SO4003 - Thinking Sociologically 1

What will I learn on this module?

This module introduces some of the key figures in nineteenth century social theory and the founding figures in sociological theory. On this module, you will explore the meaning and application of a range of social theory, and the distinctiveness of thinking sociologically. You will examine key thinkers from sociology, and identify their contribution to understanding, and being able to address, some of the main problems and issues that frame sociology, such as those around social change, social identities, social divisions and power relationships.

Our aim is to have a practical approach to theory exploring how we can best use some of the ideas developed by early theorists to understand our own lives and the world in which we live. By the end of the module, you will be able to demonstrate the importance of theory in the understanding and explanation of the nature of the social world, understand the origins and development of key sociological theory, and introduce some of the main classical perspectives.

How will I learn on this module?

The module will be taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures will generally outline key concepts and theories which, along with the Module Guide and e-learning portal, will provide a framework for seminar discussions and student self-directed study. Seminars will focus upon key discussion questions and key readings, which will directly relate to assessment tasks. Key readings are available electronically via the library or via the Blackboard site for the module.

You will be expected to engage in private and self-directed study. The lecture programme, module guide, internet site and tutor prescription will provide a clear framework for this study.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Tutorial time will be available to all students (on a group or individual basis) during staff ‘office hours’ or upon appointment with a module tutor. Sign up on the office door of staff or email members of staff to request a tutorial time.

You will also have access to the e-learning portal with a dedicated internet site to support this module (currently via 'Blackboard'). The site will include electronic copies of module and lecture materials, further reading materials, important module announcements, tutor advice/guidance and further internet links.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. To demonstrate an understanding of the importance of social theory in the understanding and explanation of the nature of the social world

2. To demonstrate an understanding, at an introductory level, of the main classical perspectives in sociological theory, including the theoretical perspectives of Durkheim, Marx and Weber.

3. To demonstrate an understanding of the origins and development of key sociological theory and theorists and how they relate to each other

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. To start to apply, and be able to discuss, a range of social theory to contemporary debates and current affairs

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

1. To recognise the role played by theoretical models in studying society and appreciate the contribution sociological theory makes to the understanding and explanation of aspects of the social world, and how this interacts with your own perspectives and world view.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed in Semester 1 through a short essay take home exam (2,000 words) in week 8 (semester 1), based on the module content up to week 8. You will also be assessed on your seminar reflective diary, to be handed in during week 12.

You will receive written feedback on your assessments within 20 working days (4 weeks) of their submissions dates in semester one and semester two.

Students are encouraged to see their tutors for additional feedback on their assessments during the year. Students are also encouraged, where relevant, to use essay plans as part of their assessment preparation and tutors can offer formative feedback on these plans to help students with their writing.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code LM39

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years Full Time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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