A-Level Sociology

The word ‘Sociology’ is derived from the Greek ‘Ology’ meaning ‘the study of/ science of’ and the Latin ‘Socius’ meaning ‘Society’.  A combination of the two, therefore, describes the basis of what Sociology is; the study of Society.

From this original view as a scientific study of society, Sociology has developed into a more complex understanding of how society works.  Sociologists aim to investigate and interpret the relationships that individuals form with one another, as well as the contributions of social issues such as class, gender and ethnicity in everyday life.

As well as investigating the individual relationships within society, Sociologists are also concerned with the bigger social institutions, such as education, and their role in maintain and controlling society.

The task for our sociologists at Archbishop Holgate's School, therefore, is to investigate society in a scientific way and offer theoretical explanations which can be applied to everyday situations.

 “The deviant and the conformist … are creatures of the same culture inventions of the same imagination”    Kai Theodor Erikson

Entry requirements

Automatic entry onto Level 3 courses includes students achieving 5 x A*-C or equivalent at GCSE alongside a grade 5 or above in both English and Mathematics. Students with either English and/or Mathematics at grade 4 or below will have individual meetings to determine the most suitable pathway within sixth form.


Course description

This is a 2 year A Level qualification. During the first year students will study:

  • Education and methods in context: Students consider the role of education in society. For example as part of their studies they’ll look into gender and ethnicity differences in school achievement. Students will also learn how to apply their own sociology research methods to the study of education.
  • Research methods: Students will learn how to conduct their own sociological research, from interviews to reviewing documents and official statistics.
  • Families and Households: Students examine issues like demographic trends, family diversity, and the balance of power in families.

In the second year of the A-level students will broaden their understanding of society. They will study:

  • Crime and deviance with theory and methods: Students will learn about criminal and deviant behaviour, including factors that might lead a person to follow this path in life and how the media portrays them.
  •  Theory and methods: Students will expand on their knowledge of research methods and study theory and methods.
  • Beliefs in Society: Students examine ideology, science and religion, the relationship between social change and social stability, religious organisations, the relationship between different social groups and religious/spiritual organisations and the significance of religion and religiosity in the contemporary world.

Where can this lead?

Many of our Sociology students gain places at prestigious universities.

Due to the breadth of the sociology discipline, the careers are incredibly diverse and depend largely on individual student interests. Although teaching and research are the largest areas of employment for sociologists, students may find careers in applied or clinical sociology including government administration, social services, non-profit organizations, private business, education, health care and the prison service.

Exam board

  • AQA Sociology

Course code

  • 7192

Exam board website

Link to past papers


There is no coursework in Sociology.

The qualification is examined via 3, 2 hour written papers, each account for one third of the A-level grade. The exams consist of a mixture of short answer and extended writing questions.

Ways to help my child succeed

  • The topics we cover in lessons relate to all our lives, so your child will be keen to discuss all things sociology related at great length! Pleases encourage this, spending time discussing and debating any issues or topics which come up.
  • They should have a strong understanding of current affairs and contemporary issues in the news.
  • Encourage your child to seek out relevant academic journals on-line (see websites below).

Useful websites






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