Sociology

Awarding body: OCR

Course content and examination requirements:

The AS course content is identical to the A Level content for Component 1 and Component 2 Section A. Component 2 Section B has a reduced amount of content for the AS Level qualification if not taken to A Level.

Component 1 introduces students to the key themes of socialisation, culture and identity and develops these themes through the context of one of three options. These options develop skills that enable students to focus on their personal identity, roles and responsibilities within society and to develop a lifelong interest in social issues.

  • Section A: Introducing socialisation, culture and identity
  • Section B: Options (one of the following: Families and relationships, Youth subcultures, Media)

Component 2 introduces and explores the methods of sociological enquiry and develops knowledge and understanding of contemporary social processes and social change in the context of social inequality and difference. It develops links between the nature of sociological thought and the methods of sociological enquiry.

  • Section A: Research methods and researching social inequalities
  • Section B: Understanding social inequalities

Component 3 engages students in theoretical debates and how these relate to a contemporary global society. The component develops knowledge and understanding of social processes and social change. It develops links between the topics studied in this component, the nature of sociological thought, contemporary social policy and the core themes. Contemporary and global debates are introduced through Section A, while Section B explores the debates in more depth through a detailed study of one of three options.

  • Section A: Globalisation and the digital social world. This section provides students with the opportunity to consider developments in digital forms of communication within global society and how these developments are related to social capital. Students will gain an overview of how Marxists, feminists and postmodernists view digital forms of communication and the impact of digital social communication – whether this is on people’s identity, social inequalities or relationships. Students will also consider the impact on culture in terms of conflict and change, cultural homogenisation and culture defence.
  • Section B: Options (one of the following: Crime and deviance; Education; Religion, belief and faith). Each of these options includes a global aspect, i.e. the content is not solely focused on contemporary UK.

Entry requirements:

Sociology as a subject in its own right is only studied in the Sixth Form and there are no specific entry requirements for the course beyond those required to attend St Catherine’s Sixth Form.  The subject demands a good command of English and the ability to analyse and to interpret research data in relation to sociological issues. Thus, B grades in English, Mathematics and Sciences are recommended. A significant amount of independent reading should have been carried out prior to signing up to study the subject.

Relevance to further studies and careers:

Studying Sociology enables students to pursue many options post A level.  These include careers in the fields of Education, Social Welfare, Politics, Research and Consultancy. It is also highly relevant to any public sector role.

Component 1: Socialisation, culture and identity

This component comprises 30% of the A level and is assessed by means of a one hour and thirty minutes written examination.

Section A: introducing socialisation, culture and identity—compulsory questions, some based on stimulus material

Section B: Options—select one option from a choice of three. Within an option, there are three questions.

Component 2: Researching and understanding social inequalities

This component comprises 35% of the A level and is assessed by means of a two hour and fifteen minutes written examination.

Section A: research methods and researching social inequalities—compulsory questions, some based on qualitative and quantitative sources

Section B: Understanding social inequalities—compulsory extended response questions.

Component 3: Debates in contemporary society

This component comprises 35% of the A level and is assessed by means of a two hour and fifteen minutes written examination.

Section A: Globalisation and the digital social world—Compulsory questions, some source-based with a maximum 16-mark question

Section B: Options—Select one option from a choice of three.  Within an option there are four questions.

Teaching staff / further information: Ms T Baker