Undergraduate Programmes


    Anthropology and Sociology BSc

    Many students spend their second work placement abroad, engaged in research in countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Australia and Nepal. This degree is particularly suited to students who are curious about their own and other societies, and who are interested in understanding social processes and meanings in the world around them. Rigorous training is provided in a range of methodologies and research skills appropriate to anthropology and sociology. Anthropology at Brunel Anthropology at Brunel is...
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    Communication and Media Studies BSc

    We are home to the Cult Film Archive, an internationally recognised resource dedicated to the study of the whole range of cult films,  the only one of its kind in the UK. As a student on this course, you will learn, both theoretically and via hands-on experience, how the communication and information media actually work. This course enjoys a very close relationship with Sociology at Brunel, and particular attention is paid to the social and cultural dimensions of the media, and especially to the social and cultural...
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    Politics and Sociology BSc

    You will have good access to some the best research facilities in the UK. This degree provides an innovative combination of high-level study into both politics and sociology. As well as gaining a firm understanding of key political institutions and players, which form a framework to understanding contemporary social and political issues, you will study challenging sociology topics in one of the best Schools in the country. Politics and...
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    Psychology and Sociology BSc

    This course combines the wide structural insights of sociology with the rigorous techniques of psychology to give you a broad intellectual grounding in all aspects of human behaviour. Psychology is often defined as the study of behaviour and of the mind. Through their theories and research, psychologists investigate a diverse range of topics including: The relationship between the brain, behaviour and subjective experience; Human development; The influence of other people on the individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour; Psychological disorders and their treatment; The...
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    Sociology and Media Studies BSc

    We have an international research reputation, with particular expertise in areas such as social psychology, contemporary social structure and change, and the role of science and the media. This is a broad-based degree which offers students the opportunity to specialise in areas of their interest, such as the social impact of the new media, the internet and other information and communications technologies, media discourse, media policy and regulation. The course is also concerned with developing theories that explain the changing nature of social...
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    Sociology BSc

    This course combines the wide structural insights of sociology with the rigorous techniques of psychology to give you a broad intellectual grounding in all aspects of human behaviour. This degree is designed for highly motivated students with a keen interest in all aspects of human behaviour and society. It provides rigorous training in a range of methodologies and research skills appropriate to sociology. The course is concerned with developing theories that explain the changing nature of social behaviour in our own and other...
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Why Brunel?

We bring together experts who understand social, economic and political forces with specialists in communication. Our lecturers are research active and their work feeds into their teaching and supervision to offer you an exciting and challenging educational experience.

Research excellence

We are the highest rated research department of our size in the UK and the second highest in London. We have an evidence based approach in Sociology and Media and Communications. Our two research centres in Health and Media Regulation focus on questions and issues that impact upon the public. Communication with and accountability to the public are central to our philosophy and practice.

We have world renowned experts who are sought-after by the media and policy makers. Find out more about their influential research in the 'Research Expertise' section (see above).

Exciting placement opportunities

You have the opportunity to choose to study for three years or opt for a four-year sandwich course (with Professional Development). Our award winning Placement and Careers Centre provide high quality placement opportunities in a wide range of organisations, which will help you to succeed in the job market.

Recent placements have included the following:

  • River Publishing Group
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Film Distributors Association
  • Life Clubs
  • Breakthrough Breast Cancer

A truly interdisciplinary approach

You have the opportunity to study Sociology, Sociology and Media Studies or Communication and Media Studies. Sociology can also be studied as a joint honours programme with other subjects in other departments with the School of Social Sciences:

  • Psychology and Sociology
  • Anthropology and Sociology
  • Politics and Sociology

Learn more about our scholarships, research expertise, study abroad scheme and activities in the above sections.


Brunel’s scholarship package

Brunel has introduced over 1,000 new scholarships for undergraduate students. This means that one in every three students who join Brunel in 2012 will receive financial support from the University.

Work Placement Scholarship

Although our work placement fees are competitive at £1,000, a fee waiver scheme is also available for eligible students.

Academic Excellence Scholarship

This scheme offer a £3,000 fee waiver each year to students who achieve three As at A-level (or equivalent in an alternative qualification).

Brunel Access Scholarships

The scholarships will support students from under-represented groups (such as disabled students, mature students, those with a low household income and those in the first generation of their family to go to university), and encourage continuous improvement as the award value rises after each successful year of study.

These scholarships are complemented by a range of further awards as well as the Government’s flagship National Scholarship Programme, jointly funded by Brunel.

For further details, see Fees and Funding 2012.

Research expertise

Internationally respected scholars

Brunel is home to an internationally respected team of experts. We see our teaching and research as being not only about the UK, but the global world, having links with universities in the USA, Hong Kong, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. We encourage students to develop research projects that might involve being located in these countries.

The latest thinking

You will be taught by specialists focused on the interface between Sociology, Communications and Health and who are at the forefront of current research. Their innovative findings feed into your courses to ensure that teaching is topical and interesting. We see the lecturer/student relationship as a partnership and encourage student feedback through assessment forms and seminars. In addition, our personal tutorial system provides an accessible and enabling environment to discuss issues of study.

Study abroad

International Exchange Scheme with partner institutions

In today’s globalised world, having the cultural experience of living abroad will give you an advantage in the job market. We offer the opportunity to spend one term studying with one of our partner institutions - these can vary from year to year but have included institutions in the US, Denmark and Germany.



Active student societies

You will have the opportunity to become a member of our student societies, including the Sociology and Communications Society which is run independently by students. Each society organises a range of events and activities. 

Exciting associated activities

The Department runs a range of extra activities either for students or to which students are invited. These include field trips, seminar series with external speakers and other events.

Reading List


Introduction to Sociology

This is a core course that navigates the transition from ‘school’ to University Sociology.  There are a number of large, comprehensive and engaging textbooks for First Year Undergraduates of the discipline.  All these books assume no prior knowledge of the subject, and yet take the reader to quite an advanced level.  Our course allows students to choose from one of three established textbooks (the relevant parts of each are referenced in your handbook for this module). This is a good example of the way in which University encourages you to be a critical and independent reader.  Which book will you buy and why?  The texts are: Fulcher, J. & Scott, J. (2011) Sociology, Fourth Edition, Oxford University Press: Oxford; Giddens, A. (2009) Sociology, Sixth Edition, Polity: Cambridge; Macionis, J.J. & Plummer, K. (2011) Sociology: A Global Introduction, Fifth Edition, Prentice-Hall: New Jersey.

Introduction to Social & Cultural Research

The biggest difference between School and University is that at University you are taught by academics who are pushing back the boundaries of the subject.  New topics are taken up, old topics are examined in radical new ways, and the conventions of the field are subject to on-going critique.  This contested nature of ‘knowledge in the making’ is what makes being at University so stimulating (for staff and students!)  To create new knowledge we need a firm grounding in the main approaches to social and cultural research.  Again, I want to emphasise that even though many of you will have some knowledge of social research, both this course and the related second year module on Research in Practice are taught at a much higher level.  Having a sound grasp of research methods matters, as one of the highlights of being a student is planning and executing your own research project in your final year (Dissertation).  The set book is by the Professor who teaches this module: Seale, C. (2011) Researching Society & Culture, Third Edition, Sage: London.


We are constantly told we live in a global world – and our jobs depend on this.  Higher Education is now made up of Global Universities, and the campus at Brunel can be seen as a Global Village where students and staff from most countries in the world mix together.  Is the nation state less important now than the global corporation?  How are we affected by globalisation in our daily lives?  How are the local and global related?  Can the forces of globalisation be resisted, and if so how? How do sociologists research globalisation?  These are just some of the issues that you will engage with in this module.  The literature is vast, and the best way into the main debates is the set text: Cohen, R. & Kennedy, P. (2007) Global Sociology, Second Edition, Palgrave: London. 

Introduction to Social Enquiry

This module aims to do two things: first, to equip students with the skills needed to study independently at degree level.  So - how do you find the key literature on a topic when there are hundreds if not thousands of academic journal papers and books? How do you sort through this great pile of material you have gathered? How do you write balanced, critical and compelling essays? The second part takes you to the various research frontiers being explored by eleven members of staff in our Department. Why do they find these topics exciting?  What sparked their interest in the questions they ask? Why do they study some topics and not others?  What are the new issues in their research field? What can we learn from neighbouring – or perhaps seemingly remote – disciplines and areas? The aim here is to get you thinking about what topics and approaches you may want to choose for your Dissertation. Although this is done in your final year, it is a double weighted module and by far the longest piece of writing you will do as an undergraduate, so having early insights into what makes research exciting and rigorous matters.  Two very useful books here are: Redman, P. & Maples, W. (2011) Good Essay Writing: A Social Sciences Guide, Fourth Edition, Sage: London; and Crow, G. (2005) The Art of Sociological Argument, Palgrave: London (this is a superb, short overview of key sociological thinkers).

Media, Culture & Society

If the twentieth century was the Age of Media, then our current century seems to be the Age of New Social Media.  What do we mean by these grand labels?  Are we really living in a different world?  What are the factors driving these changes in the Media?  Where does power lay in these new Media landscapes and to what degree are we free to choose the sorts of lives that we now live?  How have notions of Culture and Society shifted in the last 50 years or so?  What are the dominant conceptual approaches to social and cultural research on Society & Culture?  How are Cultural Sociology, Media Studies and Cultural Studies similar and different? The key text is: Hodkinson, P. (2010) Media, Culture & Society: An Introduction, Sage: London.  Students will also find another recent book valuable: Jones, P. & Holmes, D. (2011) Key Concepts in Media & Communications, Sage: London.  In addition, a classic critique of the mass media in American society is worth looking at: Chomsky, N. & Herman, E.S. (1995) Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, Vintage: New York.  We also recommend two thought-provoking films / DVDs that critically examine the nature of the media and the corporation: Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992), and The Corporation (2006) – also see: www.thecorporation.com/

Individual & Social Processes

This module brings together first year students from across the three Departments of Anthropology, Psychology and Sociology & Communications.  How do these related but distinct disciplines study the social world?  How similar or different are the ways in which anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists and Media Studies academics approach topics like genetic testing?  Which is the key ‘unit of analysis’: individual behaviour, social groups, or cultural norms?  Given the unusual and wide-ranging nature of this module there is no ‘set text’.  However, it is valuable to get a grasp of how the different social sciences potentially fit together.  One short book that does this very well is designed for students who are new to the Social Sciences at the Open University:  Woodward, K. (2009) Social Sciences: The Big Issues, Second Edition, Routledge: London.  A second book, edited by Backhouse, R.E & Fontaine, P. (2011) The History of the Social Sciences Since 1945, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, covers the six classic disciplines of Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Politics, Psychology and Sociology, and I recommend all students read the relevant parts.  As an Undergraduate, it’s good to have an overview of where, how and why academics – including the ones who teach you – are embedded (and sometimes trapped!) in a particular approach to the social world.


What if I want to read a short book in preparation?

Finally, it’s often not much fun reading a large textbook.  So, if you want to read a whole book or two before you arrive, we strongly recommend two extremely useful, readable, and inspiring books.  The first is an excellent short paperback by Ken Plummer (2011) Sociology: The Basics, Routledge: London.  The second is a fluently written, clear and balanced overview by Paul Hodkinson (2010) Media, Culture & Society: An Introduction, Sage: London. Both will prove invaluable throughout your degree, so buy and read these books. 


Happy reading!

Page last updated: Wednesday 19 December 2012