Montana Gerry
Wednesday 07 September 2011 14:49 BST
(Getty Images)

What courses? Sociology; sociology of language; social science; media, culture and society; applied social studies; culture, identity and learning, plus a plethora of combined honours degrees with related subjects like criminology and psychology, as well as non-related subjects like drama and film studies.

What do you come out with? BA or BSc. MA in Scottish universities.

Why do it? "If you are interested in any aspect of the modern world, sociology is an ideal subject for you to study. Sociologists study all kinds of diverse topics, and these include the mass media, crime, health, education, religion, sexuality, sport, urban and rural living, migration, and work. We use different methods to investigate these topics, such as survey questionnaires, interviews, fieldwork studies, and archive research. The knowledge and research skills of sociologists are used by governments, businesses, and charities to help these organizations work more effectively with different people. All of this means that sociology offers a fascinating and diverse subject for study, and an excellent way into many different professions and careers." - Professor David S Wall, head of school of applied social sciences, Durham University

What's it about? People and places and how they interact; looking at the world in a different way. It’s also a relevant subject that raises interesting questions about human relations and how we experience life. Sociology tackles the fundamental questions like “why are politicians mistrusted?”, “why does racism persist?” and “could societies ever be more just?” The first year tends to give you the basics in social interaction and research methods, while in second and third year you will begin to specialise and explore the relationship between sociology and contemporary culture. Research is the key to sociology and as the course progresses students can choose to focus their research on human rights, social justice, gender, crime and bioscience among others.

Study options: Three years; four years with a placement or at a Scottish university. Assessments vary from written work – which is done everywhere – and research projects, both in groups and individually. Interpretation of text and contents is important and universities will assess you on this as well. Essex University and Loughborough (among others) also offer study abroad options to North and South America, Japan or Europe.

What will I need to do it? Most places are quite flexible and will consider applicants with a range of social science and humanities A-levels. Grades vary a lot depending on the university. You’ll need ABB-BBB for Exeter, ABB for LSE, BBB for Leeds and180-220 UCAS points for Bradford.

What are my job prospects? Don’t bank on it, but your options are quite wide. Many graduates go onto further training, such as business management and social work qualifications. Others work as administrative officers, research assistants or in local government authorities. Some work in the media or go onto postgraduate study. LSE claims its students go into teaching, banking, politics, and NGOs. According to The Times’ Good University Guide 2012, 27 per cent of leavers go straight into graduate-level positions, earning an average salary of £20,744.

Where's the best to do it? Cambridge, LSE and Durham are the best, according to the Complete University Guide 2012, but Cambridge only offers sociology within their joint politics, psychology and sociology degree. Birmingham City and Exeter have the most satisfied students, but the previous “top three” offer better graduate prospects.

Related courses: History; politics and international studies; philosophy; media and communication; anthropology; philosophy; theology and religious studies.

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