A sociology degree program will prepare individuals for a wide range of career options by developing skills in research and analysis while also providing a strong foundational understanding of how social groups develop, behave, and interact. These skills and knowledge can help individuals pursue their ideal profession in fields such as social work, business, education, and criminal justice or advance their education further in a graduate program.
Graduating with a bachelor’s in sociology may take three to four years and completion of several general requirement courses as well as core and elective courses in sociology. Satisfactory scores on multiple choice exams and research papers are often required. Some programs require a student to maintain a portfolio that includes samples of work completed during the program, which is reviewed by faculty.
Typical Courses in a Sociology Curriculum
Sociology examines societal issues, phenomena, and problems from a high level and also narrows in on specific areas of society while integrating findings from other disciplines including economics, psychology, and history. Sociology courses offer a wide variety of inherently interesting topics to learn about that relate to social groups and students can choose the areas of sociology that most interest them.
Some common classes that can be found in a sociology program include:
- Introduction to Sociology
- Introduction to Social Research
- Social Psychology
- Sociology of Race & Ethnicity
- Sociology of Religion
- Sociology of Work
- Technology in Society
- Sociology of Globalization
Online sociology programs can be good options for individuals who want to continue to work a full-time schedule or prefer to not commute to a physical classroom. Advances in online education have increased the interactivity and engagement of online students through tools like virtual classrooms and live-streaming lectures with video teleconferencing. Some schools also provide online platforms that allow students to collaborate and engage in discussions with fellow students and professors through social technologies. It is important to conduct research on the sociology degree programs you are considering to verify that they are accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency.
Sociology Programs by State
- Select One
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington DC
- West Virginia
Student Guide for Majoring in Sociology
People are fascinating creatures! People captivated by people – the things we do, the how and the why of what we do – often seek degrees in sociology. Besides being so interesting, sociology is a valuable tool used to improve almost every business, government, and nonprofit entity in operation today. If the science of living in groups sounds like the perfect career, this student guide for majoring in sociology is a great way to get started.
The Education Process
Mastering sociology involves measurable skills, such as mathematics, statistical analysis, and scientific/ academic writing, as well as personality traits that enhance the science, such as being a compassionate listener, a creative thinker, and a public speaker. These simple steps will help the potential sociology student decide if sociology is the right career choice.
- Strong math and writing skills; they’re required for all college entrance exams and they’re valuable assets on the job, too.
- Talk to your school’s guidance counselor or social studies teacher; ask if they think sociology is an appropriate match for you.
- Compare college and university options for sociology degree programs, overall curriculum options, class and student body size, cost, location, and any other details important in choosing the most appropriate school.
- Apply to schools of choice, being very mindful of application deadlines. Most colleges accept online applications but deadlines are still vitally important.
- Enroll in a basic sociology course in high school or at a local community college to confirm interest in the field. Focus studies on gender, class, race, or anything fundamental but universal, something that affects everyone. Community colleges usually offer credits for coursework that transfer into a bachelor degree program elsewhere.
- Consider a double major, combining sociology with a second, compatible field to expand job opportunities. Business, education, and criminology are excellent choices but sociology is used in every field in one way or another.
- As a freshman, schedule a visit to the sociology department to learn your school’s best strategy for obtaining a sociology degree. Do this early so all courses taken will contribute to the degree.
Every product sold, every service provided, is successful because it satisfies a human need or desire. Identifying and analyzing human needs and desires is the backbone of sociology, which means it’s a highly marketable field, adaptable to almost every industry.
Most sociologists work under different job titles or descriptions but they all put the science of society to work. Majoring in sociology can bring invaluable assets to a career in many industries. Consider how the study of human nature influences the industries of education, banking, counseling, community planning, health services, public and social services, commercial development, nonprofit organizations, advertising, food, fashion, automobiles and transportation, entertainment, and sports and recreation. There’s a place for a sociologist in every industry.
Some sociologists work in strictly analytical positions while others are totally immersed in research. Others are organizers, writers, public speakers, and directors. The number of jobs that can be enhanced with a sociology major is vast, with new opportunities created every day. The US government has forecast stronger than average job growth for the field of sociology; this forecast extends many years into the future.
Reference Sources before, during, and after School
Respected, reliable reference sources will prove their value in school but they’ll retain value even after graduation. A working reference library is an important investment from the first day of school until retirement. No student guide for majoring in sociology would be complete without these suggestions. Each one is available through the American Sociological Association (ASA) Academic and Professional Affairs Program.
- ASA Footnotes – Published nine times a year, this newsletter reports on ASA activities and executive members, updated career information, news in the industry, and official reports involving government proceedings.
- ASA Style Guide – This must-have guide provides the definitive way to write about all things sociology. This style guide keeps term papers in compliance during school, during academic and professional publication, and for every written word devoted to sociology throughout one’s career.
- Careers in Sociology – Describes ways to use a sociology major in various industries, its specialized fields of study, and provides an understanding of the full scope of the science.
- Embarking upon a Career with an Undergraduate Degree in Sociology – Helps the student assess personal skills and interests, discusses different job interview styles, and provides a how-to guide for effective resume writing.
- The Sociology Major as Preparation for Careers in Business – Discusses job options a sociology major might pursue in business and industry rather than in government, nonprofit agencies, or the scientific and academic communities.
- The Student Sociologist – Published online twice a year, this newsletter announces competitions and awards programs, updates scholarship information, provides career updates, and sources for financial funding.
- Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences – http://www.acjs.org/pubs/167_664_2906.cfm
- American Federation of Teachers – http://www.aft.org/
- American Society of Criminology – http://www.asc41.com/
- American Sociological Association – http://www.asanet.org/
- Applied Sociology Master of Arts Program Description / University of Central Florida – http://www.graduatecatalog.ucf.edu/programs/Program.aspx?ID=1052
- US Commission on International Religious Freedom – http://www.uscirf.gov/
- Brown University Undergraduate Program Overview for Sociology Studies – http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Sociology/undergraduate/
- Contexts, the ASA “quarterly magazine that makes sociology interesting and relevant to anyone interested in how society operates” – http://contexts.org/
- Counterterrorism Division / Federal Bureau of Investigation – http://www.fbiagentedu.org/careers/counterterrorism/
- Department of Sociology & Crime, Law and Justice / Penn State – http://www.sociology.psu.edu/
- Effects of Layoffs and Plant Closings on Depression Among Older Workers / National Institutes of Health – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792935/
- How Sociology Differs From Government and Economics / The Harvard Crimson – http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1990/3/21/how-sociology-differs-from-gov-and/
- International Sociological Association – http://www.isa-sociology.org
- Live United / United Way – http://liveunited.org/
- National Education Association – http://www.nea.org/
- National Science Foundation: Where Discoveries Begin / Sociology – http://www.nsf.gov/funding/pgm_summ.jsp?pims_id=5369
- Nonprofit Academic Centers Council – http://www.nonprofit-academic-centers-council.org/
- Nonprofit Leadership Program, Oklahoma City University, Sociology & Justice Studies – http://www.okcu.edu/petree/soc/nonprofitleadership.aspx
- North Central Sociological Association – http://www.ncsanet.org/
- Ohio State University Department of Sociology Undergraduate Curriculum for Sociology and Criminology Majors – http://www.sociology.ohio-state.edu/ug/curriculum.php
- The Pacific Sociological Association – http://www.pacificsoc.org/
- Questions To Ask When Thinking About Pursuing a PhD – http://www.phd-survey.org/advice/advice.htm
- Social Scientists / US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook – https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193099.htm
- Society for the Study of Social Problems: In Pursuit of Social Justice – http://www.sssp1.org/
- Sociological Images: Inspiring Sociological Imaginations Everywhere / The Society Pages – http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/
- Sociologists for Women in Society – http://www.socwomen.org/web/
- Sociology Department Mission Statement / Hunter College – http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/sociology
- Sociology and Criminal Justice Master’s Degree Program Course Description / Saint Louis University – http://www.slu.edu/1818-advanced-college-credit-program/high-schools/meet-the-slu-liaisons/sociology
- Sociology and Space Development / NASA – http://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/sociology.html
- Sociology Career Facts / Lansing Community College – http://www.lcc.edu/ssh/sociology-anthro/careerfacts/
- Sociology Central – http://www.sociology.org.uk/
- Sociology Major, Social and Criminal Concentration / Central Michigan University – https://www.cmich.edu/colleges/chsbs/SASW/Pages/default.aspx
- The Writing Center for Sociology / University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill – http://writingcenter.unc.edu/resources/handouts-demos/writing-for-specific-fields/sociology
- USAID – http://www.usaid.gov/
- What Can I Do With a Degree in Sociology? / Portland State University – http://www.pdx.edu/careers/what-can-i-do-degree-sociology
- What Can I Do With a Major in Sociology / University of Kansas Career Hawk – http://www.kucareerhawk.com/s/762/wide.aspx?sid=762&gid=1&pgid=363&coseid=d72a7afa-fd55-4cf4-a540-d309975503b2&sMsg=
- Why Choose a Sociology Major? / Willamette University – http://www.willamette.edu/cla/sociology/why/index.html
- Why Major in Sociology? / Cornell University – http://www.soc.cornell.edu/undergrad/why-major/
- Why Major in Sociology? / University of California – San Diego – http://sociology.ucsd.edu/undergraduate/why-sociology.html
- Why Sociology & Anthropology? / University of Richmond – http://socanth.richmond.edu/
- Why Study the Sociology of Health? / Tempe University – http://www.temple.edu/sociology/whyminor/index.html