Key Concepts: Introduction to Social Theory

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Chetan Bhatt STC.S107


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Sociology. This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and International Relations, BSc in Social Policy and BSc in Social Policy and Sociology. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

The course aims to introduce students to sociological theory by examining the work and ideas of normally eight key thinkers in social thought. For each thinker, the course will provide an overview of their contribution to the discipline of sociology, examine in detail one or more of their important texts, and also consider how their analysis could be applied to contemporary social issues.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT.

Reading weeks: week 6 MT and week 6 LT.

Formative coursework

Four 2,000 word formative essays or their equivalent (two in MT; two in LT), for feedback from class teachers.

Indicative reading

A detailed reading list will be available at the first lecture, but for general preparatory reading, students might wish to consult the following: D Lee & H Newby, The Problem of Sociology; Z Bauman, Thinking Sociologically; S Bruce, Sociology: A Very Short Introduction.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.

Attendance at all classes and submission of all set coursework is required.

Student performance results

(2015/16 - 2017/18 combined)

Classification % of students
First 10
2:1 65.6
2:2 21.7
Third 1.1
Fail 1.7

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2017/18: 66

Average class size 2017/18: 14

Capped 2017/18: No

Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication