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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2022/2023

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Sociology

SOCI44030: Education and Social Inequality

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To give students theoretical and empirical tools for understanding educational inequality.
  • To understand how education can play a role in either reproducing or transforming existing social structures and inequalities.
  • To understand how education policy is shaped by particular ideologies.
  • To develop practical and critical analytical tools for understanding educational change.


  • Ten subject blocks, each lasting two weeks each, covering topics related to education and social inequality such as:
  • Ideological approaches to education
  • Race and education
  • Class and education
  • Intersectionality in education: gender and disability
  • Schools and school policy
  • Universities and higher education policy
  • Non-formal or non-conventional educational institutions and settings
  • Curriculum
  • Governance and democracy in education.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • An understanding of key educational theories of reproduction and transformation.
  • Knowledge of key contemporary and classic research within the field of the sociology of education.
  • Understanding of key contemporary debates among education policy-makers and practitioners about the role of education in social reproduction and transformation
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Analysis and selection of critical texts and research in the sociology of education.
  • Ability to map and understand the field of research in the sociology of education
Key Skills:
  • Critical analysis of academic research and theory.
  • Ability to discuss key debates with small groups of peers.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • 20 weekly two-hour seminars delivered over the course of two terms;
  • Formative work: an essay plan will provide students with an opportunity to receive feedback prior to completing their summative work;
  • Summative assessment: enables students to demonstrate learning, knowledge and understanding on specific topics and to construct systematic discussion with word limit constraints.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Seminars 20 Weekly 2 hours 40
Preparation and Reading 260
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Extended Essay 5,000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

A 1000 word essay plan to be submitted early in term two.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University