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The structure of the course

The Sociology course at Cambridge has been designed in a way that offers you a great deal of flexibility and choice, so that you can construct a course of study that suits your own interests. You can specialize in Sociology or you can combine Sociology with other subjects, such as Politics and Social Anthropology. For those students wishing to specialize in Sociology, the course looks like this:

 First year: four courses
  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Plus two optional courses drawn from Politics, International Relations, or Social Anthropology
  • One fourth course drawn from Psychology, Biological Anthropology, Archaeology and other related subjects

Second year: four courses

  • Social Theory
  • Modern Societies II: Global Transformations
  • Either a course on Concepts and Arguments in Sociology, or a course on Statistics and Research Methods or a Criminology paper titled Foundations in Criminology & Criminal Justice;
  • Plus an optional course drawn from Sociology, Politics, Social Anthropology, Psychology, Archaeology, Biological Anthropology, History, History and Philosophy of Science or Criminology. 

Third year: four courses

  • Three optional courses drawn from a wide range of more specialised courses in Sociology, including courses on Advanced Social Theory; Media and Culture; Gender; War and Militarism; Race and Ethnicity; Modern Britain; Health and Medicine; Sociology of Education; Criminology
  • Plus one additional optional course drawn either from Sociology or from Politics, Social Anthropology, Psychology, Archaeology, Biological Anthropology or Criminology. 
  • An optional dissertation on any topic (students can replace one of the optional courses with a dissertation)


Students who want to combine Sociology with Politics or with Social Anthropology will have a different set of choices in the second and third years. If you have any questions, please contact , our Undergraduate Administrator for Sociology.


Suggested reading list for prospective SOCIOLOGY students in HSPS:

    • Anthony Giddens and Phillip Sutton (2013)." Sociology. 7th edition. Polity Press.
    • Wilks, S.2013, The Political Power of the Business Corporation, Chapter 1. Edward Elgar.
    • Anthony Smith (2013) Nationalism. 2nd Edition.Polity
    • Jack Goldstone. ed. (1994) Revolutions: theoretical, comparative, and historical studies. Harcourt Brace College Publishers.
    • Kristin Surak (2012) Making tea, Making Japan: Cultural nationalism in practice. Stanford University Press.
    • Nira Yuval-Davis (2011) The politics of belonging: Intersectional contestations. Sage.
    • R W Connell (2009) Gender (2nd edition); Polity.
    • Richard Sennett (2012) Together: The rituals, pleasures and politics of cooperation. Yale University Press.
    • Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (2010) The spirit level: why equality is better for everyone. Penguin.
    • Zygmunt Bauman (2001) Thinking Sociologically (2nd edition); Wiley-Blackwell.

Browse through books that have won prizes by the American Sociological Association

Undergraduate Prospectus 2019

Undergraduate prospectus 2019

A World Leader

The Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge is a world-leading centre for teaching and research in Sociology, consistently ranked first in UK league tables by The Guardian, The Independent and The Times. Read more >