Undergraduate

BSc/BSc (Hons) Public Sociology

You will embrace new ideas and schools of thought on this intellectually stimulating and personally empowering BSc/BSc (Hons) Public Sociology course. It encourages rigorous critical thinking on complex and challenging social issues, opening the door to a wide range of careers.

Why QMU?

  • This was the first undergraduate public sociology degree in Scotland. 
  • Many of our staff are actively involved in social justice, and so you will see first-hand how we can bring what we study to life.
  • We offer a stimulating environment in which students can develop the intellectual and professional edge needed for working with 21st century society, and in which our staff work on outward-facing, innovative and cross-disciplinary research.
  • Our course is student-focused and research-informed. It offers students the opportunity to work closely with staff on current, real-world projects and collaborations.
  • Our class sizes are smaller compared with some universities, so you have closer and more personal support and guidance from our staff.

On this course you will:

  • Engage with diverse communities and develop a sense of the ways in which a public sociological imagination can meaningfully intervene in real-world political and social events. 
  • Ask, and be able to answer, critical questions such as 'What is the nature of society and how can we change it for the better? What are the root causes of social injustice and inequality? How could we change society’s perception of them, and make the actual changes themselves?
  • Reflect upon the ways in which sociological knowledge can affect real change in people’s everyday lives.
  • Learn how to critique preconceptions about social equality and justice.
  • Learn how to make sense of complex and challenging social issues, and how to provoke change.
  • Understand how the public sociologist and sociological knowledge can create radical approaches to solving social problems.

If you have an enquiring, questioning mind and you want to understand more about human societies, social problems, interactions and experiences, you will thrive on this course. It is Scotland’s first public sociology course and we continue to be pioneering in the way we think. Our students have chosen fascinating and original topics to research for their dissertations, from women’s body image on social media to a community campaign on gentrification.

You can opt to study for an honours degree over four years or an ordinary degree over three years.

Year One

You will:

  • Study a range of modules that will provide you with a thorough grounding in the key concepts, theories and schools of thought in sociology, as well as some modules in psychology.
  • Develop a sound understanding of the historical development and contemporary applications of sociological knowledge. Specifically, this will include how sociological knowledge can help us to make sense of the public issues and concerns which affect the communities within that we live, as well as understanding the philosophical debates that underpin sociological interpretations of the world around us.
  • Focus on enhancing a wide range of transferable skills, paying particular attention to improving your interpersonal and presentation skills, effective reading and writing, analytical thinking and critical reflection, as well as a sustained focus on the development of your research skills.

Modules

  • Introduction to Academia and the Sociological Imagination
  • Foundations of Psychology
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Diversity, Identity and Wellbeing
  • Methods of Investigation

Year Two

You will: 

  • Continue to study a range of modules that will provide you with a thorough grounding in the key concepts, theories and schools of thought in sociology.
  • Continue to develop your indepth understanding of a broad range of substantive debates within the discipline of sociology with a particular focus on engaging with public issues and groups.
  • Refine your knowledge of sociological theory, research design and implementation, social movements and global change, sociologies of gender and sexuality, sociologies of liberation, and social policy and politics.
  • Have the opportunity (subject to availability) to study for one semester at a university overseas. For more information, see Exchanges and Study Abroad.

Modules

  • Social Inquiry – Philosophy and Design
  • Social and Developmental Psychology
  • Psychological Literacy
  • Production and Consumption of Culture
  • Engaged Sociology

Year Three

You will: 

  • Continue to develop an indepth understanding of a broad range of substantive debates within the discipline of sociology with a particular focus on engaging with public issues and groups.
  • Continue to refine your knowledge of sociological theory, research design and implementation, social movements and global change, sociologies of gender and sexuality, sociologies of liberation, and social policy and politics.
  • Anything else specific to this year? 

Modules

  • Current Debates in Sociology
  • Sociology of Liberation
  • Interaction and Social Order
  • Poverty and Social Exclusion
  • Social Research – Theory and Practice
  • Changing World: Social Movement and Global Change

Year Four

You will:

  • Work closely with a member of academic staff to conduct your own independent research project in  in which you will be encouraged to bring together your knowledge of sociological theories and concepts, as well as refining your research skills.
  • You will develop an ability to understand the relationship between complex sociological theory, practical research and contemporary public issues and concerns. 
  • Anything else specific to this year? 

Modules

  • Dissertation
  • European Social Policy and Politics
  • Options may include: Gender Justice and Violence: Feminist Approaches/ Queer Theory, Gender and Sexual Politics; Sociology of Scotland/ Public Sociology Education

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will be taught in lectures, seminars and practical workshops. Outside these timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning through self-study. You will be assessed by essays and a variety of other ways including written reports, presentations and groupwork.

Below you can read about Teaching and Learning Activities and Assessment Activities. We believe this will give you a good indication of what the course will be like, but the exact balance of activities may differ depending on the academic year and on the modules you choose.

Teaching and learning activities

Our Teaching and Learning Activities are focused on building your confidence, developing your problem-solving skills and preparing you for a successful career. Here you can read about how much time you should expect to spend undertaking these activities for this course along with a general description of the activity for all courses.

Teaching

You are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and in some cases practical workshops or laboratories. Seminars enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

  • Year One: 19%
  • Year Two: 15%
  • Year Three: 11%
  • Year Four: 10%

Independent Learning

When not attending lectures, seminars, practicals or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the Learning Resource Centre, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for examinations. You independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities, including the Learning Resource Centre and the Hub.

  • Year One: 81%
  • Year Two: 85%
  • Year Three: 89%
  • Year Four: 90%

Placement

Courses with placements give you the opportunity to put what you are learning into practice and to observe and work with a wide range of individuals and groups of people in diverse settings. Some courses offer placement opportunities in the UK and overseas.

  • Year One: 0%
  • Year Two: 0%
  • Year Three: 0%
  • Year Four: 0%

Assessment Activities

Assessment Activities provide you with opportunities to test your understanding of the subject and receive feedback on your performance. Here you can read about how much of your final mark is based on each type of formal assessment for this course along with a general description of the activity for all courses.

Exams

Assessment by written examinations normally takes place at the end of each module or semester, but they may also happen during modules.

  • Year One: 32%
  • Year Two: 8%
  • Year Three: 0%
  • Year Four: 0%

Coursework

Coursework assessments take place in a variety of ways, including assignments, essays, reports, portfolios, project output and your level 4 Honours project. We aim to provide you with feedback on your assessment within 20 working days of the submission date.

  • Year One: 68%
  • Year Two: 67%
  • Year Three: 97%
  • Year Four: 100%

Practical

Practical assessments can include oral presentations, performance, practical skills assessment, costume design and construction, film making, lab work or clinical practical skills depending on the nature of the course.

  • Year One: 0%
  • Year Two: 25%
  • Year Three: 3%
  • Year Four: 0%

NB This data is based on activity undertaken by students during academic year 2018/9. Updates will be made shortly.  

Exchange opportunities

Yes

Careers

You will change. You will grow. You will graduate with a wide range of knowledge, skills and aptitudes. You will have a richly developed sense of social responsibility and, hopefully, a burning desire to make a powerful, positive change to the world around you. Previous graduates are now shaking things up in social and community work, consumer and social research, public policy development, teaching, academia, marketing and human resource management.

Entry requirements

Scottish Higher: Standard - BBCC, Minimum - BCCC

A Level: CCD

Irish Leaving Certificate: H3 H3 H3 H3

International Baccalaureate: 26 points

International: IELTS of 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5

Required: English required and Maths preferred at Nat 5/GCSE

Mature/Access: Visit our College Leavers and Mature Students Advice page for more information. 

We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications and /or experience.

Direct Entry:

Year Two

  • HNC in a related subject with B in the graded unit
  • Scottish Higher: BC at Advanced Higher in relevant subjects plus BB at Higher
  • A Level: BBB in relevant subjects

Year Three

  • HND in a related subject with CB in the graded units

For details of related HNC and HND courses, visit our College Leavers and Mature Students Advice page

Associate student places

You can study this course as an associate student completing your first year at Newbattle Abbey College or West Lothian College.

Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

For more information, please visit ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’.

Awarding body

QMU. More information is in the ‘External Review’ section of the ‘How we teach and how you’ll learn’ page.

Open Day presentation

Please note:

• The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (Feb 2022) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2023. Please check back here for any updates.

• The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2023/24 Entry Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate)

• Teaching staff may be subject to change.

Course Overview

Duration
3 or 4 years full-time
Start Date
September 2023
Location
On campus
Study Abroad
Yes
School
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
Fees & Funding
UCAS Code
L390

A Student Story - more at foot of page

Steve Phair - BSc (Hons) Public Sociology "The best part of my course so far has to be the Engaged Sociology module as it gives us the opportunity to make up our own picture of what we are studying, and provides the opportunity to get some real work experience engaging with groups within society." Read my story...

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