Sociology - BSc (Hons)

Sociology focuses on understanding how people’s lives and interactions are shaped by factors like class, gender, ethnicity, race, disability and age in national and global contexts. Sociologists interpret and explain how social processes and institutions inform and impact people’s everyday lives.

Our BSc (Hons) in Sociology is ideal preparation for a wide range of careers in which you can contribute to improving people’s lives. As a student on the course, you will study a broad range of stimulating and empowering topics, benefit from opportunities to experience work/volunteer-based learning and participate in community-engagement projects, and go on a student exchange overseas*.

Throughout your studies, you will examine how, where, when and why social inequalities, injustices and divisions arise; consider ways in which we can challenge, understand and overcome social problems and ethical dilemmas through public policy and social action; and interpret the relationship between identity, community and society, locally and globally. You will also conduct research into real world issues, as well as making concrete recommendations for social change.

*Subject to availability

Why QMU?

  • Unique in Scotland: Our degree continues to be the first in Scotland to have Public Sociology as our underpinning ethos and practice; emphasising engaging and collaborating with non-academic groups in addressing the real-world issues that affect them. We co-create knowledge for a purpose - a social good - rather than 'knowing for the sake of knowing'.
  • Learn from tutors who are actively involved in social justice campaigning: This will help you to see how Sociology can contribute to challenging inequality and improving people’s lives.  
  • Dynamic learning environment: We engage our students in a wide range of learning experiences which are intellectually stimulating and personally empowering, ranging from traditional lectures, small seminar and study groups, to opportunities for work-based learning and community engagement experiences.  
  • Support for students: Our class sizes are smaller compared with some universities, so you have closer and more individually tailored support and guidance from our staff.

Sociology - BSc (Hons): The course in brief

On this course you will:

  • learn about the historical and theoretical origins of the discipline of sociology, how it interacts with other social sciences, and understand the distinctiveness of sociological knowledge;
  • 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? How can we challenge and overcome social inequalities? How can we work with individuals, groups and communities to create strategies for social change?; and
  • identify and advocate for ways in which sociological research and knowledge can result in positive change in people’s everyday lives.

How will I be taught?


All students enrol onto the honours degree, but you can choose to exit with an ordinary degree after three years.

Teaching, learning and assessment

You will be taught in lectures, seminars and practical workshops, as well as having opportunities for work-based learning and community engagement opportunities. Outside timetabled sessions you will be required to continue learning through self-study. You will be assessed in a variety of ways, including essays, written reports, presentations, research papers, reflective diaries and groupwork.


Although there is no formal requirement to participate in a placement as part of this degree, we do provide students with opportunities to experience work-based learning and participate in community-engagement projects as part of their studies. We have strong links with a wide range of voluntary sector organisations with whom we collaborate in providing students with work-based learning experiences.

Exchange opportunities

In Year Two you have the opportunity (subject to availability) to study for one semester at a university overseas. Please visit the Exchanges and Study Abroad pages for more information.

Teaching staff, class sizes and timetables

You can read more about the teaching staff on this course at the bottom of this page. Please note that teaching staff is subject to change.

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

What will I learn each year?

Year One

You will:

  • establish a thorough grounding in key sociological ideas and questions, alongside some introductory psychology, highlighting the value of an interdisciplinary approach to social science. By appreciating philosophical, historical and contemporary contexts, sociological knowledge will help to make sense of public issues affecting our communities and the wider world; and
  • 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.


  • Introduction to Academia
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Introduction to Psychology 2
  • Classic & Contemporary Sociology
  • Diversity and Inequality
  • Foundations of Psychology; Core Concepts and Practices

Year Two

You will: 

  • continue to develop your in-depth understanding of a broad range of substantive debates within the discipline of sociology with a particular focus on engaging with live issues and affected groups. This will further refine your knowledge of sociological theory, research design and implementation; and
  • broaden your understanding of, and foundational skills in, social research design and the ethical generation of knowledge. Critical thinking and group discussion will become more embedded as ongoing learning practice. You will be encouraged to engage with a public group and/or organization as part of a self-reflective community-based learning experience, and may have the opportunity (subject to availability) to study for one semester at a university overseas. For more information, see Exchanges and Study Abroad.


  • Developmental and Social Psychology
  • Exploring Research
  • Material Culture: The Social Life of Things
  • Current Debates in Sociology
  • Education, Race and Ethnicity
  • Engaged Sociology

Year Three

You will: 

  • encounter, evaluate and utilise different philosophical and political perspectives that underpin progress and constraint in society today. Policies, organisations, groups of publics, and institutions will be examined through the prism of social theory; and
  • meet the challenges of an increased workload with a greater emphasis on self-directed learning, time-management, interpreting and presenting different forms of data, and becoming familiar with a range of research approaches. In-class discussion will be more student-led and generate a deeper level of analysis.


  • Sociology of Knowledge & Science
  • Understanding the Sociological Present
  • Social Process and Social Movements
  • Class, Poverty and Inequality: Social Policy Responses
  • Research Skills
  • Community Education and the Organic Intellectual

Year Four

You will:

  • work closely with a member of academic staff to design and carry out your own original, independent research project in which you will be encouraged to bring together your knowledge of sociological theories and concepts, as well as refining your research skills; and
  • put your specialist sociological knowledge into context and practice via learning experiences embedded in communities, alongside assessments that cement your skills as a critical thinker across a range of complex contemporary issue-based modules.


  • Community-based Education
  • Dissertation
  • Options may include: Inequality, Poverty and Social Policy in Comparative Perspective; Gender Justice and Violence: Feminist Approaches; Embedded Sustainability; Political Ecology: the Social Study of Environmental Justice; The Sociology of Scotland; Queer Feminist Sociology in Action

NB The modules listed here are correct at time of posting (Feb 2024) but may differ slightly to those offered in 2025. Please check back here for any updates.


Our graduates leave with not only a deep and varied understanding of sociological theory, research and application, but also of the social sciences more broadly. They have an appreciation of local, national and global social issues, and are empowered and equipped to contribute to addressing such issues. As well as the benefits from the knowledge gained, our graduates discover and develop their skills in research, writing, analysis, using different forms of data, groupwork, online and in-person presentation, project design and implementation, critical thought, public engagement, and more. These skills are transferable across disciplines and sectors.

QMU alumni who studied sociology with us have gone on to work in academia, activism, advocacy, charities and third sector organisations, community work, creative writing, education, journalism, local government, marketing, NHS management, research, policy development, social enterprise, and social work.

Sociology - BSc (Hons): Entry requirements and application information

Entry requirements

Scottish Higher: Standard – BBBB; Minimum – BCCC (to include a literary subject)

A Level: BCC

Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H3 H3

International Baccalaureate: 28 points

International: IELTS of 6.0 with no element lower than 5.5

Am I a Widening Access student?: We apply the minimum entry criteria to applicants who meet one or more contextual factor. To see if this would apply to you, please refer to the access and application page.

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

Mature/Access: We welcome applications from mature students with relevant qualifications and /or experience. Visit our College Leavers and Mature Students Advice page for more information. 

Direct Entry:

Please refer to BSc (Hons) Public Sociology for Direct entry to Year 2 or Year  3.

Other requirements

A satisfactory criminal records check from the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme may be required if you chose to engage in work experience/community engagement opportunities.

Other costs

Disability/health conditions

If you have a disability, long-term physical or mental health condition, or learning disability, it should not stand in the way of your studying at QMU. However, if you are not sure whether your disability might be a barrier in your studies or in relation to the professional standards, please contact the disability service who will be able to have a conversation with you about reasonable adjustments and supports available to you.

Terms and Conditions

  • The delivery of this course is subject to the terms and conditions set out in our 2025/26 Entry Terms and Conditions (Undergraduate).
  • The course information on this page is correct at the time of posting (Feb 2024) but may differ slightly for 2025 entry. Please check back here for updates.



Associate student places

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

Read more about the Associate Student Scheme

Awarding body


Become your best you: study at QMU

Course Overview

4 years full-time
Start Date
September 2025
On campus at QMU
Study Abroad
School of Arts, Social Sciences and Management
SCQF Level

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