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Skills & Career Tracks

Sociology examines human behavior in different social and cultural contexts.

Photo of sociology students

Skills You Will Learn as a Sociology Major or Minor

Research methods. Sociologists are social scientists who learn a variety of research methods to gather and analyze data about society.

Practical work experience through internships. Internships are an important part of our program. Our majors, while earning college credit, receive the practical work experience and insight that leads to numerous career choices.

Other important skills. Critical thinking, effective communication, and writing skills are forefront in the discipline. These skills are highly sought after.

Competencies You Can Learn

Navigating a diverse society. Sociology students learn about culture, diversity, inequality, and justice, preparing them to navigate a diverse society.

Specific, important topics. Classes on specific topics—such as crime, the media, and the family—provide students with valuable knowledge about important topics in society.

Pre-professional opportunities. Sociology offers a good foundation for graduate and professional degrees and for careers in social service, criminal justice, and community organizations. Working closely with their faculty advisor, students develop a course of study, including related minors, that best fits their interests and aspirations.

Areas of Interest

To support career goals in the following areas, sociology majors or minors can take these classes:

Law and Criminal Justice

  • Social Problems (SOC 201)
  • Race and Racism (SOC 230)
  • Criminology (SOC 328)
  • Youth Subcultures (SOC 333)

Social Justice/Advocacy

  • Sex and Gender in Society (SOC 222)
  • Race and Racism (SOC 230)
  • Social Movements and Politics in the U.S. (SOC 340)
  • Intersectionality (SOC 345)
  • Environmental Sociology (SOC 367)
  • Sociology of Sexualities (SOC 380)

Marketing and Organizational Research

  • Sex and Gender in Society (SOC 222)
  • Race and Racism (SOC 230)
  • Media and Popular Culture (SOC 250)
  • Youth Subcultures (SOC 333)
  • Additional methodologies courses:
    • Advanced Research Methods (SOC 325) 
    • Field Work Experience (SOC 270 and 370)

Social Work/Not for Profit

  • Social Problems (SOC 201)
  • The Profession of Social Work (SOC 240)
  • Sociology of the Life Course (SOC 260)
  • Marriage and Family (SOC 311)
  • Social Welfare and Human Services (SOC 362)
  • Action Research Seminar (SOC 395)
  • Grant Writing (SOC 398)

Student Affairs

  • Sex and Gender in Society (SOC 222)
  • Race and Racism (SOC 230)
  • Sociology of the Life Course (SOC 260)
  • Youth Subcultures (SOC 333)
  • Social Movements and Politics in the U.S. (SOC 340)
  • Intersectionality (SOC 345)
  • Sociology of Sexualities (SOC 380)

Sociology Student Learning Goals

Sociology students will develop the following *concepts and competencies:

The Sociological Perspective: Five Essential Concepts

Goals and Essential Concepts Outcomes and Significance (Students will…)
The sociological eye Recognize key theoretical frameworks and assumptions upon which the discipline is founded and differentiated from other social sciences.
Social structure Articulate what sociologists mean by social structure and how structural forces affect human action and social life at the micro, meso, and macro levels.
Socialization Explain the relationship between self and society and how the self is socially constructed and maintained at multiple levels.
Stratification Identify how social structures create and reproduce different forms of social inequality in human society through specific processes, and interpret empirical patterns and effects of social inequality.
Social change and social reproduction Comprehend how social structures reproduce themselves across generations, but also how social change occurs in cultural, social, political, and economic terms.

The Sociological Toolbox: Six Essential Competencies

Goals/Essential Competency Outcomes and Significance (Students will…)
Apply sociological theories to understand social phenomenon Be able to identify how sociological concepts and theories relate to everyday life.
Critically evaluate explanations of human behavior and social phenomenon Possess a critical lens for understanding human behavior and society.
Apply scientific principles to understand the social world Articulate importance of evidence and scientific methods for explanation  of social phenomenon.
Evaluate the quality of social scientific methods and data Be able to identify the characteristics of high-quality data and methods in sociological research.
Rigorously analyze social scientific data Identify disciplinary standards for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of data.
Use sociological knowledge to inform policy debates and promote public understanding Use their sociological knowledge and skills to engage with and impact the world around them.

*These concepts and competencies were adopted based on the following article: Susan Ferguson. 2016. “The Center Does Hold: The Sociological Literacy Framework.” Teaching Sociology 44(3): 163-176.

Courtney Irby - Associate Professor of Sociology

Department - Sociology & Anthropology