The Sociology subject stream provides students with the techniques and skills to analyse contemporary Irish and European society, in particular the issues and problems associated with its major social institutions such as family, economy, polity, education and religion, as well as the causes and direction of social change. Students will be encouraged to adopt a critical approach to explanations of contemporary social issues offered by sociologists arguing from different sociological perspectives.

The information below is provided in order that students may gain a reasonable impression of module content. This information is also provided specifically so that students may use it to inform any exemption applications they may make. However, modules are regularly updated and therefore the content of these modules, may differ from what is stated below.

SC100: Sociology Foundation Module

This foundational module describes what Sociology is all about.  It introduces the student to the discipline of sociology and what it means to have a ‘sociological imagination’. Key thinkers such as Marx and Weber are explored as well as the origins and key topics of the discipline. The module introduces some of the institutions and processes that shape the social world by providing sociological explanations of media, identity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, community, class, the state and other aspects of our social world. Also explored in the module are some of the different methods that sociologists use to conduct their research, providing a firm grounding in aspects of classical and contemporary sociological theory.

SC200: The Sociology of the Lifecourse
This intermediate module explores key sociological themes in relation to the lifecourse. It begins by examining the sociology of generations, sociological perspectives on childhood, midlife and ageing. The module focuses on a number of applied case studies such as cyberbullying, the global cruise industry and social robotics and social care. Finally, the module considers researching children. 

Soc3A: Power, Social Order; Crime Deviance, Work and Employment
Power is central to how our social world is structured and experienced. This module examines this concept by identifying several sources of power and by exploring some of the ways in which it is exercised. Different sociological perspectives are explored including the work of key thinkers such as Parsons, Gramsci and Foucault. Power is explored through a range of concepts that include social order, rules, crime, drugs and the contemporary work environment.

Soc4: Social Inequality and Intergroup Relations
In Ireland and elsewhere, inequality tends to be a major feature of society. Differences in wealth, income, prestige, education, gender, race and other social attributes profoundly impact how our lives are experienced and how we view, and are viewed by others. In this module, different forms of social inequality are outlined, as well as the ways that they can be examined from a practical and theoretical perspective. A range of studies are drawn upon that demonstrate how the manifestations of inequality vary in both time and space. Changes in the class structure are outlined as well as key issues related to inequalities in contemporary Irish society such as health care, housing and education. The module outlines a range of sociological perspectives on inequality as they relate to class, poverty, gender and racism.

 Soc5B: Language, Culture and Society
This advanced level module provides a critical overview of the relationship between language, culture and society.  How and what people speak can have a profound influence upon how they are viewed in the world. The module begins by outlining some of the key perspectives on language and its diversity in society before discussing key research concerning the topic.  How culture is produced and re-produced in everyday life is examined, as well as some of the key dimensions that shape the contemporary world such as the nation-state, media, education system and economy. The final part of the module explores some of these sociological concepts through a case-study of Northern Irish society and by critically examining its structures of class, gender, and how the ‘Troubles’ have been represented by governments, the media and street artists.

SC300: The Sociology of Health and Illness

Health and illness are vitally important issues for everybody in society and thus evoke intense interest, debate and sometimes controversy among citizens. This module draws on classical and contemporary sociological theories to gain an understanding of the power relations which lie behind mortality and morbidity rates, health care delivery and inequalities relating to socio-economic position, gender, age, ethnicity and disability. Narrative research is introduced in order to give recognition to the reality of living with illness or disability in contrast to the medical discourse which has traditionally been given hegemonic status in western societies. Health and ill-health are firmly placed in the social context.