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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

  • Heritage Presenter
  • Iwi Development Officer
  • Media or Social Commentator
  • Social Analyst
  • Social Researcher
  • Youth or Social Service Worker

Study in Tauranga

In Tauranga you can major in Sociology within these degrees:

100 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
ECONS102Economics and Society15.021A (Hamilton)
This paper introduces selected economic models, with a focus on developing and applying critical thinking skills to a range of business and social issues and to economic policies.
GNSEX101Gender and Sexuality: Representations and Realities15.021B (Hamilton)
This paper considers issues related to gender, sexuality, and the body including health issues, media representations, gender based violence, and forms of resistance.
HMDEV100Lifespan Development15.021A (Hamilton), 21B (Online) & 21B (Tauranga)
HMDEV100 focuses on understanding and enhancing human development through an exploration of biological, psychological, social and cultural factors that influence patterns of development and learning over the lifespan.
MAORI150Te Tiriti o Waitangi: An Introduction to the Treaty of Waitangi15.021A (Hamilton), 21A (Tauranga) & 21B (Hamilton)
This paper seeks to provide a sound understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. It reviews historical and contemporary interpretations and takes into account the interplay of contextual issues of the time.
PACIS100Introduction to Pacific Histories, Languages and Cultures15.021A (Hamilton)
This paper introduces students to foundational elements of Pacific Studies, including various histories, languages and cultures and their importance to contemporary societies, surveying a number of Pacific Nations.
SOCIO101Introduction to Sociology15.021B (Hamilton) & 21B (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 Justice15.021A (Hamilton) & 21A (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 Policy15.021A (Hamilton) & 21A (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.
SOCPY101Social Policy & the Welfare State15.0No occurrences
This paper covers the rise of the welfare state as the primary means of social policy delivery in New Zealand.

200 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
ANTHY201Patriots, Racists, and Foreigners: Ethnicity and Identity in Global Perspective15.021A (Hamilton)
This paper focuses on ethnicity and related categories of division such as "race" and nation. It explores how these concepts link to identity in different cultures and societies.
CMYHE202Understanding Healthy Bodies: Sociocultural Perspectives15.021A (Hamilton) & 21A (Tauranga)
This paper develops a sociocultural understanding of healthy bodies.
ECONS200Understanding the Global Economy15.021A (Hamilton) & 21X (Zhejiang University City College, Hangzhou China)
This paper focuses on developing understanding of contemporary global issues, including economic well-being, sustainable growth, emerging economies, world trade and globalisation.
MAORI250Māori Politics15.021B (Online) & 21B (Tauranga)
This paper examines Maori and Indigenous politics in a broad sense, from key ideas such as sovereignty, tino rangatiratanga, and autonomy, through to crucial forms of resistance via various political structures including local, Iwi, national and global Indigenous movements.
PACIS200Pacific Migration, Diaspora and Identity15.021B (Hamilton)
This paper looks at the various socio-historic influences on migration in the Pacific and the relationship between Indigenous cultures of origin and diasporic cultures and identities formed in countries such as Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia and the US.
POPST201Population Studies15.021A (Hamilton) & 21A (Online)
This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the multidisciplinary field of Population Studies. Students will develop a sound understanding of the demographic drivers of population change and composition, while exploring some of the rich theories and methodological approaches which comprise Population Studies.
SOCIO200Modern Sociology and Western Capitalism: A Cosmopolitan Perspective15.021A (Hamilton) & 21A (Online)
This paper examines the ascendancy of modern sociology, from the classic works of Karl Max, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber to contemporary themes such as cosmopolitanism, globalisation and individualisation.
SOCIO20121st Century Activism and Radical Thought15.0No occurrences
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 Culture15.021B (Hamilton) & 21B (Tauranga)
This paper offers a sociological perspective on historical and contemporary forms of popular culture.
SOCIO204Punishment, Society and Social Justice15.0No occurrences
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.
SOCPY200Social Policy and Social Issues15.021A (Hamilton) & 21A (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.
SSRES200Social Science Research Methods15.021A (Online)
This paper introduces the core research methods used in the social sciences. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are introduced, along with consideration of aspects such as ethics and the Treaty of Waitangi.

300 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
GNSEX303Intersectionalities: Identities and Inequalities15.021A (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...
MAORI303Critical Indigenous Theory15.021B (Online)
This paper looks at the key theoretical influences, from Marxism to post-structuralism, upon critical Indigenous studies and the most significant writings by those Indigenous scholars who have chosen to engage with critical theory.
POPST302Exploring Population Change15.021B (Hamilton) & 21B (Online)
This paper applies methods for measuring population size, composition and change, which are used extensively for understanding population issues in public policy, human resource planning, forecasting and business planning.
SDCOA303Sport, Media and Communication15.021B (Hamilton) & 21B (Online)
This paper expands students' critical sociocultural understanding of the media. Students will develop knowledge of the production and consumption of various forms of media (including social media), and have the opportunity to develop skills in critical media analysis and production.
SOCIO302Globalisation and International Development15.021B (Hamilton)
This paper examines the impact of globalisation on both developed and developing countries. Special focus is placed on the labour-capital relation. Applied methods of comparative analysis are also introduced.
SOCIO303Technologies, Algorithms and Social Life15.021A (Online)
The purpose of the paper is to develop a sociological analysis of the causes and impacts of new technologies, including the Internet of Things, as well as the increasing role of algorithms and other non-human actors in decision-making. The paper will address a range of issues including the blurring of virtual and real words, the ro...
SOCIO304Sociology of the Body15.0No occurrences
A sociological investigation of bodies, as they are experienced and represented, examining the embodied relationship between structure and agency.
SOCIO311Current Issues in Crime Control and Social Justice15.021G (Online)
This paper examines sociological explanations for criminal behaviour and examines issues within criminal justice.
SOCIO390Directed Study15.021A (Hamilton), 21B (Hamilton), 21D (Hamilton), 21G (Hamilton) & 21H (Hamilton)
This paper provides students with a flexible opportunity to investigate a specific topic from a sociology perspective.
SOCPY300Social Policy15.021B (Hamilton) & 21B (Tauranga)
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 Policy15.021A (Hamilton) & 21A (Tauranga)
This paper provides a critical introduction to key issues in the formation of health policy at both a national and international level.
SOCPY303Critical Feminism and the Prison State15.0No occurrences
This paper employs anti-carceral feminist theories and frameworks to explore the phenomenon of mass female imprisonment across nation states, with a particular focus on Indigenous and Black Imprisoned Radical Tradition.

500 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
EDUCA557Research Methods30.021A (Online), 21B (Online) & 21H (Block)
This paper introduces students to the major educational research paradigms, methodologies appropriate to collecting data in schools (including interviews, observations, surveys, case studies), action research, literature reviews, critiquing research, and report writing. It includes consideration of ethical issues in research.
MAORI570Te Mahi Rangahau: Māori, Pacific and Indigenous Research Methods and Issues30.021A (Online)
This paper introduces students to a range of research issues, helps students identify and apply the most effective methodology, understand, review and apply various research methods including kaupapa Maori and indigenous epistemologies.
POPST509Research Methods for Population Analysis15.021B (Hamilton) & 21B (Online)
This paper provides students with hands-on experience conducting population research, working with real world data to analyse to investigate population issues. Students will gain a sound understanding of how to access, analyse and interpret data and how to communicate their findings, skills directly applicable to a range of policy,...
SOCIO500Comparative Indigenous Criminology30.021A (Hamilton)
This paper focuses on a critical comparison of indigenous people's experiences of crime control policies and interventions in settler-colonial jurisdictions.
SOCIO504Marx, Marxism, and Beyond: Contesting Perspectives30.021B (Hamilton)
Marx's theory of capitalist society is examined with reference to the contested history of twentieth century Marxism and the related development of neo-Marxist and post-Marxist perspecitves.
SOCIO589Directed Study15.021A (Hamilton), 21B (Hamilton) & 21H (Hamilton)
Students have the opportunity to pursue a topic of their own interest under the guidance of academic staff. Open to selected students who meet the criteria set out in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Graduate Handbook.
SOCIO590Directed Study30.021A (Hamilton), 21B (Hamilton), 21D (Hamilton) & 21H (Hamilton)
Students have the opportunity to pursue a topic of their own interest under the guidance of academic staff. Open to selected students who meet the criteria set out in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Graduate Handbook.
SOCIO591Dissertation30.021X (Hamilton)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
SOCIO592Dissertation60.021X (Hamilton)
A report on the findings of a theoretical or empirical investigation.
SOCIO593Sociology Thesis90.021X (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
SOCIO594Sociology Thesis120.021X (Hamilton)
An externally examined piece of written work that reports on the findings of supervised research.
SOCPY501Critical Issues in Crime and Social Justice30.0No occurrences
The paper focuses on contemporary, critical issues related to New Zealand's criminal justice system, and the wider context of social justice.
SOCPY507Gender and Development30.021A (Hamilton)
This graduate paper explores fundamental constructs of feminism within the context of development schemes and policies.

800 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
SOCY800Sociology MPhil Thesis120.021X (Hamilton)
No description available.

900 Level

Code Paper Title Points Occurrence / Location
SOCY900Sociology PhD Thesis120.021I (Hamilton), 21I (Tauranga), 21X (Hamilton) & 21X (Tauranga)
No description available.

Scholarships and prizes

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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 and Undergraduate Email Enquiries: [email protected]
Graduate and Postgraduate Email Enquiries: [email protected]