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Why study GCSE Sociology?

Studying GCSE sociology will give you an awareness of the social, political and economic issues that shape society.  You will develop a greater understanding of how communities and wider society function. It will also help you to grasp the principles behind social constructs that we take for granted.

GCSE sociology will give you a greater appreciation of the world around you. You will be able to recognise and apply theories to specific sociological challenges and apply independent thinking to determine an alternative outcome.

Along with a growing knowledge of society, studying GCSE sociology will allow you to develop key skills for the future.  It is a very academic subject, with lots of key vocabulary and sociological theories to learn. The assessment is all essay based.

Course content
There are two exams in GCSE Sociology.  Paper 1 and Paper 2.  Both examine two of the main modules.

During the course of your GCSE your will study:

Introduction: The Sociological Approach
Before delving into the specifics, you need to grasp the fundamentals. The sociological approach covers how sociological knowledge and ideas change over time. You will also need to understand how these ideas go on to inform our understanding of the social world.  You will explore different sociological perspectives on social structures, social issues and social processes. This will include understanding the impact of feminism, functionalism, interactionism and Marxism influence society.  
Then you will be asked to critically evaluate and compare and contrast theories including key features of the theory in the context of a specific topic or area of sociology. Exploring contemporary social issues, such as poverty or racism, will allow you to challenge everyday understandings from a sociological perspective. This will form the foundation for further study.

Paper 1: Families
This module will delve into the views and functions of families. You will be able to identify, describe and explain the different functions of the family, while applying a variety of sociological perspectives.  This part of the course will also give you the opportunity to explore the changing nature of family, the conjugal role of relationships and the criticisms of family. These tie into themes of identity, idealisation, the status and role of women and marital breakdown.

Paper 1: Education
Examine the different views of the role and function of education. You will study the functionalist perspective and Parsons’ theory on the achieved status and meritocratic principles.  This module will also direct you to look at the relationship between education and capitalism from a Marxist perspective, comparing and contrasting the sociological perspectives. You will then spend some time studying the factors affecting educational achievement and the creation of school culture.

Paper 2: Crime and Deviance
The crime and deviance module will give you insight into the social construct of these two ideas. You will examine both the functionalist and interactionist perspectives. This will encourage you to examine crime and deviance as a concept rather than an absolute.  You will be encouraged to apply various sociological theories and principles to crime and deviance and the causes of crime.

Paper 2: Social Stratification
Social stratification refers to a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy. So different class systems or status based on education, power, wealth, ethnicity etc.  This module will encourage you to examine social stratification from different perspectives. You will examine how other parts of our society – such as output vs reward – have become intrinsically linked.  By the end of the module you will be able to describe key theories in relation to social stratification including feminism and Marxism.

What can I do after GCSE Sociology?
Taking your learning further by studying A Level sociology and going on to university could lead you to a number of exciting and challenging roles:

  • Youth worker
  • Policy officer
  • Social research
  • Community development officer
  • Probation officer
  • It also sets the foundation for undergraduate study.

A sociology or a related degree can create opportunities in the public and private sectors and within charities. It can also lead to work in research and teaching. There you can specialise in a dedicated field and help others to better understand the ever-changing world we live in.

If you have any questions, come and speak to Mr White, Director of Humanities