Sociology is a diverse and wide-ranging field that involves the study of individual and group behavior in relation to groups, governments and other organizations (http://www.soc.cornell.edu/undergrad/why_major.html). Work in the field of sociology involves a combination of psychology, statistics and research skills. Students who pursue a career in sociology need to have strong communication and interpersonal skills along with the ability to understand complex, abstract concepts and translate raw data into meaningful information.
How to Become a Sociologist
Students applying to sociology undergraduate degree programs generally need to meet the arts admission requirements of their chosen school prior to declaring a sociology major. Once accepted, students can select from options including study abroad semesters, research opportunities and co-op placements (http://www.soc.cornell.edu/undergrad/additional_info.html).
Sociology Degree Curriculum
Most sociology students begin their studies with an undergraduate degree majoring in either general sociology or a related concentration such as American and international studies, economics, law or gender issues (http://sociology.ucsd.edu/undergraduates/major-minor.shtml). A sociology degree generally begins with introductory courses focused on research methodologies, statistics and sociological theory, followed by upper-level coursework which allows students to focus their interests in a particular area of concentration (http://www.soc.cornell.edu/undergrad/program_structure.html#requirements).
Sociology Degrees and Certificates
General and concentrated sociology degree holders may qualify for positions within social service and government agencies such as case managers and counselors. Depending on their area of specialization, this degree may also allow candidates to secure positions in banking, marketing and other research-based roles. Many students also choose to pursue an undergraduate degree in sociology to gain acceptance into graduate programs in law, medicine and education (http://www.soc.cornell.edu/undergrad/why_major.html#gradschool).
Most liberal arts colleges also offer undergraduate degree candidates the opportunity to declare a minor in sociology in conjunction with major such as political science (http://www.stanford.edu/dept/soc/undergraduate/minor.html).
It is important to note that according to the American Sociological Association, there is a wide variety of occupations that accept sociology degree holders as suitable candidates. In the January 2008 ASA report, over one-quarter of all sociology degree grads worked in social services, with the remainder finding employment in administration, management, sales, education and other related fields (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193041.htm).
Sociology Degrees and Programs
- B.S. in Sociology
- Bachelor of General Studies
- A.A. in General Studies
- Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
American Sociological Association: http://www.asanet.org/research/BachelorsinSociology.pdf
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193041.htm
Cornell University Department of Sociology: http://www.soc.cornell.edu/undergrad/why_major.html
UC San Diego: http://sociology.ucsd.edu/undergraduates/why.shtml
Stanford University: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/soc/undergraduate/minor.html