Undergraduate Course

BSc Sociology with Data Science

BSc Sociology with Data Science

Overview

The details
Sociology with Data Science
L310
October 2020
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus
Sociology

How can data science methods help answer social science questions? How can we combine a deep understanding of the social world, with the latest tools and data sources to analyse it? Discover how to ask the right questions, and develop the skills to answer them. By complementing a sociological understanding of the world with programming and analytical skills, you become a social scientist that can both understand and shape the big data revolution.

At Essex we investigate what connects people with each other, as well as what divides them. We consider every aspect of our daily lives, from how we relate to politicians, celebrities and friends, to how we define ourselves, our families, and others. You experience a lively, informal environment with the opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics including:

  • The role of software in everyday life
  • Programming with Python and Java
  • Key ethical and social issues in digital societies
  • Data visualisation
  • Theories of social stratification
  • Race, class and gender
  • Sociological research methods
  • Natural language engineering

With research methods rapidly changing in response to the large-scale generation of data within society, sociology needs to ensure it is engaged with new digital methods to both benefit from them, and to shape them. Sociologists with programming skills are highly valued in any organisation that must gather and draw inferences from data. By combining a sociological understanding with practical programming skills you learn how to understand and be that change in society.

Our BSc Sociology with Data Science is taught by our Department of Sociology in partnership with our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering to provide an interdisciplinary course. Our Department of Sociology is top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).

We offer expertise in many areas that complement the study of society and technology, including criminology, social history, visual sociology, anthropology, economic sociology, US and European studies and cultural rights.

Why we're great.
  • You have access to a dedicated Student Resource Centre offering academic and personal support
  • We are committed to developing the data scientists of the future
  • You acquire a range of skills valued by employers including research, interpreting data and debating
THE Awards 2018 - Winner University of the Year

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond our university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.

Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.

If you spend a full year abroad you'll only pay 15% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year. You won't pay any tuition fees to your host university.

Placement year

You can also undertake a placement year in which you gain relevant work experience with a business, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.

If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

You are taught by a team of award-winning internationally renowned scholars widely regarded as leading experts in their fields.

Our academics believe in doing research that matters and makes a difference; whether it’s the battle between big data and human rights or the policing of sex workers, we embed our innovative and sometimes controversial research in your course.

Couse leader and Digital Sociologist, Dr James Allen-Robertson, is interested in the relationship between humans and technology, digital cultures, and in the development of new digital methods using data science.

Specialist facilities

  • A unique Student Resource Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
  • Collaborate with the Essex Institute of Data Analytics and Data Science (IADS) and the ESRC Business and Local Government (BLoG) Data Research Centre of the University of Essex
  • The Department of Sociology common room is open all day Monday-Friday, is stocked with daily newspapers, magazines and journals, and has free drinks available
  • Links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library, and the UK Data Archive, which stores national research data like the British Crime Survey, both based at our Colchester Campus
  • Our students’ Sociology Society is a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranges talks by visiting speakers, introduces you to various career pathways, and organises debates

Your future

With a predicted shortage of data scientists, now is the time to future-proof your career. Data scientists are required in every sector, carrying out statistical analysis or mining data on social media, so our course opens the door to almost any industry, from health, to government, to publishing.

Our graduates are highly sought after by a range of employers and find employment in financial services, scientific computation, decision making support and government, risk assessment, statistics, education and other sectors.

We also work with the University’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

GCSE: Mathematics C/4

A-levels: BBB

BTEC: DDD, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555, including Standard Level Mathematics grade 4 or Higher Level Mathematics grade 3.
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information. Please note that Maths in the IB is not required if you have already achieved GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above or 4 in IB Middle Years Maths.

From 2021, we will accept grade 4 in either Standard Level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Standard Level Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation.

Access to HE Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Structure

Example structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of compulsory and optional modules chosen from lists. Below is just one example structure from the current academic year of a combination of modules you could take. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

Researching Social Life I

What research methods do sociologists use? And what are the methodologies underpinning them? Wish to learn how to critically evaluate social research? And receive training in collecting quantitative and qualitative data? We study the principles of social science investigation and how to carry out original research.

View Researching Social Life I on our Module Directory

The Sociological Imagination

How can sociology help you understand the world in which you live? What are some of the major features and trends in present-day societies? Using sociological tools, you analyse key features of different societies, such as stratification, poverty, racism, consumption, multinational corporations, religion, and the gender division of labour in low-income countries.

View The Sociological Imagination on our Module Directory

Introduction to Programming

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the fundamental concepts of computer programming. After completing this module, students will be expected to be able to demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles and concepts that underlie the procedural programming model, explain and make use of high-level programming language features that support control, data and procedural abstraction. Also, they will be able to analyse and explain the behaviour of simple programs that incorporate standard control structures, parameterised functions, arrays, structures and I/O.

View Introduction to Programming on our Module Directory

Object-Oriented Programming

Want to become a Java programmer? Topics covered in this module include control structures, classes, objects, inheritance, polymorphism, interfaces, file I/O, event handling, graphical components, and more. You will develop your programming skills in supervised lab sessions where help will be at hand should you require it.

View Object-Oriented Programming on our Module Directory

Introduction to Crime, Law and Society

What are different forms of crime? What is the role of criminal justice? And how effective are penal sanctions? We provide a critical introduction to the problem of, and responses to, crime. You examine the history of criminological ideas, Britain’s criminal justice system, and current debates on crime and control.

View Introduction to Crime, Law and Society on our Module Directory

Continuity and Controversy in Sociology: Sociological Analysis II

Want to study sociological classics? Wish to read and interpret original texts by Marx, Durkheim and Weber? Then study a selection of the contemporary writers who followed? We look at classic and modern thinkers, carrying their ideas into new contexts and inverting approaches to social understanding.

View Continuity and Controversy in Sociology: Sociological Analysis II on our Module Directory

Stratification Across the Life Course: Inequalities From Cradle to Grave

How does stratification lead to inequality in education? Is there social mobility between generations? Do early life experiences influence your later choices and decisions? Examine sociological empirical research on class, gender, and racial inequalities across the life course. Engage with the evidence to formulate your own research questions and hypotheses.

View Stratification Across the Life Course: Inequalities From Cradle to Grave on our Module Directory

Application Programming (optional)

This module extends the students' knowledge and skills in object-oriented application programming by a treatment of further Java language principles and of important Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). The Java Collections API is explored in some more detail with emphasis on how to utilise these classes to best effect. A particular focus will be on the interaction with databases (e.g. via JDBC) and on writing secure applications.

View Application Programming (optional) on our Module Directory

Human-Computer Interaction, User Experience (UX) Design and Information Visualisation (optional)

Human-Computer Interaction is about making software usable - not requiring users to think very hard in order to carry out whatever operation they need to do. In this module we start by covering the cognitive foundations of usability - what we know about the perceptual and motor limitations of our users - before introducing Norman's theory of human / computer interaction and its applications, using web design as the main application scenario - considering both web access from a desktop and web access from a smartphone, with all its implications. Finally, we look at how to use visualization to facilitate access to information.

View Human-Computer Interaction, User Experience (UX) Design and Information Visualisation (optional) on our Module Directory

Information Retrieval

This module offers you an understanding of standard IR models, of their merits and limitations, and teaches you how to design and implement a standard information retrieval system. Discover the essential foundations of information retrieval and gain solid, applicable knowledge of state-of-the-art search technology. Explore advanced concepts of search applications such as personalisation, profiling and contextual search.

View Information Retrieval on our Module Directory

Natural Language Engineering

As humans we are adept in understanding the meaning of texts and conversations. We can also perform tasks such as summarize a set of documents to focus on key information, answer questions based on a text, and when bilingual, translate a text from one language into fluent text in another language. Natural Language Engineering (NLE) aims to create computer programs that perform language tasks with similar proficiency. This course provides a strong foundation to understand the fundamental problems in NLE and also equips students with the practical skills to build small-scale NLE systems. Students are introduced to three core ideas of NLE: a) gaining an understanding the core elements of language--- the structure and grammar of words, sentences and full documents, and how NLE problems are related to defining and learning such structures, b) identify the computational complexity that naturally exists in language tasks and the unique problems that humans easily solve but are incredibly hard for computers to do, and c) gain expertise in developing intelligent computing techniques which can overcome these challenges.

View Natural Language Engineering on our Module Directory

Globalisation and Crime (optional)

What effect does globalisation have on crime and justice? How do we deal with global crime issues, like terrorism or illegal migration? Can we prevent large-scale crime, such as genocide? Study the changing nature of criminology, looking at contemporary developments, alongside the problem of balancing human rights with human security.

View Globalisation and Crime (optional) on our Module Directory

Race, Ethnicity and Migration (optional)

This module provides an introduction to theoretical, historical and contemporary debates around race, ethnicity and migration. It will engage you with substantive topics but will also practically illustrate the inner workings of research in the field through a practical ‘Getting a feel for research’ embedded in the module design. We focus on the deep implications that these notions carry for thinking about identity, culture, and social hierarchy; but also for studying ethnic tensions, prejudice and political mobilization.

View Race, Ethnicity and Migration (optional) on our Module Directory

Crime, Policy and Social Justice (optional)

Should criminal justice systems only manage offenders and victims? What wider role could they play in securing social justice? Explore the history of criminal justice and examine key theories within an international dimension. Find out how our current criminal justice policies are framed, funded and fought out.

View Crime, Policy and Social Justice (optional) on our Module Directory

War and Trauma in the Modern Age (optional)

What is ‘trauma’ and how is its history connected to that of war in the modern age? How have stories of trauma become a feature of contemporary society, and why? This module traces the history of trauma in the age of ‘total war’, from the two World Wars, through the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan conflicts, to the present, linking the history and sociology of medicine to the cultural and social history of modern warfare.

View War and Trauma in the Modern Age (optional) on our Module Directory

Placement

On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Teaching is arranged to allow a lot of freedom in how you organise your learning experience, with a focus on discussion and problem solving as well as laboratory work and individual assignments.
  • Lab sessions to improve technical research skills including computational methods.

Assessment

  • Assessed through a combination of written coursework, project activities, and end-of-year examinations.
  • Complete a supervised dissertation on the topic that most inspires you.

Fees and funding

Home/EU fee

£9,250

International fee

£16,050

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home and EU fee information

International fee information

What's next

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to book a campus tour here.

2019 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Applying

Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.

Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.

The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are 'L' and 'S' respectively.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Applicant Days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our applicant days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you're invited to one, this will take place during your applicant day. Don't panic, they're nothing to worry about and it's a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we'll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you're outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email applicantdays@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to over 13,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

 

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.


Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its course finder is accurate and up-to-date. Occasionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep prospective students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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