Simply put, sociology is the systematic study of society. Instead of focusing on the individual, sociology focuses on the bigger picture and how social structures such as groups, organizations, communities, nation-states, social categories, and social institutions affect human attitudes, actions, and opportunities, and how human beings, in turn, help to shape these social structures. A sociological imagination allows us to go beyond personal experiences to understand broader public issues. Drawing on a wide range of theories and data collection techniques, both quantitative and qualitative, sociologists study every facet of social life, ranging from the macro to the micro, from revolutions to interactions between children and their providers in daycare centers. Sociology helps us to better understand why we think and act as we do, and empowers individuals to help shape the world in which they live.
The Sociology program is designed to provide students with the scientific knowledge and tools to understand our increasingly complex society and world, with an emphasis on examining and advancing issues of social justice. Accordingly, in addition to preparing students for various professions and graduate work, the program is designed to encourage students to work toward an inclusive and humane society.
Careers in Sociology
A degree in sociology opens a wide range of potential career prospects. In addition to gaining knowledge of the theoretical foundations of the literature, sociology majors are taught a wide range of practical skills, including critical thinking, that are required for success in an increasingly knowledge-based economy. Sociology courses provide the methodological foundations necessary for students to observe the social world around them and make informed decisions based on factual observations. These skills are highly applicable to an expansive variety of careers that require intimate knowledge of the social environment within which important decisions need to be made. In other words, jobs within the fields of education, politics, law and the criminal justice system, social services, business administration, marketing, etc., all necessitate an understanding of the larger social structure and the specific set of social relations that are required to make the correct decisions for success in each respective profession.
While there are an endless number of jobs available for sociologists as a result of these highly transferable skills, according to the most recent job survey performed by the American Sociological Association (ASA), the top five careers entered by holders of the bachelor’s degree of sociology include the following:
|Social services: counselors and psychologists||27%|
|Teachers and researchers||14%|
|Sales and marketing||10%|
Sociology majors tend to be overwhelmingly satisfied with their choice to major in sociology. According to the ASA, approximately 95% of all sociology degree recipients were either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their choice of sociology as a major. Many expressed a desire to pursue a graduate degree in the field.
For more details on sociology job trends and satisfaction statistics see these reports from the American Sociological Association on job satisfaction and what graduates are doing with a bachelor’s in sociology.