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Major: Sociology



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 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

3cp from
Australian and Global Societies (3)
Sociology of Everyday Life (3)
Economy and Society (3)

200 level

Theories of Modernity (3)
Methods of Social Research (3)
3cp from
SOC units at 200 level
SOCI units at 200 level

300 level

Understanding Contemporary Societies (3)
9cp from
SOC units at 300 level
SOCI units at 300 level


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Overview and Aims of the Program SOCIOLOGY MAJOR
You can study this major in the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Social Science.

We live in an increasingly dynamic world that is cut across by divisions between rich and poor, citizens and refugees, men and women, East and West, black and white, Christian and Muslim—
the list is endless. These divisions structure the web of our social relationships. Sociologists are interested in exploring these relationships, how they become institutionalised, and the many tensions that arise from them. Inequality, injustice, oppression, exclusion and constant change prompt social reflection, and sociology has a crucial role to play in this process.

As a social science, sociology combines rigorous theoretical enquiry with systematic methods of social research such as surveys, interviews and participant observation. Our work is strongly premised on the inseparable bond between observation and interpretation. Sociological inquiry can help answer fascinating questions like why people protest, get involved in crime, stay single, oppose gay marriage, migrate, and commit acts of violence and racism. Sociology also has a rich and powerful heritage. Studying sociology involves encounters with intellectual giants including Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Erving Goffman, Pierre Bourdieu, and Jürgen Habermas.

The Sociology major is focused on the dynamics of these social relationships and the processes of social change in contemporary societies. It addresses topics that include gender and sexuality, social inequality and social policy, criminology, care and human services, globalisation and the social foundations of economic life, migration and multiculturalism, media and the arts, work and employment, and the relationship between our personal and social lives.

• A unique combination of applied social research and social theory enables an in-depth understanding of culturally diverse social environments;
• This major gives students highly valued research and practical skills: link theoretical and conceptual ideas with empirical facts, design research and apply research methods, and to analyses collected data;
• Social research skills are in high demand in a diverse range of fields including public policy, social policy, human resources, community activism, social planning and industrial relations;
• Students are encouraged to connect with careers and communities via internship and work-integrated learning opportunities.

• love, sex and friendship
• Australian society
• care and human services
• generations, childhood, adulthood and old age
• crime, justice and society
• cultural sociology
• economy and society
• gender studies
• internships in social research
• methods of social research
• migration and multicultural studies
• social inequality and social policy
• sociology of food and eating.
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:
1. understand the role of social relationships in the formation of social structures and institutions and how human agency dynamically shapes and reshapes institutions and structures (K, T, E)
2. comprehend how social institutions (norms, cultures, organisational forms) influence and shape individual values, decisions, and behaviour (K, T, I)
3. recognise how social inequalities and pathologies emerge from institutions and structures, and to develop a critical awareness of how these problems influence opportunities for exchange, negotiation and interaction in the public and private spheres, emotions, and social change (K, I, E, T, A)
4. learn about major classical and contemporary social theorists and acquire knowledge and skills in applying social science methodologies (K, P, I)
5. develop disciplinary knowledge some of the following areas: cultural sociology; work and employment; migration; crime; gender; social research methods; social policy; human services; economic sociology; and sociological theory (K)

6. ability to think critically about social problems and their ethical, cultural, spatial and distributional consequences (T, J, P)
7. reflexive application of social research methodologies to the analysis of social problems and questions (A, P, T, L, J)
8. effective communication of sociological knowledge and research in a range of social and professional contexts (C, E, A, J)

9. develop proficiency and excellence in social research methodologies in some of the following contexts: interviewing, conducting social surveys, observation techniques, conducting focus groups, collecting and analysing basic social statistics (P, T, I, C)
10. develop proficiency in applying a range of critical thinking and writing skills in some of the following contexts: formal essays, textual analysis, report writing, data presentations, policy analysis, conceptual analysis and application, research proposals, reflective writing tasks, and journal logs (C, T, P, I).
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.

Your 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.

Sociology's teaching program is integrated with the University's Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) initiative and promotes experiential learning. Three units at second and third year offer placements and engagements with a wide range of public sector, community, activist, and social justice organisations. You will see first hand how public policy problems are dealt with, how people are assisted in a variety of difficult life-situations, and how activists promote their causes in the public sphere.

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 Graduates from the Sociology major/program are in demand from a range of organisations: the public sector, social and community organisations, media organisations, trade unions, private social research organisations, consulting firms, universities and university research organisations. Social research skills, particularly quantitative social research skills, are in high demand. Highly developed critical thinking and writing skills open up a variety of opportunities for sociology students.

Career options:
• policy analyst
• social researcher (qualitative and quantitative)
• public servant
• parliamentary officer or official
• union or community sector researcher
• university researcher or lecturer
• school teacher
• human resources manager
• journalist and media producer
• market researcher
• social planner.
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