You can work in business, government, and the nonprofit sector. You can work as a researcher in the public or private sector, work in public relations or advertising, as a consultant or a city planner, as a school teacher, social worker or a lawyer. You can run for elected office, work as an affirmative action specialist or personnel coordinator, as a statistician or a legislative aid, a human rights worker or a community or labor organizer; you can start your own business or become a supervisor or manager for a large business. In short, you can do most things for a living that you can do with any number of other degrees. But Sociology has certain advantages.
First, sociological skills – that is, you will have studied how people interact in social settings, studied work organization, learned about culture and different cultures and institutions. People’s organizational and sociological skills – how well they understand social organization and interaction – often has more to do with their advancement than their specific training in any particular job. In fact, specializing in a particular kind of work can sometimes lead to being stuck in that rung on the career ladder.
Second, reading, researching and writing skills. The importance of these abilities cannot be overestimated. Too many students graduate from universities without being able to research a serious question, to read with accuracy and critical thinking, and to write 15-20 pages marshalling data to present ideas. Yet think of how many of the really interesting and well-paying jobs depend on exactly these skills – business presentations, marketing proposals, lawyer’s briefs, government reports, journalism, planning a class at a school, consulting to a business, government agency or nonprofit organization, planning a city function like traffic patterns, housing, economic development or environmental impact reports – the list is a long one.
Third, a broad, liberal arts background. This is the most underrated of all career skills today, under the mistaken impression that it is more realistic, safer or more sensible to major in a subject that seems to link one directly to an existing job category upon graduation. Yet no one can possibly know what is going to happen in the job market in 2, 5 or 10 years.
Law School, City and Regional Planning, Social Work, Public Policy, Sociology, Education, Journalism, Public Administration, Anthropology, Government, History, Environmental Studies, Human Ecology, and yes, Business. Sociology allows you a great flexibility in choosing career paths and graduate or professional programs, depending on what you really want to do with your life. City Planning and Public Policy are two-year degrees that can lead to careers running departments at city, state or federal government agencies, to elected office, to running a community organization, a nonprofit, an environmental, housing, or human rights group. Law school allows you to practice law, but also to work as a consultant to organizations and businesses, staff government agencies or run for office. With education accreditation after college, or as a double major, you can teach social studies. Environment and Ecology programs can lead to staffing nonprofits, to consulting for business, to planning and researching environmental impact in the public and private sectors. And of course, you may remain so interested in Sociology as a field that you decide to get a Ph.D. in the subject so you can teach it or work full-time as a researcher. A Master’s Degree in Sociology can also lead work in nonprofits, advertising, public relations, personnel, teaching or government work.
Sociology touches on many other fields, since it is the holistic study of all social interactions and institutions. Therefore, Sociology makes an ideal field to combine with other majors, such as Art, Criminal Justice, Communications, Education, History, Math, Nursing, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Science, Social Work, almost anything really.
So think about it. And think about this as well, even with all these career options, isn’t your college education also about other things that matter just as much: values, being a useful citizen, caring about the world and about changing it, having a broad perspective to take throughout your life?
Sociology, a good career move, a good way of life. Come talk to us, your friendly neighborhood Sociology Program:
Mohammad Chaichian (311 Warde, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jane Junge (410 Warde, email@example.com)