Department of Sociology

Undergraduate study

Female looking onto busy street

Develop your sociological imagination

You look at big questions about the world. Why are societies unequal? What is equality? What does it mean to hold power over others? Why are some societies violent?

We teach you techniques such as interviews, surveys and observations, to research and answer these questions. We'll stretch and push you outside your comfort zone as our courses are intellectually demanding but we help you develop a sociological imagination to take out into the world and change it for the better.

In return, our community of staff and students, and our Student Resource Centre, which offers essay writing, revision, presentation skills workshops, one-to-one support plus lots more, provides all the back-up you need to excel in your studies.

Taught by experts

You may already be familiar with our academics before you meet them in lectures - core A-level texts are written by us. They look at subjects from many different viewpoints, challenging and pushing themselves as much as they will you, ensuring our research and teaching is evolving.

You explore a range of fascinating topics including culture, citizenship, crime and deviance, the environment, globalisation, health, the media, work, sexualities and intimacies. We love inquisitive students who ask bold questions, challenge beliefs and get involved in debates.

Explore our undergraduate courses
Why choose us?
  • Ranked among the top 50 departments in the QS World University Rankings (2019).
  • Top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014).
  • Work on placement for a year, study abroad, or study for a joint honours with another department on many of our courses.
"Essex helped me develop in many different ways; it instilled in me confidence both academically and personally."
Beth Astley-Serougi ba sociology with human rights

Training social scientists of the future

The UK has a shortage of social science graduates with the quantitative skills needed to evaluate evidence, analyse data, and design and commission research.

Essex is one of just three universities in the country to have received Q-Step Affiliate status for our social science courses. Q-Step aims to promote a step-change in undergraduate quantitative social science training in the UK, and we've been awarded funding for student bursaries for work placements to develop these skills.

You can also follow a specialised pathway for your course that embeds a substantial amount of quantitative methods. If you complete certain modules, you'll receive the qualifier "(Applied Quantitative Methods)" at the end of your degree title (eg "BA Sociology with Politics (Applied Quantitative Methods)") which appears on your transcript and degree certificate, evidencing your skills to employers.