Sociology BSc (Hons) - 2024/5

Awarding body

University of Surrey

Teaching institute

University of Surrey


FHEQ Level 6

Final award and programme/pathway title

BSc (Hons) Sociology

Subsidiary award(s)

Award Title
Ord Sociology
DipHE Sociology
CertHE Sociology

Modes of study

Route code Credits and ECTS Credits
Full-time ULE10001 360 credits and 180 ECTS credits
Full-time with PTY ULE10001 480 credits and 240 ECTS credits

QAA Subject benchmark statement (if applicable)


Other internal and / or external reference points


Faculty and Department / School

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - Sociology

Programme Leader

HEMMING Peter (Sociology)

Date of production/revision of spec


Educational aims of the programme

  • To enable students to develop and use a range of academic skills and analytical tools to evaluate and conduct sociological research (involving both quantitative and qualitative data) on contemporary issues relating to society and culture.
  • To facilitate flexibility and individual choice throughout the programme allowing students to have greater agency in their learning, leading to the development of professional and confident graduates.
  • To enable a stimulating, challenging, coherent, and supportive learning and teaching experience, based upon high quality content, delivery, resources, and expertise.
  • To provide students with a well-rounded education in the key concepts, theories and principles of sociology, and their application across a range of relevant substantive areas, including social issues at the local and global scale, inequalities and social justice, and societies and social change.
  • To provide a programme of study that will enable students to fulfil their intellectual, professional, and personal potential through a transformative educational experience.

Programme learning outcomes

Attributes Developed Awards Ref.
Demonstrate knowledge of sociological debates on a range of topics, including key social issues at the local and global scale, inequalities and social justice, and societies and social change. K CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Understand key concepts in sociology and their potential relevance and application to a range of social issues and challenges across a variety of social and cultural contexts. K DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Demonstrate awareness of the main theoretical perspectives and debates in sociology and their application across a variety of substantive sociological topics and issues. K BSc (Hons)
Demonstrate knowledge of different methodological and analytical approaches to the study of social processes and how these can be distinguished from, and evaluated against, each other. K CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Understand the range and role of qualitative and quantitative research methods used in sociological research and how to conduct systematic collection and analysis of research data. K DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Demonstrate awareness of the relationship between sociological arguments and evidence and how research from a variety of sources can be synthesised and critically evaluated. K Ord, BSc (Hons)
Identify, summarise and evaluate sociological debates on a range of topics. C CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Explain and apply key concepts in sociology to a range of social issues and challenges. C DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Critically compare and contrast different theoretical approaches within the discipline. C Ord, BSc (Hons)
Distinguish between and evaluate different methodological and analytical approaches to the study of society and social processes. C CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Plan, conduct and report back on independently produced sociological research making use of appropriate research methods to generate and analyse data. C BSc (Hons)
Synthesise and evaluate sociological research from a variety of sources, including by interrogating the relationship between arguments and evidence. C DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Communicate ideas, principles and theories by oral, written and visual means. P CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Formulate, analyse and solve problems, through both individual resourcefulness and collaborative teamwork. P BSc (Hons)
Work towards targets and deadlines under pressure through careful organisation of time and project management. P CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Demonstrate effective application of digital technologies for a variety of generic and subject specific purposes. P DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Apply and present numerical/statistical and textual/visual data in an appropriate way. P DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Carry out a set of responsibilities in a work environment (for those who undertake a professional placement year only). P Ord, BSc (Hons)
Work effectively, individually and as part of a group to critically reflect on key social issues at the local and global scale, inequalities and social justice, and societies and social change. T CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Develop intercultural awareness and informed views on global, social and ethical issues, including those pertaining to social/environmental wellbeing and sustainability. T DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Apply critical thinking to locate, organise and use appropriate theories and concepts to inform a variety of assignments, including independently produced sociological research. T BSc (Hons)
Design and carry out sociological research using a variety of methods to generate and analyse quantitative and qualitative data, including through use of relevant digital technologies. T BSc (Hons)
Collect, evaluate and utilise relevant primary and secondary sources in order to inform and resolve sociological questions and issues. T CertHE, DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)
Consider the applicability of sociological knowledge, skills and competencies for relevant career destinations and reflect on emerging professional development needs and aspirations. T DipHE, Ord, BSc (Hons)

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Programme structure


This Bachelor's Degree (Honours) programme is studied full-time over three academic years, consisting of 360 credits (120 credits at FHEQ levels 4, 5 and 6). All modules are semester based and worth 15 credits with the exception of project, practice based and dissertation modules.
Possible exit awards include:
- Bachelor's Degree (Ordinary) (300 credits)
- Diploma of Higher Education (240 credits)
- Certificate of Higher Education (120 credits)

Full-time with PTY

This Bachelor's Degree (Honours) programme is studied full-time over four academic years, consisting of 480 credits (120 credits at FHEQ levels 4, 5, 6 and the optional professional training year). All modules are semester based and worth 15 credits with the exception of project, practice based and dissertation modules.
Possible exit awards include:
- Bachelor's Degree (Ordinary) (300 credits)
- Diploma of Higher Education (240 credits)
- Certificate of Higher Education (120 credits)

Programme Adjustments (if applicable)



Year 2 - FHEQ Level 5

Module Selection for Year 2 - FHEQ Level 5

Choose 4 from the listed optional modules (choose 2 modules for each semester). At least 2 of the optional modules must be chosen from the following group; SOC2046, SOC2107, SOC2095, SOC2068, SOC2097.

As part of your optional module selection, you are able to choose up to 15 credits from our range of interdisciplinary modules (subject to availability). For more information please refer to the website (

Year 3 - FHEQ Level 6

Module Selection for Year 3 - FHEQ Level 6

Choose 5 from the listed optional modules (choose 3 modules for Semester 1 and 2 modules for Semester 2). At least 3 of the optional modules must be chosen from following group; SOC3034, SOC3089, SOC3084, SOC3033, SOC3040, SOC3083.

Year 2 (with PTY) - FHEQ Level 5

Module Selection for Year 2 (with PTY) - FHEQ Level 5

Choose 4 from the listed optional modules (choose 2 modules for each semester). At least 2 of the optional modules must be chosen from the following group; SOC2046, SOC2107, SOC2095, SOC2068, SOC2097.

As part of your optional module selection, you are able to choose up to 15 credits from our range of interdisciplinary modules (subject to availability). For more information please refer to the website (

Year 3 (with PTY) - FHEQ Level 6

Module Selection for Year 3 (with PTY) - FHEQ Level 6

Choose 5 from the listed optional modules (choose 3 modules for Semester 1 and 2 modules for Semester 2). At least 3 of the optional modules must be chosen from following group; SOC3034, SOC3089, SOC3084, SOC3033, SOC3040, SOC3083.

Professional Training Year (PTY) -

Module Selection for Professional Training Year (PTY) -

Students taking the PTY Year must choose one of the following modules; SOCP010, SOCP011 or SOCP012

Opportunities for placements / work related learning / collaborative activity

Associate Tutor(s) / Guest Speakers / Visiting Academics Y
Professional Training Year (PTY) Y
Placement(s) (study or work that are not part of PTY) N
Clinical Placement(s) (that are not part of the PTY scheme) N
Study exchange (Level 5) Y
Dual degree N

Other information

Level 4 provides students with a firm foundation in the discipline, developing their sociological imagination through a suite of 6 introductory and compulsory modules, focusing on key concepts and theories, research methods and a range of substantive topics and issues.
Level 5 enables students to further deepen their understanding of sociology through a set of 4 compulsory modules on global challenges and more advanced concepts, theories and methods, as well as a selection of 4 optional modules (from a choice of 8-10), designed to allow students to develop their knowledge in areas of specific interest and relevance for their future aspirations.
The optional Level P offers the chance to spend a full academic year undertaking a work or study-abroad placement (or a mixture of the two), enhancing students¿ professional development and employability skills and enriching their curriculum vitae in preparation for further career pathways.
Level 6 facilitates a more flexible approach where students can specialise in areas of sociology that most align with their individual passions and career plans. This includes a year-long dissertation or independent project module, providing students with the opportunity to research a sociological theme of particular interest, as well as a selection of 5 optional modules (from a choice of 10-12), enabling students to focus in a more in-depth way on topics of their choosing. Students achieving 360 credits will graduate with a BSc (Hons), 300 credits with a BSc (Ord), 240 credits with a Dip HE, and 120 credits with a Cert HE.

The Department of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience:

i. Global and cultural capabilities

Recognising and understanding the significance and impact of diversity, inequality and the lived experience within institutions, communities, and societies is crucial for students on this programme. Likewise, it is also important that they develop a critical appreciation of the global, cultural, social, political, historical, and comparative contexts within which social processes take place, including in relation to contemporary global social challenges and societal change. As such, the central issues of social justice, inclusivity and fairness permeate the programme, with the purpose of developing students¿ global and cultural awareness and intelligence. This is achieved through, for example, module content and delivery, peer to peer learning, the range of assessment strategies, guest speakers with different backgrounds/experiences/points of view, and the creation of a community of learning in which students are encouraged (and at times modestly rewarded) for supporting one another and to see the benefit of this. Individually and collectively these approaches are intended to encourage critical thinking and discussion in relation to these defining issues (including recognising and understanding different international approaches to comparable social problems).

It is expected that students will be actively encouraged to share experiences and knowledge from their own backgrounds and cultures, respect and value different experiences and perspectives, and come to appreciate the value of recognising and appreciating diverse perspectives. Students are therefore expected to embark on the programme with an open mind and a willingness to learn, to engage in discussion, and to broaden their understanding of these aspects of the subject area, and the lived experiences of others. The development of critical thinking skills, empowering students with the ability to recognise ethnocentrism, giving students the confidence to identify and challenge inequalities and discrimination, and fostering empathy are important aspects of this programme. By the conclusion of the programme, students are expected to have gained specialised and applicable knowledge that will enable them to situate information in relation to their own lives and the lives of others, and will be supported throughout to achieve this, for example, through the range of information sources students will be expected to engage with, decolonisation of the curriculum (see below), and via the inputs associated with meeting the needs of diverse learners, as discussed above.

Other aspects central to the development of global and cultural capabilities are discussed elsewhere in this narrative and include decolonisation of the curriculum and embedded diversity and social justice within modules, learning situated within global contexts, growing a sense of community amongst the cohort, developing ¿open-mindedness¿ and teaching students to evaluate evidence rather than conjecture, collaborative and shared working, and creating safe spaces for open and critical discussion. Finally, students will also have the option to study abroad as part of their PTY year, with all of the active and engaging global and cultural experiences that this inevitably brings to the student experience.

ii. Digital capabilities

Developing a sophisticated level of digital skill and confidence amongst students is a clear output of the programme. Throughout their journey, students will learn to utilise the University¿s Virtual Learning Environment, and a range of other digital resources and online databases. Therefore, programme content will require and cultivate a level of digital skill and ability that is demonstrated through engagement with the content and learning materials, assessments, and online library catalogues. All teaching materials and key content will be made available in multimedia forms through Surrey Learn.

Beyond generic student engagement with the module content, delivery, and learning materials, several modules across the programme will offer opportunities for developing specific digital capabilities. This will occur through the teaching content and assessment methods; discussions of theories of digital environments; practical engagement with digital environments, platforms, and techniques; synchronous and asynchronous online delivery; digital communication (e.g. MS Teams); research software packages, presentational tools, data analysis tools (e.g. NVivo, R Studio); and the use of Virtual Reality technology. By the end of their journey, students will therefore have engaged with multiple opportunities to develop, and think critically about their digital capabilities, their digital presence, identity and wellbeing through online interactions, and their understanding of digital impacts on social processes, social justice and other relevant debates (e.g. the effects of social media and generative AI).

iii. Employability

Employability is at the core of this programme, with the intention of delivering learning and other relevant skills that nurture career-ready graduates that will be sought after by employers. The embedding of employability throughout the programme is detailed within each module descriptor. However, these elements of the course can be identified as:

¿ specialist module content, such as in the modules ¿Living Sociology¿ (which includes volunteering and career opportunities for sociologists as a key focus) and ¿Work, Employment and Society in Global Context¿ (which considers issues in the contemporary workplace from a sociological perspective);
¿ the involvement of expert staff, some with practitioner backgrounds;
¿ the opportunity to engage with professional expertise (such as in the field of social and market research);
¿ employability and transferable skills embedded in varied teaching, learning and assessment strategies (such as communication, organisation and numeracy skills);
¿ authentic learning and assessment activities that mirror professional practice across a range of careers (such as creating teaching materials and policy briefings);
¿ the fostering of both independent and collaborative working (the latter through group work assessments and exercises);
¿ the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills, for example through class learning activities or assignments;
¿ the ability to link theory with practice, for example concerning issues of inequality and diversity or global social challenges;
¿ the ability to reflect on one¿s own learning and adopt a reflexive approach to social research;
¿ the ability to appraise evidence, including the relationship between arguments/claims and research data;
¿ dissertation specialisation in topics and themes linking directly to possible career pathways;
¿ professional partner engagement, for example through guest speakers or careers/employability events;
¿ Professional Training Year and placements, offering opportunities for students to gain first-hand experience of the workplace.

iv. Resourcefulness and resilience

Students will be fully supported and guided throughout their journey. However, student engagement requires independence, perseverance, and developing of self-efficacy, which underpin becoming a genuinely resourceful student. The range of modules and the need to integrate into various types of classroom settings, practical activities, individual and collaborative tasks, and online environments, will help to facilitate students¿ self-management skills. Specifically, high levels of active and independent learning will be evident throughout the programme.

In contrast, other aspects of the teaching, learning, and assessment across the programme will be collaborative ¿ for example in the collective investigation of sociological issues within the local community and culture - giving students the opportunity to develop skills in leadership, problem-solving, risk-assessment, negotiation, adaptability, and team-working, whilst requiring them to share and articulate experiences and ideas, and to be supportive and empathetic to others. In addition, as part of the authentic learning experience, students may face uncomfortable learning situations but will be supported to develop their capabilities to adapt and manage these difficult scenarios ¿ please see the individual module descriptors for more detail.

Students will initially benefit from a set of Level 4 modules, which are explicitly designed to develop student resourcefulness and resilience through development of their independent and collaborative learning capabilities and confidence: ¿Social Divisions and Contexts¿ (academic writing and referencing skills), ¿Researching the Social World¿ (information literacy and numeracy skills), ¿Living Sociology¿ (group work skills), and ¿Conceptualising the Social World¿ (critical thinking and presentation skills). These will provide the foundations for the ongoing and continuing development of student resourcefulness and resilience that will be embedded progressively throughout the programme, supported by factors including timetabling that encourages agency in planning workloads, formative and summative assessments, and ¿feedforward¿ and ¿feedback¿.

Further opportunities to develop resourcefulness and resilience skills are also available through PTY and other, shorter, placement provision, both in terms of the supported process of acquiring a position, and ensuring successful completion of the PTY, again with the support of a personal tutor. In addition, the final year dissertation or independent project will enable students to gain particular skills in leadership, resourcefulness, and problem solving through the navigation of ethical considerations, and working in a professional and collaborative partnership with their project supervisor. Opportunities to conduct dissertation research within partner agencies will also be available and will necessarily help to develop students¿ resourcefulness and resilience in a professional context.

Upon completion of the programme, students will have benefited from a network of support, and will have become independent and resourceful learners who are able to appropriately apply confidence, reflection, critical thinking and analysis, and problem-solving skills.

v. Sustainability

Social and political inequalities are embedded within the concept of sustainability, and these issues are vital in understanding social structures and processes. As such, sustainability is recognised throughout this programme, from a macro to a micro level, involving embedded understanding of the concept of sustainability in modules, understanding ethical considerations, having the ability to recognise and challenge social inequality, developing a sense of shared responsibility; and understanding globalisation.

As such, the creation of the programme in this regard has been informed in part by the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations ( As the UN state, at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ¿are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth ¿ all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests¿. The 17 goals have different degrees of relevance for the delivery of this programme, but central to our thinking has been Goal 10 ¿ Reduced Inequalities, along with aspects of Goal 1 - No Poverty, Goal 3 ¿ Good Health and Wellbeing, Goal 4 ¿ Quality Education, Goal 5 ¿ Gender Equality, Goal 8 ¿ Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 11 ¿ Sustainable Cities and Communities, Goal 12 ¿ Responsible Consumption and Production, Goal 13 ¿ Climate Action, and Goal 16 ¿ Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. Throughout the programme, therefore, students¿ awareness of these issues will be enhanced through their learning experiences and, in particular, through the authentic aspects of their activities and assessments.

The Dissertation or independent project also provides a significant opportunity for students to consider ethics in depth, as they individually engage with the respective ethical considerations of their independent research projects. In doing so, they are not only able to demonstrate their own abilities as a future leader but can use such skills and thinking across other areas (for example, to enhance their employability). By the end of the programme, it is expected that students will have developed confidence in their own ability to tackle societal inequalities and promote inclusive and sustainable practice in the future.

Quality assurance

The Regulations and Codes of Practice for taught programmes can be found at:

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 2024/5 academic year.