Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology 

Hello and welcome to the Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology subject group.  We are one of the largest subject groups in the Faculty of Social Sciences, and we undertake teaching and research across a very diverse range of contemporary social issues.  A key driver for academics and students alike in our group is to make a difference through excellence in research and through enthusiastic engagement with the world ‘out there.’  

Induction activities

We will be holding an induction event during the first lecture of the semester for all first years. This will be an opportunity to meet each other, to meet key members of the teaching team, to meet key administrative support staff, and to meet representatives of our student body (in particular our excellent student officers and representatives of our student ‘sociology society’ (‘SocSoc’ for short).  This event will also help to ensure that you know what to expect from your programme of study in terms of topic coverage and learning outcomes, modes of assessment and modes of delivery.  Further information on the programme will also be provided in the early sessions of your core first year sociology module, ‘Social Differentiation.’

In addition, the University centrally, including the Student Union will be holding a wide range of induction events in the 1st week of the autumn semester, which we would strongly encourage you to attend. 

Early in the semester you will also be contacted by your personal tutor, who will be an academic member of staff who will be there to offer assistance and advice on academic and pastoral matters as required (pastoral = ‘life/wellbeing’ not ‘farming’!).   Do come and along and see your tutor in due course, we are all there to answers your questions and to provide help if you need it, and if we can’t help, we are there to pass you on to someone who can. Finally all members of teaching staff hold weekly ‘feedback and guidance sessions’ the (the hours for which are advertised on their doors), so do feel free to approach us at any time if you need help or advice regarding any element of your course. 

We look forward to meeting you all in September. Have a great first few weeks. 

Core reading lists

Full reading lists and other resources for the programme will be made available to you when you full enrol in September. Until then, find below a list of text books we recommend for our first year modules:


Key Texts

There are two key textbooks for the course both of which are strongly recommended for purchase:

McIntosh, I. and Punch, S. (2005) Get Set for Sociology, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

The second key text is generally useful and contains a variety of chapters on most of the areas covered on the module. This is a useful text for studying sociology in general and will also be relevant for next semester’s module ‘Social Problems’.

Punch, S. et al. (2013) Sociology: Making Sense of Society, Harlow: Pearson, 5th edition.

It is also useful to buy the version with Sociology in Scotland chapter as this will be particularly useful in 2nd year.


The following books are also suitable for this module on Social Differentiation (the 2nd edition from 2006 is also still useful).

Holborn, M. (ed.) (2015) Contemporary Sociology, Cambridge: Polity Press

Payne, G. (2013) Social Divisions, London: Macmillan, 3rd edition.

Warwick-Booth, L. (2013) Social Inequality, London: Sage

Please remember to use these key texts as a useful starting point when preparing for workshops, essays and exams. Other handy texts for definitions and key concepts:

Abercrombie, N., Hill, S. and Turner, B. (2005) Penguin Dictionary Of Sociology, London: Longman. (or any other Sociology dictionary, such as published by Oxford).

Giddens, A. and Sutton, PW. (2014) Essential concepts in sociology, Cambridge: Polity Press

Ritzer, G. (2007) The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Sociology, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Study Guides

The second half of the following text specifically discusses the skills required for writing sociology essays and preparing for sociology exams (Part IV: ‘Study Skills’). It also covers getting the most out of lectures, workshops and reading:

McIntosh, I. and Punch, S. (2005) Get Set for Sociology, Edinburgh: EdinburghUniversity Press.

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