Key Concepts: Introduction to Social Theory

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Chetan Bhatt STC.S107


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Language, Culture and Society and BSc in Sociology. This course is available on the BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Social and Public Policy, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and International Relations, BSc in Psychological and Behavioural Science, 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 13 hours and 30 minutes of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of classes in the LT.

Reading Weeks: Students on this course will have a reading week in MT Week 6 and LT Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

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

(2016/17 - 2018/19 combined)

Classification % of students
First 11.2
2:1 62.7
2:2 23.6
Third 1.2
Fail 1.2

Key facts

Department: Sociology

Total students 2018/19: 46

Average class size 2018/19: 10

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication