them to think about and explore these ideas.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Weekly lectures (1 hour per lecture x11 weeks + a revision session);

Weekly tutorials (1 hour per week) where ideas are explored in a more informal setting;

The provision of core readings on SurreyLearn (1 per week);

An open door policy.

At the end of each week, students are ecouraged to reflect on their notes from lectures, tutorials, readings and notes about how they link. They are encouraged to ‘drop-in’ at the end of the week if things are unclear.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC1052

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Media and Communication BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.