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Undergraduate study

Sociology BSc (Hons)

Sociology offers a distinctive and enlightening way of seeing and understanding the social world we live in, and looks beyond normal, taken-for-granted views to provide deeper, more illuminating and challenging understandings of social life.


L300 BSc/Soc

Course routes:


Course overview

Foundation year

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

If you have an enquiring mind, are interested in key sociological issues in response to these questions, and being part of the solution, then sociology is for you.

You develop high level analysis, research and writing skills which are highly valued by employers in the public sector, journalism, social research, community development, non-governmental organisations and postgraduate study or training.

Sociology at Teesside addresses historical and contemporary issues, and investigates topics such as work, social diversities, social inequalities, leisure and youth, and social exclusion.

You think critically about the world you live in, gain an understanding of people and their interactions, lives and experiences, and consider whether governments and social policies can improve the lives of ordinary people. You can specialise in areas as diverse as globalisation, gender, social media and social policy in context.

Top reasons to study this course

  • Our Inside Out programme sees undergraduates and those in custody apply to work on the same module together – it’s real-life experience.
  • Staff are research active and widely published, which underpins their teaching, and means you gain a contemporary, authentic learning experience.
  • Build up your general interest in sociology to specialise in your final year on your own piece of research.
  • Opportunities for work experience or a work-related learning project, including Volun-tees, across areas such as drug projects, youth projects and victim support. These credits can help you make employment decisions and provide real world experience to include on your CV.

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Course details

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Media Representations

This module offers critical investigation into the role played by the media in contemporary society. In an 'information age' characterised by media representations and spectacle, our lives are increasingly mediated; we are surrounded by 24 hour news, social media, and advertising. How do we begin to explore the importance of media in contemporary society? How do we begin to consider the impact of mass media on our lives? By investigating the media from a sociological perspective, we can begin to consider how the news is created (including 'fake news'), the 'reality' of reality TV and social media, the impact advertising has on our lives, hegemony, ideology and manipulation, as well the role of media on behaviour. Finally, can media content tell us something about the reality of contemporary society? Does it reflect as well as distract?

Principles of Criminology

The module seeks to provide an introduction to criminological theories and the way in which we understand crime and deviance in contemporary society. The module is designed to serve as a foundation to further criminological theory modules in levels 5 and 6. The intention is to provide a sound basis on which to explore debates about who commits crime, why crime is committed and why crime is seen as a social problem. Students will be introduced to a range of classic and traditional theoretical perspectives which will provide the foundations for more complex and contemporary theoretical perspectives later in the programme.

Principles of Sociology

This module provides students with principles and issues related to classical social theory. The key theorists include Durkheim, Marx, Weber and Veblen. Lectures and seminars will demonstrate the application of theory to relevant sociological concepts. This enables students to apply theoretical models to the study of everyday life. A key aim is to encourage students to begin to understand how one can synthesize, evaluate and compare competing theoretical approaches in sociology. In doing so, students will be offered a way of appreciating the relationships between classical sociological theory, empirical research and applied policy and practice, and how such relationships have emerged historically. Furthermore, the module will provide students with the theoretical competence to argue whether classical sociological theory remains relevant when analysing contemporary policy and practice.

Research in Practice

This year-long module introduces students to the concept of Criminology and Sociology in Practice. Through group projects, students will work on live practical problems and questions related to contemporary issues in Sociology and Criminology. Under the guidance of an academic supervisor, the module will introduce basic research skills, ethical considerations, data analysis and dissemination of findings.  This module presents an opportunity to contextualise subject learning in real life examples that may include collaboration with external agencies, businesses and organisations. Projects may include questions on drugs, mental health, housing, policing, victims of crime, domestic violence, fear of crime, austerity, and the night-time economy. 

Sociological Approaches to Children and Young People

You are introduced to key theories about the place of children and young people in society, focusing on the relationship between the individual and society, history, and social change to develop an understanding of this area. You gain the skills to critically analyse the role of government and services and consider a variety of explanations for the different life chances experienced by groups of children and young people.

The Sociology of Place

This module will introduce themes and concepts related to the sociology of place. The relationship between individuals, communities and place reflects the complex dynamics of modern living. Urban life has long been a focus of investigation for sociology and criminology and this module will provide an overview of this historical development, as well as key themes and issues related to urban life today. This may include themes such as crime, health, gentrification, tourism and community. The module aims to provide critical and analytical skills to consider place in context; understanding urban life from 'the ground up' and from wider perspective such as political economy or globalisation. A practical aspect of this module asks students to describe and reflect upon urban life, drawing upon classroom teaching and direct observation to gain understanding of the realities of 21st century life.


Year 2 core modules

Critical Social Policy

This module introduces students to a range of critical perspectives on social policy. A critical examination of social policy will demonstrate the transformation of UK governance over the last four decades. This module offers a critical historical overview of transformations since the neoliberal turn in the 1980s. This historical perspective contextualises the current policy landscape which frames much of the module - austerity, welfare reform and privatisation. The post-crash landscape of UK policy provides a rich field of analysis and demonstrates the impact of government legislation of inequality, communities and individuals.

Identities and Social Diversity

This module asks students to think critically about social diversity in contemporary life. We live in an increasingly diverse and fluid world and this plays a part in shaping our identity, attitudes and interactions with others. In considering identity in relation to the diversities of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, class, this module trains a critical sociological lens on the diverse intersections that shape modern social life. Within the political and social context of diversity, multiculturalism, liquid modernity and identity politics, students will explore the impact and consequences of increasing diversity in UK life.

Research in Action

This year-long module introduces students to the concept of Criminology and Sociology in Practice. Through group projects, students will work on live practical problems and questions related to contemporary issues in Sociology and Criminology. Under the guidance of an academic supervisor, the module will introduce basic research skills, ethical considerations, data analysis and dissemination of findings.  This module presents an opportunity to contextualise subject learning in real life examples that may include collaboration with external agencies, businesses and organisations. Projects may include questions on drugs, mental health, housing, policing, victims of crime, domestic violence, fear of crime, austerity, and the night-time economy.

Research Methods for Social Scientists

This module will enable students to develop an understanding of social research methods in Criminology and Sociology. Students will gain an understanding of the philosophy of social science which will facilitate a more informed awareness of relevant research designs, strategies and methods. This module focuses on equipping students with the knowledge to make reasoned, informed and evaluative decisions in both research design and practice. Through this module, students will develop an understanding of ethical and practical issues in research and engage in practical activities to develop their skills in designing, conducting and analysing research. Designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills required for social science, this module is an important foundation for independent research projects.

Sociological Theory

This module develops knowledge of sociological theory and concepts. Following the introduction of social theory at level 4, this module introduces new paradigms of knowledge that emerged throughout the 20th century to make sense of the social world. Students will engage critically with these concepts and ideas to consider their continued relevance today. This will require consideration of key sociological issues such as social structure, culture, identity, social cohesion, risk, modernity and postmodernism.


and one optional module

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 the Environment: Inequality, Harm & Society

This module will introduce students to contemporary debates related to the study of our environment. Environmentalism and climate change have become key topics of popular and public debate within recent years and this module asks students to explore the sociological and criminological issues and challenges associated with environmental change. How do societies engage with the environment? What impact do we have on the external landscape? What harms and opportunities emerge from our interaction with the environment? These critical questions will underpin the module and challenge students to think about the impact of environmental change upon our way of life. The themes this module explores may include consumerism and waste, environmental pollution, urban design and infrastructure, population displacement, resource wars and social harm. Students will be asked to critically engage with a range of theories and concepts that aim to make sense of the environment.


Final-year core modules

Consumer Culture and Identity

This module asks you to critically engage with current debates and theories related to the role of consumer culture in our lives. Many suggest that consumer culture plays a central role in our lives and increasingly shapes identity, attitudes, opinions and outlook. This module considers a number of perspectives that requires you to think critically about the impact of consumer culture in our society. You will be introduced to new topics that may include perspectives from cultural studies, critical social theory, cultural and critical criminology, psychoanalysis and sociology. You will also investigate contemporary issues related to consumer culture that may include individualism, waste, happiness, shopping, and status.

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.


and one optional module

Employability and Work-Related Learning

You develop your graduate skills in preparation for employment in a professional context. You have the opportunity to gain academic credit based on your participation in work experience, a short period of professional activity or work-related learning relevant to the discipline or area of professional interest. You develop an understanding of graduate employment pathways, opportunities, reflective practice and experiential learning. The core focus of the module will be helping you prepare for a graduate career, developing an understanding of professional working contexts and enabling you to identify and evidence your own graduate skills.


Inside Out

Originating at Temple University in 1996, the Inside Out model of prisoner education aims to promote learning through collaboration and dialogue around issues of crime and social concern. University undergraduates (outside students) alongside serving prisoners (inside students) undertake a 15 week module within the prison setting, facilitated by academic staff. Each student has equality of status, and an equal stake in the learning.  There are strict ground rules for participants, and the first four weeks are taken with consideration of these.   Most of the taught sessions on this module will be undertaken inside the prison, working alongside serving prisoners. The Inside Out module is demanding and intensive, requiring a high degree of self-reflection, maturity and adherence to the ground rules of the programme, as well as the requirements of the prison regime.  A willingness to engage openly with others, a non- judgmental attitude and preparedness to learn within a prison environment are all essential. 
Due to the sensitive and intensive nature of this module, places are limited and offered on the basis of application and interview.  In addition, successful students will be required to undertake mandatory prison training and security clearance at a level appropriate to attendance at the partner prison.  The assessments for Inside Out are a particular kind of reflection paper.  The papers call for students to observe, reflect, analyse and then integrate the academic readings with personal reflections upon the Inside Out experience.  There are two summative assessments, as well as a formative assessment.

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 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.

Violence and Society

This level 6 module adopts a comprehensive approach to the study of violence, exploring violent behaviour on a number of levels. The module will interrogate definitions of violence, explanations of violence and differing forms and manifestations of violence. For instance, the module will address violence as subjective and interpersonal, analysing a range of explanations and the social and situational characteristics of violence from the perspective of both perpetrators and victims. With this in mind, the module will explore different forms of subjective violence such as violence against women, football violence, violence and the night-time economy. The module will also take a wider approach to address structural and symbolic violence in the form of state violence and the harms which derive from political and economic systems. The module also aims to assess the place of violence within culture and the consequences for the individual and society of profligate cultural violence. Taken as whole, the module aims to offer students a clear sense of how violence links to a range of contemporary cultural and structural conditions.

Youth Justice

The module explores the historical background to the youth justice system and critically debates how changes in social policy and legislation have influenced our approach to young people who have offended. The module examines how the construction of young people within society has led to increased surveillance and regulation in their everyday life. In addition, the module analyses how a range of socio-economic factors increase the likelihood that young people will engage in anti-social and offending behaviour. The module explores the relationship between theory, research and practice to understand the experiences of young people when they come into contact with the youth justice system. 


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 provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 72-96 tariff points from at least two A levels, T level or equivalent. You must have GCSE English at grade 4 (grade C) or equivalent.

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

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



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.

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.


Information for international applicants


International applicants - find out what qualifications you need by selecting your country below.

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Useful information

Visit our international pages for useful information for non-UK students and applicants.

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Other course routes

Foundation year

Study this course with a foundation year if you need additional preparation or if you don't have sufficient grades to join Year 1.

BSc (Hons) Sociology (with Foundation Year)


Entry to 2023/24 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£15,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 3 years
  • UCAS code: L300 BSc/Soc
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 72-96 tariff points from at least 2 A levels (or equivalent)

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



2023/24 entry

Fee for UK applicants
£4,500 (120 credits)

More details about our fees

  • Length: Up to 5 years
  • Attendance: Daytime
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates

Apply online (part-time)


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UK students


Telephone: 01642 738801

Online chat (general enquiries)

International students


Telephone: +44 (0) 1642 738900

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