West Suffolk College
Four and a half to nine years part-time.
2018 entry: 112 UCAS tariff points (or above), BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC).
Please see entry requirements below.
In an increasingly diverse multi-cultural and multi-religious society, the study of Religious Studies complements Sociology very well. A sociological approach to understanding the context and thought of different religious communities is an increasingly attractive asset for graduates seeking employment in both public and private sectors. There is great potential for directly relating one subject to the other, especially for students who wish to expand their debating skills and challenge conventional ideas. The Sociology part of the degree covers both traditional and most recent concerns of sociological study e.g. social stratification, social mobility, education, health, the family and religion. Sociology examines the way religious beliefs relate to other social factors such as race, gender, social class and education. Religious Studies may complement this through seeking a deeper understanding of a number of world religions both ancient and modern, examining their underpinning theology and cosmology. There are no assumptions that any student has to be a believer, and the course takes a balanced look at many religious outlooks, including Judaism, Sikhism, Christianity, Islam, Paganism, Buddhism and Shintoism. Each of the subject areas has its own theoretical underpinning and academic conventions and the study of both disciplines provides a valuable opportunity to develop more versatile skills and perspectives, as well as an appreciation of interdisciplinary connections.
There are opportunities to visit sacred sites and the proximity of St Edmundsbury Cathedral and local groups such as Suffolk Interfaith may offer further opportunity to enhance your study. In addition to their respective subject content, each discipline will have its own theoretical underpinning and academic conventions. Each subject within a combination is of equal weight, meaning that the degree is a joint degree in the chosen subjects. However, there are opportunities to give additional weight to one of your chosen subjects. The core modules Research Methods at level 5 and the Undergraduate dissertation module at level 6 provide such an opportunity, although you may wish to combine your two subjects in an interdisciplinary fashion.
Opportunities for combined honours graduates
Combining the study of two subjects is both challenging and rewarding and graduates of combined honours degrees are more likely to maintain a broader academic viewpoint providing the valuable opportunity to develop more versatile skills and perspectives. Self-motivated, independent-minded and intellectually ambitious students have the opportunity to make interdisciplinary connections, using ideas from each area to enhance understanding and enjoyment of the other. They should also develop valuable transferable skills: Graduates of Sociology and Religious Studies are well prepared for a range of occupations and their particular knowledge and skills are increasingly relevant to careers paths such as teaching (primary and secondary subjects such as citizenship, cultural studies and R.E.), advice worker, youth and social work, charity officer, archivist and counsellor.
The place: The course is delivered at University of Suffolk at West Suffolk College. Bury St Edmunds is a beautiful, historical market town, of an approx 40,000 population. It comprises mainly Georgian and Medieval buildings in the town itself. It is a very affluent and safe town and surrounding areas. It has a large Arts venue for music and exhibitions as well as a Georgian Theatre. It is a strongly arts and crafts dominated area, attracting artisans and craftsmen to settle here and within Suffolk. One of the town s big attractions is the Cathedral and Abbey Gardens, with the remaining Abbey ruins. Bury is a place that people seek out as a desirable town to live in. There is a modern shopping centre in addition to the old market town, and boasts a huge array of independent boutique shops and restaurants as well as all the main high street chains. It has easy road access to London and all other major cities, and a main line train station. Being close to 3 major cities there are many opportunities for links to industry.
The first year providse an introduction to the core concepts, theories and methods involved in sociological study for those who are new to the subject and apply them to substantive subject areas such as the family and education. The module Sociology in the Modern World will have three central themes: Power, Health and Gender. Students will be encouraged to examine a range of core sociological topics applying sociological concepts and perspectives around these three central themes. Further sociological ideas are developed in the modules Understanding Social Change and Social Inequalities. Religious Studies modules trace the development of religious thought by looking at the earliest documented expressions of religion in human history. The module The Emergence of Monotheism looks at the early development of mainstream religions that believed in one deity, whilst the module Classical Polytheism explores the belief in a multitude of deities. The module Heresy and Dissent looks at those beliefs and practices that did not make it into the orthodox versions of mainstream religions, mainly focussing on monotheist beliefs.
Year 2 Second year modules enable students to explore deeper questions in both Sociology and Religious Studies. Understanding Deviance makes many interdisciplinary connections with the Religious Studies module The Question of Evil. The module Qualitative data Analysis provides students with the skills to carry out research of sufficient quality and rigour to complete their own independent studies, serving as a basis for Dissertation research in the final year. Social Theory is one of the key contributions of sociology to the social sciences and this module provides an overview of the origins of social theory, the development into a classical tradition with Marx, Durkheim and Weber, also relating well to aspects of Religious Studies. The modules South East Asian Religion and Indian Religions and Culture both offer an opportunity to examine selected non-Western religions in more detail.
Year 3 The final year includes deeper critical analysis in both subject areas. Changing Education focuses on the development of educational provision in Britain since the Second World War. The module highlights and explores the active nature of the sociology of education, not only in identifying and analysing central educational problems but also in considering strategies for their resolution.Gender, Sexuality and Culture explores key contemporary social issues and relates well to the modules Contemporary Christianity and The Philosophy of Religion. In year 3 all students complete a 10,000 word undergraduate Dissertation which may focus on either Sociology or Religious Studies, or may be interdisciplinary. Teaching methods used on this course include lectures, seminars, debates, group-work and field visits where appropriate, such as visits to sacred sites. Students will be assessed through a variety of essays, presentations, seminar reports and the use of real-world case studies in time-constrained assignments.
Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.
Fees and finance
- Full-time Tuition fee: £9,250 p.a.
- Part-time Tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (Please contact the Infozone for further information).
- International Tuition fee: £10,080 p.a.
Subject to approval of maximum fee by parliament
- Full-time Tuition fee: £9,250 p.a.
- Part-time Tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credit module (Please contact the Infozone for further information).
- International Tuition fee: £11,500 p.a.
- Detailed information about Tuition Fees.
- Find out more about Financial Support eligibility.
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- At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for. See Course Costs.