Sociology attempts to understand how society works. Those who study sociology ask why people do the things they do, and how and when they came to do them that way.
Social life is too complex and diverse for it to simply be a product of the biology, psychology or behaviour of each and every individual. Instead, sociologists recognise the importance of relationships between people, how these in turn produce social groups, and how these relate to other social structures and organisations.
Therefore, the basic ideas of sociology are that:
What makes sociology particularly interesting is that our field of study is constantly changing. In studying sociology, we analyse processes of change and, at the heart of this change, the individual and his/her connection to others.
Studying Sociology at Queen's
The discipline of sociology is long-established with a proud reputation in Queen's University.
In first year, sociology students are introduced to important sociological theories, debates and issues. Classes for core modules are usually run with a mixture of lectures and small group tutorials, in which students have the opportunity to ask questions from tutors and in which discussions among students are strongly encouraged.
In second year, students develop skills and training in research methods and critical thinking as well as furthering their knowledge of sociology and its application to the contemporary world through a selection of core and optional modules.
In final year, single-honours sociology students design, perform and analyse their own research project, which they they write as a dissertation, under the guidance of a dedicated staff supervisor. They also complete modules, both core and optional, that enable them to utilise their sociological skills and deepen understanding of the society in which they live.
Our lecturers enjoy using a range of innovative teaching methods (including use of multi-media, panel discussions and field trips), and student assessment (including online discussion forums, group projects and critical reviews. We encourage students to make full use of the immense resources available to them through the new McClay library (with its dedicated sociological resources) as well as through the Queen's Online portal which is used actively by staff to provide the latest online resources to accompany their teaching.
Sociology can be studied as a Single Honours or Joint Honours degree programme. Introductory modules in the School can also be taken by students on some other degree programmes. For further information on applying to any of the Sociology programmes, please contact the Admissions Office.
What does a Sociology degree lead to?
Sociology graduates have a unique range of transferable skills. They develop a critical awareness of the world around them, become adept in examining that social world through a variety of research methods, their understanding of that world is enhanced by insights from sociological theory and they are able to effectively communicate ideas and formulate informed analysis.
Graduates from our School work in a wide variety of careers, across the public sector (e.g. social services, education, criminal justice, social work, local government), voluntary sector (e.g. community development worker, charity fundraiser, youth leadership), and private sector (e.g. social and market research, policy analysis, human resources).