What’s it like studying Sociology?

Eleanor Meese

Why Sociology?

I became interested in sociology when I was studying it as one of my A-levels. It fascinated me because I was learning about why the society I lived in was constantly changing and what influences and causes people’s behaviour. What I love about sociology is its broad nature because you learn about many different topics– from social theories like Marxism, how to research societal issues for yourself and then also learning about the many inequalities prevalent in our everyday lives.

Why Durham?

When deciding where to study sociology, I wanted to study somewhere which specialised in the subject areas I was particularly interested in. For me, this subject area was education and inequality and I knew that at Durham this was one of the research fields that the department focussed on and specialised in. Another great thing about Durham is that you can also study optional modules from other departments. This year I have been able to study a history module alongside my sociology modules which I have really enjoyed because I studied it at A-level and can now maintain my interest in it.

At first, when picking a university I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I made a list of what I was looking for in a university and Durham ticked all the boxes! For me, I couldn’t decide if I wanted a campus or city university but I think Durham sort of provides both. As a place, Durham is relatively small and you can walk to most places within 20 minutes, but the fact it is a city means you can access shops and restaurants etc. easily. Durham is also beautiful and I love going on walks along the river with my friends or visiting the many coffee shops that are on offer.

Durham’s college system is also great because you are immediately part of a community that gives you a strong sense of identity from the beginning. Each college has different characteristics but they all provide a home for you throughout your studies. There are many opportunities to get involved with college life. I have really enjoyed participating in college sports that are new to me because they all take place in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Each college also has a student-run welfare team which you can go to if you want to talk about your own personal wellbeing.

The department

I have found the sociology department in Durham to be really welcoming, and a warm environment to be part of. All the lecturers and seminar leaders are kind and they are always happy to help you with your assignments. Their relaxed nature means that they are very approachable and willing to help you.

As a department, they have many things in place which help to provide support to students with their studies. Each year group has a designated member of staff as a tutor who you can get academic advice from throughout your undergraduate degree. At the beginning of the first year, every student is placed into a peer mentor group where you get put with other first year students and a mentor in a higher year. These groups are a good opportunity to ask questions to more experienced sociology students and get helpful advice from someone who has been in your shoes.

Discover more

Our Department of Sociology is ranked 1st in the UK for Criminology and in the top 10 for Sociology in The Guardian University Guide 2022. 

In our rapidly changing global environment, there has never been a more important time to look at the world through a social lens and engage in theoretically-driven learning that makes a difference. 

Feeling inspired? Visit our Sociology webpages to learn more about studying with us. 

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Eleanor Meese


Hi, my name is Eleanor. I am a first year undergraduate student in St John’s College studying sociology. Aside from my studies, I play violin in the university’s non-auditioned Hill Orchestra, I am part of the Christian Union and I participate in squash and netball at college level.


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