Introduction

English and Sociology at Aberdeen combines all the advantages of the UK’s second most highly-rated research and creative hub for English literature, language and creative writing. The programme offers a fascinating awakening of your ‘sociological imagination’, exploring how the societies we live in shape us as individuals in all sorts of ways - with top-rated teaching and a culture of dynamic research giving you the skills to be a sought-after graduate by employers.

This programme is studied on campus.

Aberdeen is a leading centre for the study of literature, language and creative writing, rated second in the UK for its research output. You will study poetry and prose through the dynamic relationship between author, reader and literary text, covering every period from Chaucer to contemporary English, Scottish, Irish, European and American writing and the cultural and critical impact of powerful and controversial modern works. You will be inspired by enthusiastic teachers and researchers, themselves acclaimed authors and poets and be encouraged to develop your own creative writing skills.

Sociology at Aberdeen gives you new insight into the lives and times of authors you are studying. You will explore how society shapes us as individuals in all sorts of ways and will study sociology of the family, work-life balance, religion and society. You will be taught by experts in social movements, conflict and peace, religion and secularisation and global political sociology and become skilled in the social research methods used to gather the evidence to better understand aspects of society – such as observation, interviews, large-scale surveys or analysing the content of documents and videos.

You will develop great skills in thinking critically and posing probing questions – which have tremendous value to employers, for example in journalism, management, marketing and advertising, local and national government, social and market research, teaching, health services, social work, charities and human resources.

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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
QL33

What You'll Study

Year 1

Year 1

Compulsory Courses

Academic Writing for Language & Literature (AW1008)

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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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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Acts of Reading (EL1009) - 15 Credit Points

This course introduces students to the study of English by exploring the dynamic relationship between author, reader and text in a series of classic works of fiction and poetry. It covers a broad historical range (from Folk Tales and ballads to 21st century postmodernity) and offers a basic grounding in key elements of literary theory, literary history and the varieties of literary form.

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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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Controversial Classics (EL1513) - 15 Credit Points

Literature can provoke, offend and disturb as well as entertain. This course considers some of the most powerful and controversial works of modern literature. It examines the circumstances of publication, the nature of the controversy, and the cultural and critical impact of each work. The course shows how poems, plays and novels can raise searching questions about national, racial and personal identity, and looks at the methods used by writers to challenge their readers, as well the responses of readers to such challenges.

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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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Optional Courses

  • Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice

Year 2

Year 2

Compulsory Courses

Encounters with Shakespeare (EL2011) - 30 Credit Points

So you think you know Shakespeare? This course invites you to think again. Studying a range of plays we get behind the mythology of Shakespeare, and rediscover the dynamic inventiveness of the Elizabethan theatre. Shakespeare and his contemporaries were the principal players in a period of literary experimentation that reinvented the possibilities of literature. Encounters with Shakespeare is your chance to find out more.

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The Tragedy of Knowledge (EL2512) - 30 Credit Points

This course traces the use of key Western myths from antiquity to the present to examine the way knowledge is often presented as both dangerous and compelling. As well as introducing students to a range of historical, social, and formal variations on the theme of knowledge, the course also highlights the role of storytelling and adaptation in the formation of knowledge and understanding.

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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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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

Select one of the following:

  • Religion and Society (SO3067)
  • Thinking Sociologically (SO3066)

Plus, select a total of two courses from the following groups, each from a different group:

Group 1: Medieval/Renaissance

  • EL30DQ: Knights, Virgins and Viragos, Chaucer and Medieval Writing
  • EL35CP: Page and Stage: Renaissance Writings 1500-1640

Group 2: Romantic/Victorian

  • EL30GK: Mind and Monstrosity: Realism and the Gothic in the Long 19th Century
  • EL3009: American Innovation
  • EL35XR: Romanticism

Group 3: Contemporary/Modern

  • EL30IH: States of Mind: Contemporary Irish and Scottish Writing
  • EL30JS: Anglo-American Children’s Literature
  • EL30FF: Modernism: Make it New
  • EL35KM: Perversion of the Interior: Women’s Fiction 1925-1975
  • EL35UT: Art and Atrocity: Representations of Violence and Trauma

Group 4

  • EL3008: Writing Revolt: Literature and Politics in the 17th Century
  • EL35YB: Creative Writing: Creativity and Craft
  • EL35EH: Classical Epic
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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Knights, Virgins and Viragos: Chaucer and Medieval Writing (EL30DQ) - 30 Credit Points

An introduction to late medieval-literature, challenging modern assumptions about the medieval and exploring the diverse range of medieval literary culture, from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to the autobiographical narrative of Margery Kempe and surprising profanity of medieval lyric.

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Page and Stage: Renaissance Writings 1500 - 1640 (EL35CP) - 30 Credit Points

This course explores the poetry, drama and prose of a period often referred to as the golden age of English literature. The period saw Shakespeare and his contemporaries produce innovative new literary works in which the language of desire took centre stage.

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Mind and Monstrosity: Realism and the Gothic in the Long 19th Century (EL30GK) - 30 Credit Points

Exploring connections between Gothic monstrosity and psychological realism, this course investigates an exciting range of texts and contexts from the long nineteenth century. Focusing on novels from 1789-1914, with some attention to other genres and adaptations, we ask what it means to be human, and how cultural anxieties and scientific/technological developments have affected literature (and vice versa). From doubling to degeneration, madness to the metropolis, villain to vampire, empire to the threat of extinction, we examine the work of writers such as Mary Shelley, Dickens, Poe, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, Bram Stoker and H.G. Wells.

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American Innovation (EL3009) - 30 Credit Points

This level-three course offers an introduction to American literature and culture between 1850 and 1950, a century in which the United States was transformed from a rural economy to an industrialised super-power. You will learn about the key writers of this period, the issues that sparked their imaginations, and the literary strategies which they adopted, or at times invented, to express their response to the changing world around them. This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars.

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Romanticism (EL35XR) - 30 Credit Points

The Romantic movement swept Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and produced some of the most innovative and exciting literature that has ever been seen. This rule breaking art helped shape the way that we consider art today and underpins many of our ideas about imagination, originality, creativity and self-expression. This course will explore the ways in which the Romantic movement manifested itself across Britain and Ireland and will consider writers such as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Austen and Byron.

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States of Mind: Contemporary Irish and Scottish Writing (EL30IH) - 30 Credit Points

This course explores a range of contemporary Scottish and Irish texts and looks at the key developments in the literatures of the two nations; indeed, new modes of urban writing, working-class writing and women's writing have altered the landscapes of Scottish and Irish literature. The course looks at 'states of mind' in a dual sense: imaginative projections of the 'nation' and psychological explorations of the mind.

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Anglo - American Children’s Literature (EL30JS) - 30 Credit Points

From the picture book to the dark fairy tale, literature for children offers a wide range of literary (and visual) modes of engaging with questions of human becoming and beguiling. This course explores American and British children’s literature from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century (with a focus on the twentieth century). We will look at a range of genres including poetry, the school story, the adventure story and fantasy, as well as examining the construction of children’s literature as a genre of its own, including issues of authorship and readership. We will engage in close reading, examining literary features of the texts, and consider historical and social context and questions of gender, race and sexuality. Authors studied include: Louise May Alcott, Mark Twain, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Sherman Alexie, Ursula K. Le Guin, E Nesbit, Frances Hodgson Burnett, R. L. Stevenson, C.S. Lewis, Susan Cooper, Neil Gaiman, Melvin Burgess, Jamila Gavin, Jackie Kay and others.

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Modernism: Make IT New (EL30FF) - 30 Credit Points

The early twentieth century was a time of great literary experimentation as literary modernists rose to the challenge to make it new. We will explore modernism’s stylistic experimentation while also considering the social contexts and changes that shaped this literature. The course will examine a range of writers, genres, movements and locations which prompt us to consider what, when and where was modernism.

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Perversion of the Interior: Women's Fiction 1925 - 1975 (EL35KM) - 30 Credit Points

Gothic, Romance, Autobiography: these are the central topics of mid-twentieth-century fiction by and for women, and yet have often been critically neglected. Looking at a range of women's fiction in this period, including popular and middlebrow titles as well as literary classics, this course looks at what women wrote, what women read, and who deemed these works important. This course especially focuses on the relation between physical space (the home, the village) and psychological space (including representations of mental illness) in order to discuss the space of women's writing.

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Art and Atrocity: Representations of Violence and Trauma (EL35UT) - 30 Credit Points

How is the artist to respond when the virtual becomes the real and when words cannot carry the weight of trauma? How can an author avoid the accusations of voyeuristic prurience or crass opportunism when he or she attempts to re-present events of public violence? This multi-disciplinary course examines work from a wide range of modes, including fiction, poetry, film and graphic art, and looks at the difficulties of inscribing trauma and the ethics and praxis of remembrance. Key events covered include the Holocaust, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, 9-11, the Gulf War and the conflict in the Balkans.

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Writing Revolt: Literature and Politics in the Seventeenth Century (EL3008) - 30 Credit Points

Literature has the power to reimagine society. The course will explore how poetry, drama and other literary forms across the century sought new literary approaches to meet the challenges of these times. We will examine different literary strategies adopted by authors to engage with their times, from those who drew upon classical precedent to others who brought new voices, and new publics, into the forum of literature. Texts on the course will vary each year, but will feature such authors as Ben Jonson, John Donne, Katharine Philips, John Milton, Lucy Hutchinson and Samuel Daniel.

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Creative Writing: Creativity and Craft (EL35YB) - 30 Credit Points

This course offers students the opportunity, through lectures and interractive workshops, to develop their understanding of, and practical skills in, the writing of prose fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. Taught by widely published, award-winning writers, it provides a thorough, practice-based understanding of creative process and of the technical challenges involved in developing an original idea into a completed literary artefact, presented to a professional standard. It also contributes to students' future career potential, whether as ‘creative’ or other kinds of professional writers/communicators.

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Classical Epic (EL35EH) - 30 Credit Points

This course is your opportunity to study four of the most influential and gripping texts of world literature. We begin in the oral culture of ancient Greece, with the Iliad's stark meditation on war and death, and the Odyssey's consolatory reflections on divine justice, poetry and love. In imperial Rome, we see the genre transformed into a monument to political power in Virgil's Aeneid, then thrown into disarray by Ovid's irreverent anti-epic, the Metamorphoses. We end by considering some of the ways these texts have been exploited and adapted across the intervening centuries, in poetry and prose, art and film.

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Year 4

Year 4

Optional Courses

Option 1

  • Research Project (Sociology) (SO4049)
  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in English
  • Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 courses in Sociology

Option 2

  • English Dissertation (EL4502)
  • Select a further 30 credit points from level 4 courses in English
  • Select a further 60 credit points from level 4 courses in Sociology
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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English Dissertation (EL4502) - 30 Credit Points

Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within English literature.

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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 English and Sociology?

Why English

  • Rated second in the UK for the quality of Aberdeen research in English language and literature in the 2014 REF national assessment of research quality at UK universities.
  • Scotland's top centre for creative writing in the Complete University Guide rankings for 2017.
  • An international profile through major literary projects such as the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen and the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels of Sir Walter Scott.
  • The WORD Centre for Creative Writing, promoting creative projects in fiction, non-fiction and collaborative mixed-media in all the languages of northeast Scotland (from Doric to Polish).
  • The spectacular, award-winning Sir Duncan Rice Library, home to literary treasures collected over 500 years, charting the power of the written word from ancient papyri and medieval manuscripts to contemporary e-books and other media.
  • Historic collections including rare printed books, the 12th century Aberdeen Bestiary, MacBean Stuart and Jacobite Collection, the novels of Sir Walter Scott, and an exceptional collection of Charles Dickens' first editions.
  • A packed campus programme of student and public events, exhibitions, seminars, invited speakers and the annual May Festival which welcomes internationally acclaimed authors to campus every spring to discuss literature, including European writers.
  • Research centres include the nationally recognised Centre for the Novel, the Centre for Modern Thought, and the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies.

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, changing your subject, offers and advanced entry.

Qualifications

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.

Key Information Set (KIS)

Unistats draws together comparable information in areas students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The core information it contains is called the Key Information Set.

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