Last Updated on January 17, 2023
Sociology is a scientific discipline concerned with the explanation of social life and human behaviour. It equips students with the skills to understand the breadth of social practice, ranging from the global (including power and politics, conflict and peace processes, security, the digital world, climate change, racism and social justice) to individual experiences (such as the body, intimacy, emotions, identity, beliefs and mental health). Through theoretical tools and methodological techniques, Sociology at Queen’s provides students with a unique way of interacting with the world as critical and engaged citizens.
Sociology Degree Highlights
Sociology at Queen’s launched a brand new Single Honours degree in September 2018, which includes a Sociological Cinema series.
- We have a solid tradition of students undertaking Study Abroad through Erasmus schemes (with universities in Barcelona, Lund in Sweden, Paris, Aix en Provence, in France, Munich and Dusseldorf in Germany, Rotterdam and Nijemegen in the Netherlands, Jyvaskyla in Finland) as well as visiting international students who take Sociology modules, particularly those connected to research expertise for which Queen’s is renowned (e.g. Conflict Transformation and Social justice, Childhood, Public Health etc.).
- Opportunity to develop substantive knowledge and research skills through collaboration in Northern Ireland’s vibrant community sector, including field trips, summer work placements, internship opportunities, guest lectures and workshops.
World Class Facilities
- Queen’s is an historic campus university in the heart of Belfast, ranked one of the most affordable universities in the UK.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- The Sociology programme meets the highest standard in Ireland and the UK for undergraduate training in research methods and their application. We are one of only 15 Q-Step Centres in the UK.
- Sociology is taught by a group of internationally recognised sociologists who specialise in areas such as family, childhood, religion and conflict.
- We offer a high quality, supportive, student-centred learning experience in a top Russell Group University as evidenced by our excellent NSS student satisfaction rates.
- We are a research-intensive university, which means that what you are taught is directly linked to the latest discoveries and innovations. Our programme directly relates to the university’s strategic research priorities, for example, the Senator George J. Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security & Justice.
- The Lockheed Prizes are awarded annually to students for the Bachelor of Arts degrees taking single, major or joint subjects in Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work.
- You will be assigned a personal tutor during induction. This member of academic staff will provide one-to-one support and mentoring throughout your studies at Queen’s.
We offer a peer-mentoring scheme for Sociology students, with the support of staff and the Centre for Educational Development.
“My Sociology degree opened my eyes about the world – I now question everything and my curiosity has grown! It has helped in my current job as I developed my analytical and problem-solving skills, which are essential for the workplace.”
BA Sociology graduate (2017)
Statistical Officer, NISRA
|Introduction||The Sociology team’s diverse research interests translate into an exciting and dynamic programme, with opportunities to study a range of subjects, such as:|
• Intimacy, families and gender
• Conflict, deviance, violence and peace building
• Emotions and Politics, from Trump to Brexit
• Environmental security
• Ethnicity, race and racism
• Health, illness and care
• Inequalities, poverty and social exclusion
• Religion and extremism
• Research methods and data skills (quantitative and qualitative)
|Stage 1 Core Modules||In first year, you will learn to think sociologically and explore the sociological imagination using up-to-date research, from studies on Facebook to romance and dating. Our key module Digital Society allows students to critically reflect on the role of technology in our daily lives, from surveillance to “Big Data”.|
– Rethinking Sociology
– The Sociological Imagination
– Introducing Social Policy
– Digital Society
|Stage 1 Optional Modules||– Introducing Criminology|
– Crime and Society
– Visualising the Social World
– Themes and Issues in Social Policy
– Issues in Contemporary Politics
|Stage 2 Core Modules||In second year, you will be introduced to classical and contemporary theories, and develop proficiency in quantitative and qualitative research methods. You will gain skills in using the most widely used software, for example, SPSS and NVivo. We take advantage of ARK, a key resource situated in the School, and use their wide range of attitudinal surveys, often commissioned by government and key NI organisations. This allows students to apply their research skills training to contemporary issues, using the latest survey data.|
-The Power of Social Theory
-Quantitative Research Skills
-Social Inequalities and Diversity
-Qualitative Research Skills
|Stage 2 Optional Modules||– Northern Ireland: Conflict, Identity, Peace|
– Welfare in Theory and Practice
– Environmental Crime and Justice
– Questions for an Ageing World
– Theory Counts
– Gender and Migration
– Sociology of Conflict and Peace Processes
|Stage 3 Core Modules||In final year, students design and undertake their own research project, under the guidance of a dedicated supervisor. This allows students to develop their own research question on a topic of their own selection, building on their studies. We encourage students to partner with community organisations to ensure that their research has direct and often immediate impact, where it is needed. As well as the development of specialist subject knowledge, the final year project provides key transferable skills, including independent project management and problem solving. A key aspect of final year is the ability to choose from the specialist Sociology options, reflecting the team’s research interests.|
– Research Project and Dissertation
|Stage 3 Optional Modules||– Religion: Death or Revival|
– Norms and Social Change
– Emotion, Power, and Politics: The Political Sociology of Emotions, Trump, Brexit, and Populism
– Modern Families: Intimate and Personal Relationships
– Disability and Society
– Contemporary Irish Society
– Global Risk Society
– Modelling the Social World
– Social Identity: Difference and Inequalities
|The Optional Q-Step Exit Pathway||Students who wish to benefit from specialist training in quantitative research can undertake a series of dedicated social science research modules over the course of their degree studies. Successful completion of 80 CATS credits of advanced quantitative research training (four modules) in level 2 and level 3 will receive the enhancement of BSc “with Quantitative Methods” added to the name of the degree awarded.|
People teaching you
Dr Cate McNamee
Lecturer in Sociology
Cate’s research interests focus on family demography, specialising in the areas of race-ethnic and socioeconomic differences in family outcomes, union formation, and fertility preferences. Cate teaches on family and quantitative methods for the social sciences at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.Dr Emma Calvert
Lecturer in Sociology
Emma’s research interests include employment and the labour market, education and inequality. As well as her research-led teaching, she trains students in quantitative research methods. Emma is also Coordinator of the Queen’s Q-Step Centre (https://www.qub.ac.uk/sites/QStep/) and organises summer work placements.Dr John Karamichas
Lecturer in Sociology
John specialises in environmental issues, protest and social movements. His teaching includes environmental harm/crimes (including climate change), environmental sustainability, sport mega-events (Olympics), social movements and protest mobilizations.Dr John Moriarty
Lecturer and Programme Director Sociology and Quantitative Methods
John is a Q-Step lecturer. He teaches a third-year module entitled “Social Identity: Differences and Inequalities” which makes up part of the BA with Quantitative Methods exit pathway. He also teaches “Digital Society” in first year, which explores the world of online communication and ‘Big Data’. His research interests revolve around the interplay between social roles and wellbeing, with an emphasis on jobs and workplace conditions.Dr Jonathan G. Heaney
Programme Director and Lecturer in Sociology
Jonathan teaches social theory and undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well a new final year option course on the political sociology of emotion. His primary research interests lie at the intersection of political sociology and the sociology of emotions, and he is currently working on emotion and power dynamics in relation to nationalism, the state, populism, and party politics more generally. He is also the current Programme Director for Sociology.Dr Lisa Smyth
Senior Lecturer in Sociology
Lisa specialises in the norms, emotions and social conflicts, focusing specifically on conflicts over various aspects of human reproduction, including abortion and breastfeeding, as well as over social roles such as motherhood.Dr Véronique Altglas
Lecturer in Sociology
Véronique’s expertise lies in the globalisation of religion, new religious movements, religious exoticism, responses to cultural and religious diversity, and anti-Semitism. Email: [email protected]Professor John Nagle
Professor in Sociology
John’s current research focusses on the role of social movement activism in divided societies, particularly in Lebanon, Syria and Northern Ireland. In this, John examines how a range of non-sectarian social movements – including LGBTQ, feminist and class based groups – mobilize for inclusion or challenge power sharing structures in divided societies.
Contact Teaching Times
|Large Group Teaching||6 (hours maximum)|
Hours in lectures
|Medium Group Teaching||3 (hours maximum)|
Hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week
|Personal Study||17 (hours maximum)|
Hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using hand-outs, online activities etc.
|Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial||10 (hours maximum)|
Hours one-to-one academic supervision during final year dissertation
Learning and Teaching
We aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable students to achieve their full academic potential.
On the Sociology single honors course we do this by providing a range of learning experiences which enable our students to engage with subject experts, develop attributes and perspectives that will equip them for life and work in a global society, and make use of innovative technologies and a world class library that enhances their development as independent, lifelong learners.
Sociology students at Queen’s are taught in a dynamic academic environment by an award-winning teaching staff, in a School which was rated as one of the leading departments in the United Kingdom.
Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this course are:
- Computer-Based Practicals
Practicals provide students with the opportunity to develop technical skills and apply theoretical principles to real-life contexts. For example, using recent survey data to address topical research issues, from attitudes to ageing to immigration. Specialist computer software includes SPSS (statistical package), ARCGIS (mapping and spatial analysis) and NVivo (qualitative data analysis software).
- E-Learning technologies
Information associated with lectures and assignments is often communicated via our Canvas Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). A range of e-learning experiences are also embedded in the degree programme including the use of interactive support materials.
Lectures are normally delivered in large groups and provide important introductions to significant concepts, debates and theories. They also provide opportunities to ask questions and seek clarification on key issues as well as gain feedback and advice on assessments. We often invite guest speakers from key organisations and civil society groups.
- Personal Tutor
Undergraduates are allocated a Personal Tutor from their first day at the University. The Personal Tutor is available to give advice and support throughout their time at QUB. The Personal Tutor will meet with them on several occasions during the year to support their academic development.
- Self-directed study
This is an essential part of life as a Queen’s student and includes private reading, engagement with e-learning resources, and reflection on feedback and assignment preparation.
A significant amount of teaching is carried out in small groups. These sessions are designed to explore, in more depth, the information that has been presented in the lectures. This provides students with the opportunity to engage closely with academic staff who have specialist knowledge of the topic, to ask questions and to assess their own progress and understanding with the support of their peers. During these classes, students will sometimes be expected to present their work to academic staff and their peers.
- Work-based learning opportunities
You will have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience with one of the many employers who are keen to benefit from the important skills you develop through your degree pathway. These opportunities can range from extra-curricular summer work placements, accredited by Degree Plus, through to working with community sector organisations on a research project in your final year.
Modules are typically assessed by a combination of continuous assessment, assignments and/or final written examination. Examples of continuous assessment include:
- Small Group Projects/Presentations – usually on a topic of students’ own choosing.
- Written assignments – including essays, book reviews, critical commentaries and blogs.
- Research-based assignments – for example, research proposals, questionnaire design, face-to-face interviews, reflective research diaries, analysis of statistical data and independent research projects.
- Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction. Following each element of assessed coursework, students are provided with detailed feedback on the quality of their written work and how they can improve future assignments.
Students receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement employers, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers. As a university student, you will be expected to take a greater role in reflecting on this and taking the initiative in continuously improving the quality of your work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that you, as an individual or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face-to-face comments. This may include occasions when you make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help you to address a specific query.
- Online or emailed comments.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which you can review in your own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
- Once you have reviewed your feedback, you will be encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of your work.
The School is located in an attractive building, with state-of-the-art learning facilities. There is also a dedicated student common room which students can use freely between 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday. The common room has seating, basic kitchen facilities and computer access with printing.
|A level requirements|
|Irish leaving certificate requirements|
Successful completion of Access Course with an average of 65%.
|International Baccalaureate Diploma|
32 points overall, including 6,5,5 at Higher Level. If not offered at Higher Level/GCSE then Standard Level grade 4 in English would be accepted
|BTEC Level 3 Extended/National Extended Diploma|
QCF Level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma (180 credits), with 100 credits at Distinction grade and 80 credits at Merit grade.
RQF Level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma (1080 Guided Learning Hours (GLH), with at least 540 GLH at Distinction grade (minimum 240 GLH to be externally assessed) and 540 GLH at Merit grade.
A minimum of a 2:2 Honours Degree
There are no specific subject requirements to study Sociology.
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on ‘How we choose our students’ prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by individual University Schools. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen’s, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
For entry last year, applicants for this degree offering A-Level/ BTEC Level 3 qualifications must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of 5 GCSE passes at grade C/4 or better (to include English Language). The Selector will check that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.
Offers are normally made on the basis of 3 A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The offer for repeat applicants is set in terms of 3 A-levels and may be one grade higher than that asked from first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.
Applicants offering two A-Levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification), or one A-Level and a BTEC Diploma/National Diploma (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.
Applicants offering other qualifications, such as Higher National Certificates and Diplomas will also be considered.
For applicants offering a HNC, the current requirements are successful completion of the HNC with all credits at Merit grade.
For those offering a Higher National Diploma, to be eligible for an offer, at least half of the units completed in the first year of the HND must be at Merit level and remainder Passes. Applicants must successfully complete the HND with all credits assessed in final year to be at Merit grade. Any consideration would be for stage 1 entry only. Some flexibility may be allowed in terms of GCSE profile.
For applicants offering the Irish Leaving Certificate, please note that performance at Junior Certificate is taken into account and a minimum of 5 passes at Grade C is required.
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of BA degrees, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking 4 A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
Applicants are not normally asked to attend for interview, though there are some exceptions and specific information is provided with the relevant subject areas.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a Faculty/School Open Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen’s.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions Service ([email protected]), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
English Language Requirements
An IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen’s University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
- Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
- Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen’s University Belfast and who need to improve their English.
International Students – Foundation and International Year One Programmes
INTO Queen’s offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen’s University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University’s world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
Your degree in Sociology will equip you with a range of transferable skills that are highly sought in a wide variety of fields in the contemporary jobs market. Sociology graduates are found in a range of occupations, including management, communication, marketing, sales, retail, journalism, media research and publishing, youth and community work, charities and the voluntary sector, healthcare, social and civil services, and education. Sociology is also a good fit for a variety of careers in business: it develops the ability to gather and evaluate evidence, to engage in critical analysis, and to understand and explain complex problems and situations.
Our graduates have worked for organisations beyond and within Northern Ireland, such as:
• Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA)
• Belfast Child
• Johnsons Solicitors
• Lloyds Banking Group
• Northern Ireland Housing Executive
“I had a summer placement working in the Northern Ireland Assembly. I believe that it was these CV extras that set me apart from other graduates, and landed me a job in the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency only weeks after graduating“
Lauren Kinnear , NISRA
Additional Awards Gained
There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.
Prizes and Awards
A BA Sociology student was a Winner of the Global Uundergraduate Awards (2017), the world’s leading UG awards programme which recognises top UG work. Another sociology student’s work was ‘highly commended’ in 2019.
Lockheed Employees’ Prizes are financed from a benefaction to the University by the employees of the Lockheed Overseas Corporation, USA, who worked in Northern Ireland during the second world war.
This prize may be awarded annually to students for the Bachelor of Arts degrees taking single, major or joint subjects in Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work.
Top performing students are regularly awarded prizes and scholarships, such as the SWAN prizes for best pieces of work on gender, and the Foundation Scholarship.
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen’s you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you’ll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It’s what makes studying at Queen’s University Belfast special.