Sociology GCSE

Due to ongoing reforms, the final opportunity to sit exams for this specification is Summer 2018. Our new course for 2019 exams onwards will be available from Autumn 2017.

Due to the short amount of time left until the Summer 2018 exam session, we advise students to reconsider moving their exam intention to Summer 2019 and enrolling on our new course. If you do decide to go ahead with 2018 exams, the deadline for enrolling is 31st December and we strongly recommend adding our Fast Track service to your enrolment. After this final date you would need to enrol on our new course.

Our distance learning Sociology GCSE course is the perfect beginning for anyone wishing to pursue a profession in areas such as the media, care, the law or any other role dealing with society. This home study course looks at the way people relate with one another, the way society is structured, crime, mass media, social inequality and education, among other topics. Studying sociology will give you a better idea of how different groups in society relate to each other, the way modern life has developed and the impact of conflict, culture and politics on society. Whether you want to pursue this subject area in later life or not, it will give you a fascinating insight into the way society works. Full details of the course can be found below.

Would you prefer to pay for your course by instalments? Please see the ‘How to enrol’ section below for details of our low cost, interest free finance available.



Entry requirements

No previous knowledge is required for this course.


This course follows specification 4190 from the awarding organisation AQA. Full details of the specification can be obtained from AQA's website.

Hours of study

As a guideline, you should allow for between 120 and 150 hours' study time, plus additional time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period up until the final exam opportunity in Summer 2018.

Exams and assessment

Two exams:

  • 1 hour 30 minutes, 50% of marks
  • 1 hour 30 minutes, 50% of marks

Non-exam assessment (NEA):

  • None

All exams must be taken in the same session.
At the time of writing, please note that due to upcoming changes the final opportunity to sit exams for this course is Summer 2018.

NEC tutor-marked assignments:

  • 1 introductory assignment
  • 15 assignments


Additional information

Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:

Operating systems:

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  • Mac OSX 10.7 or later
  • Google Chrome OS
  • Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
  • iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser


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  • Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari 6 or later
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)

learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.

How to enrol

How to enrol
There are several ways to enrol with NEC:

  • Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above
  • Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team
  • Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.

How can you pay?
It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over monthly instalments with our finance offer. To pay in instalments you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative example:

Course fee:  
Amount of credit:  
Monthly payment:  
Duration of agreement:  
Total repayable:  
Rate of interest:  
0% APR representative.  
  6 months
  0% (fixed)

The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.

Deko is a trading name of Pay4Later Ltd who act as a credit intermediary. They are registered in England and Wales (company number 06447333) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 728646). For more information please go to or visit

Unit 1: Studying society; education; families

Module 1: Studying society

  • What is sociology?
  • What makes the sociological approach different?
  • Central terms and concepts in sociology

Module 2: Research processes

  • The process of research in sociology
  • The later stages of the research process
  • Social surveys, questionnaires and structured interviews
  • Unstructured interviews and longitudinal studies
  • Observation
  • Secondary sources of data

Module 3: Families

  • What is a "family"?
  • Sociological approaches to the study of families
  • Changing families and households
  • Changing patterns of marriage and divorce
  • Changing family relationships
  • Contemporary family issues

Module 4: Education

  • The role of education
  • The structure of the education system today
  • Education and social policy
  • Social class and educational achievement
  • Ethnicity and educational achievement
  • Gender and educational achievement

Unit 2: Crime and deviance; mass media; power; social inequality
Module 5: Crime and deviance

  • Defining crime and deviance
  • Explaining crime and deviance
  • Official crime statistics, self-report studies and victim surveys
  • The social distribution of crime
  • The impact of criminal and deviant behaviour
  • The significance of social problems

Module 6: The mass media

  • Defining the mass media
  • The mass media and the audience
  • The mass media as an agency of socialisation
  • Ownership and control within the media
  • The mass media, stereotyping and deviancy amplification

Module 7: Power

  • Defining power
  • The political process in Britain
  • Participation in the political process
  • Voting behaviour
  • Pressure groups and other forms of political participation
  • The welfare state and social problems
  • Power relationships in everyday situations

Module 8: Social inequality

  • Defining social inequality and social stratification
  • Social class and social mobility
  • Gender and ethnicity
  • Age
  • Income, wealth and poverty
  • Explaining poverty
  • Debates about social divisions in Britain
Including area code and country code (if outside of UK)

GCSE Sociology course sample

Thank you for your interest in this course.

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What our students say...

"The course content is really interesting. I got a chance to do GCSEs in psychology and sociology – which I wouldn’t have had a chance to at most schools. The courses outline the different subjects very clearly. They relate to the questions you might get in the exam, and include assignments modelled on the exam questions, so you know what to do when you get to the paper."
— Isabel Collins