Skip to Content

Major: Sociology

Award(s) to which this major is a Qualifying Major:



Department of Sociology
Faculty of Arts

This major must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 8 units of study including the following prescribed units:

Units of study

two of
Foundations in Gender Studies (1)
Australian Society (1)
Sociology of Everyday Life (1)

Understanding Contemporary Societies (1)
Naughty Boys, Bad Girls: Gender and Discipline at Home and at School (1)
Love, Sex and Friendship (1)
Human Services in the 21st Century: Care, Gender and Institutions (1)

two of
Theories of Modernity (1)
Methods of Social Research (1)
Science, Society and Environment (1)
Sociology of Media (1)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Overview and Aims of the Program In this degree, you’ll gain skills in Sociology that help to make sense of culturally diverse social environments in a changing world. The degree includes knowledge applicable to government, non-government or private sector organisations, giving graduates a head start in the job market. It is for those interested in the way our social worlds are constructed and want to make a difference in how society looks after itself and others. Sociology recognises that our everyday experiences and interactions are contingent on complex interrelationships involving people, places and technologies. They provide us with a range of theoretical and practical tools to help us understand human society and contemporary social problems. This degree provides students with the skills for careers in a wide variety of jobs in government, the community sector, private consultancy, policy-related work, program evaluation, research of all kinds and advocacy.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

Knowledge and Understanding
*Examine theoretical and methodological linkages between a chosen specialty and Sociology (K, T).
*Understand key sociological concepts, methods and analysis, including those related to both qualitative and quantitative approaches (K, T).
*Incorporate knowledge of Sociology methodologies when designing and undertaking independent practical work (P, I).

Skills and Capabilities
* Examine and critically analyse research questions and methodologies employed in Sociology (K, T).
* Investigate the links between research design and results derived in sociological research (P).
* Critically analyse both qualitative and quantitative data using software packages that are widely used in Sociology (P).
* Develop sociological research questions and design appropriate methodologies to explore responses to them, including a justification for their selection (C, J).
* Explain key research problems, research methodologies and theoretical approaches using a range of written formats that are typically directed at different audiences (C, I).

Application of Knowledge and Skills
* Develop appropriate research questions and methodologies for both evaluation research and applied social research (J).
* Evaluate the myriad of ethical issues that can arise in social research and understand strategies that might reduce the risks for research participants, researchers and organisations (E).
* Analyse complex information about social problems, methodologies and social theory in applied settings, such as program evaluation (P, T, J).
* Practice ethical social research and engage in ethical workplace conduct during the research internship (J, E, A)
* Approach Sociology reflexively, incorporating learnings from personal and professional experiences into the practice of social research (L, E, J, T).
Learning and Teaching Methods The program of learning and teaching in Sociology is an opportunity for you to sample from this vast and fascinating discipline as well as to specialise in distinct topics as your interests develop. We aim to develop your appreciation and knowledge of what makes sociology so distinct in the social sciences, the special and varied techniques needed to interpret the social world, the major social problems confronting contemporary societies, and the rich intellectual tradition that lies behind familiar sociological ideas. Over the program, you will develop skills in interacting and working with others in a variety of classroom and organisational contexts, critical thinking, applying methods in the field, writing persuasively for different audiences, and forming independent and critical judgements.

The teaching program consists of a variety of formats that include traditional lecture and tutorial learning but also workshops, student placements, small-group discussions, and collaborative assignment work. The lecture and tutorial program is supported by the latest online technologies and the assistance of the University Library to encourage deeper learning experiences and classroom interaction. Our theory courses introduce students to the rich world of sociological classics via learning from original texts. In some courses, workshops will support your encounters with a wide variety of social research methods and provide an ideal format for the development of your research ideas. Social research methods will play a critical role in learning; your teachers will share with you their specialist skills in a wide variety of research techniques including interviewing, ethnography, action research and social statistics. Many courses also emphasise getting involved in the social world. You will be taught by guest lecturers who have been prominent social activists, have opportunities to undertake placements in socially-focused organisations, and have the chance to venture out into interesting field research.

Our program also emphasises communication and listening skills at all levels. From the classroom to activities outside the University, you will be encouraged to develop the ability to engage in discussion and debates using facts and arguments, develop greater respect for difference, appreciate the diversity of human experience in an often sharply unequal world, design practical research projects, and write and communicate in professional/policy formats and contexts useful for later work.

The Department of Sociology is a lively place, with regular opportunities for students to meet staff, go to occasional lectures and seminars, and get involved in activities with a social justice focus.
Assessment Your assessment in individual units is designed to be stimulating, encouraging of further learning and inquiry, and challenging. Further, it is designed to reflect the major theoretical, methodological and specialist content of the units that build on earlier knowledge, where appropriate, and evaluate your abilities as a thinker, writer, and social researcher. By the end of the Sociology major, you will have also been assessed on a range of tasks that are directly relevant to practical workplace and professional experience.

Comprehensive information about assessment tasks, marking criteria, and advice and direction about completing assessments is provided in the unit or course outlines. Some of your assessment tasks will test your knowledge and others will evaluate your skill in thinking critically and dealing with competing and complex arguments. You will also be assessed on your ability to participate in discussions and debates, and successfully complete research tasks in workplace and fieldwork settings. Most of your assessment will be individual, but sometimes tasks will require groupwork and co-operation.

Assessment feedback varies according to the tasks and objects of individual units. Feedback might consist of written comments and/or a more detailed breakdown of your performance assessed via a rubric. Some feedback will be formative -- to help you along the way to complete an ongoing assessment task. Some will be summative -- a final, overall impression of your work. The goal of all assessment is to improve your skills in critical communication and to test the cumulative attainment of sociological knowledge and insight.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit.

Information can be found at:

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability This degree will give students the skills for careers in a wide variety of jobs in government, the community sector, private consultancy, policy-related work, program evaluation, research of all kinds and advocacy.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2019 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148