BA Sociology and Portuguese / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

Sociology and languages are inherently tied. 

No study of society can ignore language, and no study of language can be removed from its specific social context. 

You will be challenged to think about the nature of the social worlds in which we live and about how language and culture build and inform such worlds. 

You will study social life and social change, from the reproduction of inequalities in relation to social categories (such as race, class or gender), to the way that wider cultural contexts shape intimate relationships. 

You will develop advanced language skills and learn about the cultures and histories related to that language. 

In the third year of this four-year course, you will undertake a period of residence abroad, studying or working in a country that speaks your language of study. 

Our aim is to help you develop analytical, investigative and linguistic skills, training you to become independent thinkers and researchers with the confidence to work in both English and another language.


  • Offer a coherent curriculum in sociology that is strongly informed by leading contemporary research.
  • Impart knowledge and understanding in sociological theory and methods allowing them to progress to further study.
  • Develop advanced communicative skills in Portuguese based on a sound understanding of the structures of the language.
  • Build knowledge and understanding of several contemporary or historical aspects of the cultures or societies of the Lusophone world.

Special features

Residence abroad

You can study and/or work for up to a year in a country or countries relevant to your chosen language to improve your communicative language skills in a native-speaker environment.

Collaborations and partnerships

The University has links with language and cultural institutions across the city, including:

  • HOME - international and contemporary art, theatre and film;
  • Portuguese Consulate General in Manchester - the official representation of Portugal in Manchester organises a number of cultural activities every year.


The University is home to over 30 international and language-related student societies offering a breadth of cultural activities and experiences.

You may join the Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies Student Society.

Teaching and learning

You'll learn through a mixture of formal lectures, seminars and tutorials, spending approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions. 

For every hour of university study, you will be expected to complete a further 2-3 hours of independent study.

You will also need to study during the holiday periods. 

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, revising for examinations or working in the University's Language Centre .

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:  

  • written and oral examinations; 
  • presentations; 
  • coursework (which may include library research, linguistic fieldwork and data collection, or web-based research); 
  • in your final year, a dissertation based on a research topic of your choice.  

Assessment methods vary from course unit to course unit - see individual course unit listings for more information.

Course content for year 1

Students take a total of 40-60 credits in Sociology.

You will study our core Sociology unit, SOCY10440 Researching Culture & Society. In addition, you will study optional units (total 20-40 credits), such as:

  • SOCY10441 Media, Culture and Society;
  • SOCY10462 Global Social Challenges.

Students take a compulsory Portuguese language component - either for beginners, or for those with an A-level (or equivalent).

Students also explore the Portuguese-speaking cultures and colonial history of Portugal, Brazil, Mozambique, Angola and Goa.

You will take only the language units relevant to your level of language in each year of study.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Researching Culture and Society SOCY10440 20 Mandatory
Crime and Society CRIM10001 20 Optional
Environment and Society SOCY10202 20 Optional
Inequalities in Contemporary British Society SOCY10402 20 Optional
Contested Foundations of Social Thought SOCY10421 20 Optional
Contemporary Social Thought SOCY10432 20 Optional
Media, Culture & Society SOCY10441 20 Optional
Global Social Challenges SOCY10461 20 Optional
Getting Personal: Intimacy and Connectedness in Everyday Life SOCY10471 20 Optional
Work, Organisations and Society SOCY10912 20 Optional
Introduction to the Cultures of the Lusophone World SPLA10130 20 Optional
Study Project (Portuguese) SPLA10600 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 1 SPLA52010 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 2 SPLA52020 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 3 SPLA52030 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 15 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Students take a total of 40-60 credits in Sociology.

You will study one of the following core Sociology units (total 20 credits):

  • SOCY20091 Qualitative Social Research Design & Methods;
  • SOST20012 The Survey Method in Social Research.

In addition, you will study optional units (total 20-40 credits), such as:

  • SOCY20501 Social Thought from the Global South;
  • SOCY20012 Sociology of Popular Music;
  • SOCY20962 Racism and Ethnicity in the UK;
  • SOCY20232 Sustainability, Consumption and Global Responsibilities.

You follow a compulsory Portuguese language course unit, building on your skills in the written and spoken language.

You take options in the cultures and literatures of Portugal and Brazil including Brazilian literature and the impact of empire and decolonisation in Portuguese and Luso-African cultures.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Work, Economy and Society SOCY20032 20 Optional
Education and Society SOCY20051 20 Optional
Qualitative Research Design & Methods SOCY20091 20 Optional
Sustainability, Consumption & Global Responsibilities SOCY20231 20 Optional
Decolonising Sociology SOCY20302 20 Optional
Politics, Power and Everyday Life SOCY20311 20 Optional
Youth, Politics & Activism in Contemporary Europe SOCY20412 20 Optional
Family, Relationships and Everyday Life SOCY20701 20 Optional
Gender, Sexuality and Culture SOCY20892 20 Optional
Racism and Ethnicity in the UK SOCY20961 20 Optional
The Survey Method in Social Research SOST20012 20 Optional
Empire and its Aftermath: The Making of Modern Portugal in Literature, Art and Film SPLA20142 20 Optional
Brazilian Literature SPLA20831 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 3 SPLA52030 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 5 SPLA52050 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 15 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In the third year, all students will complete a year studying abroad in a Portuguese-speaking country.

Course content for year 4

Students take a total of 40-60 credits in Sociology from course units such as:

  • SOCY30920 Dissertation A (20 credits) or SOCY30930 Dissertation B (40 credits);
  • SOCY30061 Urban Sociology;
  • SOCY30091 Changing Social Attitudes;
  • SOCY30141 Body and Society;
  • SOCY30181 Sociology of Cultural Participation and Cultural Policy;
  • SOCY30191 Material Culture: The Social Life of Things;
  • SOCY30241 A Sense of Inequality;
  • SOCY30042 The Sociology of Human-Animal Relations.

You take a compulsory language component reflecting the Portuguese you were exposed to in Year 3.

You take options on the Amazon (travel writing, literature, film, current affairs) and Portuguese cinema and/or a free choice option in another subject.

Or you can choose to research and write a 12,000-word dissertation with one-to-one supervision from an academic member of staff. (You can only write one dissertation, so if you decide to write one you will need to choose whether to do it in Portuguese or in Sociology).

Course units for year 4

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Dissertation in Modern Languages and Cultures LALC30000 40 Optional
Sociology of Human Animal Relations SOCY30042 20 Optional
Secrecy and Secret Societies SOCY30151 20 Optional
Power and Protest SOCY30461 20 Optional
Social Thought from the Global South SOCY30501 20 Optional
Visualising Society & Social Life: Photography in focus SOCY30522 20 Optional
Dissertation (20 credits) SOCY30920 20 Optional
Dissertation B (40 credits) SOCY30930 40 Optional
Dissertation in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies SPLA30000 40 Optional
Social Issues in Portuguese and Spanish Film SPLA30642 20 Optional
Reading the Rain Forest: Visions of the Amazon SPLA30801 20 Optional
Portuguese Language 5 SPLA52050 20 Optional
Portuguese Language Project SPLA52060 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 13 course units for year 4


The University Language Centre is home to language resources, including a new interpreting suite, purpose-built recording rooms, and resources for more than 70 languages.  

The Centre also offers multilingual word processing, language learning software, off-air recording and AV duplication, multilingual terrestrial and satellite TV, and extensive support and advice for learners.  

Learn more at facilities

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: