Skip to main content

Don't panic: Modules

The Psyc/Soc Student's Guide to Fourth Year by Hope Christie and Karl Johnson

Selection of modules

...build [on what you've learned] to explore ideas you're familiar with in more depth.

This year you have a little more choice on what modules you would like to take. I would advise that you do not base your module choices on what your best friend is picking.  While it is good to have someone to sit next to in a lecture, or someone you know to ask “are you getting this?” you would be wise to pick the modules that you have the most interest in. If that happens to be the exact same as your friend then bonus!  If not, I would go with what is best for you in terms of passing and getting a good grade; not what is best for you in terms of who you get to sit next to in a lecture. 

Try as best you can to strike a good balance between subjects that you are interested in, subjects that you know are your strong suit and the assessment type. For example, if you came close to failing developmental psychology in third year then it would be advisable not to take the Neurodevelopmental disorders module in fourth year. If you panic in exams and don’t perform your best, then perhaps you should consider avoiding modules that the final assessment is an exam. Obviously these are just examples, you cannot avoid exams completely in fourth year, but you do have the opportunity to limit how many you have to sit. It is worth thinking about.
The sociology department is not massive and all-encompassing, instead it leans towards particular academic interests (as you will have noticed by now), as many other universities have to. Look at the fourth year sociology modules; things like Sociology of Scotland, Queer Theory, and European Social Policy. Can you see an imaginary line to these modules from modules you enjoyed, or were particularly good at, in third year (or to an extent, second year) such as Sociology of Liberation, or Interaction and Social Order?

This imaginary line will help pick out which assessments you can bear to complete in fourth year, and therefore which modules you might get the most out of. Do not underestimate the importance of actually being able to enjoy the work you're doing in fourth year.

We imagine that there have been times over the last few years when you’ve sat in a lecture and thought “But we’ve already done this one”. While you might’ve come across concepts and theorists more than once during your undergraduate, try to appreciate the fact that there is probably an unlimited amount of things to say about them/ways to use them in research. Just think about how many books, articles and research papers have been, and still are being, written about the likes of Bourdieu, Freud and many others. Make the most of what you’ve already learnt, and build on it to explore areas you’re familiar with in more depth.

Bear in mind that you’re not just being asked to learn and repeat information; you’re going to have to do all the hard work now – analysing and applying, calculating and criticising.