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 2014 and Spring 2015
- honours course timetables for Autumn 2014 and Spring 2015
- individual course manuals for selected honours courses
- an explanation of how your final degree classification (1st, 2.1 etc.) is decided
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.
Project Handbook for 3rd year students in 2016-17
Download the Ethics Audits forms here:
- Year 3 Programme Handbook 2017/18
- Year 4 Programme Handbook 2017/18
- Visiting Student Handbook 2013/14
- Course descriptions for 2016/17
- Honours timetable Semester 1 2017/18
- Honours timetable Semester 2 2017/18
- Semester 1 Lecture Locations (PDF format)
- Semester 2 Lecture Locations (PDF format)
Click on the individual course name (where highlighted) for the current course manual:
- Social Theory 2017-18
- Designing and Doing Social Research 2017-18
- Nations and Nationalism 2017-18
- Contemporary Feminist Debates 2016-17
- Sociology of Emotions 2016-17
- Globalization 2016-17
- Scotland: Social Structure and Social Change 2016-17
- Doing Survey Research 16-17
- Economic Sociology 16-17
- Sociology of the Environment and Risk 16-17
- Sociology of the Arts 16-17
- Gender, Marginality and Social Change 2016-17
- China's Contemporary Transformations 16-17
- The Internet and Society 16-17
- Armed Force and Society 16-17
- The Project Presentation 16-17
- The Social Life of Food 16-17
- Social & Political Movements: Theory and Practice 16-17
- Analysing Social Networks with Statistics 16-17
- Migration: Social Origins and Social Cosequences 16-17
- Gender, Science and Technology 16-17
- Medical Sociology 16-17
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.