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School of Social and Political Science: Undergraduate study



Studying Sociology at Honours level 

Students have a wide degree of choice in our Honours programme in the third and fourth years. You take three 20-credit core courses - Social Theory, Designing and Doing Social Research, and Doing Survey Research - as well as a 40-credit honours research project.  You are then free to choose seven optional 20-credit courses, normally three in Junior Honours (third year) and four in Senior Honours (fourth year). Sociology provides a large selection of courses covering diverse topics including Criminology, Demography, Development in 'non-Western' societies, the Environment, Financial Markets,  Genetics, the Internet, Intimate Relationships, Intoxication, Medicine, Popular Music, Nationalism, Power, Religion, Science and Technology, Social Movements, the Sociology of Scotland, and Youth Culture.

Submitting Work Electronically

Course work will be submitted online using our submission system – ELMA. You will not be required to submit a paper copy. Marked course work, grades and feedback will be returned online – you will not receive a paper copy of your marked course work or feedback.

For information, help and advice on submitting coursework and accessing feedback, please see the ELMA wiki at

Quality Assurance Benchmark Statement for Sociology can be found here:

Further Information and Documentation

Below you will find:

  • a description of the honours project
  • a downloadable version of the Sociology Honours Handbook(s)
  • a list of honours courses on offer between Autumn 2019 and Spring 2020
  • individual course handbooks for 2019-20  honours courses
  • an explanation of how your final degree classification (1st, 2.1 etc.) is decided

The Project

Sociology is as much a 'doing' subject as it is a reading subject. Honours students design and carry out a research project on a sociological topic of their choice. Students find this a particularly rewarding part of the course, and the research experience they acquire is often helpful to them later in seeking employment.

Recent projects have covered topics as diverse as parenting among adults with learning difficulties, subcultural stereotypes in popular music, gendered power in intimate relationships, religious rites of passage, gender roles in primary schools, female sexual pleasure, recreational drug use, national identity and multiculturalism, an ethnography of gambling, community in a US summer camp, conspicuous consumption, transnationalism among diplomats' children, the self and tattooing, urban lifestyles in Berlin, and gay identity in sociology texts.

Download the Ethics Audits forms here:

Level 1 Ethics Form Sociology hons

Level 2-3 Ethics Form Sociology hons

Honours Courses

Programme and Course Handbooks

Click on the individual course name (where highlighted) for the current course information:

  Semester 1

 Semester 2

  • Doing Survey Research 2018-19
  • Gender, Marginality and Social Change 2018-19
  • Sociology of the Environment and Risk 2018-19
  • Finance and Society 2018-19
  • Sociology of Intoxication 2018-19
  • Topics in Social Theory 2018-19
  • The Sociology of Sex Work 2018-19
  • China's Contemporary Transformations 2018-19
  •  Intimate Relationships 2018-19
  • The Project Presentation 2018-19
  • The Social Life of Food 2018-19
  • Social & Political Movements: Theory and Practice 2018-19
  • Migration: Social Origins and Social Cosequences 2018-19
  •  Armed Force and Society 2018-19
  • Energy Policy and Sustainability 2018-19
  • Sport, Media and Society
  • Controversies in Medicine, Technology and the Environment 2018-19

How is your final degree decided?

Honours degrees will be classified according to the mean mark, except where the mark falls on an 8 or a 9 (e.g. 58, 59), which will be regarded as 'borderline'.  In such borderline cases, if 50% or more of the marks are in the class above, the student's degree will fall into that higher class.

The mean mark will be based on final overall grades (i.e. derived from all assessed work in each course) for all University of Edinburgh courses taken across your 3rd and 4th year. Students who spend their junior year abroad have their degree calculated solely on the basis of 4th year marks. The mean takes account of different course weightings, so the grade you receive for your Project will be counted twice, as this is a 40 credit course. The same will apply to any other 40 credit courses you take where one grade is given for the entire 40 credits.

The overall mean of all course grades is not rounded up or down. So, for example, if your final mean grade is 57.9 then you will be awarded a 2:2. If however your mean grade is "borderline" before rounding (e.g. 58.00%-59.99%) then the resolution described above is applied. Essentially, this means that if at least half of your course grades fall into the category above the borderline, then you will be awarded the higher class of degree. Again, 40 credit courses will be counted double. For example, if your mean mark is 59 but you have achieved a grade 60 or above in at least six 20 credit courses, you would be awarded a 2:1. Note that if the mean does not fall into the borderline category then the overall profile of your marks is not considered.

You should note that all marks gained throughout 4th year are subject to confirmation and amendment at the final board of examiners at which your final degree will be determined. The examination board may also take into consideration any adverse personal circumstances affecting your 4th year studies when determining your final degree.