Introduction

Sociology and Theology & Religious Studies at Aberdeen combines a fascinating exploration of how society shapes us as individuals in all sorts of ways, with in-depth study of the powerful influencing factor of religion, studying and comparing the major religions across the world, and with special focus on Christian faith in historic and contemporary contexts.

This programme is studied on campus.

In Sociology you’ll explore the issues and challenges of modern societies and how they have developed through time until the present day. In addition to the influence of religion you’ll study topics including sociology of the family, work-life balance, the influence of crime, and the state.

You’ll become skilled in the social research methods used to gather the evidence to better understand aspects of society – which could be observation, interviews, large-scale surveys or analysing the content of documents and videos.

You’ll be taught by academic staff with international reputations for conducting high-quality research in religion and secularisation, conflict and peace, social movements, and global political sociology.

In Theology & Religious Studies you’ll gain a sound understanding of the major religious traditions of the world, including their historical development and contemporary importance, with a special focus on Christian faith, life and doctrine in its historical, institutional and contemporary context.

You’ll study biblical languages, the history of the church in the west, the Reformation in Scotland, the role of religion in ethical and political debates, and religious aspects of disability.

You’ll develop great skills in social awareness and analysis, thinking critically, and posing probing questions, all of which will make you a sought-after for a variety of interesting careers including church ministry and administration, media and journalism, public service, charities, NGOs and international affairs, business, publishing, and education.

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Key Programme Information

At a Glance

Learning Mode
On Campus Learning
Degree Qualification
MA
Duration
48 months
Study Mode
Full Time
Start Month
September
UCAS Code
LVJ6

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Introductory Sociology I (SO1005) - 15 Credit Points

Sociology is the study of human social groups. It particularly focuses on modern societies, analyzing how they work and how the major social institutions in them (such as religion, the media, government and the economy) operate. The course provides students with a general introduction to the unique manner in which sociologists seek to understand contemporary societies. Students are presented with current and classical approaches to understanding the social processes that underlie self-construction, group formation and social interaction, within urbanizing and globalizing social contexts.

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Introductory Sociology II (SO1507) - 15 Credit Points

This course is an introduction to macro-sociology, which analyzes the ways that people’s lives are shaped by large-scale forces, structures, and institutions. Students are introduced to the particular ways in which classical and contemporary sociologists understand social forces in the modern domestic and global environment and learn to think critically about those social forces that impact their everyday lives using the sociological imagination. Substantive topics likely to be covered in this course include the media, politics, religion, surveillance, education, class stratification, international inequalities, and the relationship between humans and other animals.

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Professional Skills Part 1 (PD1001)

This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year

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Academic Writing for Divinity, History & Philosophy (AW1007)

This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.

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Optional Courses

  • Select at least 60 credit points from level 1 courses in Divinity and Religious Studies
  • Select further credit points from courses of choice to reach 120 credit points
Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Studying Social Life 1 (SO2005) - 30 Credit Points

This follows on from level-one sociology. It is designed to highlight the ways that sociological theory informs the research endeavour, not only the questions sociologists raise, but also the particular modes through which we go about investigating them. The module examines these points in relation to a range of micro-level topics – the body, food and feeding, health and illness, the emotions, group behaviour, sex and gender, the life course and death and dying – all of which emphasise the nature of human interaction and sociological efforts to understand it.

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Studying Social Life 2 (SO2505) - 30 Credit Points

This macro-sociology course extends students’ understanding of large-scale social, as well as political and economic, processes and institutions. Particular focus is on the sociological analysis of global issues and socio-political controversies, many of which are subject to topical and, at times, contentious debate at the beginning of the 21st century. The substantive topics include areas of social and political concern such as globalisation; the changing nature of economy, work and leisure; risk and insecurity; multiculturalism; food production and security; social movements; nationalism and identities.

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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 2 courses in Divinity and Religious Studies
Year 3

Year 3

Compulsory Courses

Social Research Methods (SO3524) - 30 Credit Points

Sociologists use a range of methods and techniques to explore and test sociological theory. This module introduces many of these methods and techniques. It aims to ground students’ theoretical understanding of society through the practical analysis of a variety of data. It starts by introducing the varying philosophical starting points of research and goes on to provide foundation level critical analysis skills in the key quantitative and qualitative methods that sociologists have deployed to understand and ‘capture’ the social world.

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Optional Courses

  • Religion and Society (SO3067) OR Thinking Sociologically (SO3066)
  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 3 and 4 courses in Divinity and Religious Studies
Religion and Society (SO3067) - 30 Credit Points

Modernization changes the nature and social position of religion: what was once imposed on entire societies becomes a matter of choice and as societies become more religiously diverse, religion is increasingly confined to the home and the family. National churches are replaced by denominations and sects and the state’s increasing neutrality allows new religious movements to flourish. This course uses secularization to examine such basic sociological concepts as social differentiation, individualism, social cohesion, community versus voluntary association, immigration, conversion, recruitment, gender, and cultural defence.

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Thinking Sociologically (SO3066) - 30 Credit Points

Thinking Sociologically is the department's core sociological theory module. The course offers our students an introduction to a range of key sociological thinkers and bodies of thought, both classical and contemporary, that inform sociological analysis of social life and social institutions. As such, this course is intended to provide our honours students with a conceptual 'toolkit', that can be applied to facilitate understanding, insight and informed critique with respect to a broad range of historical and contemporary social, political and economic phenomena.

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Year 4

Year 4

Optional Courses

Select one of the following:

  • Dissertation (DR4044)
  • Research Project (SO4049)
  • Dissertation (DR4544)

Plus, select further credit points from level 4 Sociology courses to gain 60 in the discipline

Plus, select further credit points from level 4 Divinity and Religious Studies courses to gain 60 in the discipline

Dissertation (DR4044) - 30 Credit Points

This course involves the writing of a dissertation in one of the sub-disciplines in Divinity and Religious Studies. Independent Research work is done under the supervision of a member of staff. The dissertation is an extended essay, of no more than 10,000 words inclusive of bibliography and references. Download Course Guide

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Dissertation (DR4544) - 30 Credit Points

This course involves the writing of a dissertation in one of the sub-disciplines in Divinity and Religious Studies. Independent Research work is done under the supervision of a member of staff. The dissertation is an extended essay, of no more than 10,000 words inclusive of bibliography and references.

View detailed information about this course

Research Project (SO4049) - 30 Credit Points

This course affords students the opportunity to apply their sociological knowledge and research skills to an individual piece of research, focusing on a topic selected by the student and approved by the department. Over the course of the project, with guidance from a member of staff, the student will conduct a literature review of relevant material, select appropriate research methods, gather and analyse data, and write a final report. All students will be guided in the arts of critical analysis, report planning, and report writing. Particular emphasis will be given to helping students develop their own skills.

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Course Availability

We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

How You'll Study

Learning Methods

  • Individual Projects
  • Lectures
  • Research
  • Tutorials

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies they learn on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Sociology and Theology & Religious Studies?

Why Divinity

  • An international community of eminent professors, including leading author and influential thinker and author Stanley Hauerwas, Professor of Theological Ethics.
  • Specialist research and teaching centres include the Aberdeen University Centre for Ministry Studies, the Centre for Spirituality, Health and Disability, and the Kairos Forum for people with cognitive or intellectual disabilities.
  • The inspiration of the beautiful King’s College Chapel, begun in 1495 by University founder Bishop Elphinstone, a treasure-house of history and religious turbulence and today a precious inter-faith space for a multi-faith university community.
  • Major international treasures in the Library’s Special Collections Centre, including the archives of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland pre-1878 and fascinating local records of local estates and families dating from the Middle Ages.
  • Spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, combining top-class study facilities with state-of-the-art technology, and our beautiful Divinity Library with an extensive collection of theological material.
  • A packed campus programme of events, including theological lectures, café discussions, exhibitions, seminars, and the annual May Festival with high profile speakers, scientists, authors and broadcasters debating big issues facing the world today.
  • Aberdeen has produced many notable scholars and theologians, including John Forbes, George Campbell, William Milligan, William Robertson Smith, David S Cairns and GD Henderson.

Why Sociology

  • An international reputation for our sociology research, and recognised by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as a centre for research training and supervision for postgraduate students.
  • Teaching with a top rating of ‘Excellent’ in the most recent Teaching Quality Assessment.
  • Consistently rated very highly, including by students in the National Student Survey (NSS) from whom we get great feedback.
  • Sociology at Aberdeen is rated as 5th in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2017.
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library with its top-class study environment, state-of-the-art technology, and extensive collection of sociology publications and resources for your study.
  • A packed programme of student and public events, lectures, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers, plus the annual May Festival, British Science Week and Being Human Festival regularly featuring Aberdeen research in social sciences.
  • Participation in the European Social Survey, one of the largest and most reliable sources of data about Europeans’ attitudes, behaviours and experiences, with data from more than 350,000 individuals across 36 countries since 2002.

Entry Requirements

You will find all the information you require about entry requirements on our dedicated 'Entry Requirements' page. You can also find out about the different types of degrees, offers, advanced entry, and changing your subject.

Qualifications

The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.

SQA Highers - AABB
A Levels - BBB
IB - 32 points, including 5,5,5 at HL
ILC - 5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

Further detailed entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees.

English Language Requirements

To study for a degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. Read more about specific English Language requirements here.

Fees and Funding

You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.

Fee Waiver

For international students (all non-EU students) entering in 2017/18, the 2017/18 tuition fee rate will apply to all years of study; however, most international students will be eligible for a fee waiver in their final year via the International Undergraduate Scholarship.

Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.

Fee information
Fee category Cost
Home / EU £1,820
All Students
RUK £9,250
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year
International Students £14,600
Students Admitted in 2018/19 Academic Year

Additional Fees

  • In exceptional circumstances there may be additional fees associated with specialist courses, for example field trips. Any additional fees for a course can be found in our Catalogue of Courses.
  • For more information about tuition fees for this programme, including payment plans and our refund policy, please visit our InfoHub Tuition Fees page.

Our Funding Database

View all funding options in our Funding Database.

Careers

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Our Experts

Information About Staff Changes

You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.

Unistats

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. You can compare these and other data for different degree programmes in which you are interested.

Get in Touch

Contact Details

Address
Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
University Office
Regent Walk
Aberdeen
AB24 3FX