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XL33 Education Studies - Sociology BA Undergraduate  2017


UCAS code XL33
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 Years
Location Durham City
Typical Offers A-Level
International Baccalaureate
Please also check Requirements and Admissions.
Alternative qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 8332

Course Summary


Year 1

In the first year there are three compulsory modules in Education which introduce, and induct you into the world of education studies. Specifically, each module draws from different perspectives on education, which could be historical, sociological, philosophical, psychological, cultural and/or political; these different lenses allow you to begin to consider ‘big’ questions about education and the world. You will also spend time studying three modules in your partner department.

Education modules

  • History of Education
  • Context of Education
  • Learning and Teaching.

Sociology Modules

You will study half of your credits in the Sociology department.

  • Societies in Transition (compulsory)

In previous years optional modules available included:

  • Introduction to Research
  • Conceptualising Society

Year 2

In the second year, you have more choice and ownership over your studies, as you pick two Education modules. In general, modules examine topics in more depth and detail, and again, often come from certain perspectives. For example Constructions of Childhood uses a sociological and cultural position, to analyse what it means to be a child in the world; in addition, it asks what childhood means to the world. Whereas Learning in the Early Years examines children, but from a child developmental psychological perspective. Hence, you can pick which ontological position you prefer, or mix and match these contrasting views. There is also a chance to study Harry Potter, which may interest some muggles!

Everyone also studies Education Research Methods, which examines approaches to, and the interpretation of, educational research.

Again, half your time will be spent in your partner department.

Education modules

  • Education Research Methods (compulsory module)

In previous years, optional modules available included:

  • Identity, Culture and Education
  • Constructing Childhood and Youth
  • Learning in the Early Years
  • The Philosophy of Social Science
  • Harry Potter and the Age of Illusion.

Sociology Modules

You will also take half of your modules in the Sociology department.

In previous years optional modules available included:

  • Sociological Imaginations
  • Researching the Social
  • Self, Identity and Society
  • The Sociology of Social Exclusion
  • Contemporary Criminological Theory
  • Children, Young People and Families

Year 3

In the final year, you have even more ownership over your studies. This largely comes through the Dissertation, which is a double module. Specifically, the Dissertation entails choosing a topic to study in depth, and being supported through this by an academic member of staff. Some students use the dissertation to make links to their partner department, as such, we encourage a wide range of proposals. For example, one recent dissertation, ‘Simply Mothballs’, explored the relationship between children’s literature and national identity. Another, entitled ‘Rice, Rum, Reggae and Risk’, investigated the effects of HIV/AIDS peer education programmes in Belize. Here, the student undertook independent research during her visit to Belize as part of her volunteer work for a charity. In a recent report the course’s external examiner said that the breadth of Dissertation topics studied was ‘inspiring’, and many students regard the Dissertation as the most enjoyable and important piece of work they undertake at Durham.

In addition, you study another four modules, from education and your partner department. Within this, you can pick one second year module.

Education modules

  • Dissertation (compulsory module)

In previous years, optional modules available included:

  • Citizenship Education
  • Political Sociology of Education
  • Responding to Special Educational Needs 
  • New Directions in Social Science.

Sociology Modules

You will also take half of your modules in the Sociology department.

In previous years optional modules available included:

  • Sociology of Gender and Sexuality
  • Sociology of Health and Medicine
  • Sociology of Forensic Science and Criminal Investigation
  • Cybercrime: Crime in the Information Age.

Throughout the three years you are encouraged to make links between the education half of the programme and your partner department. The Education Studies degree has consistently achieved 100% student satisfaction in the NSS survey.

Course Detail

To find out more about the modules available to students studying at Durham University in 2016 please click here.

Please note: Current modules are indicative. Information for future academic years may change, for example, due to developments in the relevant academic field, or in light of student feedback.

Course Learning and Teaching

Students on this programme learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practicals, fieldwork (school placements), informal but scheduled one-on-one support, and self-directed learning, such as research, reading, and writing.

All of these are supported by a virtual learning environment, Durham University Online (DUO). Seminars, tutorials, and practical classes are much smaller groups than lectures, with tutorials often involving no more than eight students working with a professor or lecturer; seminars and practicals can be larger but are still small enough to allow one-on-one interaction with tutors. Practicals also allow hands-on experience of the work professional teachers perform.

This emphasis on small-group teaching reflects a conscious choice to enhance the quality of the learning experience rather than the quantity of formal sessions. In fact, the degree programme is designed to feature fewer formal sessions and more independent learning as students move from their first to their final year. Small-group teaching and one-on-one attention from the personal academic advisor (provided for all students when they enter the programme) are part of the learning experience throughout, but by the final year classroom time gives way, to some extent, to independent research, including a capstone dissertation—supported by one-on-one supervision—that makes up a third of final year credits.

This progression, coupled with real classroom experience, systematically transforms the student from a consumer of knowledge in the classroom to a generator of knowledge, ready for professional or postgraduate life. These formal teaching arrangements are supported by “drop-in” surgeries with teaching staff and induction sessions that begin in the week before the start of the programme and continue at key times throughout each year of the programme.

Students can also attend an extensive programme of research-focused seminars where staff and visiting scholars present their cutting-edge research.

Assessment on the course is typically comprised of academic essays, supported by other assessment, such as examinations, presentations, poster work or portfolios.

Each module includes formative assessment, which is designed to support students through their academic progress.

The Education department also benefits from being the site of Leazes Road Library, which has group and computer study facilities, as well as study carrels.

Admissions Process

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study. Please contact our Admissions Selectors
  • Our typical offer is AAB at A-level or equivalent
  • We take a holistic approach to every application judging both merit and potential, academic qualifications achieved, predicted grades, the personal statement and reference.
  • We do not include General Studies or Critical Thinking as part of our offer
  • Please consult the University website for required evidence of English language proficiency
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre
  • We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.

English Language requirements

Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.

How to apply

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Full Time Fees

EU Student £9,250.00 per year
Home Student £9,250.00 per year
Island Student £9,250.00 per year
International non-EU Student £17,400.00 per year

Note: Fees are subject to review and change in-line with inflation.

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and funding 

Career Opportunities

School of Education


The Education Studies degree is a great programme if you want to keep your options open. The programme opens up routes into teaching, but also qualifies students for careers in educational research, educational publishing, educational administration or management, as well as a range of careers in the commercial or public sector. 


Students who have graduated from Education Studies in the past 5 years have taken positions as Archivists, Charity Development Officers, Publishers and Music Therapists as well as professional preparation and study as Social Workers, Teachers, Psychotherapists and Midwives.

The programme is an excellent preparation for a career in teaching at either primary or secondary level. Although the degree does not offer Qualified Teacher Status (QTS), you may be able to progress onto a one year Postgraduate Certificate in Education programme (PGCE)  which has been awarded Outstanding again by Ofsted.

A range of financial support of available for our PGCE students some are entitled to a bursary (this depends on the subject area) whilst they are studying. The Durham PGCE is also the first year of our MA Education which is designed to get your teaching career off to the best possible start.

However, it is important to stress that you are not expected to teach. Whilst equipping its graduates to go on to PGCE the programme makes no assumptions, and will help you to develop skills of critical and independent thought, analysis and communication which will be of value to a range of employers. 

Some of our students such as Kate (see below) choose to take up volunteering opportunities and others have a gap year and travel. 

Destination figures for 2014 are once again excellent,

Of those students who left in 2014:

  • 90% are in employment or further study six months after graduating

Of those in employment:

  • 87% are in graduate level employment
  • Median salary £20,000

(These statistics are based on the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey of 2013/14 graduates. The DLHE survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. Full definitions for the DLHE Record can be found here:

I am writing to you to give you a short reference for your student Katie Dougal and to tell you that she was an incredibly valuable team member in Sri Lanka. Katie joined our team in Sri Lanka, working in Mental Health Projects in Colombo along with many other Durham University students. Your students have made an incredible contribution to our projects in Sri Lanka and we would like to let you know how grateful we are. Your students were so positive, hardworking and committed to the projects which has meant that our organisation has improved a lot over recent months, and we continue to get very positive feedback from the projects, about the volunteers from Durham University.

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre run a number of bespoke sessions aimed specifically at Education Studies students. For example, there is a talk for Year One and Year Two students on the value of vacation work for enhancing their skills and increasing their employability value. 

Additionally there is a presentation in the Easter Term in conjunction with the Careers Service which looks at modular choices, and impact that the modules might have on students' career decision making. There is also a Question and Answer session with Final Year students which focuses on their specific career needs.

"Everyone has an opinion on it; if you study it here you can make sure that what you say is right!!"

The BA Education Studies - Psychology is fully accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and as such provides clear career paths into a number of professions including teaching and educational psychology. The BPS recognition ensures that students who wish to work in a field requiring memberships of the BPS are prepared and qualified to do so. The programme provides a clear first step to future careers in psychology and allied disciplines and is well placed for those wishing to pursue such roots.

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments, and opportunities to explore college options, the open days provide our prospective undergraduates with the full experience of Durham University.

Please see the following page for further details and information on how to book a place:

Campus Tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

School of Education


Have you ever wondered how education shapes society, and how society shapes education? Have you ever reflected upon the political nature of decisions made about, and within, educational institutions? Have you ever considered whether education systems are fair, and if everyone has the same opportunities of access, and of success? If any of those questions made you think, then the Education Studies programme may be for you.

Our Education Studies at Durham University is a broad multidisciplinary degree. You choose modules that focus on the philosophical, sociological, psychological, historical, political and/or cultural aspects of education. We go far beyond any classroom and consider education, people and their function in the world.

To complement the Education modules, you study half of your degree in one of our eight partner subjects: English; Geography; History; Music; Philosophy; Psychology; Sociology; Theology and Religion. Hence, this degree is suited to anyone interested in education, but also anyone interested in broadening their studies with our partner subjects. We simply ask that you have intellectual curiosity.

Our Education Studies programme has had 100% student satisfaction for the last three years. Students appreciate the personalised support, the dynamic teaching and the academic challenge..

  • 100% of our Education students have said they were satisfied with the quality of their course in the National Student Survey for the last three years.
  • 3rd in The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2016.
  • 3rd in The Complete University Guide 2016.

Our School of Education is set in beautiful landscaped gardens above the River Wear and overlooks both the Castle and Cathedral. As well as an attractive work environment, it offers excellent study facilities, including a department library with a wide range of books (over 60,000 volumes) and periodicals.