University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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About the major

How does society shape you as an individual? How do you shape the society in which you live? Such questions are central to sociology. Sociologists study human behaviour, beliefs and identity in the context of social interaction, social relationships, institutions and change. A major focus of sociological research and theory is how the ‘modern’ world came about, how it is changing today, and how it might develop in the future.

When you study sociology you will be introduced through our first year units to key ideas and concepts to help you understand social life and social change. You will also be introduced to methods and techniques that will enable you to undertake your own research. These foundational ideas will be consolidated in your second and third year where your knowledge will be broadened by the study of particular areas within sociology, such as religion, mass media, sport, environmental issues, and social movements. Key concepts include inequality, class, gender, power, deviance, change, agency and identity.

You will engage with the various aspects of sociology in classroom situations but also in the real world. You will learn to write and think sociologically using essays, reports, oral group work, posters, debates and new social media.

Graduates from this major will have the necessary foundations to better understand and engage with the globalising world.

Requirements for completion

A major in Sociology requires 48 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level core units
(ii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core unit
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective unit
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level core unit
(v) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units
(vi) 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project units

A minor in Sociology requires 36 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 12 credit points of 2000-level units
(iii) 12 credit points of 3000-level units

First year

In your first year, you will study SCLG1001 Introduction to Sociology 1 and SCLG1001 Introduction to Sociology 2. Each of these units will provide you with introductory knowledge and understanding of the discipline of sociology, and will include an examination of key theories, concepts and methods of social research. Throughout the first year you will also be invited to apply sociological perspectives when analysing a range of social phenomena relevant to Australian society, including class and inequality, race and ethnicity, sexuality, globalisation, health and the body, work and leisure, and education. At the end of your first year you will be equipped with foundational knowledge and skills in sociology that will enable you to take senior units of study in this subject area.

Second year

In your second year, you will deepen your knowledge and understanding of sociological theory and methods by taking SCLG2601 Sociological Theory, and a choice of either SCLG2632 Quantitative Methods or SCLG2602 Social Inquiry: Qualitative Methods. You will also take electives, which may include topics on the formation of social identities, the experience of Indigenous Australians, the rise of cities and urban society, terrorism and state power, childhood and youth, and the sociology of sport.

Third year

In your third year, you will build on your previous two years of sociological study to develop advanced knowledge and understanding of social theory and methods in SCLG3601 Contemporary Sociological Theory and SCLG3602 Sociological Theory and Practice, both of which will enable you to consolidate your skills in sociology and equip you to pursue further study in social research.

The remaining credit points for your major can be taken from senior units of study listed under electives in the unit of study table. These units provide specialist content (e.g., religion, social inequality, terrorism, power, celebrity, the environment, crime, law, human rights, childhood, deviance, media and communication, health and illness) enabling you to focus on particular topics in more detail.


If you commenced your degree prior to 2018, admission to honours requires a major in Sociology with an average of 70% or above.

If you commenced your degree in 2018, admission to honours is via the Bachelor of Advanced Studies and requires the completion of a major in Sociology with an average of 70% or above. You will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major, prior to commencing honours.

Sociology involves the study of contemporary society. Its concerns range from the local to the global, from the everyday world we live in to the large scale questions about global processes and patterns of social life. Sociology provides theoretical and methodological approaches to investigate and analyse social, economic, political and cultural phenomena. The titles of the units we teach reveal the diversity of the fields of study in Sociology and Social Policy. We aim to provide students with strong conceptual and research training. We also emphasise historical and comparative approaches in understanding our globalising world.

Advanced coursework

The Bachelor of Advanced Studies in Sociology will equip students with advanced knowledge, understanding and skills in conducting original research, from selecting a topic to data analysis and interpretation of results. The program examines the philosophical, historical and political foundations of social research, and explores debates and controversies in social theory to advance reflexive and critical analytical insights and skills. Project work enables students to participate in workplace environments and be exposed to problem-solving processes in interdisciplinary teams, as well as enabling them to apply academic knowledge to real-world settings.

24-36 credit points of advanced study will be included in the table for 2020.

Contact and further information

Department website:

Undergraduate Coordinator: