|Degree:||Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (BA (Hons))|
Do you enjoy:
Sociology studies the interaction of people within social groups like families, schools and companies and how this shapes their behaviours and life chances. It explores questions such as: Why do migrants develop their cultural identities in different ways? How is privacy changing with the rise of digital technologies? How does a child’s family of origin shape their chances of educational success and future job? Do state rules and regulations represent and protect elite power? Sociology is foremost among the social sciences in its understanding of social change.
If you want to understand the social changes taking place in the world today, and you are curious about people and society, then Sociology is for you. You will also gain the ability to understand topical issues and to present and communicate information and thoughts coherently. In addition, you will learn invaluable analytical, communication, research and presentation skills – transferable skills which can be applied to a wide range of careers and postgraduate programmes.
There has been a rich tradition of sociological education at Trinity since the 1960s. The department is committed to advancing the understanding of society and to igniting the passion of our students through exceptional teaching and research. The Sociology Department is in the top 150 in the world (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2019). The Department of Sociology is internationally known for its work on education and employment, migration, identities, social inequalities, conflict and digital lives. The department has won several teaching awards – both for postgraduates and staff – for outstanding contribution in the pursuit of teaching excellence.
As a recent graduate put it, Sociology explains how the great thinkers predicted the ills of modern society from social isolation to empty hospital wards. It questions the future of whether India can and will become the next China, and whether the internet will undermine traditional communities. It explains the underlying reasons why European societies are culturally so different. It tackles the big social issues of conflict, race, migration, gender and popular culture. It teaches you how to understand, research and explain all of these topics in a logical, organised fashion.
The pathways available are Single Honors, Major with Minor and Joint Honors.
Sociology graduates find that their broad training and appreciation of how society and people work means they can thrive in careers in the media, journalism, consulting, academia and teaching, policy analysis, nongovernmental organisations, management, and advisory roles in the public service. Graduates are working for organisations as diverse as Goodbody Stockbrokers, the ESRI, the European Parliament, Citibank, RTÉ, Google, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Enterprise Ireland.
Our modules cover Ireland, the wider European society, the non-European world and the global arena. The first two years are more general and foundational in nature while the third and fourth years are characterised by smaller, more intimate classes that attempt to challenge you intellectually and encourage problem solving and critical thinking skills.
Sociology teaching in the first and second years emphasises the understanding of the basic principles of sociology and the acquisition of both quantitative and qualitative skills necessary for more in-depth study. In first year, you are introduced to the distinctive questions that sociologists ask about human society, and the theories and concepts used in the search for answers. You have approximately 6 hours of lectures and 3 hours of tutorials per week in Sociology. In the second year, you study issues around gender, work and family; power, state and social movements, and are introduced to sociological research methods and theory.
Specialisation in sociological topic areas, and more advanced analysis, research and presentation skills are provided in the third and fourth years. In your third year, you learn about Globalisation and Development; Comparative Sociology of Europe; Race, Ethnicity and Identity; Social Stratification and Inequalities, and carry out research projects involving analysis of both numerical data from surveys, and verbal data that are the outcomes of recorded interviews and focus groups. The fourth year offers modules in a variety of topic areas, including Digital Lives and Social Networks; Labour Markets, Gender and Institutions; Migration, Mobilities and Integration, and Conflict Studies. You have the opportunity to carry out your own independent Capstone research project from start to finish on a topic of your choice (recent projects included: Immigration and the prison system, Unmarried fathers’ participation in their children’s lives, and Counterurbanisation in the Irish countryside). Many students find this a great asset when talking to employers and applying for jobs.
Modules are examined by a combination of continuous assessment including essays, portfolios, individual and group presentations, and the formal end-of-semester examination. In addition, students specialising exclusively in sociology in their final year complete a Capstone project.
Around one third of our undergraduate students participate in Erasmus and non-EU international exchanges. You may participate in full-year or half-year exchanges with the following partner institutions: Sorbonne University (France), University Lille 1 (France), Charles University Prague (Czech Republic), Umea University (Sweden), University of Copenhagen (Denmark), University of Helsinki (Finland), University of Malta (Malta), Istanbul Bogazici University (Turkey), Utrecht University (Netherlands), Ludwig Maximilian University Munich (Germany). In addition, you can compete for a smaller number of places on university-wide non-European exchanges with partners in Australia, Singapore, China, Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Canada and the USA in your third year. Most of these universities offer their courses through English.