Think of sociology as the half sibling of psychology. She has some of the same DNA but has an entirely different way of looking at the world. Where psychology looks inward, sociology looks outward. Sociology majors have the opportunity to study gender, race, money and crime. These issues are examined through the lens of institutions and society, often focusing on inequality. The field attracts bleeding hearts, people who want to change the world. It attracts people who are not only dissatisfied with the status quo, but want to do something to change it. Pursuing sociology will give you the tools to understand society and institutions while hopefully inspiring you to change them.
What makes society unequal? Why does one group rise above another? What you learn will not only help you in the field of social sciences, but also it will shape your perception of the world.
What You’ll Be Doing
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK5J0-cM-HE] Studying sociology comes down to two words: social and science. Yes, vague is an understatement, but that’s the beauty of the discipline. You will begin in an intro class that will consist of topics ranging anywhere from sexuality to government. Then you will start to take more focused courses like studying the power of money. Upper level classes will give you the freedom to take the courses that interest you while still practicing how to analyze and evaluate society. As a sociology major you will learn to question everything about society. Is race real? Is gender a social construct? You will learn how to read critically and write well. You will then translate this thinking to the world around you and hopefully be equipped to tackle whatever comes next for you whether it’s grad school or the work force.
“The upside to studying sociology is that it combines so many skills into one program. Sociology students learn how to 1) understand the world they live in by studying topics like religion, gender, race, and family; 2) read and think critically by reading reports about social change, inequality, the economy, culture, and politics; 3) ask and answer questions about the world by learning survey methods, statistical analysis, interviewing techniques, and ethnography; and 4) engage and transform the world through internships, leadership experiences, study abroad opportunities, and social action. Sociology students develop great skills for a wide range of professions, from nonprofit leadership to market research, and from civil service to education.” -Dustin Kidd, Sociology Professor at Temple University
“I have taken over 10 sociology classes and I have never been in a sociology class that I didn’t like. Sociology is one of the only classes that I don’t get bored in and I actually look forward to going to opposed to gen-ed required classes and other classes that I took as electives.” -Karen Beale, Sociology Student at Niagara University
“The upsides are seeing the interesting ways that society can affect people and learning about all the different cultures.” -Nicole Ludwig, Sociology Student at Temple University
“The only downside is that having such a wide range of opportunities can make it hard for sociology students to choose what kind of career they want to pursue.” -Dustin Kidd, Sociology Professor at Temple University
“The downside to being a sociology major is there is no straight path career for when I finish school. For example if you are a nursing major you become a nurse or if you are an education major you become a teacher, but for sociology there is no one job that all or most sociology majors go into.” -Karen Beale, Sociology Student at Niagara University
“The downsides are that you see all of the prejudices that are present in the world.” -Nicole Ludwig, Sociology Student at Temple University
While everyone wants to enjoy his or her major of choice, the main goal is to eventually get hired after graduation. Through the sociology major, students graduate with a world view that can fuel a career in media, public service or law.
1. Social Worker
An obvious choice for a sociology major is to pursue social work where a graduate will have the opportunity to work with children, families or individuals to help improve their quality of life.
A sociology degree prepares someone for the field of law by teaching them how to think critically and objectively. Fields of law including human rights, criminal and family fit well with a sociology degree.
3. Public Policy Worker
What better person to implement public policy than someone who sees society objectively? Public policy can range anywhere from laws in government to advocacy for a certain cause like world hunger or domestic violence.
4. Community/Urban Planner
Cities have always been at the heart of American society and the economy. Urban and community planners work to heighten the effectiveness of land for the betterment of the community.
5. Public Relations
The better you understand people and society, the better you can represent them to the public. Whether it’s in politics, entertainment or the non-profit sector, sociology can help when it comes to media. Channel your inner Olivia Pope by representing a person or company through public relations.