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The Breakdown

Humans are social beings. We gravitate towards groups and often build upon these groups to create communities. Sociologists explore and investigate the relationships and dynamics that arise from these communities. Should you decide to study sociology, you will strive to understand the way in which an individual can impact and affect society and the way in which society affects the individual.

Most sociology departments are fairly fluid. While it’s often mandatory to take an introductory course, a class in research methods, a statistics course and one or two classes in theory, you’ll actually have a myriad of options to select from when fulfilling your other requirements. These courses can range in topics from criminology to immigration to popular culture (visit the “Nuts and Bolts” section for specifics). Further, some programs might offer the opportunity to focus within a subfield – be it gender and sexuality, race and urban studies or gerontology (among others). Regardless of your particular academic path, expect copious amounts of reading, writing and research.

Sociology majors assess and analyze patterns in human behavior. To do so successfully necessitates a balance of both quantitative and qualitative skills. You will be evaluating large amounts of data while developing your own ideas and theories. It is essential that you’re able to clearly and cogently articulate your arguments. You should also be comfortable with people, understand how to facilitate dialogue and able to recognize when objectivity is needed.

Nuts and Bolts

Many subjects can be examined through a sociological lens. Sociology majors are likely to find this advantageous considering it allows them to study a number of different topics. Indeed, classes could include subjects like: Social Change in the Modern World, Introduction to Law and Society, Qualitative Interviewing, Holocaust Diaries, Sociology of Gender, Making of Modern Medicine, Celebrity, Fame and Fortune, African Societies Through Film, Organizations, Stratification and Race, Sociology of the Body, The Collapse of Communism, Networks and Social Structure and Greed in America.

Decisions, Decisions

Sociology majors are fascinated by humans and their interactions. Other disciplines that offer students the opportunity to examine people and the societies they construct include anthropology, psychology, economics, philosophy, education, history, political science, American studies, Women’s studies, African-American studies, religion, international relations or urban studies.

What's Next

Similar to their course requirements, sociology majors tend to have diverse interests and recent graduates take their talent and intellect to a variety of fields. Certainly, like any other discipline, some majors continue on to pursue graduate work. Indeed an advanced degree is necessary for those who want to be practicing sociologists. Of course, many students leave the field after college to follow other professional dreams. Some majors translate their interest in research and data analysis to marketing and public relations positions. Others take their knowledge of interpersonal dynamics to the human relations departments of different companies and corporations. And still some graduates find jobs within education or social work. Regardless of where they ultimately end up, sociology majors will find they can apply their skills to a number of industries.


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Don Munce