Sociology, Social Policy and Social Theory

Investigate the complexity and breadth of living in today's societies. Challenge your understanding and assumptions about what it means to live with others.


Sociology investigates the complexity and breadth of our lives in today's societies. Through challenging common sense understandings it helps us explain how society shapes the opportunities and experiences open to people and how people in turn shape their society. Worldwide Sociology is one of the most popular fields of university study and many sociological concepts, such as 'self-fulfilling prophecy', 'collective conscious', 'charisma', and 'moral panic', are now part of everyday language. Rankings show we are among the world’s best universities for studying sociology, equal first in the most recent Excellence in Research for Australia ratings and 19th in the world in the 2019 QS World University Subject Rankings.

Information for prospective Sociology major students

Australia has a much greater global perspective… you live in a global world, and that reflects on the teaching here. Assoc. Professor Jens Zinn, Ashworth Associate Professor in Sociology

Key teaching and research areas

Key teaching and research areas include:

  • Social change, risk and uncertainty
  • Life course, generations, youth, biographies
  • Families, intimate relationships
  • Work and occupation
  • Research methods (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods)
  • Sociological theories - classic and modern
  • Social problems
  • Social inequalities, social inclusion, poverty

Social Theory

Social Theory is an interdisciplinary field of critical inquiry from which social worlds can be explored and reflected upon from different theoretical traditions. The minor in Social Theory interrogates theoretical understandings and crosses bridges between such disciplines as Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Criminology, Gender studies, History, Philosophy, and Cultural studies. Social Theory is therefore an appropriate choice for students with a critical interest in any of the social and human sciences.

Key teaching and research areas

Key teaching and research areas include:

  • Classical social theory
  • Contemporary social theory
  • Critical theories
  • Theories of modernity
  • Psychoanalysis and social theory
  • Social theory and political analysis
  • Feminist theories

Study opportunities


Graduate coursework

Graduate research