What To Know About Becoming Sociology Major

The sociology major is the study of human social relationships, social causes and their influence on society and its institutions. Classes cover the effects of human interactions on the family, communities, religion, culture, politics, systems and structures.

The main benefits of majoring in sociology are the development of the understanding of human nature and relationships and how human communities function on small and large scales. Studying sociology provides a broad, practical skillset to understand human interactions, social differences between cultures and times, and the impact on opportunities and outcomes.

In terms of the individual, a sociology major prepares you for graduate school, if desired, and a wide range of careers that will make a positive impact on the world around you.

Sociology is a challenging major, but not among the hardest. To succeed, you must read and comprehend a large volume of material, have good writing and verbal skills, understand complex theories of human relationships, and pass basic math and statistics courses.

The main careers for sociology majors are social worker, nurse, medical doctor, attorney, entrepreneur, rehabilitation counselor, teacher, social researcher, health administrator, public health educator, non-profit director, human resource manager, urban planner, human rights advocate and urban planner.

Sociology is related to a broad spectrum of fields that provide you with many opportunities for future education and work. Popular double majors for sociology are public policy, psychology, business, economics, criminal justice, criminology, political science, education, and data science.

What Is the Sociology Major?

The American Sociological Association defines sociology as, “the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior.”

Based on that definition, the sociology major is the study of human relationships and our systems and institutions that support them. The major encompasses every facet of human social interaction, also called society.

Structures studied as a sociology major are the family, communities, organizations, institutions and the state. Aspects considered are changes, differences and potential disparities in culture, race, religion, gender, economics, law, public policy, immigration, crime and health.

Sociology is in the category of social sciences along with psychology, political science and economics.

You learn in sociology to understand and think critically about human behavior, interactions and relationships and how they shape the structure of society and its institutions.

When you choose to major in sociology, you will develop a strong set of career-relevant skills. According to the University of Wisconsin, they include, “Using computer resources to locate information, learning statistical software, analyzing quantitative and qualitative data and interpreting the results, working with diverse groups, and identifying ethical issues in research.”

A bachelor’s of science degree in sociology is a STEM major because STEM science, math and statistics courses are required. Other STEM aspects of a BS in sociology major are designing and carrying out experiments, studying collected data and drawing conclusions from the data. A bachelor’s of art in sociology is not a STEM degree.  

What are Different Types of Sociology Degrees

There are four degrees you can earn in sociology: 

  • Associates Degree (AA) in Sociology: It is a 2-year degree, which typically means 4 semesters or 60 hours. Areas of study are an introduction to sociology, social issues and problems, ethnic and racial relations, and sociological analysis.
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology: It’s a 4-year degree. Programs are 8 semesters or 120 hours. In addition to prerequisites and introductory classes, students getting a bachelor’s in sociology study the sociological implications of psychology, public health, public policy, race and ethnicity, criminal justice, welfare and reform, work and workers, education, citizenship and society, sex and gender, and religion.
  • Master’s Degree in Sociology: It’s typically a 1-year or 2-year degree with 30 to 60 credit hours and includes a master’s thesis. Graduate students in sociology study social research methods and experiments, statistics, sociological theory, social innovation and change, inequality and poverty, diversity and society, marriage and family, racial diversity and inequality, globalism and the sociology of human rights.
  • Doctorate of Philosophy or PhD in Sociology: It requires 4-7 years of study and writing a PhD thesis. Studies include classical and contemporary sociological theory, advanced analytics, sociological methods, qualitative and quantitative methods, organizational behavior, social policy and sociological principles of race, education, economics and criminal justice.

Is Sociology a Bachelor’s Degree a BA or BS?

Both BA and BS degrees are available in sociology. Some universities offer either a bachelor of Arts (BA) or bachelor of science (BS) degree. Many colleges and universities offer both a BA and BS programs in sociology.

The same introductory courses are taken for both BA and BS degrees in sociology. Usually during the third year of study, students choose whether to pursue a BA or BS degree. For the BA in sociology, advanced courses in humanities, psychology, economics, political science and public health are required. For the BS in sociology, advanced courses include STEM courses in science, social science, math, statistics, data gathering and analysis.

What are the Requirements for a Sociology Major?

The specific requirements to become a sociology major vary by school, but there are common requirements for sociology majors.

  • Complete Prerequisite classes: These are 100 and 200 level courses in subjects such as English, Humanities, Foreign Language, Science and Math. The classes provide a broad education.
  • Pass an Introduction to Sociology class: Schools want those declaring sociology as their major to be somewhat familiar with the field, which reduces the chance they will change majors later.
  • Explain Your Reasons for Choosing Sociology: Many schools also require a personal statement of 1-2 pages expressing your reasons for pursuing a sociology major.
  • Complete Core Coursework: This is 30-36 credit hours in sociology 300 and 400 level courses.
  • Complete Related Work: This is up to 24 credit hours of experiential learning, independent study or internship practicum credits.
  • Take Electives: 12-16 credit hours of electives at the 300 or above level in fields related to sociology.
  • Complete STEM Courses, if applicable: For a BS program in sociology, complete 10-12 credits of STEM courses.
  • Maintain a Minimum GPA: Have an overall grade point average or GPA of 2.0 to 2.5 and a 2.5 to 3.0 GPA in sociology coursework.

Is Sociology an Easy Major?

Sociology is not an easy major because of the amount of coursework and the range of skills required to do well in sociology.

Sociology is a difficult major for many students because you are expected to read a large amount of theoretical information on complex subjects. Sociology majors must understand the material and be able to communicate their understanding of it verbally and through papers and other written assignments. Researching and analyzing data is required.

The hardest courses for a sociology major are statistics, data science and other STEM courses including math and social sciences.

To graduate in sociology, you will be required to take 2-4 mathematics and math-related courses. Common requirements are basic math, calculus, data science and statistics.

Is Sociology a Good Major?

Sociology is considered a good major because it gives you an understanding of human interactions, relationships, culture and institutions central to society. And it equips the student with critical thinking and analysis skills.

Sociology equips students with a broad education to prepare them for the jobs in social services, criminal justice, government, sales, marketing and human resources.

Sociology is also a top major for those who intend to pursue a master’s degree or doctorate in fields such as sociology, nursing, medicine, social work, public health, public policy, business and law.

What Can You Do With a Sociology Major?

Majoring in sociology prepares you for many career opportunities as a sociologist. Here are the top 10 careers for sociology majors. Some require an advanced degree – a master’s or doctorate. 

  • Social Worker: Sociology prepares you for social work by providing an understanding of relationships, family structures, social problems and the developmental needs of children and teenagers. Most social work jobs require a bachelor’s degree to start and a LMSW or LCSW master’s degree and a professional license for management positions.
  • Community Health Worker: A career in this field requires an understanding of the impact of race, income, gender and age on healthcare outcomes – the relationships at the core of healthcare. Sociology majors take courses that equip them in these areas. A bachelor’s degree is sufficient for an entry-level job, but career advancement requires a graduate degree.
  • Academic Counselor: Sociology majors study the impact of economic, racial and social differences within demographic groups. As a result, academic counseling is a good fit. School and career counselors must grasp the challenges students face due to their socio-economic backgrounds as they help them navigate educational and career opportunities. A master’s degree is necessary for most positions.
  • Human Resources Specialist: Classes taken by a sociology major provide an in-depth understanding of human relationships within organizations including conflict resolution. This makes sociology a top major for human resource or HR workers. They must have strong interpersonal skills and find employees that are a good fit for the organization as they foster harmony among those working together. 
  • Marketing Agent, Analyst or Manager: Marketing requires comprehension of the needs and wants of various groups within the broader society. Sociology majors have expertise in these areas. 
  • Sales Representative: Sales focuses on human relationships to be successful. And human interactions and relationships is a central focus of majoring in sociology. 
  • Paralegal: Sociology majors learn about the impact of sociological factors on individuals. This makes it a useful major for paralegals as they assist attorneys in gathering facts and information, preparing legal documents and researching relevant laws and cases. 
  • Lawyer or Attorney: Sociology is a top undergraduate degree for those applying to law school. It also provides a basic understanding of the impact of the law on various socio-economic groups. Lawyers and attorneys are required to have a JD from a recognized law school.
  • Learning and Development Specialist: Careers in this field involve designing and leading training programs for employees based on the results of surveys and interviews to assess needs for education and development. 
  • Urban Planner: Urban planning involves improving communities to create a better life for those living within them. A sociology major is prepared for this field by completing courses in demographic and environmental research and analysis, the impact of land use and other public policies. To become an urban planner requires a minimum of a master’s degree.

The table has information about top careers for a sociology major with educational requirements and salary ranges.

Career or JobEntry-level DegreeSalary
SociologistMaster’s or PhD$92,910
Social WorkerBachelor’s or Master’s$50,390
Community Health WorkerBachelor’s$46,590
Academic CounselorMaster’s$60,510
Human Resource SpecialistBachelor’s$62,290
Marketing ManagerBachelor’s$127,150
Sales RepresentativeAssociate’s or Bachelor’s$52,340
Lawyer or AttorneyDoctoral$127,990
Learning and Development SpecialistBachelor’s$61,570
Urban PlannerMaster’s$78,500
Sales ManagerBachelor’s$127,490
Digital Marketing SpecialistBachelor’s$127,150
Data Analyst or ScientistBachelor’s$100,910
Consultant / AnalystBachelor’s or Master’s$93,000
Police Officer or DetectiveAssociate’s or Bachelor’s$66,020
Project ManagerBachelor’s$94,500
Policy Analyst or Political ScientistMaster’s$122,510
Mental Health or Substance Abuse WorkerMaster’s$48,520
Real Estate Agent or BrokerAssociate’s$62,010
High SchoolTeacherBachelor’s$61,820
Postsecondary TeacherMaster’s or PhD$79,640
Market Research AnalystBachelor’s$63,290
Reporter or JournalistBachelor’s$48,370

How to Become a Sociologist

You’ll need an advanced degree to work as a sociologist. Here is a common academic and career path to become a sociologist.

  • Earning a bachelor’s degree in sociology – either a BA or BS in Sociology.
  • Earning a Master’s Degree in Sociology in a traditional MA program or a professional program focused on applied or clinical sociology. A master’s degree qualifies you to work as a professional sociologist.
  • Gain practical job experience or related experience through internships and volunteering.
  • Earning a PhD in sociology or a related field creates more opportunities for you as a sociologist including postsecondary teaching and management.
  • Get licensed or certified if required for your specific position as a sociologist. Certifications include becoming a Certified Sociological Practitioner or a Certified Clinical Sociologist.

Can I Be a Social Worker with a Sociology Degree?

Yes, with a sociology degree you are qualified for entry level social work. Social work jobs you can get with a sociology degree are case worker, direct care worker, behavioral health technician, children and family advocate and public health worker.

To advance in your career as a social worker, you should continue your education to receive a master’s degree, PhD or other professional degree. Jobs you can get with an advanced degree in sociology include case manager, social work supervisor, school counselor, addiction and substance abuse counselor, mental health counselor, crisis counselor, medical or psychiatric social worker and clinical social worker.

Can You Be a Therapist with a Sociology Degree?

Yes, you can become a therapist with a sociology degree. To work as a therapist, you will need to obtain an advanced degree such as a master’s degree or doctoral degree and become licensed. Common advanced degrees to become a therapist include a master’s degree in sociology, social work, counseling or clinical psychology.

What Are Good Double Majors With Sociology Major?

Good double majors with a sociology major are criminal justice, psychology, data science, statistics, public policy, business, political science and communication.

Choose a sociology double major or dual degree that broadens your skills in areas related to your career goals. The result will be greater career opportunities. For example, if you want to be a social worker, then psychology is an excellent double major for sociology. If your goal is to work in government, then public policy is a good fit. And data science is a smart choice if you plan to work in marketing or as a consultant.

What are the Differences Between Sociology Major and Psychology Major?

The biggest difference between a sociology major and psychology major is that psychology focuses on individual behavior while sociology is the study of group behavior and social interactions.

Sociology examines the religion, tradition, culture, organizations, and socio-economic classes of society as a whole. Psychology studies the emotions, thoughts, and actions of individual people within the greater society.

In terms of which one is easier, they are equal in difficulty. If you are interested in the experience of individuals, psychology will be easier for you because it fits your natural interests. If your interest is in society as a whole, then sociology will be easier for you.  

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