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Sociology at Waikato moves you beyond assumptions and explores who we are and our place in the world. You'll study human relationships and how societies form. Sociology at Waikato is highly respected and is a top 300 QS-rated subject.

You'll explore how people organise and form groups, form larger social structures, and how societies evolve over time. As a budding sociologist, you'll be challenged to assume little in the hopes of clearing the way for new conclusions.

You'll ask questions like how different groups view social reality and why certain views become accepted within groups over time. You'll dissect the interwoven nature and influence of parents, peers, elders, teachers and the media on society. We'll also challenge you to consider why some societies are war-torn while others remain peaceful – why some behaviour is acceptable while others are less desirable. You'll look for solutions and debate how societies change.

Sociology at Waikato takes a thematic approach and includes papers in criminology, the family, popular culture and theoretical perspectives.  As part of a degree in Sociology papers in social policy, women and gender studies and labour studies can be included.

Teaching staff provide plenty of mentoring and direction along the way and allow students opportunities to throw out ideas in a relaxed and informal learning environment. Studying Sociology at Waikato will open your eyes to the inner workings of society and how people drive them.

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Key information

Study Locations:Hamilton, Tauranga, Online
Papers offered differ by location. The Catalogue of Papers has full location info.
Area of Study:

Career opportunities

  • Community Advocate
  • Community Development advisor
  • Criminal justice worker
  • Criminology researcher
  • Journalist
  • Policy Analyst
  • Research Advisor
  • Teacher
  • Youth worker

Study in Tauranga

In Tauranga you can major in Sociology within these degrees:

100 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
GNSEX101Gender and Sexuality: Representations and Realities15.024B (Hamilton) & 24B (Tauranga)
This paper considers issues related to gender, sexuality, and the body including health issues, media representations, gender based violence, and forms of resistance.
SOCIO101Introduction to Sociology15.024B (Hamilton) & 24B (Tauranga)
This paper prepares students for further study in a range of social science subjects. It introduces the main sociological theories, concepts and practices that enable an understanding of contemporary societies.
SOCIO102The Sociology of Crime, Deviance and Social Justice15.024A (Hamilton) & 24A (Tauranga)
This paper provides students with an introduction to criminology and the criminal justice system, with a focus on the New Zealand context.
SOCPY100Introduction to Social Policy15.024A (Hamilton) & 24A (Tauranga)
This paper examines the values behind social policy and introduces students to some of the important issues and debates in New Zealand and other democratic societies.

200 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
SOCIO20121st Century Activism and Radical Thought15.024B (Hamilton)
This paper will offer insight into the historical legacies of systemic racism, sexism and class oppression by taking an in-depth look at key issues raised in 20th century social movements in New Zealand and the United States and mapping those issues into the 21st century.
SOCIO203Popular Culture15.024B (Hamilton) & 24B (Tauranga)
This paper offers a sociological perspective on historical and contemporary forms of popular culture.
SOCIO204Punishment, Society and Social Justice15.024B (Hamilton)
This subject will provide students with a critical understanding of the theoretical, political and policy issues associated with societies' response to crime and social harm.
SOCIO206Environmental Sociology: From Denial to Actions15.024A (Online)
The environment and climate are as much about human activity, economic and political choices as scientific information. Thinking sociologically, not just as individuals is the key to change.
SOCPY200Social Policy and Social Issues15.024A (Online) & 24A (Tauranga)
The paper continues the study of social policy at 200 level. The focus of this paper is on the welfare state, the policy cycle as well as social problems, such as poverty.

300 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
ALPSS390Directed Study15.024X (Hamilton)
This paper allows students from the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology, and Social Sciences to undertake research on a specific topic related to their major or minor under the guidance of academic staff.
GNSEX303Intersectionalities: Identities and Inequalities15.024B (Hamilton)
This paper provides a comprehensive review of the historical context for understanding contemporary issues of race, gender, sexuality, and social class. It investigates micro and macro level experiences and the social construction of identities. In doing so, this paper looks at how power is distributed in society, the theories that...
SOCIO303Big Tech, Big Data, Algorithms and Society15.024A (Online)
Thinking sociologically about digital technologies: algorithms in social life, surveillance, disinformation, the gig economy and precarity. What does it mean to do sociology in the age of big tech?
SOCIO304Sociology of the Body15.024B (Hamilton) & 24B (Tauranga)
A sociological investigation of bodies, as they are experienced and represented, examining the embodied relationship between structure and agency.
SOCIO305Human Enhancement Technologies and Social Life15.024A (Online)
This paper analyses the causes and impacts of technologies of human enhancement on individuals and societies. The paper addresses issues such as smart drugs, gene edits and cybernetics.
SOCIO308Gender and Violence15.0No occurrences
This paper provides critical understanding of the complex dynamics of gendered violence in Aotearoa. Students will address societal challenges regarding the causes and effects of gendered violence across the life span.
SOCIO311Current Issues in Crime Control and Social Justice15.024G (Online)
This paper examines sociological explanations for criminal behaviour and examines issues within criminal justice.
SOCPY300Applied Social Policy15.024B (Online)
This paper provides students with experience of the ways in which policy is formulated and enacted. Theoretical perspectives are consolidated and extended to enhance opportunities for employment in the social policy field.
SOCPY301Health, Wellbeing and Policy15.024A (Hamilton), 24A (Online) & 24A (Tauranga)
This paper provides a critical introduction to key issues in the formation of health policy at both a national and international level.

500 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
ALPSS500Academic & Professional Research & Writing30.024A (Online), 24B (Online) & 24C (Online)
In this course, students will gain the skills and confidence to seamlessly transition from study to work. This course works to enhance the 'skills for the future' identified by the World Economic Forum (2020), in order to produce resilient, creative students with strong analytic and critical thinking skills.
ALPSS590Directed Study30.024X (Hamilton)
This paper allows students from the Division of Arts, Law, Psychology and Social Sciences to undertake research on a specific topic related to their major under the guidance of academic staff.
ALPSS591Research Project30.024X (Hamilton) & 24X (Tauranga)
A research report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical or practice-led investigation (up to 12,500 words maximum).
ALPSS592Dissertation60.024X (Hamilton) & 24X (Tauranga)
A research report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical or practice-led investigation (up to 25,000 words maximum).
SOCIO507The Regulation of Sexuality30.024A (Online)
This paper examines how sexuality is regulated in contemporary Western societies through social norms, discourses, laws, policies, and rules that privilege certain notions about sexuality, while others are marginalised.
SOCIO508Advanced Studies in Gender and Violence30.0No occurrences
This advanced paper offers a critical exploration of the complex nature of gendered violence in Aotearoa. Students will address societal challenges regarding the causes and effects of gendered violence.
SOCIO593Sociology Thesis90.024X (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.

800 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
SOCIO800Sociology MPhil Thesis120.024X (Hamilton)
No description available.

900 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
SOCIO900Sociology PhD Thesis120.024I (Hamilton), 24J (Hamilton), 24K (Hamilton), 24X (Hamilton) & 24X (Tauranga)
No description available.

Scholarships and prizes

New to Waikato? The International Excellence Scholarship is worth up to $10,000.

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Subject links

Sociology and Social Policy Program


School of Social Sciences
Phone: 0800 800 145 or +64 7 838 4138
General Enquiries: [email protected]