Sociology - BA (Hons) *
Looking for Sociology courses in Birmingham? Our BA (Hons) Sociology degree allows you to take a year-long placement in industry, gaining invaluable experience before you graduate. Sociology helps us make sense of the societies in which we live and our place within them....
Studying with us in 2021/22 and 2022/23
The University has put in place measures in response to Covid-19 to allow us to safely deliver our courses. Information about the arrangements for the 2021/22 academic year can be found here.
Should the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in the 2022/23 academic year or subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.
Looking for Sociology courses in Birmingham? Our BA (Hons) Sociology degree allows you to take a year-long placement in industry, gaining invaluable experience before you graduate.
Sociology helps us make sense of the societies in which we live and our place within them.
As one of our longest established courses, you’ll benefit from a programme of study taking an in-depth look at contemporary sociological issues that has been honed over several decades.
What's covered in this course?
You’ll explore and question social norms and discover the complex issues behind day-to-day routines and social practices.
We explore patterns and processes of inequality, examine the structure and dynamics of social hierarchies and power relations and ask why and how people shape their identities and practice their lives. We encourage you to explore how sociological knowledge can connect individuals and how it can provide you with the skills needed to participate in debates not just about what society is but how it could be.
Through the links we’ve developed with work-place organisations such as local School Academies, Citizens Advice Bureau and Woman’s Aid, we help support you to make professional contacts and to apply your studies to real-world situations when taking part in voluntary work or on placement. We also enjoy close links with the city of Birmingham itself, a diverse community perfect for sociological examination.
Why Choose Us?
- On all of our courses you will gain a professional focus and real world experience of sociology, ensuring you are equipped to make an immediate impact in your career. You have the opportunity to embark on a year-long professional placement as part of your degree course. During your second year, you also have the option to undertake a semester-long placement, allowing you to draw upon our many links with local voluntary, statutory and commercial organisations.
- The School has launched a new internship programme with Birmingham City Council, which provides you with the chance to undertake an internship with the Council's Community Resilience, Housing Management or Organisational Development departments, working with senior staff on critical projects.
- All our courses have an international focus. This is embedded throughout the curriculum, giving you the opportunity to transform your experience with us into a global one. There are a variety of exciting possibilities open to you, including our many overseas study exchange programmes.
- As a student on one of our undergraduate degrees, you will be able to benefit from our Graduate+ initiative. This three-year award course enables you to gain award levels for all the extra-curricular activities you undertake so that you can stand out from the crowd on graduation.
- The department is recognised for being at the forefront of sociological research, specialising in areas such as Black Studies, human rights and social identities.
- You will share a common first year with the BA (Hons) Sociology and Criminology degree, allowing you the opportunity to transfer onto this course in your second year if interested.
- Gain an understanding of the contemporary social world by practising a form of sociological inquiry that is informed, knowledge-applied, evidence-based and interdisciplinary.
- You will study in our state-of-the-art City Centre Campus, ideally located for you to take advantage of our links to industry in the UK’s second city.
- Employability is interwoven into every aspect of our course. Areas of employment for Sociology graduates can include: local and central government roles; publishing; market research and marketing; fundraising; youth, community and housing work; and voluntary / not-for-profit sector management.
- Birmingham City University has just launched the UK's first Centre for Brexit Studies, researching all aspects of the UK's vote to leave the EU, including the impact it has on cultural identities both in Britain and in Europe.
Find out more
We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.
BBC or 112 UCAS tariff points from a maximum of 3 subjects.
|Level 2 Qualifications|
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2022/23|
|Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level)||
|Scottish National 5||
|Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) Qualifications|
|UK Qualification||Requirements 2022/23|
|A level and Advanced VCE||
|Access to HE Diploma||
IBO Certificate in Higher Level
International Baccalaureate Diploma
Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)
NCFE CACHE Level 3 Applied General Certificate in Health and Social Care
OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma
OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma
Scottish Advanced Higher
Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate - Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015)
Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma – Core (awarded until 2016)
ESW/KS Combined component
WJEC Level 3 Diploma in Criminology (QCF)
|If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.
Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
Additional information for EU/International students
Applications from international applicants with equivalent qualifications to 112 points are welcome. Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.
In additional to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.
|English language requirements 2020/21|
6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.
|Other accepted qualifications||Visit our English language page|
Fees & How to Apply
- UK students
- International students
Award: BA (Hons)
Starting: Sep 2022
- Full Time
- 3 Years
- £9,250 per year
- Apply via UCAS
- Study Year £9,250
- Placement Year £1,650
Professional Placement Fees
Full-Time courses with a Professional Placement incur a fee during the placement year. The costs for those years when you attend the university for study, and the cost for the placement year are shown here.
- Part Time
- 5 Years
- Register interest
Access to computer equipment
You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.
You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.
All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.
Access to Microsoft Office 365
Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.
You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.
Subscriptions to key journals and websites and available through our library.
Free access to Rosetta Stone
All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.
Excess printing (optional)
Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.
Some modules may suggest that you purchase a key textbook. All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. Many students choose to purchase a copy.
Placement expenses (optional)
If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.
Field trips (optional)
This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience.
You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.
Guidance for UK students
UK students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.
Applying through UCAS
Register with UCAS
Login to UCAS
Complete your details
Select your course
Write a personal statement
Get a reference
Pay your application fee
Send UCAS your application
There are three ways to apply:
1) Direct to the University
2) Through a country representative
Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.
3) Through UCAS
If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.
UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*
The personal statement gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.
Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:
Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?
If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.
Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.
School or college experience
Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.
Non-accredited skills or achievement
eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.
You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.
Get more information on writing personal statements.
*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.
If you study this course part-time or via distance learning, you will be charged on a pro-rata basis. This means your fee will be calculated per module.
Course in Depth
In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 120 credits).
Understanding Society introduces students to the idea of modernity, the Enlightenment and key classical thinkers in sociology. The module presents critiques of the Enlightenment view of modernity as progress, outlining the ‘dark side’ of modernity’s emergence. As well as discussing classical thinkers such as Marx, Durkheim and Weber, the module introduces WEB DuBois and considers how slavery, imperialism and the rise of capitalism impacted the making of the modern world. We also consider how the emergence of modern knowledge and power were gendered and racialized from the outset.
This is a core module which aligns with the aims of the Sociology programme by introducing students to the principles of the practice of social research and debates regarding social research methods. Students will understand the practice of undertaking social research which is theoretically informed, knowledge-applied, evidence based, and interdisciplinary. By the end of the module students should have a sound knowledge of how theoretical perspectives inform research practice and gained an understanding of the process of ‘doing sociology’.
State and Society introduces students to understanding the role of the state, politics and policy in social life. We consider different political perspectives and how these are articulated through the political process. The module also examines key policy agendas and the impacts on groups in society. Students will learn about political ideologies, influences on the political process and we will discuss contemporary issues in social policy. The module will also examine the history of and contemporary debates around migration into the UK, in order to discuss political ideologies and state policy.
This is a core module which introduces students to the scholarship of key contemporary social thinkers. The module aligns with the aims of the Sociology programme by providing students with the tools to develop a critical awareness of a variety of sociological perspectives and their relevance to the contemporary social world. This module encourages students to link key theoretical perspectives to the wider programme-level expectations and learning outcomes. Deep learning is encouraged with interactive lectures and workshops which stimulate discussions.
This module will examine the ways in which criminological and sociological theorising help us to challenge common sense in order to widen our understanding of a) ‘deviant’ identities and b) the operation of social control. This module will explore the ways in which crime and deviance are socially constructed through varying contexts and how differing ‘deviant’ identities and subcultures are socially controlled and represented. Furthermore, the module explores the relations of power through which ‘deviant’ labels are ascribed (focusing on social stratifications such as gender, class, race/ethnicity, sexuality and age in order to reveal the fluidity of so-called ‘deviant’ identities).
City, Community, Culture introduces students to the sociology of the city and teaches the ethnographic method for explore urban settings. We will focus on the key theories of the city, including theories from Black sociologists, who were some of the first to explore urban life. This module will engage students in applying the theories we learn into exploring the city of Birmingham. The module will equip students with the skills to understand the city and to study the city using ethnographic methods.
In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits).
This is a core module and it introduces students to a range of classical social and sociological theories and links these theories to their historical and social contexts. It develops students’ in-depth knowledge and understanding of the origins of and rationale for these theories, and enables students to appreciate the relevance of these theories to an analysis of contemporary social life. By the end of the module, students should not only have a good understanding of these theories but also demonstrate an ability to apply them to the world around them and also to the topics and issues raised in other modules.
This module aims to develop your ability to critically analyse contemporary popular culture. We will examine social and cultural studies theories relevant to the study of cultural sociology, with a specific focus on topics including class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, music, ‘the body’, media, consumption and Black popular culture. In particular, the module will consider how popular culture can act to confirm or resist dominant ideologies produced in society.
This module begins with questioning what applied sociological research is, what is its meaning and rationale and value in a social context. In this regard, this module explores the principles of sociological research strategies and designs, and how these principles may be applied in practice. Within the module there is a focus on qualitative methodologies, which will encourage students to clarify how research questions, strategies, methods and forms of analysis influence each other. Students are expected to complete and follow ethical procedures as part of this module.
This is a core module and it introduces students to a range of contemporary social and sociological theories and links these theories to their historical and social contexts. It develops students’ in-depth knowledge and understanding of the origins of and rationale for these theories, and enables students to appreciate the relevance of these theories to an analysis of contemporary social life. By the end of the module, students should not only have a good understanding of these theories but also demonstrate an ability to apply them to the world around them and also to the topics and issues raised in other modules.
Public sociology takes sociology out of the university classroom to directly impact social change, social justice, and decision making in the public sphere. This module is an introduction to the field of public sociology:
- What it is
- What it can and should mean
- The question of whether and how sociologists can simultaneously negotiate identities as both scholars and activists – and, indeed, as scholar/academic activists
In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
This module provides students with an opportunity to experience real world work. It is expected that the placement (and placement related activities) will occupy students for a minimum of 128 hours in total: typically, 16 hours per week over 8 weeks. All placements are to be agreed by the University. Employers will be asked to help define the task(s) to be completed by the student on placement. Students will be encouraged to secure their own placement opportunities with the assistance of the module staff.
This module aims to consider sociological theories and concepts to understand the media. You will consider the role of media in society, looking at key theories of the media and understanding media texts (e.g. movies, TV programmes, YouTube videos, blogs, books, magazines, social media, etc…).
The purpose of this module is to introduce students to critical knowledge of the historical and social impact of ‘race’ ethnicity and racism in western societies. Students will gain a critical understanding of key theoretical definitions of, and the debates concerning the concepts of race, racism and ethnicity. Students will learn about the historical development and social constructions of race, ethnicity and racism within western history, culture and politics.
Through examining the broad sociological understanding of the youth, socialisation processes and identities, this module will explore how historical and contemporary perspectives which have led to competing constructions of youth culture. The module will draw on research and theoretical insights into the social worlds of young people, building upon key concepts such as sub-cultural theory, identity and the construction of difference in an attempt to place young people in the in the UK and global contexts.
All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits).
The module provides students with an opportunity to explore concepts, research and debates in relation to globalisation, people and society. The module encourages students to develop a critical approach to thinking about globalisation as a set of social and historical processes which shape (and may be shaped by) the economic, political, cultural and ecological dimensions of social life.
From the conceptual to the grounded, the module then explores the social consequences of globalisation with reference to selected themes and topics in and with relevance to sociology to include: the exercise of economic and political power; forms of political organisation and governance; the dynamics and effects of economic development; the creation of social divisions and inequality; cultural transformations; identity and belonging; population movements; urban and rural life; ecological change. The module closes with a consideration of conjectures on social futures in a globalising world.
The aim of this module is to provide students with a critical understanding of how the concepts of ‘self’ and ‘identity’ are continually shaped, regulated and maintained through varying aspects of identity formation, social divisions and inequalities. The module focuses on sociological approaches to exploring the ‘self’ and ‘identity’ in a social context.
Students are encouraged to develop an appreciation of the ways that identities are fluid, complex and, multifaceted. Within the teaching and learning aspects of the module, students are encouraged to consider the ways in which cultural, political, social and economic contexts impact on their own and others’ identities through mediated practices, processes and discourse.
The aim of this module is to provide a framework for you to undertake a substantial disciplinary-relevant project. It is founded upon Birmingham City University’s teaching and learning philosophy which integrates theory and practice.
In order to complete this course, you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.
This is an optional module concentrating on cultural sociology with specific reference to music. The module will provide students with an in-depth introduction to some of the key sociological ideas and perspectives on music, and it will focus on three main themes: the social and historical settings in which musical forms are produced and consumed; music in relation to identity and politics; and the political economy of music.
By the end of the module, students should have a good understanding of the social functions, and significance, of music. Key issues we will explore include: the influence of class, race and gender on musical styles; music in its relationship with sub-cultural groups and as a force for political expression; and the commodification of popular music. Alongside considering these issues, we will be listening to a variety of music.
This module will critically examine how we can make epistemic links between past histories of colonialism and the complex ways these histories continue to impact contemporary forms of inequalities in the present. We will examine how we can understand and address the role of race, gender, sexuality and coloniality in shaping the modern world.
Critical discussions and debates to decolonise the curriculum directly draw attention to the relationship between the production of power (coloniality), the politics of knowledge and the reproduction of social inequalities. Students will be expected to engage issues of power and inequality from a variety of critical perspectives in order to develop and extend their understanding of these social, cultural and political issues through a decolonial lens.
This is an option module which aligns with the aims of the Sociology programme by assisting students to gain a deep understanding of the complex visual world around them. This is an interdisciplinary module which examines sociological inquiry that is theoretically informed, knowledge-applied, with the specific focus on visual research methods. The module will encourage students to utilize their knowledge and understanding of different sociological perspectives and social research methods acquired at Levels 4 and 5. The module will be delivered with interactive workshops to facilitate group discussions.
Activism and social movements have attempted to address a wide range of social problems and influence social change. Historically, movements have had significant influence on social relations and social policy.
This module will critically investigate a range of social movements and activism from the past and present in order to better understand these movements and their internal processes and external contexts. Various theories will be explored in order to get a good grasp of what brings about social movements, how they operate, and when they succeed.
The module explores and examines the historical context which produced the Black Arts Movement in the UK. It aligns with the aims of the Black Studies degree programme as it focusses on a social movement, and discusses the contribution that artists from the African diaspora have contributed to visual culture. By engaging with a range of intellectual perspectives that contributed to the development of the Black Arts Movement, students will have the opportunity to understand how, in the case of the Black Arts Movement, intellectual thought and artistic production are symbiotic.
All core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.
We will ensure you graduate with in-depth sociological knowledge, as well as a wide range of academic, personal and professional skills.
We employ a wide variety of learning and teaching methods to ensure you are exposed to a range of learning styles, including traditional lectures, workshops, student-led sessions and our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
As well as the wide variety of learning and teaching methods employed by the course team, we also utilise a broad range of diverse assessment methods, ensuring you acquire the relevant academic and transferrable skills required to succeed after graduation.
Our assessment methods, as with our learning and teaching methods, also share the common aim of encouraging engaged, independent and deep learners who are highly successful, knowledgeable, critical and reflective, who can demonstrate a range of relevant skills.
The course team are very committed to ensuring that you are supported in making the right choice of subjects for your needs. The course is designed to allow you to change after your first year, so that you can be sure that the pathway meets your needs and future career aspirations.
Trips and Visits
There are opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom. Our focus on ethnographic research will encourage you to draw from the ‘everyday’ world in and around Birmingham. Additionally, study visits are planned to support your studies on topics such as slavery, the historical response to class oppression and governance.
Enhancing employability skills
The programme is committed to excellent employability outcomes for its students. To this end, the programme team ensure that all students are actively encouraged to engage in semester-long work placements, as well as a year-long placement opportunity between the second and third year of study.
Employability and professional skills are embedded throughout the programme, including communication, research and time management.
During your second year, you have the option to undertake a semester-long placement, allowing you to draw upon our many links with local voluntary, statutory and commercial organisations. Additionally, between your second and third years of study you can elect to work for a placement organisation for up to 12 months. Assistance will be given.
OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.
It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.
Welcome to the School of Social Sciences, home to students from all around the world!
All of our undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences courses are open to international students, and our courses have been tailored to take a global approach to learning. We frequently welcome international students through the Erasmus scheme, from countries including Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:
- Explore some of the good reasons why you should study here
- Find out how to improve your language skills before starting your studies
- Find all the information relevant to applicants from your country
- Learn where to find financial support for your studies
The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.
Facilities and Staff
We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £340 million on new learning facilities.
The Curzon Building
This course is based at our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building, alongside other social sciences, law, business and English students.
The £63m building offers students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.
Realistic, simulated environments include two mock court rooms, a Magistrates' and Crown Court, and an interviewing suite. We’re also exploring the use of virtual environments as a way to develop case study analysis.
For those studying on the BA (Hons) Policing or BA (Hons) Criminology, Policing and Investigation degrees, you’ll experience simulations of police interviewing environments for both suspects and witnesses, with access to tape recording and video playback analysis.
Crime investigation files are prepared using computer-based technology, and the crime data analysis requirements of the degree are supported by appropriate statistical and analytical software.
Psychology students can look forward to using state-of-the-art equipment as well, including the latest in eye-tracking software, and our new EEG machine, all geared towards giving you true hands-on experience with tools you’ll be using in your later career. You will also benefit from facilities across the wider campus including the Parkside and Millennium Point buildings.
The Curzon Building also features:
- An impressive new library with access to over 65 million full text items and stunning views of Eastside City Park
- Your Students’ Union which is located in a beautifully restored 19th century pub, The Eagle and Ball
- A modern 300-seat food court with space to study and socialise
- Brand new, accessible IT facilities with full Office365 for all students for free
Professor Kehinde Andrews
Professor of Black Studies
Professor Kehinde Andrews is an academic, activist and author whose books include Back to Black: Retelling Black Radicalism for the 21st Century (2018). His first book was Resisting Racism: Race, Inequality and the Black Supplementary School Movement (2013).More about Kehinde
Dr Eugene Nulman
Senior Lecturer in Sociology
Dr Eugene Nulman is very passionate and interested in social movements and social change and teaches to inspire. His academic work is driven by an emphasis in public sociology, bringing the academic knowledge to the wider community.
More about Eugene
Dr Dionne Taylor
Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Deputy Programme Leader Black Studies, Deputy Head of Department
Dr Dionne Taylor's role in BCU is about supporting, inspiring and guiding the students to reach beyond what many of them believe is possible. Encouraging students to work through the challenges, barriers and limitations to success is one of the reasons she became an academic.More about Dionne
Dr Karen Wilkes
Lecturer in Sociology
Dr Karen Wilkes's research is concerned with analysing visual culture (tourist brochures of the Caribbean, advertising, television and films). Her work examines how gender, race and class work together and are represented in popular culture.More about Karen