Top reputation

Bristol is ranked 6th in the UK for Sociology by the Complete University Guide 2025.

Vibrant environment

The University is engaged with issues of sustainability and inclusivity and was awarded a 1st class grade for environmental and ethical performance by People and Planet 2022/23

Specialist research

The school hosts three research centres: the Global Securities Centre; the Centre for Ethnicity and Citizenship; and the Gender Research Centre – and thirteen dedicated research groups.

Sociology at Bristol

Gain a thorough grounding in sociology theory alongside opportunities to specialise in new areas of research.

Bristol is home to prominent sociologists focused on consumption, culture, digital society, environment, ethnicity and race, gender, migration, modern slavery, multiculturalism, popular music, social theory and more.

In our friendly, supportive and intellectually vibrant community, all staff contribute to teaching our undergraduate degrees.

Sociology courses at Bristol are located within the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies (SPAIS). This gives our degrees an international perspective and exposure to a larger peer group with interests spanning both the social and political.

The University of Bristol is lively, eclectic and absolutely beautiful. I love being taught by the researchers whose books are our required reading.

Sophie, BSc Sociology

Career prospects

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The critical thinking, research and data management skills you will acquire on our courses are invaluable in many areas of work.

Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers, including roles in publishing, the media, journalism, teaching, marketing, public relations, research and the third sector. Many progress to postgraduate study in subjects including sociology, law and teaching.

Bristol graduates are in high demand, with 85% in work or further education 15 months after graduation (DiscoverUni).

Course structure

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First-year units introduce you to the core concerns of the discipline and equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for more detailed sociological study in later years. Core units currently include:

  • Thinking Sociologically
  • Social Identities and Divisions
  • Key Social Thinkers
  • Doing Social Research.

In your second and third years, you will take specialist units that reflect staff research expertise and may include:

  • Class and Social Divisions
  • Sociology of Crime and Justice
  • Consumption, Consumer Culture and Sustainability
  • Ethnicity and Racism
  • What is a Society?
  • Modern Slavery
  • Sociology of Popular Music.

In the final year, single honours students will independently research a sociological topic of their choice and complete a dissertation. This is optional for joint honours students. You will be supported by a supervisor and take part in research workshops.

Our four-year study abroad degrees allow you to develop an understanding of sociology that goes beyond national boundaries. Spend a year studying English at one of our prestigious partner universities including Australia, Canada, Japan, and the US. Find out more about where you can study abroad.

Enhanced skills training

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Sociology is a partner in Bristol Q-Step, part of a national initiative offering additional skills training in the social sciences.

We also offer the option of three- and four-year degree courses combining core disciplinary learning with enhanced quantitative skills training in applied data analysis. This training is relevant to research in the social sciences.

Find out more about our 'with Quantitative Research Methods' courses.

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