Sociology: A World of Opportunities

Adapted from the American Sociological Association

Sociology is the study of the development, structure, interaction, and collective behavior of organized groups of human beings. Most people who think of themselves as "sociologists" or have the word "sociologist" in their job title have education and training at the graduate school or master's level. Most people who have earned a bachelor of arts in sociology apply their knowledge and skills to a wide variety of jobs in areas such as business, health care, criminal justice, social services, and government.

What can I do with a BA in sociology?

  • Sociology belongs to the group of studies, known at the university level as liberal arts, that focuses on general knowledge and the development of reason and judgment as opposed to specific professional or vocational skills. Earning a bachelor's degree in sociology will provide you with
  • Excellent preparation to continue your sociology education at the graduate level, should you want to become a professor, researcher, or applied sociologist.
  • A strong liberal arts foundation for entry-level positions in business, social service, and government, as well as for professions that require further study, such as law, education, medicine, social work, and counseling.
  • Valuable knowledge for fields that involve investigative skills and working with diverse groups, such as journalism, politics, public relations, business, or public administration.

What can I do with an MA or PhD degree in sociology?

By earning a graduate-level degree, you have a wide range of sociological career options, although they may not carry the specific title of "sociologist":

  • Sociologists become high school teachers or faculty in colleges and universities, who advise students, conduct and publish research. More than 3,000 colleges offer sociology courses.
  • Sociologists enter the corporate, nonprofit, and government worlds as directors of research, policy analysts, consultants, human resource managers, and program managers.
  • Practicing sociologists with advanced degrees may be called research analysts, survey researchers, gerontologists, statisticians, urban planners, community developers, criminologists, or demographers.
  • Some sociologists with either a master of arts or doctoral degree or both get specialized training to become counselors, therapists, or program directors in social service agencies.
  • Although teaching and conducting research are the dominant pursuits of sociologists' employment, sociologists embark upon literally hundreds of career paths. Their roles in other fields are increasing in number and significance—some sociologists work closely with economists, political scientists, anthropologists, psychologists, social workers, and others, reflecting a growing appreciation of sociology's valuable contributions to many different disciplines.