Careers in Sociology

Social Science Pathway

Sociology helps us to know ourselves better, since it examines how society affects the way we think, feel, and act.  It can also help influence decisions and policy-making at every level of society. In the UK, students can choose between two types of Sociology degree.  A Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in sociology prepares graduates for careers that focus on maths, statistics and research. A Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree is a good grounding for careers in public relations, not for profit organisations and the criminal justice system.


What are the university entry requirements for Sociology degrees?

To apply to universities for a Sociology degree, you should have, or be working towards achieving, a relevant Access to HE Diploma in Health Science. Alternatively, 2 or 3 A-Levels with high grades (As & Bs). Universities advise on their particular entry requirements and publish these on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) website. With the A Level route, you may also be expected to have a minimum of 5 GCSEs.

With the Access to HE Diploma route, you are normally only required to have 2 GCSEs in English and Maths at Grade C or above. Access to HE Diplomas are normally aimed at adults 18+ returning to education or wishing to change to a new career. There are no upper age limits. The Diploma qualification is viewed as being equivalent to 3 A Levels. Access to HE can be studied from home via online learning or at a local college.

There are many websites that track university performance in all subject areas. Students are encouraged to research carefully which university has a good track record in the particular degree course they are interested in. It is also worth looking into the department that you are applying to and see what facilities are available, what sort of placements are on offer and the student satisfaction rate for each degree course.

Enrol on the Access to HE Diploma Course 

What do Sociologists do?

Sociologists study social change, people and their interactions, and use scientific methods to find answers to sometimes complex social questions. Studying sociology stimulates creativity, innovation and communication skills. It challenges you to see the world through the eyes of different cultures and communities. Administrators, educators, lawmakers, and social workers use their research to tackle social challenges and shape public policy and legislation. Sociologists focus on a wide range of areas, such as health, poverty, racial relations, education, gender and crime. Many sociologists are interested in how their research can improve the lives of individuals within society. This often means that they are trying to find ways that government or public institutions, such as schools, hospitals and prisons, can change to promote equality for everyone. People with Sociology degrees go on to work in many roles including:

      • Social worker
      • International aid and development 
      • Youth worker
      • Further education teacher
      • Charity fundraising
      • Human resources
      • Public relations


What personal attributes are desirable in Sociology?

      • Excellent communication skills for conducting interviews and presenting results of research
      • Attention to detail when engaged in analytical research
      • Problem-solving – research is often geared towards identifying social challenges and suggesting ways in which they can be improved
      • The ability to work in teams
      • Creativity and originality in devising methods to collect data and research
      • The desire to help others and improve their daily lives



What are the pay and working conditions like?

There are many career paths to choose from in the area of sociology, here are some examples of broad pay rates for Social Researchers:

      • Starting salaries at researcher level typically range from £20,000 to £29,000
      • A senior social researcher with significant experience can earn between £30,000 and £50,000 
      • Salaries at managerial level can rise to £70,000, depending on the sector


Work will generally be office based and broadly Monday to Friday 9-5pm. However, fieldwork and interviews would most likely involve travel and some evening or weekend work. 



Did you know?

      • The study of sociology can be traced back to the years following the French revolution of the late 18th century
      • Surveys are key tools for sociologists, the origin of the survey dates back to the Domesday Book ordered by King William I in 1086
      • Martin Luther King, Jr. earned his first degree in Sociology before pursuing the study of Theology, becoming a civil rights leader and activist, and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize


How is the degree funded?

Studying for a Sociology degree allows you to apply for the standard student support package in the form of a student loan. Scholarships, bursaries or grants may also be available for example, through the university or your place of work. 

If you would like to complete an Access to HE course to obtain the qualifications for entry onto a Sociology degree course at university, please choose your payment options below or contact us for more information. Studying and achieving this qualification provides a flexible way of achieving, as it is fully online and recognised and accepted by UK universities.


Find out more: Access to Sociology