Guide to Sociology Degree Programs
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You may complete your undergraduate sociology degree online but you should attend a traditional university to pursue a graduate degree.
Learn about the core classes you will take as a sociology student.
Discover how the research sociologists do affects our daily lives.
See which states have the highest number of sociologists and what your salary is likely to be if you enter this field.
Learn How You Can Study Sociology
You can study sociology at every degree level, from programs that result in an associate’s degree to doctoral programs where you’ll conduct advanced sociology research. You can also study online or offline at most levels of sociological study, which allows you to choose the program that best fits your needs.
Brick-and-mortar sociology programs
Sociology programs at brick-and-mortar schools offer some advantages over sociology courses online when learning the basics of research methods in the field. Sociology students at brick-and-mortar schools have a readily available population from which to draw random samples and build statistical analysis, as they can start out by using their peers at the college or university. Likewise, students at brick-and-mortar schools can make use of advanced computing resources for statistical analysis that might not be available to online students.
Online sociology programs
It is possible to earn an undergraduate degree by taking online sociology classes. At the undergraduate level, many sociology courses focus on theory rather than practice, and these are good choices to complete online. Even so, expect to be at a disadvantage when taking courses on research methods and practical application. You will need to contact the faculty of your online program to discuss ways to conduct your research.
Students looking at graduate programs are better off in traditional programs, as faculty access is invaluable when conducting research. Graduate programs are almost entirely focused on conducting and applying sociological research, so it is not a good idea to pursue online sociology master’s or doctoral degrees.
Find Out How to Earn a Sociology Degree
Whether you study sociology offline or online, you will take courses on other cultures, statistics, research methods, and social problems, in addition to completing a capstone project.
See if you fit the profile of a typical sociology student
Sociology students need a wide range of skills and interests to succeed. The ideal sociology student has some mathematical skills for performing statistical analysis, an inquisitive mind, and a knack for designing research projects or experiments that answer societal questions. More generally, sociology students should have an interest in doing research, as most jobs specific to sociology degree holders require a lot of research.
Keep in mind that sociology is not a good fit for every student. Students who are not interested in mathematical and statistical analysis will have difficulty with the data analysis required for sociology. Remember that even if you excel in math, sociology is not the right program for you if you are not interested in cross-cultural interaction and examining changes in society.
Discover what you will do in sociology colleges
Early on in a sociology degree program, you will be introduced to a wide range of topics, including cultural studies, organizational development, and family structures, which should spark interest for later research topics. You will also become familiar with the mathematical operations used to analyze data in sociology through research methods and statistical analysis courses. Later on, you will have to come up with your own research projects and carry out these projects with assistance from the program faculty.
See what sociology courses you will take
The following courses are typical of sociology degree programs:
This course will come at the end of your sociology program and typically entails another, more ambitious research project. This course demands that you prove your skills in research design, statistical analysis, and communication of results.
As part of your sociology program, you should also expect to find an internship. An internship is not required for most sociology programs, but it will improve your ability to apply your skills and build a stronger resumé. For students who do not intend to go on to graduate study, internships and similar opportunities are the best way to stand out to employers.
Discover the Sociology Degree Levels
Sociology degrees are available at these levels:
Doctoral programs follow bachelor’s or master’s degree programs and are intended for students who are committed to sociological research, as these programs take four to seven years to complete. Graduates from sociology doctoral programs often work as sociologists or sociology professors, performing advanced research.
Note that there is no institutional accrediting organization for sociology departments or programs in the United States. However, you should still look for institutional accreditation when seeking a good sociology school.
Learn What Sociologists Do
Sociologists perform research regarding the behaviors of societal groups, cultures, and organizations. Their findings help organizations improve the effectiveness of their operations and make it easier to change behaviors in a culture or organization. Their research is used by organizations interested in promoting healthy behavior, educating people, or addressing social issues like poverty and discrimination.
These professionals start by devising research questions and designing projects that will provide answers to those questions. These projects usually involve collecting data through surveys, interviews, or other methods, followed by analysis and interpretation of data. After drawing conclusions from the data, these researchers report their findings and consult with organizations that would like to use their data in other contexts.
Discover the Job Landscape for Sociology Professionals
Most sociology graduates who receive master’s or doctoral degrees seek employment as sociologists or sociology professors. The job markets for these professions job markets for these professions are small but are growing at about an average rate compared to all other professions. Both sociologists and post-secondary teachers earn more than $62,000 per year. The states with the most sociologists are Michigan, California, and Pennsylvania, whereas post-secondary teachers are employed in reasonable numbers all across the country.