also available in 2018
A Level Requirements
see all requirements
see all requirements
Full time 3 Year(s)
Have you ever wanted to know the full story behind the important issues in our society? Are you interested in understanding more about gender inequalities in our societies and women’s experiences of everyday sexism? What can sociology teach us about disasters and when things go wrong with technology? How can we think sociologically about the future? How important is what we consume to our sense of identity and social relationships? How have the financial crisis and austerity measures impacted on people’s daily lives?
Here at Lancaster you can engage with these questions and have chance to ask your own by studying on our BA Sociology course. We help you to make the familiar strange, to ask critical questions, to understand a wide range of classic and contemporary sociological writing, and to develop skills that allow you to carry out independent research.
Since being established in 1969, Lancaster Sociology has developed an excellent reputation and today we are one of the best departments in the UK and the world. Both our staff and students contribute to important public discussions through lectures, blogs, media appearances and social media.
Our Department offers a range of opportunities to foster your personal and professional development. You can participate in field trips, placements, studying aboard, film screenings, public events, seminars, and major international conferences. All this makes for a vibrant and supportive atmosphere.
The unique structure of our degree courses allows you to personalise your own learning. Whether you have diverse interests or aren't quite sure what you want to major in, we are here to help you make the most of your time at Lancaster.
Find out more about what our students do and what makes our department a great place to study.
A Level ABB
IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 5.5 in each component. For other English language qualifications we accept, please see our English language requirements webpages.
International Baccalaureate 32 points overall with 16 points from the best 3 Higher Level subjects
BTEC Distinction, Distinction, Merit
We welcome applications from students with a range of alternative UK and international qualifications, including combinations of qualification. Further guidance on admission to the University, including other qualifications that we accept, frequently asked questions and information on applying, can be found on our general admissions webpages.
Contact Admissions Team + 44 (0) 1524 592028 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of Lancaster's degree programmes are flexible, offering students the opportunity to cover a wide selection of subject areas to complement their main specialism. You will be able to study a range of modules, some examples of which are listed below.
The Sociology 101 Course introduces you to sociological issues, ideas, concepts, evidence and argument by examining some key aspects of living in the contemporary world. By the end of the course, you should have a basic capacity for conceptual analysis and for applying sociological reasoning to empirical examples. This will allow you to evaluate what you see around you with new critical skills. The lectures are designed to provide you with a basic background in the topics being reviewed.
You will be introduced to debates and issues related to various aspects of contemporary societies and encouraged to explore ideas and undertake analysis. In this respect, it is perhaps better to think of sociology as an interpretative scientific endeavour rather than producing definitive findings or laws, although it may do this too. Sociology is an exciting subject. It can seem confusing, especially to those of you who are coming to it for the first time. Sociology will seem to cover every topic in society, there are different kinds of sociology, and many different areas where sociological research matters, from politics to design.
We will help you develop new skills in thinking sociologically. The course will stimulate interest for students who have not done an Advanced Level course in Sociology, whilst providing a challenge to those who have.
More specifically, the course's aims are threefold. First, you will learn about various aspects of contemporary societies and key concepts (e.g. society, identity, modernity, globalization). Each block introduces a key area of sociological inquiry and long-standing as well as newly emerging research questions. Many sociologists at Lancaster are renowned for their creative and groundbreaking research and each module relates to one or more of the Department's research areas, so you will experience major figures in international Sociology and get a taste of the department's current teaching and research portfolio.
Second, you will learn basic study and research skills. These include: taking notes, using the library, conducting sociological research, analysing written and spoken arguments and empirical evidence, writing, using the internet as a research tool, working and discussing in groups, preparing and making oral presentations.
Third, you will learn to think sociologically. That is to say that you will be able to identify social dimensions of contemporary life, summarise sociological ideas and arguments, and analyse social phenomena from a sociological perspective. In short, you will begin to think differently about how we lead our lives in the present day world.
This module challenges you to think about why some private troubles become public concerns or social problems while others do not. It considers how certain issues are constructed as ‘problems’ and the factors that contribute to this. It helps you to understand more about both why we study social problems and the various ways in which we can do so.
Throughout the module we explore broad historical and contemporary responses to social problems. In particular, we will seek to understand how contemporary social problems reflect and reproduce economic and social inequalities and how those inequalities are constructed through different welfare ideologies and approaches.
The module is underpinned by five key themes: need, community, citizenship, rights, and equality and social justice. We look, for example, at research and conceptual ideas that can help us understand poverty in contemporary society: we explore different ways of defining and measuring poverty, explanations of why people are poor, how the state attempts to tackle poverty and how it impacts upon the lives of individuals.
Small-group seminars are used to encourage discussion and debate, and you will be able to choose from a wide range of topics for your subsequent assignments and assessments.
This module is taught by lecturers from a range of disciplines and considers how gender emerges and matters in society. It explores the gendering of identities, relations and institutions and the links between gender and power. It also examines challenges and resistances to the classifications, processes and consequences of gendering: forms of resistance and protest. It is a course which is concerned with the ways in which gender is constructed, lived, challenged and studied, and makes connections between academic work and sexual and gender politics and activism.
This first year module is suited for anyone with an interest in issues pertaining to women and gender relations, the different social conditions in which women live, especially in relation to differences amongst women, and the way that this leads to a diversity of feminist politics.
The Media and Cultural Studies 101 Course aims to enable you to critically examine and analyse a range of media and culture forms and practices; you will be encouraged to place these forms and practices within their social, cultural and institutional contexts (eg when, where and how were these forms and practices constructed, and for what purposes?) and to recognise and assess the conventions, messages and processes through which media and culture operate (eg how do the conventions of an advert contribute to its meaning? Are conventions converging in new media forms like websites?).
The course introduces you to competing theoretical ideas and concepts which you put to work to interpret and critically assess a range of data, information and communication involving diverse media forms and sources, such as visual materials (e.g. films and photographs), digital and electronic sources, music and sound recordings, fashion and bodily inscriptions, print media and journalism.
In addition to these subject specific aims, the course also aims to enhance other knowledges and skills. You will read and evaluate complex and challenging scholarly texts from primary and secondary sources, for example, and explore the relevance of key theories to contemporary examples of media and culture. You will work and present your ideas in different ways, including essays and exam answers, presentations and group projects. By the end of the course you should be able to interpret and analyse different contemporary media and cultural phenomena with confidence, and to support your views with academic sources.
This module is organised around a range of cross-cutting methodological issues that are addressed in relation to established methods (such as interviewing and quantitative surveys). Discussions and activities incorporate a range of methodological approaches using visual, qualitative, and quantitative data. Students are provided with a clear outline of the module structure and topics at the outset, and in-class activities will be designed to engage students in active learning with ample opportunities for formative feedback.
This course introduces the development of social theory from the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century to contemporary debates about the character of knowing.
This course offers the opportunity to learn skills in reading, analysing, comparing, and critically evaluating major social theories of the rise of modern societies.
Social and cultural theories of the body have transformed thinking in the last two decades. Indeed, accounts of the body and embodiment have moved from being a marginal aspect of social and theory to a central feature of how we understand and experience media culture and society. Through a series of case-studies, this module explores some of the key developments in sociological accounts of the body and the body politic (or the nation state). Throughout this module we will focus on issues of inequality, stigma, power, in/visibility, surveillance, disability, 'race' and ethnicity. Examining the body as a site of social control, and as a repository of shifting classifications, we will consider bodies which do not easily fit prevailing social and cultural norms, bodies which are perceived to be ‘out of place’, abject or deviant and bodies imagined and employed as sites of resistance and protest.
As well as gaining an understanding of some key social, cultural and political issues you will develop critical thinking, reading, writing skills and practical skills. We will go on course field-trips (for example to Lancaster Castle in order to think about the history of punishment) and you will participate in lively and challenging workshops. As part of the assessment for this course you will make a short film in response to themes and issues examined or provoked by lectures, screenings, reading and seminar discussions. This course is interdisciplinary and is open to students from any discipline, but has been particularly designed for Sociology, Media and Cultural Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies students.
This half-unit module will introduce students to sociological thinking on climate change. Debates about climate change are shifting, and beginning to make much stronger links between a vast and complex planetary perspective (a globe in crisis) and the private sphere (the home, low-carbon lifestyles, urban living, consumer demand, etc.). In this context, social theorists have been considering what sociological thinking can offer to contemporary debates on climate change issues. The module aims to introduce students to a range of new and emerging sociological analyses which examine: climate change and social change; new subjectivities, institutions and collectives under climate change; climate activism; dynamics of crisis and denial; the contested politics of climate change science; the global political economy of climate change; utopias and dystopias of climate change.
This module explores how consumption, advertising, branding and promotion shape society. In the module we will ask questions such as:
This course focusses on the relationship between media, representation and power. We engage closely with the most influential cultural theories of modern times, putting them to work to understand how power operates through forms of mediation in late capitalist societies. We address these issues through analysis of a contemporary cultural phenomena ranging from the food poverty to the spectacular brand management of the British royal family, from Pride parades to our culture’s obsession with weight. We focus on a range of media including advertising, film, photography, multimedia art, theme parks, news media, social media and the internet.
Topics covered include:
This module explores the role of friendship in society. Classical and contemporary sociological accounts often claim that social bonds have been eroded or that personal relationships and community have become less stable and more fluid. Sociology has focused most attention on family ties and kinship in exploring these questions. But a focus on friendship can offer new perspectives on society.
This module will ask: What does friendship mean today? What form of social bond is friendship? Has social change impacted on friendship and vice versa?
Do we need to take Rachel Dolezal’s claim to ‘identify as black’ seriously? How does the visibility of figures like Caitlyn Jenner help ordinary trans* people? Does Rihanna’s video for Bitch Better Have My Money glamorise violence against women? Is Beyonce, as bell hooks argues, a ‘terrorist’ for her affect on young women of colour, or does her argument disempower Beyoncé’s huge female audience? Is fan culture reshaping the media landscape, or are fans just dupes of consumer capitalist media corporations?
The relationship between gender and representation has never been more contentious or more contested than it is today, as a new generation of feminists take on media images of gender. This course does not attempt to give answers, but instead focuses on asking questions. Our focus will be on engaging closely and critically with media through feminist scholarship and activism.
Media studied include TV dramas ( Orange is the New Black, Game of Thrones, Cucumber), reality TV and (RuPaul Drag Race,America’s Next Top Model), images of masculinity from the camp gay stereotype of the 20th century to lad culture, and the changing nature of celebrity from Marilyn Monroe to Beyoncé.
Contemporary women’s and men’s lives are vastly different from previous generations, yet there are certain patterns of inequality, gender difference, and normative sexuality that continue to be reproduced. This course explores and interrogates the workings of gender and sexuality in contemporary society by considering a range of sociological and feminist explanations. The focus is on multiple formations of gender, sexuality, identity and embodiment. The course will analyse power relations among women (differentiated by class, ‘race’, ethnicity, sexuality and nationality) as well as between men and women. The course is taught in workshop format and involves lively debate and lectures and analysis of readings, films, images and news and popular media. In term 2 you complete and present a group project based on independent research.
The course is divided into 4 thematic sections.
You will have the opportunity to: 1) learn skills in reading, analysing, and critically evaluating theories of gender difference and inequality; 2) to practice formulating your own sociological questions about gender and sexuality; 3) develop your skills in group work and oral presentation.
This half unit module relates contemporary forms of employment to basic structures and pressures of capitalism.
Beginning with an analysis of markets and employment relations in capitalist organizations, it proceeds, through a number of case studies, to examine how workers’ subjective experience of employment is influenced by wider social and economic forces. It focuses particularly on jobs involving a service element, including jobs involving care work and emotional labour. It explores how political economic theories of paid work and empirical analyses of the subjective experience of employment might relate to one another.
Everyday life is often described as bombarding us with images, and contemporary culture is therefore frequently understood as a visual culture.
This course will introduce theories and practices that have addressed these questions. It will cover topics including:
On this module you will gain a critical understanding of recent and ongoing themes in Media and Cultural Studies and Sociology on the topic of vision and visuality, media and culture, develop different reading and writing skills and participate in lively discussions and analytical exercises.
This module introduces a range of debates about the social and cultural status and impact of advertising.
From a sociological perspective it explores:
Students on this module will gain a critical understanding of sociological and cultural perspectives on advertising, methods of analysing advertising, and the role of advertising and discourses of consumerism in shaping identities.
Is ‘the environment’ a matter of sociological concern? How is it treated in sociological thinking? Can sociological thinking give us a ‘critical’ view of environment-society relationships? This half-unit module aims to draw out our (often implicit) ideas about environment-society relationships in order to scrutinize them sociologically. We will examine a variety of ordinary social practices that entail particular ideas and assumptions about the environment. We will see, for example, how the environment is present within issues of identity, consumerism, the media, fashion, activism, commodification, risk, protection, citizenship, and inequality. Through lectures, readings, films, popular and academic texts, and based around many class discussions, this module will offer students: first, an overview of various sociological approaches to ‘the environment’; second, a sense of the contested and contradictory ways in which ‘the environment’ is present in contemporary social practices; third, a confidence in using sociological thinking to think critically about the status-quo and to assess the possibilities for socio-environmental change.
Want to "go viral"? In this module you will make stuff: tweets, blogs, videos, GIFs, wikis, music mash-ups, photo essays, machinima, memes. We will hang out in social media worlds like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pirate Bay, 4chan, Second Life, World of Warcraft, Know Your Meme, tumblr. You will learn to tie all of these media and platforms together into a viral video and social media campaign. You will become digitally literate while at the same time exploring the most cutting edge new media theory. When you complete this module you will know how to make most types of simple digital media, you will develop a portfolio of content that may assist you in entrepreneurial work in the new media industries, and most importantly you will understand how new media are challenging existing forms of culture, politics, law, and business.
This course explores the question of how information and communications technologies, in their multiple forms, figure in our everyday lives. The aim of the course is to develop an appreciation for the range of experiences affected by digital media, including the progressive expansion of life online, and the increasingly intimate relations between life online and off. We’ll explore global divisions of digital labour; hactivism. The course will consider the new possibilities that the changing social infrastructure of digital technologies afford, while also learning to look at the rhetorics and practices of the virtual with a questioning and critical eye. Throughout the course we’ll be attentive to issues of gender, race and other marks of sameness and difference as they operate among humans, and between humans and machines.
This module comprises a 10,000 word dissertation that students complete in their final year. It offers students the opportunity to undertake an independent piece of research (under supervision) and to apply their general understanding of the research process to real world examples that will inform their choice of dissertation topic.
Students will plan, present and design a dissertation proposal in tutorial groups, with a detailed, step-by-step web-based guide available for extra support. They will develop an idea for a research project, work out what is possible, which methods to use, and begin to plan it. They will then communicate their dissertation proposal to other students and then write it up in a way that clearly states their research topic, aims and methods, and where it situates within wider sociological debates. Students will carry out data collection and analysis, and write it up as a dissertation. They will meet regularly with their supervisors to discuss their progress.
All sociologists are supposed to know their classics but most only know them from second or third hand summaries. In this course we offer the opportunity for advanced students to have an intimate encounter with one of the core texts by one of the classics, texts that are referred to all the time in the social sciences. The text will change on an annual basis and in 2014/15 the module studied Zygmunt Bauman’s prize-winning book Modernity and the Holocaust (1989). In this collection of closely interlinked essays, Bauman makes the disturbing claim that, far from being some momentary regression to barbarism by a brain-washed population, the Holocaust was very much a ‘creature’ of modern society. Indeed, he argues that the social and personality structures that enabled the Holocaust to occur are very much a part of systems, processes and logics which continue into the present. In provocatively challenging our comfortable, complacent ‘civilised’ existence today, Bauman poses fascinating and vital questions about responsibility, ethics, co-operation and conformity, and our individual and collective courage to confront authority and violence. We will use Bauman’s book as a point of departure for exploring some central debates and key writings in Holocaust studies.
This module uses case studies of disasters (technical and social) to explore these questions and what sociology can teach us about them.
This challenging course investigates gender inequalities within society through a focus on historical and contemporary debates in feminist theory and activism. The course has an `intersectional` focus that means we will consider gender inequalities as bound up with other forms of discrimination and marginalisation, particularly racial and ethnic inequalities, disability and social class.
The first term will challenge you to think about `what feminism means today` through a consideration of key aspects of feminist thought and activism from the late 1960s onwards. We will consider the continued relevance of the idea of ‘The Personal is Political’ and ‘consciousness raising’. We will overview feminist approaches to social research and explore feminist interventions in practices of gender inequality, for example inequalities in paid and unpaid work, childcare and women’s health. You will complete an intergenerational interview research project on ‘women, work and social change’ through which you will analyse and present your findings in a group presentation and reflect upon your experience of the research process.
During the second term we will take the feminist manifesto as a central document which expresses lived experiences of gender inequalities and collective desire for social change. Through some practices of inequalities, such as art, beauty contests, capitalism and patriarchy we will explore the contemporary resonance of ideas such as black feminisms, art activism, the occupy movement and backlash.
By the end of the course you will be familiar with some of the key debates within feminism today and be able to make connections between feminist theory and forms of feminist practice. The course engages you in lively debate, original research and feminist activism through analysis of varied media including academic texts, advertising, art, film, news media and social media.
This module introduces contemporary health issues and the sociological questions that arise from them: What is ‘health’ and how do we try to achieve it in contemporary societies? Why are some people healthy and others not? What role do sex/gender, race, ethnicity and class play in producing healthy and unhealthy bodies and lives? We study contemporary research on a wide range of health issues, including smoking, genetics, HIV/AIDS, cancer and alternative therapies. In discussing these examples, we explore conceptual issues around bodies and selves, and think about how people form new relationships around questions of health, including relationships between patients and doctors, within families, and between individuals and the state. We also analyse new forms of activism around health, illness and bodies. In Term 2 this module uses an innovative teaching method – problem based learning – which is fun and interactive – not the usual lecture/seminar format.
Information for this module is currently unavailable.
This module is designed to introduce students to the increasingly complex and interactive world of communication media. It combines classic theories of media sociology and globalization with recent developments in cultural analysis and the general area of mediated communication. The approach is both institutional and micro-analytic, looking at patterns of economic, political and regulatory aspects of contemporary mass media while also examining the increasing interactive involvement of individuals and local audiences in the output of the media industries. The emphasis of the module is on structures of power, both in Britain and globally, forces which are beginning to merge telecommunication, television and computer technology into a single powerful element of all modern societies.
This module introduces and explores the writings of a number of key twentieth-century social and cultural theorists, and radical thinkers offering perceptive and provocative critiques of the many ills of modern western capitalist society.
Building on some of the theories and concepts encountered in the module ‘Understanding Social Thought’, this module provides an opportunity for students to engage with some of the most stimulating and challenging perspectives in the social sciences, ones which interrogate our common and comfortable assumptions about the supposedly benign and beneficent character of contemporary capitalism, scientific development, technological innovation, and affluent consumer lifestyles. In so doing, the very concepts of historical enlightenment, progress and civilisation are called into question.
This is an essential module for those for whom sociology is not just intended to interpret the world in various ways, but concerned to change it.
Belonging to a nation is widely seen to be as natural as belonging to a family or a home. This module will explore how such assumptions about national belonging come about by introducing students to a range of theoretical approaches and debates.
Students will explore how notions belonging are socially constructed, how the nation is defined, who belongs and who doesn’t. The module addresses these notions by examining what everyday practices, discourses and representations reveal about the ways people think about, and inhabit, the nation. The module also pays particular attention to nation formation in relation to debates about multiculturalism, diversity and migration and asks: What are the impacts of migration and multiculturalism on definitions of the nation? How is multiculturalism defined and perceived?
Although focus will be on the example of Britain, issues raised will apply to many countries of the contemporary world.
This module will explore how the politically powerful and the politically radical use the internet to consolidate and revolutionise the distribution of power around the globe.
Like many communication platforms before it, the internet is mobilised by the politically and economically powerful as well as those seeking radical change. However, unlike other platforms, it has created an almost universally accessible platform for public dialogue. Pro-democracy revolutionaries, freedom hackers, feminist mediasmiths, anti-capitalists, data leakers, and others use the internet to organise their social movements. Conversely, those opposed to the liberal project, such as authoritarians and extremist groups, also use the affordances of the internet to distribute their message and rally their supporters.
This module examines these issues and investigates the implications of “big data” control by governments and corporations. The module looks also at the understanding social networkers and other content uploaders have of this “big data” control along with the consequences it comes with.
This module considers ‘what a drug is’, alongside how and why we take drugs, by exploring the relationship between society, culture and intoxication. Together we will examine classic and contemporary literature on 'drugs' and the 'drug experience', including drug ethnographies, critical drug studies, and narcocultural studies (eg. literary works and media on drugs). We will also analyse how certain forms of drug use are produced as ‘social problems’ to develop a critical understanding of the aims, efficacies and inadequacies of societal responses to drug use, including drug education programmes, public health policies, treatment regimes, recovery work, and criminal sanctions. Other topics covered include club drugs in post-rave dance cultures; continuity and change in drug markets/distribution systems; drug prohibition, its consequences, and its alternatives; illicit drugs, globalisation and securitisation; gender, sexuality and drugs; researching drugs/drug use (theoretical concepts, research methods and ethics); risks, harms and pleasure; and mapping drug futures in the digital age.
This module addresses contemporary debates in sociology and cinema together by focusing on a single film each week. Its overall aim is to employ cinema for the purpose of social diagnosis.
The module engages with cinema as a social fact, before linking together cinema (producing images of the social) and sociality (socialisation of the image) for analysis. Against this background, the module seeks to broaden the range of topics for study within Sociology.
We live in societies in which forecasting and planning for the future is an important activity for governments, institutions, businesses and individuals. We live in societies in which imaginings of the future as a better time or as a more fearful one circulate in the here and now, calling us into action or invoking threats or desires. This module considers how we should understand the future from sociological and cultural perspectives. The module will address both how we can look into the future through various techniques in order to gain a foresight into what might happen, and we will look at the future – how images of the future circulate in the present through the work of scientists, artists, filmmakers, writers, academics, politicians and others.
This module analyses the relationship between society and terror taking point of departure in the discussion of 9/11 and the political responses it has provoked. The course focuses on how different forms of terror are related to the changing nature of the society and how terror can be theorized from a sociological point of view. It also explores how the study of terror can contribute to the discipline of sociology. The key concepts are: terror, the war against terrorism, dispositif, nihilism, flow, consumerism, post-politics, politics of security.
The module explores varying sociological approaches to the analysis of violence and society. It covers key concepts, theories and empirical material before encouraging students to evaluate and contrast the varying perspectives on the issue.
Topics will include: violence and social change; violence from below and from above; violent crime and socio-economic inequality; gender-based violence against women; hate crime and genocide; criminal justice system; war, democracy and power; old and new wars; militarism and gender; peace processes; terrorism; securitisation; increases and decreases in violence over time.
Lancaster University offers a range of programmes, some of which follow a structured study programme, and others which offer the chance for you to devise a more flexible programme. We divide academic study into two sections - Part 1 (Year 1) and Part 2 (Year 2, 3 and sometimes 4). For most programmes Part 1 requires you to study 120 credits spread over at least three modules which, depending upon your programme, will be drawn from one, two or three different academic subjects. A higher degree of specialisation then develops in subsequent years. For more information about our teaching methods at Lancaster visit our Teaching and Learning section.
Information contained on the website with respect to modules is correct at the time of publication, but changes may be necessary, for example as a result of student feedback, Professional Statutory and Regulatory Bodies' (PSRB) requirements, staff changes, and new research.
With a degree in Sociology from Lancaster University, which is a Top 10 UK university and a top university globally, your career opportunities are exciting and diverse. They include working in the charitable sector, community engagement organisations, social enterprises, the caring professions, the civil service, research organisations, teaching, specialist recruitment, media and creative industries, human resources, and graduate trainee management.
We set our fees on an annual basis and the 2019/20 entry fees have not yet been set.
As a guide, our fees in 2018 were:
Some science and medicine courses have higher fees for students from
the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. You can find more details here:
For full details of the University's financial support packages including eligibility criteria, please visit our fees and funding page
Students also need to consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, photocopying, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits. Following graduation it may be necessary to take out subscriptions to professional bodies and to buy business attire for job interviews.
Take five minutes to experience Lancaster's campus
Booking is now open for Lancaster University's summer 2018 open days. Reserve your place
Typical time in lectures, seminars and similar per week during term time
Average assessment by coursework