Undergraduate study - 2019 entry

Subject area: Sociology

Why choose Sociology at the University of Edinburgh?

  • We're ranked in the world's top 25 universities for sociology in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2018.

  • Our commitment to teaching and student support is seen in the winners and nominations we achieved at the Edinburgh University Students’ Association Teaching Awards 2016/2017.

  • One of the great strengths of studying sociology with us is the breadth and diversity of topics covered and the range of joint programmes we offer.

Study abroad

The programme equips us with practical skills such as learning research techniques and statistical programs while also developing an open-minded and creative outlook.

Caroline Stevens 3rd year MA (Hons) Sociology with Quantitative Methods
Caroline Stevens 3rd year MA (Hons) Sociology with Quantitative Methods

Sociology examines how individual choices are affected by wider social forces and how they can be understood by placing them in their social context.

At Edinburgh, we study the relationship between individuals and groups, issues of belonging and identity, the social causes of cooperation and conflict, and the way societies and social institutions are formed and change over time.

Our programme also equips you to compare different national contexts and understand contemporary social issues from a global perspective.

Year 1

We introduce you to key sociological ideas by studying the relationship between individuals and groups through examining examples such as social change, drug use, race and ethnicity and gender.

We also help you develop the key skills you need to study sociology and apply your knowledge to life outside the classroom. You'll select from a wide range of option courses, depending on the programme you choose.

Year 2

You study how sociologists produce and use theory and research evidence. You take four option courses, depending on your programme.

Year 3

You will learn practical research skills, carry out a group research project, and study social theory. Option courses cover many areas including environment and risk, globalisation, nationalism, the internet, and youth culture.

Year 4

In Year 4 you will take more option courses and complete an individual research project supported by a member of teaching staff. There are opportunities to present your research findings to your peers.

Are there additional costs?


Our facilities

The School of Social & Political Science is in the University's Central Area with easy access to the University's library and computer facilities.

Study abroad

In Year 3 you may choose to study abroad through the University’s international exchange programme, or through the School's Erasmus exchange programme.

The programme is run with universities in Bremen and Copenhagen.

How will I learn?

We use a combination of tutorials and lectures, online resources, class discussions and presentations.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed primarily through coursework including essays and short assignments of various kinds, take-home papers and in Year 4 you will complete an individual research project.

Graduates go on to a wide variety of careers in the private sector, voluntary sector, local or central government, the media or journalism, or use their practical and research skills to work in social or market research.

Many graduates go on to postgraduate study and an academic career or teaching.