Introduction to Sociology

Exploring the basis of sociological theory and challenging understandings of society

Introduction to Sociology looks at what sociology can do.  Sociologists find out about how people live in and think about the world, they generate or apply theories about social life, they analyse how groups portray themselves and others, and critique inequality and injustice.

You will consider how contemporary sociologists work with key concepts and thinkers in engaging with the social world in these ways and will gain an understanding of the key purposes, concepts, methods and areas of inquiry in contemporary sociology.

The course will introduce you to the principles - as well as some in-class experience - of core methods of social scientific research: survey research, qualitative interviews, ethnography and textual analysis. We will look at examples of research from a range of countries across a range of areas, including the body, young adults, gender, inequality, violence and the environment.


Course format

This course will be taught using a combination of lectures and discursive seminars. International case studies will be used to illustrate key theories and developments in sociological study.



Informal assessment will take place through group discussion, class room activities, questions and answers sessions as guided by tutor.


Course Organiser

Dr Sharani Osborn is a tutor in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh. Her most recent research was funded by the ESRC and focussed on how men understand the place of fatherhood in the life course and the factors shaping decisions around having children for men.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • understand certain key sociological concepts, particularly those which link 'individuals' to 'society
  • developed an introductory understanding of the relationship between sociological argument and evidence.
  • Understand the purpose and value of sociological research in relation to both academic knowledge and public issues and policies
  • Understand key debates in sociological research about design, method and ethics
  • Know the range of research approaches and methods that can be applied to an issue or problem, and their strengths and weaknesses

A number of fee packages are available for the Summer School. Full fee information can be found on the Fees page.

All fee packages include tuition costs, selected social activities, and your chosen accommodation type. Full information on our accommodation options can be found here.

Costs are provided per week. To calculate your total cost, select your package type, then multiply this cost by the number of weeks in your course.

e.g. A student selecting a Silver package for a 4-week course in July would calculate:

£776 x 4 weeks = £3104

To secure your place at the Summer School, you will be required to pay a deposit of £125 which can be reclaimed towards your fee package.

Please note that study in the UK may incur additional costs e.g. visa application fees.

If you submit your application and deposit before 31 January 2018, you can claim our special early bird rate. We also offer a range of special rates for students at our valued partner institutions. Please see our Fees page for more details.