University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 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

The Sociology major and minor requirements are listed in the Sociology unit of study table.

Learning outcomes
No. Learning outcome
1 Apply sociological theories, concepts and methods to understanding social change, social and economic inequality and social relationships and institutions in their social, economic and cultural contexts.
2 Demonstrate an understanding of the discipline of Sociology and its relationship to the other disciplinary traditions that it has been shaped by and has helped to shape, including politics, gender and cultural studies, social policy, socio-legal studies, history, anthropology, human geography and political economy.
3 Apply the diverse qualitative and quantitative research methods and methodologies deployed in Sociology and to demonstrate an understanding of the ethical considerations of undertaking research in different social and cultural contexts.
4 Demonstrate a capacity to design and undertake sociologically informed research on complex social issues, and to propose a critical and original analysis of those same issues.
5 Demonstrate a capacity to develop distinctive sociological analysis of major social problems.
6 Demonstrate a sociological awareness and understanding of their own and other worldviews through an ethical participation in collaborative and interdisciplinary work.
7 Demonstrate a capacity to communicate the relevance of Sociological knowledge, research and analysis to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
Advanced coursework

The Bachelor of Advanced Studies in the School of Social and Political Sciences (SSPS) offers students the opportunity to apply their social science skills and knowledge to complex and tangible social, cultural, political and economic problems. Students will have the opportunity to apply and further develop their methodological, analytical and communication skills as they undertake primary research, learn to harness big data for critical social science research and diagnose and propose responses to contemporary and persistent social, cultural, political and economic challenges. Students will also be given the opportunity to further develop their capacity to translate social science research and analysis into effective contributions to public and policy debates.

Requirements and units of study for advanced coursework can be found on the Sociology advanced coursework units of study page.


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.

Honours admission requirements

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.

Prior to commencing, you will need to ensure you have completed all other requirements of the Bachelor of Arts or other bachelor degree, including Open Learning Environment (OLE) units and a second major.

Requirements and units of study for honours can be found on the Sociology honours units of study page.

Contacts and further information

Department website:
Undergraduate Coordinator: