Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Social Theory (Hons) SOCIO4090

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

What is social theory? What is the 'canon' of social theory, and why have some pioneering theorists traditionally been excluded from it? What are some of the different theoretical perspectives that post-war and contemporary sociologists and social anthropologists have developed in order to understand society? These are some of the questions that we will be considering in this course. Building on knowledge gained at pre-Honours levels the course aims to help develop a more systematic and theoretical grasp of the disciplines of sociology and social anthropology as well as their contributions to the critical understanding of society. 


20 contact hours over the course of a single semester. This will normally consist of 2 hours per week and may be a combination of lectures and seminars/workshops.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Sociology requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Sociology 2A and Sociology 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses





If an on-campus examination: 180-minute examination, two questions to be answered from different sections of the examination paper. Students will have range of questions from which they can choose.

If an online examination: two questions to be answered from different sections of the examination paper, with a limit of 1,500 words per answer. Students will have range of questions from which they can choose.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable


Course Aims

The general aims of the course follow from the subject area's aim of developing a sound knowledge and critical understanding of the academic disciplines of Sociology and Social Anthropology. In keeping with this, the Honours programme as a whole aims to help develop increasingly advanced conceptual and analytical skills within the disciplines of Sociology and Anthropology. To pursue these aims, the course will:

■ build on knowledge gained at pre-honours levels in order to develop a more systematic and theoretical grasp of the disciplines of sociology and social anthropology as well as their contribution to the critical understanding of society;

■ examine critically the analytical frameworks of classical and contemporary social theories;

■ provide an adequate context for understanding different theoretical perspectives in sociology and anthropology;

■ enable you to enhance your transferable and inter-personal skills, particularly in communication, time management, individual and group research work, and critical appraisal of social issues.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course you should be able to:

■ demonstrate a clear understanding of the historical background to and context of the rise of modern social theory;

■ critically review some of the key works of social theory by both classical and contemporary writers;

■ display a wide-ranging awareness of a number of recent influential developments in, and reassessments of, sociological and anthropological thought.

■ display the following transferrable skills: a) the capacity to plan, organise and manage your work; b) the ability to assimilate and order material drawn from related disciplines such as history and philosophy.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.