Undergraduate Course

BSc Sociology with Data Science

(including foundation Year)

BSc Sociology with Data Science

Overview

The details
Sociology with Data Science (including foundation Year)
L313
October 2022
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

On our four-year BSc Sociology with Data Science (including foundation year), we work with you to develop your subject-specific knowledge, and to improve your academic skills. You receive a thorough grounding in these areas during your foundation year (known as Year Zero) to prepare you for a further three years of undergraduate study at Essex.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

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

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

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by the Sociology department to support you:

  • A unique Student Study Centre where you can get help with your studies, access examples of previous students’ work, and attend workshops on research skills
  • The common room is open all day Monday-Friday, has a hot drinks vending machine, water cooler and microwave as well as a small number of lockers 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
  • Our students’ Sociology Society, a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising 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

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer:

Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP

For this course all applicants must also hold GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent). We may be able to consider a pass in Level 2 Functional Skills Maths where you cannot meet the requirements for Maths at GCSE level. However, you are advised to try to retake GCSE Mathematics if possible as this will better prepare you for university study and future employment.

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

You will still need to meet our GCSE requirements.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

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 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student 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 required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a Student 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

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen 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.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.

Teaching and learning disclaimer

Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.

The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Introduction to Sociology and Criminology
(30 CREDITS)

This module covers a wide range of issues and topics concerning both how sociologists work and what it is that they study. It offers students an opportunity to engage with challenging debates, theories and topics that students who go on to study sociology at degree level will encounter in their first year as undergraduates.

View Introduction to Sociology and Criminology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Research and Academic Development Skills
(30 CREDITS)

This blended-learning module is designed to support students in their academic subject disciplines and to strengthen their confidence in key skills areas such as: academic writing, research, academic integrity, collaborative and reflective practices. The students are supported through the use of subject-specific materials tailored to their chosen degrees with alignment of assessments between academic subject modules and the skills module.

View Research and Academic Development Skills on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE WITH OPTIONS

IA118-3-FY or IA129-3-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: CORE

Computer Programming
(30 CREDITS)

How do you test and evaluate the operation of simple computer programs? Or develop a program using tools in the Python programming language? Study the principles of procedural computing programming. Examine basic programming concepts, structures and methodologies. Understand good program design, learn to correct coding and practice debugging techniques.

View Computer Programming on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: CORE

The Sociological Imagination
(30 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Researching Social Life I
(30 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 03: CORE

Introduction to Programming
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Object-Oriented Programming
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

SC104-4-FY or SC106-4-FY or SC107-4-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Continuity and Controversy in Sociology: Sociological Analysis II
(30 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Social Data Science: Code, Text and Networks
(30 CREDITS)

With research methods rapidly changing in response to the large-scale generation of data within society, Social Science needs to ensure it is engaged with new digital methods to both benefit from them, and to shape them. In this module students will learn to combine their growing knowledge about society, social processes and research design, with powerful tools to both draw on and analyse the vast amounts and forms of new social data in a way that is With research methods rapidly changing in response to the large-scale generation of data within society, Social Science needs to ensure it is engaged with new digital methods to both benefit from them, and to shape them. In this module students will learn to combine their growing knowledge about society, social processes and research design, with powerful tools to both draw on and analyse the vast amounts and forms of new social data in a way that is critical, ethical and valuable.

View Social Data Science: Code, Text and Networks on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Quantitative Research on Social Stratification: Inequalities from Cradle to Grave
(30 CREDITS)

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 Quantitative Research on Social Stratification: Inequalities from Cradle to Grave on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

CE205-5-AU or CE203-5-AU
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

CE212-5-SP or CE218-5-SP
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Models and Measurement in Quantitative Sociology
(30 CREDITS)

The first term of the module begins with simple OLS regression and provides a framework for modelling strategy and variable selection. Students are then taken through extensions to the basic OLS model, with categorical predictors, interactions and non-linear terms. Next, we introduce models for categorical outcomes: binary logistic and multinomial logit. The term concludes with a discussion of practical topics in data analysis - how to deal with complex sample designs, weighting and non-response adjustments.

View Models and Measurement in Quantitative Sociology on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY

Quantitative Research Project
(30 CREDITS)

Many undergraduates in the Department of Sociology at Essex carry out a research project in the final year of their degree. The third-year project offers you the opportunity to focus on a topic of your choice that relates broadly to your degree course. You will find that this can be an extremely worthwhile learning experience. Carrying out a project improves your employability skills, and can be a springboard to postgraduate study. Note: you must take this module in order to qualify for an AQM (Q-Step) degree.

View Quantitative Research Project on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

Natural Language Engineering
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

Information Retrieval
(15 CREDITS)

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

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

Sociology option from list
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 06: OPTIONAL

Sociology option
(15 CREDITS)

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/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£17,700

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding 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.

2021 Open Days (Colchester Campus)

  • Saturday, November 13, 2021

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 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 EU applicants 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.

Please note that this course is not open to international applicants.

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 15,000 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 programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the 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 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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