Division of Sociology

About Us

Sociology is the study of society, exploring how people think, act and organise themselves. Our work in Sociology, Criminology and Social Science gives you the knowledge you need to make sense of the modern world.

We aim to give you a strong understanding of current sociological issues. This includes our experiences of crime, to debates on the use of social media, and the increase in digital surveillance by government agencies.

Your lecturers are actively researching and publishing on contemporary issues in their field. Their research covers topics such as social theory and political process, life in the digital age and crime and justice.  They are also passionate teachers. Their research-informed approach mean your studies are current and relevant.

Sociology essentially gives you a critical understanding of your own life.   Our graduates go into people-oriented careers like police and criminal justice, third sector and local government, health and social work, public relations, teaching and social research. Also, our degrees provide a solid foundation for postgraduate study.

Head of Division

Dr Jason Annetts

Study with us

Undergraduate Degrees

BA (Hons) Sociology

BA (Hons) Criminology

BA (Hons) Social Science


AHEAD is a part-time evening programme designed to give you access to higher education at Abertay.

Postgraduate Taught Degrees

We currently do not offer any postgraduate taught degrees in this area.

If you are interested in postgraduate study in Sociology, why not review the areas of Postgraduate Research as a way to gain a postgraduate qualification?

Our Research

Sociology delivers degrees in Sociology, Social Science and Criminology, and our research profile takes a broadly social relational and social constructionist approach, placing specific emphasis on advancing theoretical developments.

This is reflected in the diversity of our outputs, which cover social theory, criminology, class, gender and ethnicity, media and digital cultures, discourse analysis, social movements and political protest. Staff members contribute to three of the four University-wide interdisciplinary research themes: SocietyCreative Industries and Security.

Social Theory, Politics, Power and the State

Our research in this area contributes to the theory base of sociology.  We explore: the history of sociological theory; relational sociological theory; the sociology of literature; the role of social movements; tensions between competitive nationalism and welfare nationalism; Critical theory; radical social and political theory in political and historical contexts; Social interactional theory; global citizenship; political rhetoric and European (dis)integration; green politics; UKIP and the construction of Immigration in the press; and moral panic theory.  Our research in this area contributes predominantly to the University Society theme.

Crime, Risk and Criminalisation

Our research in this area explores a range of criminological issues.  Our work includes: how to gather reliable evidence from victims of and witnesses to crimes; investigating crime and antisocial behaviour; policing and violence reduction; the policing of domestic violence; examining community experiences of serious organised crime in Scotland; the criminalisation of Scottish football supporters; the named person scheme; transgression and Breaking Bad; and surveillance, cheating and punishment in digital worlds.  Our research in this area contributes to the University Security theme.

Culture, Social divisions and Identity

Our research into culture and identity includes investigating: Scottish exceptionalism; sectarianism; women’s rights in Bolivia; smoking; consumer credit; sexual consent; policy-evaluation of young people’s attitudes to smoking; exploring sex education in primary schools; peer led recovery from addiction; the experience of lesbian and gay male couples in the adoption process; social reproduction in modernity: the emergence of the creative class; and male prisoners experience of healthcare.  Our research in this area contributes to the University Society theme.

Digital, Media and Discourse Sociology

Our research in the digital and media arena explores: social network dynamics; e-participatory platforms (including the provision of social welfare, young people engaging in environmental decision making, and researching corporate impacts); the sociology of technology; qualitative research paradigms in virtual networks; Social media bots; gaming as an educational tool; political culture and the media; myth and propaganda in the online press.  Our research into discourse sociology includes: discourse analysis of autobiographical text of people with early onset dementia; and discourses of policy and practice in the fields of higher education, health and politics.  Our research in these areas contributes to the University Creative Industries and Society theme.

We work with a wide range of academic and non-academic groups to  ensure influence and impact in the areas of social policy (health, education, youth and environment), criminal justice (Police Scotland, Scottish Government and other criminal justice stakeholders) and the Media and culture industries (digital design processes and media educationalist). Divisional members are also embedded in a range of research networks such as Scottish Institute of Policing Research (SIPR), the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA), UK Historical Materialism Network and with the Association for Media Education in Scotland (AMES).

Job Opportunities

For Job Openings, including Research Fellowships, in our School view the job search section on our website.

For PhD Studentships in any of our Subject areas, please check the Funded research projects and Postgraduate Research Funding sections on our website.

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