ASOA22102U Education and social inequality

Volume 2024/2025

Please note: If you prior have signed up for the course:

* ASOB16208U Sociology of Education

You cannot follow this course as they are overlapping in topics.


This course is also offered to full-degree students enrolled at the Faculty of Social Science, UCPH 

  • Master Programme in Social Data Science
  • Bachelor and Master Programmes in Psychology
  • Master Programmes in Anthropology 
  • Master programme in Global Development
  • Master Programmes in Economics

The course is also offered to

  • Merit students
  • Exchange students


Specialisation line/course package:

Welfare, inequality, and mobility


The purpose of the course is to familiarise students with newer sociological research in the area of education with a focus on social inequalities in education and the organisation of the education system. The course is structured in two parts. In the first part, we consider the theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence around how social background, ethnicity, and gender shape educational outcomes. In the second part, we read empirical research articles on the importance of how the education system is designed and organised. Key substantive topics, which mirror contemporary concerns found in education systems, include: school choice policy and strategies, educational decision-making at different points of the education trajectory and factors shaping this, and the role of teachers, peers and other classroom dynamics. We consider both the qualitative and quantitative research traditions and how they inform educational policies.

Learning Outcome

At the end of the course, the students will be able to identify:

  • How different education systems are organised and how changing priorities within education affect these structures;
  • What different theoretical and conceptual resources sociologists who study education draw on;
  • How qualitative and quantitative methods can be used to address different research questions in the field of education.


At the end of the course, the students will be able to:

  • Review and apply different theory and empirical studies to different contemporary educational problems and questions.


At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate the social mobility potentiality of the education system;
  • Critically evaluate educational policies based on empirical research findings;
  • Articulate why a sociological lens can offer critical insights into processes, outcomes and the potentiality of education.
Have attended some research methods and sociology courses
Key readings will be journal articles, books chapters, and short policy texts - made available on Absalon.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Total
  • 42
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Students will comment on each other’s informal inputs during lectures.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Type of assessment details
The students are required to formulate their own exam questions based on pre-defined guidelines provided by the teacher. Students will receive the exam guidelines for formulating exam questions during the ongoing semester. The teacher is required to provide at least two exemplary exam questions that adhere to the guidelines.

The exam can be written individually or in groups of max. 4 students.
Length of the exam is 10 pages + 5 pages pr. extra group member.
All aids allowed

Policy on the Use of Generative AI Software and Large Language Models in Exams

The Department of Sociology prohibits the use of generative AI software and large language models (AI/LLMs), such as ChatGPT, for generating novel and creative content in written exams. However, students may use AI/LLMs to enhance the presentation of their own original work, such as text editing, argument validation, or improving statistical programming code. Students must disclose if and how AI/LLMs have been used in an appendix, which will not count toward the page limit of the exam. This policy is in place to ensure that students’ written exams accurately reflect their own knowledge and understanding of the material.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Students have to write a new essay using the guidelines provided by the teacher.


This is an elective course. We can only guarantee that the exam can be taken during the 3 immediate exam periods after the course has ended.

Criteria for exam assesment

See learning outcome