Undergraduate courses

We offer a wide range of courses that cover the areas of sociology, criminology and media.

Many of our undergraduate courses offer you the chance to work on placement for a year, study abroad, or study for a joint honours with another department.

Sociology

  • BA Sociology

    What holds societies together? Do people pull together because they have to or because they want to? What motivates so many people to migrate from their own societies to others?

    Hear Dr Linsey McGoey talk about what it's like to study sociology at Essex.


  • BSc Sociology with Applied Quantitative Research Methods

    Investigate social phenomena through the eyes of a scientist. Use statistical analysis to answer difficult social questions. Learn how patterns in human societies can be used to predict social trends.


  • BA Communications and Digital Culture

    How does the media shape social and cultural life? How have digital and internet cultures transformed personal and networked interactions? What is the relationship between the media, mass politics, and governance? What is media power, and who wields it?


  • BA Sociology and Politics

    Why should we obey the law? What is democracy, and what is its relation to good government? In a liberal society, can limitations on freedom of speech ever be justified? Do people pull together because they want to, or because they have to?


  • BA Sociology with Human Rights

    What holds societies together? Do people pull together because they want to, or because they have to? What have been the major achievements, setbacks, and challenges to the global human rights movement? How do different societies interact, in ways that are important for the promotion and protection of human rights?


  • BA Sociology and Social Psychology

    How do people function in society? Do we pull together because we want to, or because we have to? What motivates so many people to migrate from their own societies to others?


  • BA History and Sociology

    This course is administered by our Department of History.

    You develop expertise in the fields of history and sociology, and can explore the ways in which the two disciplines influence and inform one another.


  • BA Philosophy and Sociology

    This course is administered by our School of Philosophy and Art History.

    Philosophy analyses broad ideas around human life and the nature of existence. It concerns theories of reality, knowledge, morality, ethics, rights, legality and aesthetics. Sociology examines the different kinds of social tensions, interactions and networks that make up everyday life. It asks why individuals, groups, cultures and peoples are the way they are and how they might be different.


  • BA English Language and Sociology

    This course is administered by our Department of Language and Linguistics.

    What kind of techniques can we use to research how language varies according to age, sex, social background and regional origins? In what ways are an informal conversation, a consultation with your doctor and a political news interview similar? To what extent does our ethnic background shape the way we speak, and how do we use language to shape our ethnic identity? How has globalisation affected languages in today’s world? How has social and geographical mobility given rise to the formation of new accents and dialects of English? Do men speak differently from women?


  • BA Literature and Sociology

    This course is administered by our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies.

    You study topics from literature and sociology. In your first year, you take a core literature option and a core sociology option which give you a good grounding in key theories in both subjects. You can then choose optional modules from across both departments and, in your first year, from outside both departments, where appropriate.


Criminology

  • BA Criminology

    How do we understand crime? How can it be prevented? Why should crime be punished, and how should we go about it? Criminologists engage with some of the most pressing issues, decisions and dilemmas facing societies today.

    Hear Professor Eamonn Carrabine talk about what it's like to study Criminology at Essex.


  • BA Sociology and Criminology

    There can be no crime without society. Combining the specialist study of criminology with a broad approach to sociological questions, our course emboldens you to study crime, criminals, and criminal justice within wider social contexts.


  • BA Criminology with Social Psychology

    How do we understand crime? How can it be prevented? Why should crime be punished, and how should we go about it? Why are certain groups of people more likely to become offenders, and why are some more likely to be caught? Why are so many people fearful of crime, and yet simultaneously fascinated by it?


  • BA Criminology and American Studies

    This course is administered by our Interdisciplinary Studies Centre.

    You look at global patterns increasingly found in criminal justice policies and criminal offences. We take a social view of crime, a view which links crime to issues of power, resources, rights, (in)equality, governance and culture. This leads us to ask, for example, why certain groups of people are more likely than others to become offenders, why certain kinds of offenders are more likely than others to be caught, how some governments commit ‘state crime’ and why so many people are simultaneously fearful and fascinated by crime.


Anthropology

  • BA Social Anthropology

    What holds societies together? Do people pull together because they have to, or because they want to? What motivates so many people to migrate from their own societies to others? Why are some cultures so different from each other? Why study anthropology? (.pdf)

    Social anthropologist Professor Andrew Canessa explains why it's vital that human rights practitioners are sensitive to cultural differences in their quest to implement a universal set of rights. Drawing on his many years working with tribal communities in Bolivia, he warns that practitioners risk failure or even causing damage without a grasp of anthropology.


  • BA Social Anthropology with Human Rights

    How do cultural boundaries affect human rights? What are the challenges for human rights practitioners when dealing with radically different cultures? This course combines an anthropological approach to the study of society and social interaction whilst considering human rights issues in local contexts.


Psychosocial studies

  • BA Sociology with Psychosocial studies

    What holds societies together? Do we pull together because we want to, or because we have to? Why do people think like they do, and what motivates their behaviour? How can we understand the relations between individuals, their emotions, and wider cultural identities?


Q-Step Affiliate status

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 opt to 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)") and this will appear on your transcript and degree certificate.