Sociology

Join sociologists at the forefront of their discipline. Study all aspects of the social world, including actions, structures, beliefs, power and representation.

Top reputation

Bristol is ranked second in the UK for sociology by the Guardian University Guide 2021.

Vibrant environment

Bristol is a city engaged with issues of sustainability and inclusivity, and our community is enriched by cultural diversity.

Specialist research

The school includes three research centres: the Global Securities Centre, the Centre for Ethnicity and Citizenship, and the Gender Research Centre.

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Sociology at Bristol

Sociology at Bristol offers you a thorough grounding in the subject, as well as opportunities to specialise in new areas of research.

Bristol is home to prominent sociologists with research strengths including consumption, culture, digital society, environment, ethnicity and race, gender, migration, modern slavery, multiculturalism, popular music and social theory. In our friendly and intellectually vibrant community, all staff contribute to teaching on our undergraduate degrees.

Sociology courses at Bristol are located within the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS). This gives our degrees an international flair and means you will be part of a larger group of peers with interests in both the social and the political.

The University of Bristol is lively, eclectic and absolutely beautiful. I love being taught by the researchers whose books are our required reading.

SOPHIE, BSC SOCIOLOGY

Career prospects

The critical thinking, research and data management skills acquired in the course are invaluable in many areas of work.

Our graduates are in high demand and go on to a wide range of careers, including roles in publishing, the media, journalism, teaching, marketing, public relations, research and the third sector.

Many of our students progress to higher degrees after graduation in subjects including sociology, law and teaching.

What our students do after graduating

Course structure

First-year units are designed to introduce you to the core concerns of the discipline and equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for more detailed sociological study in later years. Core units currently include:

  • Thinking Sociologically
  • Social Identities and Divisions
  • Key Social Thinkers
  • Doing Social Research.

In the second and third years, you will take specialist units that reflect staff research expertise and may include:

  • Class and Social Divisions
  • Sociology of Crime and Justice
  • Consumption, Consumer Culture and Sustainability
  • Ethnicity and Racism
  • What is a Society?
  • Modern Slavery
  • Sociology of Popular Music.

Final-year students complete a dissertation, in which you will independently research a sociological topic of your choice. This is optional for joint honours students. You will be supported by a supervisor and take part in research workshops.

Our single honours sociology courses offer the opportunity to study abroad, allowing you to develop an understanding of sociology that goes beyond national boundaries.

You can also choose to take a four-year Study Abroad degree, with a year studying in English at one of our prestigious partner universities overseas. Partner locations have included Australia, Canada, Japan, and the US. Find out more about where you can study abroad.

Q-Step programme

Sociology is a partner in Bristol Q-Step, which is part of a national initiative offering enhanced skills training in the social sciences.

We also offer the option of three- and four-year degree courses combining core disciplinary learning with enhanced quantitative skills training in applied data analysis relevant to research in the social sciences.

Find out more about our ‘with Quantitative Research Methods’ course offerings.

Sociology

Sociologists study all aspects of the social world, including actions, structures, beliefs, power and representation.

Sociology at Bristol offers you a thorough grounding in the subject, as well as opportunities to specialise in new areas of research conducted by academics at the forefront of the discipline.

Why study Sociology at Bristol?

We were ranked second in the UK for sociology in both the Guardian University Guide 2021 and the Complete University Guide 2021.

Bristol is home to prominent sociologists with research strengths including consumption, culture, digital society, environment, ethnicity/race, gender, migration, modern slavery, multiculturalism, popular music and social theory. In our friendly and intellectually vibrant community, all staff contribute to teaching on our undergraduate degrees.

Sociology courses at Bristol are located within the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS). This gives our degrees an international flair and means you will be part of a larger group of peers with interests in both the social and the political.

Our single honours sociology courses offer the opportunity to study abroad, allowing you to develop an understanding of sociology that goes beyond national boundaries. Visit Global Opportunities to find out more.

Sociology is a partner in Bristol Q-Step, which is part of a national initiative offering enhanced skills training in the social sciences.

What kind of student would this course suit?

Sociology students are as diverse as the subject itself. If you want to study sociology you should be interested in the world around you, from small-scale interactions to large-scale economic and ecological phenomena. To you the world is a puzzle: why are things the way they are and how could they be different?

You will be inquisitive and independently minded, questioning rather than automatically accepting what you are told. This independence will also feed into your working practices and you will be able to find and critically engage with a range of sources that reflect the diversity of the subject.

How is this course taught and assessed?

Most units are taught through a combination of lectures and small-group seminars. Lecturers also hold open office hours each week for further discussion.

Forms of assessment include essays, presentations, seen and unseen examinations, case studies and research projects (dissertations). In the first year the balance of essays and exams is roughly equal. Most second-year units and specialist units have mixed forms of assessment.

What are my career prospects?

Critical thinking, research and data management skills acquired in the course are invaluable in many areas of work.

Our graduates are in high demand and go on to a wide range of careers, including publishing, the media, journalism, teaching, marketing, public relations, research and third sector work. Many of our students progress to higher degrees after graduation in subjects including sociology, law and teaching.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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