Undergraduate study
Sociology

BSc (Hons) Sociology

UCAS code: L300 BSc/Soc

What social forces shape our everyday lives? How can we understand, explain and link local, national and global societies? What factors shape our opinions on and attitudes to social issues, society in general and other people?

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Up to 5 years

More part-time details

  • Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342308

Contact details

Further information

 

The study of sociology at Teesside University is framed in the local with a global focus, giving a grounded context of modern life. It addresses historical and contemporary issues and investigates topics such as work, social diversities, social inequalities, leisure and youth, and social exclusion.

This degree encourages you to think critically about the world in which you live. An understanding of people and their interactions equips you to explore our lives and our experiences, and ask whether governments and social policies can improve the lives of ordinary people.

As well as acquiring a good foundation of knowledge of sociological theories, you can specialise in areas as diverse as globalisation, gender, social media and social policy in context. Many of the skills you gain as a sociologist are valued by employers, and the vocationally orientated modules on offer enable you to explain, analyse and intervene within contemporary social and political issues.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Crime and Society

This introduction to criminological theories, media representations of crime and the way in which we understand crime and deviance in contemporary society serves as a foundation to further criminological theory modules at levels 5 and 6.

You gain the solid basis of knowledge needed to explore debates about who commits crime, why crime is committed and why crime is seen as a social problem. You are introduced to a range of classic and traditional theoretical perspectives which provide the foundations for more complex and contemporary theoretical perspectives later in the programme.

Making Sense of Society 1

An introduction to major sociological concepts and theories, key theorists and the development of the subject. Lectures and seminars demonstrate the application of theory to contemporary concerns such as issues relating to:
• inequality
• social class
• consumption
• education
• gender and sexuality
• race and ethnicity
• globalisation
• urbanisation.

You learn how sociological knowledge is constructed, and how popular theoretical models have been applied to the study of everyday life.

You begin to understand how to synthesise, evaluate and compare competing theoretical approaches in sociology and learn about the relationships between sociological theory, empirical research and applied policy and practice.

Social Policies and Social Change

This module adopts a multidisciplinary approach to the transformation of UK governance through the last 30 years. You contextualise these changes with an exploration of events from the fall of the Berlin Wall, through to 9/11 and the present decade.

You then consider the effect of these global changes on changing forms of UK governance and policy, from Thatcherism through to New Labour and the coalition. A particular focus is on the 2008 crisis and subsequent austerity. You explore how austerity measures impacted claimants and the disabled, along with debates around inequality and inclusion. We also chart the impact of neoliberalism on different policy sectors.

Sociology of Teesside 1: Sociology in Context

Sociology offers a lens through which to see the workings of the world, and the world on our doorstep is Teesside, an area of the UK whose history and circumstance is intimately tied in to global processes of industrialisation and deindustrialisation.

This module introduces a spatial context to sociology by setting the discipline's theories, evidence and debates onto a temporal narrative of Teesside and the wider north east region. You develop an understanding of how the political economy of national and global society plays out in, and/or is influenced by, particular places at particular times.

This is the opening module of a three year stream (linking to modules at levels 5 and 6) that gives you the opportunity to consider real issues in real places in real time.

Study Skills for Social Scientists

Develop and strengthen the skills needed to study social sciences in a higher education learning environment.

Skills include operating effectively within the University’s formal framework, time management, organisation of academic work, analytical thinking, writing, referencing and the use of basic research and data presentation techniques.

You also develop employability skills such as CV building and learn how best to seek work experience through volunteering and placements.

 

Year 2 core modules

Identities of Work and Leisure

Explore work, leisure and identities in sociological contexts. Analyse the changing nature of working life, including paid work, unpaid work - such as volunteering and domestic labour - and unemployment.

This module charts changes in society that have affected the types of employment available, the ways we think about work and how these factors may contribute to the construction of identity. We consider for example, the decline of industrial manufacturing, the rise of service sector jobs and globalised markets and the impact this may have on working class identity.

You also also examine types of leisure and the significance of leisure on social lives, with a particular focus on identities. Do we identify more with the work we do or the things we do outside of work? And does the type of work we do have an impact on this? In an economic climate of consumerism do we put more energy into our leisure than our work – and if so, why?

Power, Globalisation and Consumer Theory

This module focusses on social theory and its relevance for understanding, analysing and acting in contemporary societies on a western and global level.

Traditional and contemporary sociological theories are outlined, analysed and evaluated, particularly in terms of their usefulness for understanding and responding to prominent world issues. The nature and context of globalisation is a theme which runs throughout the module. The implications of social theory and globalisation for contemporary social and political policy is also considered.

Research Skills for Social Scientists

Develop a more advanced understanding of research methods and build on the foundations you gained through Study Skills for Social Scientists in Year 1.

You learn why researchers use particular research methods to investigate specific social issues and how to evaluate methodological decisions. You also develop a sound understanding of ethical and practical issues in research. And you take part in practical activities to develop your skills in designing, conducting and analysing research.

Social Diversities

Throughout this module, you consider different aspects of sociology, particularly social and cultural diversities and social institutions. You also carry out some in-depth study along a particular line of sociological inquiry, drawing on the focussed expertise and experience of teaching staff and through self-directed learning.

Sociology of Teesside 2: Research and Policy in Context

Building on Sociology of Teesside 1, this module investigates topical issues in relation to research and policy with a specific focus on Teesside.

You contextualise research and policy on Teesside within a wider global, political and economic perspective. You also consider issues such as the relationship between research and policy, the role of universities and other education providers in an area like Teesside, and look at how we seek to examine and sociologically understand, an area such as Teesside.

This module has a firm research focus and draws on research being conducted in Teesside and the wider region. Research techniques are critically examined allowing you to develop an understanding of the relationship between research and policy in practice. This module has a strong employability focus and engages with local agencies and services.

 

and one optional module

Gender, Sex and Sexuality

This module is divided into four core elements, each delivered in a block of six lectures.

The first block gives you a comprehensive overview of key theorists’ explanations about how we become gendered.

Block two investigates alternative explanations and a critical reading of these explanations through the lens of queer theory.

Block three examines how we make sense of gender through contemporary sociological theories.

Block four applies the different elements of the previous three blocks to various practice settings.

Media, Social Media and Society

In an information age we are surrounded by news, information, advertising and social media. In this context, how do we begin to explain the importance of the media? And how do we begin to identify the impact of the media on our everyday lives?

By investigating the construction of news, the development of the mass media, advertising, ideology, hegemony, manipulation, media cultures, globalisation, commercialisation and social networks, this module encourages you to question where information comes from and how it shapes opinion, policy and behaviour.

We question the media in our everyday lives and consider for example if social media is a potential tool for grassroots organisations and political protest or if it is a commercial tool for advertising revenue which serves to break down actual social bonds.

Volunteering

You gain an understanding of the different ways volunteering is conceptualised in contemporary society. and critically examine the voluntary and community sector and the landscape of volunteering through policy, practice and research.

You have the opportunity to enhance your employability and gain academic credit by volunteering and you develop and strengthen your personal, professional and transferable skills. By contributing to the development of a chosen organisation you develop knowledge and understanding of volunteering in various sectors.

Youth, Cultures and Transitions

This module provides an up-to-date, in-depth, research-based understanding of youth culture and transitions in Britain. It brings together the two major traditions of youth research in the UK: the study of youth culture, sub-culture and identity; and the study of the transition to adulthood.

The first half of the module is concerned with the key trends, debates and studies of youth culture and how studies of working-class sub-cultures have been theorised, youth (sub) culture and post-modernity.

The module then addresses youth transition, describing and analysing the various social, cultural, economic and psychological factors that affect the transition from school to work. Studies from North East England are used to combine cultural studies of young people with a focus on youth transitions.

 

Final-year core modules

Contemporary Social Theory

An introduction to cutting edge contemporary theory and research from sociology, psychology, political-economy, philosophy and economics.

The content of this module is organised into key themes to illuminate the ways that social theory and research can aid our understanding of society’s biggest questions. These include: what impact has the financial crisis and austerity had on our faith in capitalism? To what extent is freedom of choice liberating in a culture and economy built on consumption? Can we prevent climate change? Is there a place for faith and religion in a postmodern society built on the rejection of universal truths?

By trying to move beyond traditional interpretations and explanations, you investigate contemporary issues with contemporary ideas.

Research Project

Following a clear academic structure, you produce a research proposal and a written dissertation of no more than 10,000 words.

This project allows you to define your own research design, methods and questions and to focus on a particular area of study over an extended period. You may choose a library based dissertation, an empirical study or a piece of active research in collaboration with a public or third party organisation.

Youth and Social Exclusion: the Sociology of Teesside

Through this module, you consolidate your understanding of some of the principal issues in current youth research with an emphasis on social exclusion and inclusion.

You interrogate theoretical debates about social exclusion and the so called underclass, drawing on original research from Teesside. You focus on the central claims behind underclass theories and consider the social exclusion and youth policy concerns that have emerged as a result (e.g. youth crime, youth unemployment and young parenthood).

You also examine a range of social issues related to youth transition and social exclusion/inclusion in the UK, drawing on local research where possible (e.g. NEETs, youth homelessness, young people and health/ill-health, child poverty, graduate un- and under-employment, and cultures of worklessness).

The final part of the module broadens your learning by extending discussion and analysis from Teesside and the UK through an explicitly comparative approach to theorising youth and social exclusion in a panoramic, global context.

 

and one optional module

Are We Doing Youth Justice?

This module is divided into four core elements, each delivered in a block of six lectures, of which the final lecture focuses on key themes and contents. The first block provides a comprehensive picture of the youth justice system, as established post 1997 by New Labour.

Block two explores criminological, sociological and psychological explanations of youth offending.

Block three examines the idea of unruly youth from a historical perspective of the regulation of (gendered) childhood and the relevance of social class in identifying and explaining youth offending.

Block four examines key questions and themes of block one, two and three in relation to their implicit implications and underlying ideologies in terms of how young offenders are conceptualised and dealt with in England and Wales’ youth justice system today.

Crime and Consumer Culture

This module introduces you to the rich vein of criminological research and theory on the relationship between crime and global consumer culture.

After a period of perceived injustice, the 2011 urban riots in England saw ‘aggravated shopping’ committed by people who seemed to have little else on their minds. Is Britain a nation of consumer addicts, and if so does this combine with other factors to drive some people to crime? How can politics and policy respond to the problem?

You investigate the rise of acquisitive crime that occurred alongside the rise of consumer culture in the late 20th and early 21st century. You also cover the history of consumerism, critiques of consumer culture, the global consumer marketing industry, the empirical relationship between consumer culture and crime, identity and social exclusion, the social psychology of consumer culture, and criminality and the politics of regulation.

Independent Studies

This module allows you to study a theorist or a social scientific debate in depth throughout the academic year. It encourages independent learning and assumes a high degree of autonomy.

You choose two topics and produce a piece of assessed work on each (see your options below). After initial group sessions, the module runs through individual tutorials. You’re expected to spend a considerable amount of time reading materials appropriate to your area of study.

Inside Out

Leisure, Pleasure and Harm

Explore new developments in sociology and criminology and consider the notion of deviant leisure. We study activities considered as leisure pursuits which consumers engage in with the ultimate aim of gaining pleasure.

Through study of a range of topics and issues, you learn to critically analyse our leisure, pleasure and consumption choices with reference to criminological and sociological analyses of harm, crime and identity. Consider how – in our quest for pleasure, through leisure and consumption – we negotiate realities of harm.

Mentoring

This module gives you the chance to mentor someone on a one-to-one basis for one hour a week for 12 - 15 weeks. Placements are varied and may include mentoring pupils from Years 10 and 11 in secondary schools, mentoring international students, or working in third sector organisations.

Alternatively, you can arrange your own mentoring placement in an alternative setting, subject to the module leader’s approval. In addition to exploring practical aspects of mentoring, you consider different theoretical and practice models, and use research evidence to determine best practice. There is strong tutor support and supervision throughout the module.

Migration and Development

This module examines the historical and contemporary processes of transnational migration and international development that have occurred in the context of capitalist globalisation.

The module is broadly divided into two parts. The first part focuses on development and covers: the meaning of development; theories of development; poverty; war and development; the role and place of Islam; and globalisation.

The second part of the module examines migration and considers: the concept of transnationalism; forced migration; the economics of migration; migration and cultural issues; and, migration and recent political debates.

Moral Economy of Criminal Justice

Explore the moral economy of criminal justice, and gain an original, analytical perspective on the discipline.

The first part of the module introduces intellectual and moral resources which draw on western philosophical heritage, theology, personalism, symbolic ethics, and moral conditions before and after the Industrial Age.

The second part of the module puts these intellectual and moral resources to work to analyse developments in criminal justice, including penal policy and probation, from 1979 into the present.

Particular reference is made to the conservative period of criminal justice between 1979 and 1997; New Labour between 1997 and 2010; and the coalition government from 2010 to 2015 and beyond.

Prison and the Prisoner Experience

This module explores the relationship between philosophies of punishment and applied methods and strategies of penal intervention, paying particular attention to the ethical conflicts and dilemmas that emerge.

Retaining a focus on the key principles of security, control, and justice, you explore issues of differential treatment, the response and adaptation of prison populations to penal practices and regimes, the internal culture of the prison, and role of the prison officer.

The impact of social and economic change and the influence of neo-liberalism on penal policy and practice are examined in depth to allow for a critical understanding of contemporary penal systems. The module also includes critical analysis of the impact of human rights law on the treatment of prisoners.

Race, Crime and Social Exclusion

An exploration of the ways the categories of race, ethnicity and social class are constructed and represented by the various forms and institutions that constitute the criminal justice system and wider systems of social control.

You examine the ideological, historical, economic and socio-political context of how race and class came to be associated with crime and criminal justice. We discuss how this association has been generated in part through early criminological discourse and through contemporary academic assessment of evidence and explanations about whether, and to what extent, minority ethnic criminality and victimisation is constructed through racism.

Case studies of criminality and victimisation, policing, stop and search, the courts, penality, genocide, and racial violence are used. You are asked to acquaint yourself with relevant theoretical and policy perspectives and debates about minority ethnic groups in relation to the criminal justice system, and to ask yourself whether theories of racism can enhance a criminological understanding of this area.

Understanding Domestic and Sexual Violence

Critically examine the nature, extent and impact of sexual and domestic violence from a range of academic, theoretical, research, policy and practitioner perspectives. Explore the links between the various aspects of domestic and sexual violence, including rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, honour based violence and sexual exploitation.

You engage with the conceptual, methodological and ethical issues which characterise historically hidden problems – and we focus on the continued need for sensitivity in exploring and addressing these issues. The module traces the emergence of sexual and domestic violence as criminological problems, and critically examines the changing legal, policing, criminal justice and community responses.

Understanding Drugs in Society

The study of drugs and drug use is at an important stage and views of drug use are changing. This module introduces key issues and debates in the field of drug use and misuse. It critically examines the changing status of drug use and the way drug use is conceived as problematic for individuals and societies. The module also highlights how changing attitudes and policy towards drug use reflect broader socio-economic and cultural changes.

You examine how drug policies have attempted to control and regulate intoxication in society by different health and crime prevention strategies. You consider: changing patterns of drug use and the implications of this change for drug users; the representation of drugs and drug use in popular culture; the nature of care provision for ‘problem’ drug users; the conflicting nature of drugs education and the dichotomy between harm reduction and ‘just say no’ strategies and crime prevention strategy as it relates to the ‘war on drugs’.

You also explore possible future policy alternatives such as legalisation and de-criminalisation and examine nations that have taken a more lenient approach to drug use. The module draws on current local, national and international research into social aspects of drug use. You are encouraged to draw on numerous resources including the media and popular culture, the internet, social networking and your own experiences.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

All modules are taught through a combination of lectures, practicals, workshops and seminars. In lectures specific information is delivered to larger groups while in the smaller group sessions you can explore issues in more depth, supported by independent study. Examples of smaller group sessions include case study work, media analysis, poster presentations, discussions, debates and field trips. You learn how to use all our extensive facilities such as electronic journals, virtual learning environments and computer programs.

How you are assessed

Assessment is varied and includes essays, presentations, projects, case studies, examinations and a dissertation. Some modules have several pieces of assessed work to help you develop your skills throughout the academic year.


Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
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Career opportunities

Expect opportunities in the public sector, journalism, social research, community development, non-governmental organisations and postgraduate study or training.

All programmes are designed to incorporate employability skills development alongside your degree course. Our staff utilise their extensive connections to provide many and varied opportunities to engage with potential employers through fairs, guest lecture sessions, live projects and site visits. In addition we offer a series of workshops and events in the first, second and third year that ensure all students are equipped with both degree level subject knowledge PLUS the practical skills that employers are looking for in new graduate recruits. We also offer extensive support for students to find and secure sandwich year placements which have been shown to make have significant positive impact on a student’s career prospects on graduation.

Our award winning careers service works with regional and national employers to advertise graduate positions, in addition to providing post-graduation support for all Teesside University alumni.

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 72-88 tariff points from at least two A levels (or equivalent). You must have GCSE English Language at grade C (or equivalent). We recommend an Access course if you're a mature student.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

Part-time

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How to understand the Key Information Set

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Up to 5 years

More part-time details

  • Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342308

Contact details

Further information