Academic Programs • Sociology

Why Study Sociology?soci

Sociology is the study of society, groups, institutions, and human social relations.

By studying sociology, you come to understand the society in which we live, and can gain a fuller insight into ourselves. Sociology helps us understand how the different groups and institutions influence how we see ourselves and come to a sense of self. We find that the society into which we are born shapes our identities, personalities, emotions, thought processes, and our lives in countless ways.

Sociology’s subject matter is diverse, ranging from crime to religion, from family to the state, from the division of race and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture, and from social stability to radical change. Sociology expands our awareness and analysis of the human social relationship, culture, and groups that profoundly shape both our lives and human history.

The scientific method emphasizes the careful gathering and analysis of evidence about social life to develop and help our understanding of society and key social processes. The research methods and theories of sociology yield powerful insights into the social processes shaping human lives and social problems. Through sociological research, we gain a better understanding how human actions both shape and are shaped by culture and groups.

Sociology helps students to think critically about human social life, and how to ask important social research questions. Students learn how to think critically, evaluate, and communicate clearly, creatively, and effectively. These are all abilities of tremendous value in a wide variety of professions.

Curriculum Pathway for Sociology

Jobs in Sociology

With a Bachelor’s Degree (BA) in Sociology, you may choose to pursue an advanced degree: MA, Ph.D., or JD.

With a BA, there are numerous employment opportunities. The following list of possibilities is only illustrative – many other paths may be open to you, and additional education or training may be required. Employment sectors include:

Social Services
Rehabilitation
Case management
Youth/Elderly services
Recreation
Administration
Social work
Local, state, federal agencies

Community Work
Non-profit agencies
Urban planning
Childcare
Community development
Environmental groups
Advocacy


Law
Law enforcement
Investigations
Probation/Parole
Criminal justice
Judicial affairs
Attorney
Paralegal

College Settings
Admissions
Advising
Alumni Relations
Development
Administrative Support



Health Services
Family planning
Substance abuse education
Rehabilitation counseling
Hospital admissions
Insurance providers




Business
Public Relations
Marketing/Sales
Consumer research
Human Resources/Personnel
Insurance
Real estate
Training
Entrepreneurship
Media

Publishing
Professional writing
Research
Editing
Journalism





Teaching
Elementary
Secondary
Special Education
Teaching English as a second language





Adapted from Careers in Sociology, a publication of the American Sociological Association.

Famous Sociology Majors

Though your parents may not believe it, there are thousands of accomplished people with BA, MA, and Ph.D. degrees in sociology, who are not necessarily Sociologists with a capital “S.” Below is a list of just a few, found by Peter Dreier, Occidental College, for his commencement address to the 2001 department of sociology graduating class of the University of Oregon.

Politics:
Wellington Webb, mayor of Denver
Brett Schundler, mayor of Jersey City
Annette Strauss, former mayor of Dallas
Rev. Martin Luther King
Roy Wilkins, former head of NAACP
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Rev. Ralph Abernathy
Shirley Chisholm, former Congresswoman from NY
Maxine Waters, Congresswoman from LA
Barbara Mikulski, US Senator from Maryland
Tim Holden, Congressman from Pennsylvania
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, DC
Saul Alinsky, father of community organizing
Saul Bellow, novelist
Ronald Reagan (double major in sociology and economics)
Emily Balch, 1946 Nobel Peace Prize winner (a social worker and social reformer)
Francis Perkins, social reformer and former Secretary of Labor
Richard Barajas, Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court
Michelle Obama, wife of Barack Obama

Arts:
Saul Bellow, novelist
Regis Philbin, TV host
Dan Aykroyd, actor/Blues Brother
Robin Williams, actor/comedian
Paul Shaffer, bandleader on David Letterman Show (and before that, Saturday Night Live)
Dinah Shore, singer
Ruth Westheimer, the “sex doctor”
Kalpen Suresh Modi, White House Liaison for Arts and Humanities

Sports:
Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat
Bryant Stith, Boston Celtics
Brian Jordan, Atlanta Braves
Joe Theisman, NFL quarterback
Eric Bjornson, Dallas Cowboys
Bobby Taylor, Eagles cornerback
Ahmad Rashad, Sportscaster

Michael Makowsky
Social & Behavioral Science Program Chair
(432) 685-6828
mmakowsky@midland.edu 

David Edens
Psychology & Sociology Faculty
(432) 685-6814
dedens@midland.edu 

Mike Schneider
Psychology Faculty
(432) 685-6825
mschneider@midland.edu