Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2022-2023 (archived)

Module SOCI1331: Classical Sociological Theory

Department: Sociology

SOCI1331: Classical Sociological Theory

Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2022/23 Module Cap Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide an introduction to key sociological concepts and ideas.
  • The module will provide students with the opportunity to develop their conceptual skills.


  • This module provides an introduction to sociological concepts and theorising.
  • The course will be taught through using both individual thinkers and particular topics to illustrate changing understandings of the relationship between structure and agency in sociological thinking both across time and in relation to current debates.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will have:
  • A broad knowledge of a range of theoretical positions and an ability to apply them to social issues.
  • An understanding of the use of concepts in sociology and their wider application.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of this module students will be able to:
  • Evaluate basic empirical evidence.
  • Assess competing theories and explanations.
  • Gather and analyse information.
  • Interpret texts and follow a theoretical argument.
  • Demonstrate basic skills in synthesising sociological arguments.
  • Demonstrate an ability to reflect on their accumulated knowledge.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of this module students will have demonstrated:
  • Basic written communication skills.
  • Basic bibliographic skills.
  • Basic learning and study skills.
  • An ability to manage time effectively.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • During periods of online teaching, for asynchronous lectures in particular, planned lecture hours may include activities that would normally have taken place within the lecture itself had it been taught face-to-face in a lecture room, and/or those necessary to adapt the teaching and learning materials effectively to online learning.
  • Theoretical positions, concepts and the building blocks of sociological argument will be presented in lectures.
  • The relationship between sociological theory and wider social issues will be presented in lectures and explored further in seminars.
  • Students will be expected to interpret texts and summarise theoretical arguments in seminar presentations and formative and summative coursework.
  • Two summative essays: provides the opportunity for students to display their critical and analytical abilities by applying the knowledge they have gained to a specific theme, or themes, considered during the module, and to draw what they have learned in ways that demonstrate the acquisition not only of the discipline specific skills outlined in the Benchmark statement but many of the cognitive skills as well.
  • Students will be expected to undertake bibliographic searches.
  • Information will be provided through Blackboard Learn Ultra and students will be expected to take part in discussion groups.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 1 Per Week 1 Hour 20
Seminars 10 Fortnightly 1 Hour 10
Preparation and Reading 170
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assessed Essay 1 1500 words 100%
Component: Essay Component Weighting: 50%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Assessed Essay 2 1500 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

One compulsory essay of 1000-1500 words (maximum).

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University