Course options

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

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Course summary

Sociology aims to understand the relationships between individual people and the wider cultural and institutional contexts within which they live. It is concerned with the nature of what we refer to as "society", how it shapes the way in which we live and, in turn, how it is shaped by our individual and collective action. As a student of Sociology, you will join a dynamic learning and research community, which includes internationally recognised experts actively involved in collaborative projects focused on local, national and international issues. We are defined by our curiosity about the issues that impact the world around us and our drive to use our work to bring about positive social change. Drawing on this expertise, this course explores key social issues that affect our everyday lives including education, employment, health, criminality, race and digital technologies. Alongside these kinds of topics, you will learn about historical and contemporary concepts that define sociological thought and place them within their social and political contexts. You will also learn how to design and carry out sociological research through research projects carried out in the second and final year of study. We offer the option to undertake a placement with a local community organisation to deploy your knowledge in an applied setting. And we also offer the opportunity to study in conjunction with Durham's local prisons through our renowned Inside Out Prison exchange programme.


Year 1 Core modules: Classical Sociological Theory will introduce you to key sociological concepts and ideas that form the basis of a sociological perspective for understanding the world. Starting with classical sociological work from the 19th and early 20th centuries, the module demonstrates how sociological ideas have developed over time through refinement, evaluation and critique. Social Research Methods examines the concept of social research and practice-based inquiry. You will learn how to produce and analyse different kinds of data and develop some basic practical skills in designing and carrying out social research yourself. Societies in Transition offers a formative examination of modern societies and aspects of contemporary social life. It provides the tools to reflect upon the dynamic nature of societies, including the bases for social transformation and change. Critical Scholarship in the Social Sciences supports the transition to university-level study by helping you develop the foundational academic skills that are needed throughout your degree. Through it you will learn key academic conventions and skills, for example: reading and evaluation; writing and argument; presentation and discussion; and so on. Year 2 Core modules: Modern and Contemporary Sociological Theory engages with contemporary theoretical perspectives and issues in the field of sociology. In doing so, you will learn to develop evaluations and critiques of sociological thought grounded in both conceptual discussion and empirical observation. Research Methods in Action supports your development of applied research skills. At the core of the module is a group-based research project you design and carry out on a topic of your choosing. In addition, you will learn a range of methods and techniques for analysing both quantitative (statistics) and qualitative (textual / verbal / visual) data. Examples of optional modules: Communities and Social Justice Contemporary Criminological Theory Crime, Power and Social Inequalities Policing and Police Self, Identity and Society Sociology of Education Sociology of Health and Medicine Violence and Abuse in Society. Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement year or year abroad) In your final year, you will design and carry out an Dissertation project on a topic of your choosing, in the area of Criminology, Sociology or Social Policy. Your final 10,000-word dissertation thesis comprises one third of your final-year mark and is an excellent opportunity to develop expertise in a topic of personal interest or relevance to a future career area. Examples of optional modules: Community Placement Cyberculture and Cybercrime Drugs and Society Feminist Anti-Violence Activism: Theory in Action Globalisation and the Sex Industry Inside Out: Issues in Criminal Justice Justice, Violence and Abuse Race, Racism and Social Justice in Britain Sociology of Reproduction and Parenthood The Body as Data: Technology, Power and Human Rights Youth in Crisis: Young People, Crime and Justice.

Assessment method

Assessment is largely coursework-based, with work such as essays, reports, portfolios, reflections and presentations accounting for approximately 80% of your final grade. Assessments aim to assess your knowledge and understanding in an authentic manner, as well as helping you develop your skills in critical thinking, analysis and communication. There are also regular opportunities for practice and feedback, for example: practice essays; essay plans; one-to-one and group tutorials; and so on.

How to apply

Application codes

Please select a course option – you will then see the application code you need to use to apply for the course.

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Our contextual offer for this programme is A level BBC (or equivalent). To find out if you’re eligible, please visit:

Please click the following link to find out more about qualification requirements for this course

English language requirements

Durham University welcomes applications from all students irrespective of background. We encourage the recruitment of academically well-qualified and highly motivated students, who are non-native speakers of English, whose full potential can be realised with a limited amount of English Language training either prior to entry or through pre-sessional and/or in-sessional courses. It is the normal expectation that candidates for admission should be able to demonstrate satisfactory English proficiency before the start of a programme of study, whether via the submission of an appropriate English language qualification or by attendance on an appropriate pre-sessional course. Acceptable evidence and levels required can be viewed by following the link provided.

English language requirements

Unistats information

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Student satisfaction
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Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Republic of Ireland £9250* Year 1
Channel Islands £9250* Year 1
EU £23500* Year 1
England £9250* Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250* Year 1
Scotland £9250* Year 1
Wales £9250* Year 1
International £23500* Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

Additional fee information

The tuition fees for 2024/25 academic year have not yet been finalised, they will be displayed here once approved.
Sociology at Durham University - UCAS