Sociology is the study of how humans interact with each other. If you have a fascination with relationships and how communities impact people, then sociology may be the degree program for you. People who study sociology gain valuable skills in critical thinking when it comes to social phenomena and social issues.
As a degree major, sociology is rather broad. It’s possible to study various aspects of sociology, such as marriage, deviance, criminology, gender roles, work roles, social inequality, and attitude development, just to name a few.
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Like many degree programs, sociology is broken up into four levels. Each level requires more study, but also opens up more career opportunities for you. Below is a list of the different sociology degree types.
Associate Degree: The associate degree is the easiest degree type in sociology to obtain. This degree typically takes two years of full-time studying to earn. Throughout the program, students take courses in culture, globalization, inequality, and social stratification. Graduates from the program have several career opportunities in human service organizations, as paraprofessionals, and in correctional facilities.
Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree in sociology takes four years of full-time studying to complete. Some of the classes covered in this degree program include individual investigation in sociology, researching society, and interpersonal relationships and families.
Unlike associate degree programs, students may have the option to study in a concentration. Concentrations are specialized forms of degrees where students learn about a specific aspect of their major. For a bachelor’s degree in sociology, some concentrations include social data research, urban sociology, sociology of low, and economic sociology and global development.
Master’s Degree: The master’s degree in sociology is a graduate degree that can be earned after you’ve finished your undergrad. This degree is more advanced and covers even more complex topics, such as ethnographic studies, international research, and quantitative approaches. The program may include courses in the politics of algorithms, social demography, and the changing American city.
Students also have the option of customizing their degree for specializations in areas such as sexuality and gender, social movements and change, and class and stratifications. These programs typically take two years of studying full-time to complete, on top of the four years required to earn an undergraduate degree.
Doctoral Degree: A doctorate in sociology prepares graduates for the highest roles in the field of sociology. These roles typically involve teaching and research positions. Students in this program focus on very niche areas, such as social inequality or criminology.
The program typically takes 3 to 5 years to complete. In addition to completing coursework, students must successfully write, research, and defend a dissertation to graduate from the program.
Best Schools for Sociology Degrees
The right college or university is the first step toward finding success in sociology. Below is a list of some of the best schools for earning your degree in sociology.
Rutgers University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at all of its campuses. There is also a graduate-level program that covers research in crime and social control, gender difference and inequality, social networks, and global structures. Students also have the potential to access several fellowships the department offers. There are also awards and small grants available to students to conduct research or travel to conferences.
University of Illinois at Chicago
The University of Illinois at Chicago offers an undergraduate program in sociology. Its program is ranked among the top 40 in the country. Some of the faculty research in sociology covers specialities such as the study of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, global and transnational sociology, social movements and political sociology, and children and youth.
Throughout the program, students learn how to apply sociological theories to social phenomena to better understand them. Not only do students gain a stronger understanding of this phenomena, but they also gain a better understanding of the social world and how to use software and statistical techniques to better illustrate their findings.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a bachelor of arts and a doctor of philosophy program available. Students admitted to the PhD program can choose from a wide array of specializations. Some of these include advanced quantitative methods, health and illness/medical sociology, work, occupations, labor markets, and life course and aging. The department’s training program has support from different institutes and research students to help further the study of sociology.
University of Minnesota-Duluth
Within the department of sociology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, students can earn their Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. This degree program focuses on modern studies. Some of the fields students focus on throughout the program include criminology, social change, social psychology, and social organization.
Students admitted into the program who demonstrate incredible academic performance may engage in independent research by becoming a part of the Honors Program.
Texas A & M University-College Station
Texas A & M University is a well-renowned institution that offers both a bachelor of arts and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. Students choose between three undergraduate certificates: Certificate in the Sociology of Gender, Certificate in the Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, and the Certificate in Global Sociology. The program also has a doctorate offering for those wishing to advance their knowledge in the field to the highest level.
University of California-Irvine
The University of California-Irvine offers a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. The curriculum covers a wide array of coursework involving transnational sociology, race and ethnicity, sociology of sex and gender, and self-identity and society. Students in the program may earn up to four certificates in the economy, business, diversity and equality, social problems and public policy, and global and international sociology. The school also offers a nine-month master of arts program and a doctoral program as well for those seeking to earn their graduate degrees.
Highest-Paying Sociology Degree Careers
With a sociology degree, you have the potential to work in various fields. Below is a list of some of the highest-paying careers available to those that have earned their degree in sociology.
Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialist
These social service professionals are tasked with the job of rehabilitating criminals who are either on parole, probation, or currently incarcerated.
Some of the tasks involved in this position include creating rehabilitation plans, meeting with individuals on parole or probation to monitor their progress, providing social services, and other services. A probation officer’s work ranges from drug treatment to testifying in court, and even job training.
A social worker works with individuals to help them get through various challenges or obstacles in their life. Some of the issues social workers aid people through include family problems, finance or job difficulties, and health issues.
Social workers are mostly in-demand in fields related to healthcare and mental health/substance abuse. To enter the social work field, you must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology or a related field.
A guidance counselor uses the knowledge they’ve gained from their sociology program to help students successfully get through the world of academia. Counselors must be able to communicate strongly with families to develop strategies that help with a student’s development.
Guidance counselors use a wide array of counseling and interview techniques to help students make important career and academic choices. They also use problem-solving skills to lead conflict mediation and resolve social issues within a school.
Human Resources Representative
Sociology degree holders can also find success working in human resources thanks to their communication skills. As an HR representative, you’re tasked with analyzing work roles and assessing which candidates are suitable for a position. Sociology majors develop interviewing skills, which are vital for successfully evaluating candidates.
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HR staff members use their skills for more than just hiring people. When working in human resources, you also have to mediate conflicts and resolve issues with personnel. HR representatives also use decision-making skills to come up with different structures for employee benefits.
A survey research has to measure the opinions and attitudes of people in areas that are closely related to the sociology major. Some of these areas include political and social issues, culture, consumer products, and health.
As a researcher, you’re tasked with carefully creating questions to get a clear answer from the group of people surveyed. These researchers also use statistical analysis techniques and data collection skills they gain throughout their program. After completing surveys, researchers write and present reports to share the information they’ve gathered with their clients.
Sociology is a constantly growing field. People all over the world study sociology to better understand how people interact with each other, develop relationships, and how those interactions impact our daily lives.
By earning a sociology degree, you gain the knowledge necessary to work in fields that rely heavily on communication. Whether you’re aiding someone in turning their life around or providing a new opportunity to a potential employee, the options are endless.
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