Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

Subject area: Sociology

Why choose Sociology at the University of Edinburgh?

  • Our vibrant and diverse team covers a huge range of sociology interests. We are passionate about teaching and value our students. We place a strong emphasis on practical sociology and provide training in research skills and supervise you through group and individual research projects.

  • In the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 sociology at Edinburgh was placed in the top 20 in the world. We have been in the top 20 consistently over the past six years.

  • Most of our research has been assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent and our commitment to research-led teaching equips our students with up-to-date knowledge and the necessary skills to contribute to critical public debate about social problems and issues.

Study abroad

What I find challenging, yet rewarding, is the level of independent learning expected of you. Each course is what you make of it and this requires good organisation and a desire to always give your best.

Maria Pabolaza-Lacambra 4th year MA (Hons) Sociology
Maria Pabolaza-Lacambra 4th year MA (Hons) Sociology

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, violence 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, and take four option courses, depending on your programme.

Year 3

You will learn practical research skills, do 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 with 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 study abroad through the University’s international exchange programme, or our Erasmus exchange programme 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 exams and coursework, 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.