What is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of group and collective life. As one of the social sciences, it uses a variety of perspectives to study urban and rural social life, family patterns and relationships, social change, inter-group relations, social class, environment, technology and communications, health care and illness, gerontology, social movements, community responses to disasters, and pressing contemporary social issues. (Modified from American Sociological Association, 2005.)
The Bachelor of Science Degree (BS) with a major in Sociology provides students with a strong liberal arts preparation for both entry level positions throughout the business, social service, and government worlds and for those who wish to pursue graduate work. Employers and graduate programs look for people with the skills that an undergraduate education in sociology provides.
When we ask sociology majors who are already employed outside academic settings to reflect on their undergraduate education, they value most highly their undergraduate courses in social research methods, statistics, and computer skills. These courses help make sociology undergraduates marketable, especially in today's highly technical and data-oriented work environment. In addition, sociology majors develop analytical skills and the ability to understand issues within a "macro" or social structural perspective. Learning the process of critical thinking and how to bring evidence to bear in support of an argument are extremely important skills in a fast-changing job market.
Consequently, as a sociology major, you have a competitive advantage in today's information society. The solid base you receive in understanding social change--as well as in research design, data analysis, statistics, theory, and sociological concepts--enables you to compete for support positions (such as program, administrative, or research assistant) in research, policy analysis, program evaluation, and countless other social science endeavors.
Because of the breadth and utility of the discipline, students can choose to take a general course of study or emphasize either criminology or diversity studies. The availability of emphasis areas gives interested students the opportunity to focus on two important areas of the discipline and to take advantage of specific faculty expertise and interest. Overall, the major reflects the mission and recommendations of the American Sociological Association and requires the completion of a minimum of 38 semester hours in sociology, with no more than 9 lower-division sociology hours. Majors in sociology must complete 45 upper-division credit hours to graduate and must take at least one minor or second major with a minimum of 16 upper-division semester credit hours. Suggested minors and/or second majors include: history, geography, psychology, multicultural studies, international studies, or women’s studies. Majors may also choose to pursue a recognized emphasis in one of the following two specializations: 1) Criminology or 2) Diversity Studies.
A minor in sociology is highly complementary to many different degree programs. Marketing, biology, family and consumer sciences, business, geography, modern languages, international studies, and psychology are only a few of those that would benefit from a sociology minor. The minor requires at least 21 hours, including SOC 100 (Introduction to Sociology) and 12 hours of upper division sociology.
Follow the menu items on the left for the Sociology Program Requirements and student information.
Sociological Skills and Employment Opportunities
Our sociology majors acquire superior skills in critical thinking, analysis and communication. They acquire competence in computer skills, can interpret research findings, develop evidence-based arguments, identify ethical issues in research, and have the ability to use statistical packages in the social sciences. We strive to keep you on the cutting edge of technology. These technological skills, critical thinking skills provide you with abilities that are in demand at public and private agencies. You also gain the superior knowledge and training necessary for the pursuit of admission to graduate programs, if that is part of your career plan.
Careers in Sociology include:
Mental Health Counselor
Intelligence Specialist - Central Intelligence Agency
Intelligence Specialist - Federal Bureau of Invesitgation
Intelligence Specialist - United States Army Intelligence and Security Command
Law Enforcement Officer
Famous Sociology Majors
There are many accomplished people who majored in sociology, who are not necessarily Sociologists with a capital “S.” Below are just a few of them:
Rev. Martin Luther King
Rev. Jesse Jackson (Double major in Sociology and Economics)
Ronald Reagan (Double major in Sociology and Economics)
Saul Bellow, novelist
Richard Barajas, Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court
Regis Philbin, TV host
Dan Akroyd, Actor/Blues Brother
Robin Williams, Actor/Comedian
Paul Shaffer, Bandleader on David Letterman
Ruth Westheimer, the "sex doctor"
Joe Theisman, NFL quarterback
Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat
Ahmad Rashad, Sportscaster
(Adapted from ASA Famous Sociology Majors)