Sociology and Study of Religions

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A course for individuals interested in social issues, who want to help make the world a better place.

  • In our fast-changing world, Sociology is exciting, relevant and provides important skills
  • Sociology helps you become more informed and to think smarter
  • You’ll learn how to think creatively, to problems solve and make better decisions

“Sociology helps me piece things together and see the world how it really is. The campus at Bath Spa is beautiful! It’s a really peaceful place to think and the lecturers are passionate about what they teach.”
– Kirsty Taylor, Sociology student

Why study Sociology?

Do you want to know more about the world we live in? Do you care about the world and want to make a difference? If so, you’re well-suited to this Sociology course.

Sociology is the study of societies, cultures, and groups. We live in complex societies with laws and informal rules that govern how we interact. Sociology helps you to understand more about yourself, others and the way society is organised.

Course structure

You’re taught about society, social groups and social organisation. You’ll learn about social problems and social policies. You’ll be able to make sense of social change and conflict. You’ll have a good understanding of social differences, inequalities and social divisions. You’ll be able to apply your knowledge and skills to specific problems and issues to help you to be good decision-maker

Modules

  • Year 1
    You’ll be introduced to Sociology as well as to the techniques and philosophies of the social sciences. You will focus on identities – starting out thinking about your own identity then building your knowledge and understanding so that you are more familiar with social divisions, social structures and the influence of culture. You’ll also learn how to visualize the most important components of society.
  • Year 2
    The second year builds on the first and enables you to begin to learn about the history and important ideas in Sociology. You can also specialise in more specific areas of Sociology such as education, crime, work, age and gender. You also get practical training in research skills – formulating and implementing a research strategy, analysing findings, using evidence to reach an informed conclusion – these are the essential problem solving skills that enable you to complete your final year project and also for the kind of employment that you’ll typically undertake as a sociology graduate.
  • Year 3
    You’ll concentrate on an aspect of sociology that most interests you in a dissertation with the support of a member of staff as a supervisor. You can also focus on more detailed subjects such as globalisation, the state, health, families, the environment or ethnicity and racism.

Course assessment

Assessments vary and include essays, reports, book and article reviews, seen and unseen examinations, web wikis, portfolios, projects, learning journals, individual and group work, videos and screencasts, research projects.

Sociology at Bath Spa provides plenty of choice within a flexible structure with opportunities to gain a good general grounding in a broad range of social science subjects. This can be an advantage if you’re not quite sure exactly what you want to study.

Teaching methods

Study abroad

We have opportunities for you to study abroad through our Erasmus+ Sociology links. We also offer you other overseas learning opportunities including an optional international field trip to India in your second year.

Field trips

We run optional visits to places such as criminal justice institutions and religious places of worship. You can take a dedicated field-trip module.

Work placements, industry links and internships

We have a wide range of placement opportunities, links with professionals and we invite our sociology graduates back to meet with you. Optional modules have links with professionals and visiting speakers built into the teaching and learning. This means you’ll learn about the real-world application of what you're learning and make more informed decisions about your future career.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

To contact the department directly, please call Rosemary McKechnie on 0122 587 5599 or e-mail: r.mckechnie@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

A Sociology degree is useful for any career that involves working with people, either in the private, public or 'third' sectors, typically:

  • Management or administration in the public or private sector
  • Human resource management or marketing
  • Media or journalism
  • Social work
  • Health education or nursing
  • Law
  • The police
  • Penal institutions
  • Probation and working with offenders
  • Work in the voluntary sector
  • Social research

Since 2011, employers such as the National Osteoporosis Society, the Ministry of Defence, Wiltshire Council and Truro College have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Assistant Education Officer, Student Services Assistant and Relocation Advisor.

What students say...

Graduate profile: Anna Brent, graduated 2004

“I studied Sociology alongside Study of Religions. After a year in recruitment I decided to move into HR to focus on more of the ‘people’ aspect, and got a job as a HR Administrator at KPMG. I am now a HR Business Advisor and continue to work and enjoy my time there.

I look back at my three years at Bath Spa with a smile. There were some turbulent times, financially, meeting deadlines and dealing with the mix of different personalities, but overall the experience made me stronger and prepared me well for the world of work in building relationships, managing my income and helping to organise and prioritise my work. After 10 years I am very proud to say that all the girls I living with in hall of residence we are all still friends and have attended each other’s weddings and see each other at 2–3 times a year. You all hold a special bond with the people you go to university with.”

Explore different religious traditions across continents, through time.

  • Global and local – study the major religious traditions and newer religious communities
  • Contemporary – explore religious traditions in the contemporary world
  • Applied – learn through experience; use your learning to address current issues

“The teaching staff and tutors at Bath Spa University are absolutely brilliant. They are extremely helpful, offering help whenever they can and making the lectures and seminars not only interesting, but also fun and entertaining.”
–Alicia Penny, English Literature and Study of Religions student

Why study Study of Religions?

This Study of Religions course is about understanding; you’ll explore and analyse religious traditions and beliefs including the major faiths and more recent as well as contemporary religious movements. We welcome students who belong to a religious tradition and those who don’t.

The course is distinctive in giving you the opportunity to engage with practitioners across traditions, through visits to and placements with religious communities, mosques, temples and churches.

You must study another subject with the Study of Religions; it’s offered as a Major, Joint or Minor component of a Combined Honours award. You can choose from a wide range of disciplines including Geography, History and Creative Writing.

If you would like to take this course with Philosophy and Ethics, you should apply for Religions, Philosophy and Ethics.

Course structure

You’ll study a diverse range of religious traditions. Our teaching focuses on both the major religious traditions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam, and on less well known or more recent movements and communities.

You’ll develop an open and exploratory approach, gaining first hand experience and embarking on community placements. You can find more about our placements with religious communities, the British Humanist Association or the Salvation Army on our Living Religion website.

Modules

  • Year one
    You’ll explore the meaning of religion and spirituality, examine a variety of methods for studying religions, and apply these to a number of contemporary traditions. An optional module in global religion and philosophy considers major traditions and movements and key thinking in and about those traditions
  • Year two
    The focus in Year Two is on the philosophies, religious and non-religious world views in the Indian and Chinese traditions. Optional modules include the in-depth study of the major world religions, and the exploration of environmental politics through religious and philosophical ideas
  • Year three
    You’ll consider religion in the contemporary world. This includes a fieldwork placement with – for example – a Buddhist monastery, a Christian convent, the Hare Krishnas or the Salvation Army. We offer a range of optional modules which develop or introduce different themes and debates, from a range of perspectives. You can study Buddhism; religion, culture and society in Japan; or issues around religion, identity and gender.

Course assessment

Assessment is mainly through coursework such as essays, reports, projects, presentations, and online discussion.

Study abroad

Our students make good use of the opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus and other programmes, usually in the second year, with one of our many partner universities. You’ll be able to find out more about this during your first year, including meeting up with students who have already benefited from the experience.

If you opt to join one of the study abroad programmes, you might find yourself in Denmark, Spain, Australia or North America. We have developing partnerships with universities in China and the Far East.

Field trips

Fieldwork and visits are an integral part of the course. We visit religious communities, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and churches.

Work placements, industry links and internships

We have excellent links with third sector organisations, working with environmental and educational charities, as well as others. These links support your study, as we’ll explore how religious, philosophical and ethical perspectives can be applied to current issues.

Teaching methods

We offer lectures, seminars and workshops, and support you throughout your degree through individuals tutorials. Visits, fieldwork and encounters with people from different religious backgrounds and traditions of belief form an important part of our teaching.

Teaching quality excellence

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC - CCC preferred in a related subject
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM) preferred in a related subject.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum score of 26 points required
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher).

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Application method

Full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grades BCC - CCC preferred in a related subject
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM) preferred in a related subject.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum score of 26 points required
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher).

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

Career opportunities

List of current alumni careers

Our graduates have careers in:

  • the police service;
  • health administration;
  • education;
  • social work; and
  • journalism.

The ability to combine this course with another subject, makes this it ideal for individuals considering a career in teaching. Many graduates go on to train as teachers – the course is widely respected as a foundation for a career in education.

What students say...

Student Profile: Alex Hyde, Year 3 Study of Religions

I chose my course because I have always been interested in the world and in people.  I am fascinated by the thoughts, needs, beliefs and knowledge of others who have been brought up outside of Christianity.

I really like the structure of the course because the first year enables you to study in breadth and then in the second year focus more deeply on some of the religions studied in the first year. I was enthralled by the prospect of going on a placement for a week in a religious community as part of the course in second year.  I am soon to find out whether I will be going to live with The Community of the Many Names of God or the Hare Krishnas.

The Department has a friendly ethos, with lecturers who are genuinely willing their students to do well and continually supporting them along the way. It is with thanks to this course that my understanding of people in the world is ever expanding and even when the pressure is on with assignments due, I continue to brim with enthusiasm for the knowledge I gain.