Academic Programs Sociology
Why Study Sociology?
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:
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.
• 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
• 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
• 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