School of Health and Society
In a nutshell
Please note that this programme is currently in the process of being reviewed, and the content of the programme may be subject to changes
Sociologists have for decades been providing answers to difficult government and policy questions, informing industry and challenging inequalities.
Sociology is concerned with understanding social life and our place within it. On this course, you will study human connections and relationships, and how these connections, as well as social structures, such as social class, race and gender, are linked to the way we behave. You will tackle difficult questions around issues such as poverty, sexism, austerity, immigration, privacy and social unrest, and gain insights into our cultural and everyday lives.
Our world today faces multiple crises, each of which impact on society in ways that require astute analysis. From the cost of living crisis in the UK to the global environmental crisis and international conflict, people around the world are dealing with rapid changes to the communities they live in, with many becoming unaffordable or even uninhabitable. At the same time, new digital technologies mean people around the world are more informed and connected than ever before and cultural changes mean many more people are expressing identities that were at one time suppressed or even criminalised. As a Sociology student, you will explore these historical changes and contemporary events to understand what kind of impact they can have on society, how societies deal with them and how they can be the catalysts for major societal change.
- Benefit from our strong links with local government, social care providers, prisons, courts, charities, community development organisations and youth organisations
- Be equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed in a diverse range of professions
- Gain insight into key theories and approaches to understanding the social world, and transferable skills in areas such as research, information communication technology, critical thinking and advanced problem-solving
- Be taught by internationally recognised research active staff who ensure that module content aligns with current social science happenings, controversies and debates
- Have the opportunity to undertake a work placement module to gain first-hand experience
- Have the opportunity to study historical and contemporary issues, ranging from national to global
This is for you if...
You have a critical mind (with a hint of scepticism)
You find yourself questioning and challenging conventional assumptions about the world we live in
You want to deepen your understanding of the world
You want to tackle difficult questions, such as issues of poverty, immigration, privacy and social unrest
You are interested in how society is changing, particularly due to major events such as COVID-19, protests against police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, that we have experienced in recent years
You want to work in a profession where you can make a difference in society
All about the course
The social sciences have a long and well-established history at the University of Salford, having been taught here since 1954.
You will be taught by teaching staff who are internationally recognised experts in their fields of research, which ensures you will be at the cutting edge of academic understanding, and you will be able to study a diverse and engaging range of subjects, such as those dealing with crime, the legal system, social unrest and riots, the media and popular culture, cities, bodies and much more — ensuring that your time at Salford will be productive, valuable and provide a platform for future successes.
In the first year, all modules are compulsory and we will equip you with the study skills needed to get the best out of your degree and introduce you to both the nature and scope of research in sociology.
In your second year and third years, you will build on these foundations by looking in more detail at different theoretical perspectives in sociology and studying research problems and methods.
Across years two and three, seven options must be taken, a minimum of five from sociology and a maximum of two from criminology/language. However you make your combination, in year two you must choose one option for semester one and two options for semester two. The modules listed below are usually offered every year, so could be taken either in year two or year three.
You have one core module in the third year – for this, you must choose one of the independent study options (see below). You then have to choose four optional modules from the lists above to complete your 120 credits for year three: two for semester one and two for semester two.
Students on this course also have the opportunity to study a new module called ‘Inside-Out’. This module involves contact hours that are delivered inside HMP Forest Bank prison with ‘inside’ students, who are serving prisoners enrolled as University of Salford students for the duration of the module. Both the ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ students learn together throughout the module.
In your final year, you will have the option of undertaking a work placement. This involves working 80 hours at an organisation which seeks to understand or address social issues. Whether it's an international charity that helps refugees, a local authority pursuing an initiative to end homelessness and reduce poverty, or a private enterprise working with communities to enhance environmental sustainability - a wide variety of organisations tackle social issues and problems every day. Undertaking a work placement in sociology provides you with an opportunity to apply the knowledge you have gained during your studies to real world situations.
You will develop knowledge of the major forms of sociological reasoning and the ability to think sociologically about the major problems and issues in society and social life. You will gain an understanding of key concepts in sociology and of the contribution of sociological inquiry to explaining social dynamics.
Culture, Power and Identity
You will become familiar with sociological approaches to the understanding of culture, and the relationship between culture, power and identity. You will examine the social and cultural construction of identity and consider the formation of collective and individual identity, as forces of control and opportunity.
Social Divisions and Inequality
You will be introduced to social scientific concepts and theories about the nature of social divisions, diversity and social inequality in advanced industrial societies. You will develop an understanding of evidence about major forms of social division and their causes and social consequences and compare alternative explanations of complexity and differentiation in contemporary society.
Becoming a Social Scientist
This module introduces you to the ways in which sociologists and criminologists work and aims to develop the critical, interpretive, reflective and academic skills required to succeed on the programme.
Crime, Conflict and Society
You will be introduced to the key foundational issues, ideas, and ways of thinking within criminology. You will explore the various relationships between crime and society drawing upon contemporary, historical and comparative evidence and demonstrate links between particular theories and concepts and their implications for research methodology and crime policy.
Criminal Justice and Human Rights
You will be introduced to the form, key features and purpose of the institutions of the contemporary criminal justice system in England and Wales and begin an exploration of the issues relating to justice and civil liberties.
Research Problems and Methods: Making it count
You will gain an understanding of the survey research process, including forming a suitable research question, operationalisation, and types of sampling strategy. You will gain knowledge of key concepts in quantitative research, including statistical significance and probability and practical experience of alternative methods of analysing qualitative data.
Research Problems and Methods: Qualitatively better
You will develop an understanding of competing methodological approaches to social research. The focus throughout this module will be on learning and experiencing applied methods to address “real world” research social problems. You will gain a working knowledge, and practical experience of, alternative methods of collecting, reporting and presenting qualitative data.
Understanding the Social World
You will develop an understanding of the key schools of thought in sociological inquiry and evaluate the contribution of sociological inquiry to social life. You will analyse the relationships between individuals and their social settings and groups, and critically compare different sociological approaches and their implications for understanding the dynamics of social structures.
You will also select three optional modules. The full optional module list is below 'Year 3'.
You will develop an area of interest through an extended Sociological or Criminological essay, without having to meet the demands of research-based activity associated with the Dissertation, examining topics of your choice.
You will examine a sociological or criminological topic of your choice in an independent piece of research, exploring an area of your own academic, professional or personal interest.
Work: Practice and Reflection
You will engage in work based learning, making practical and conceptual connections between the academic study of sociology and criminology and work based activities. You will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of critical reflection.
In years two and three, in addition to your core modules, you will select a range of optional modules to meet the total credits of 120 for each year. These optional modules may include:
Bodies: Biology to Blushing
This module aims to denaturalise your understanding of the body and promote a sociological conception of both biology and human emotion. You will become familiar with sociologically thinking about the body, including the gendering and racialisation of bodies and you will explore the impact of modern genetics and other technological advancements on contemporary social life.
Culture and (Deviant) Leisure
It is the aim of this module is to you with an understanding of the role and location of popular culture, consumption, leisure and media and within contemporary society. You will consider the historical processes, theoretical and political debates, underlying and informing the nature of these practices, institutions and texts, as well as our understandings of these.
Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice
This module offers a broad introduction to the gendered dimensions of crime/criminality, criminal victimisation, criminal justice, and penology, and of the gendered theorising which attempts to account for this. It looks at the significance of gender to our understandings of and responses to crime and deviant behaviour.
Human Rights, Genocide and Resistance
This module addresses the complex and often paradoxical relationships between human rights, extreme human rights abuses, particularly genocide, and resistance to such abuses. Its distinctiveness lies in providing students with interdisciplinary, theoretically informed approaches to human rights, genocide and resistance.
Identities and Interactions
You will gain an understanding of the features of interactionist sociology and recognise how interactionist sociology differs from other ways of studying the social world. You will look at the ways in which theoretical approaches can be applied in areas such as socialisation and education, work and employment, and health and illness, and gain an understanding of the problems and opportunities of ‘working in a tradition’.
Internet Risk and Security
On this module you will critically engage with ideas concerning social and cultural issues associated with risk and security regarding the uses of the internet.
Intersectionality and Crime (only available in year three)
You will gain an understanding of the construction of deviant labels based on variables of ethnicity, gender and youth, and the relationship between these labels and crime. You will engage with issues surrounding experiences of crime and encounters with the criminal justice system. You will also compare crime policies on a national and international scale and look at a number of historical and contemporary case-studies.
Policing and Social Control
You will be introduced to issues surrounding the policing and social control in the past, in contemporary society and in the future, and analyse how social control and surveillance are manifested. You will identify the implications for policing and social control studies on wider sociology as well as policy and practice.
Prisons and Punishment: Responses to Crime
Provides an understanding of the evolution of the modern prison and its policies, practices, and regimes. In this module you will develop an understanding of the relationship between prisons, probation, and the courts; and of the use and impacts of punishment with regard to age, gender, and ethnicity.
Probation and Rehabilitation
You will gain an understanding of rehabilitation and personal change, developing a critical appreciation of how dominant theoretical approaches underpin professional practice in criminal justice. You will consider the development of probation services and related interventions (including substance misuse) in their historical, cultural, political and conceptual contexts and develop an understanding of the relationship between rehabilitation and diversity. You will be encouraged to take a critical, reflexive approach and consider the purposes and challenges of delivering rehabilitation in the penal system, substance misuse services and related industry.
Sex and Death: Policy, Practice and Representation
This module explores how representations of sex, death and dying continue to influence practice and policy. Topics may include:
Constructing sexuality, sex work, Aids and reproductive 'death', policing sexuality and the state, theorising death - from public issue to private trouble.
University Wide Language Programme
This module provides the opportunity to learn or develop a language with the University-wide language programme.
Violence in Society
An overview of the conceptualisation of “violence”. You will examine debates concerning violence in various aspects of life, consider the contemporary debates surrounding violence in a range of contexts, trace the development of theorisations of violence and consider ethical, methodological and practical issues involved in the researching of violence.
On this module you will learn about the many ways society is being transformed by digital technologies such as social media platforms and mobile apps, including how we work, how we communicate, and how we form relationships. You will discuss key ethical issues such as mass surveillance, cybercrime and ‘digital poverty’ and learn from organisations working to address these issues.
Sociology of Health and Illness
This module explores how sociological theory can be applied to understanding health inequalities, health behaviours an experiences of health and illness. In particular, it focuses on social patterns of health & illness: which groups are at more risk than others and why? It also examines power, institutions and autonomy in relation to health and illness including the NHS, technology & EHealth, as well as issues around power and decision making.
Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.
What will I be doing?
We use a variety of teaching and learning methods to cater for all styles of learning. This includes:
- Tutorials - usually in groups
- Seminars - in groups and based on a lecture subject or allocated reading
- Presentations - including those given from someone in the field
- Student-directed study - where work is assigned and deadlines are given
- Site visits
- Placement - if you opt to take this optional placement module, you will have the opportunity to put what you have learnt into practice. Examples of previous placements providers include prisons, schools, community organisations, local government and the police force.
We place emphasis on the acquisition of individual transferable skills as well as the development of knowledge and skills important to those working in field.
We also have a virtual teaching and learning resource, called 'Blackboard'. We will post module handbooks, summaries of lectures, messages to students and any other relevant materials on Blackboard. You will be enrolled for modules on Blackboard and can access the corresponding web pages, both on and off campus.
A variety of assessment methods are used including:
- Presentations (both group and individual)
- Dissertation (optional)
School of Health and Society
The School of Health and Society is a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a commitment to lifelong learning and real-world impact.
Our courses are informed by the latest research and we work closely with organisations from both the public and private sector to ensure our teaching is at the forefront of practice.
What about after uni?
A degree in sociology provides a strong foundation for a range of occupations from policing to prison and probation work to journalism and social administration. It is also a good general social sciences degree providing you with the skills vital in jobs such as administration, public service, and research.
You will be equipped with transferable practical skills including conducting research, delivering presentations, report writing and team work.
Our graduates enter a wide range of careers including commerce, management and administration. Others undertake postgraduate vocational training in teaching, law or social work or go on to further academic study.
Graduates of the course have gone on to work for the Racial Equality Council, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Disability Rights Commission, HM Prison Service, and the Probation Service. Other common career paths of our graduates include:
- The civil service
- Legal professions
- Community, health and social work
- Journalism and media
- Postgraduate courses, research and teaching
- Government advisory departments
- Investigating justice and victim support
- Policy and administration
This course responds to the needs of industry, in developing both subject expertise and skills that can be used for practice in the field. We have close associations with industry and professional bodies such as:
- The European Commission (DG Regions and DG Enterprise and Industry)
- Greater Manchester Police
- Amnesty International
- Medical Foundation for the Victims of Torture
- Peace Brigades International
- Salford Youth Offending Team
- Salford City Council
- Museum of Science and Industry
- Working Class Movement Library
- People’s History Museum
This provides you with a number of benefits such as field visits, portfolio surgeries, guest lectures, seminars, workshops and placements.
Placements and voluntary work are also available. These offer the opportunity for you to undertake a period of professional practice within the industry in order to understand the dynamics and constraints of applying your subject knowledge in the real world.
What you need to know
An ideal student would have:
- A critical mind (with a sprinkling of scepticism). This will require you to think about things in ways that look beyond the taken-for-granted assumptions
- A desire to understand, and challenge conventional assumptions about the world
- A willingness to develop your understanding via reading and engaging with books written by leading sociologists.
ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS
If you are an international student and not from a majority English speaking country, you will need IELTS 6.0 with no element below 5.0. We also accept a range of other English language qualifications. If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take the Pre-Sessional English course to gain entry onto this degree.
GCSE English language/literature and mathematics at grade C/grade 4 or above. Level 2 equivalencies will also be accepted.
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
UCAS tariff points
BTEC National Diploma
If applying to start from September 2024, you will need T Level - Merit
Applicants will be considered for entry into year 1.
Irish Leaving Certificate
Access to HE
Diploma in Foundation Studies (Sociology)
We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.
Salford Alternative Entry System (SAES)
We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.
There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.
To be considered for the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme you must have already achieved or be working towards GCSE Maths and English Grade C/4 (or equivalent).
|Type of study
You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.
Scholarships for international students
If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships.
Explore our International Scholarships.
All set? Let's apply
Course ID L300