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What is Sociology?
Sociology is the study of society. Individuals pursuing a degree in sociology will learn to examine society through a scientific lens, extrapolating data and a identifying trends. Sociology branches into a variety of subfields, all dealing with the various facets of society and how to identify societal issues and apply possible measures to correct them. Individuals will utilize a variety of methods and techniques that in order to perform research and utilize that information in order to complete studies and produce results based on the information gathered. Resourceful sociologists will tackle difficult information gathering problems in new ways in order to achieve their goals.
An education in sociology is available starting at the associate level, though the most common sociology degree pursued is the bachelor's degree, which provides an education that is useful for entering law programs as well as a variety of other graduate programs, in addition to preparing an individual for entry into a sociology related career. Sociology degrees are available from the associate's level all the way to the doctoral, with higher level degrees dealing with more theoretical and policy oriented work. Higher level degrees also allow for the teaching of sociology.
Sociology curriculums may include:
- Macroeconomic Principles
- Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality
- Global Society
Individuals who chose to pursue a career in sociology may find work at colleges and universities, government agencies, or in the private sector. Individuals who wish to teach at the university level typically must have a doctoral degree, although community colleges may hire individual with a master's degree. Experienced and established sociologists may find themselves as department heads, and are responsible for reviewing curriculums and establishing research projects within their school while managing their given budget.
Sociologists with a master's or doctoral degree will be able to pursue research positions as well as seek grant money in order to put into effect their own research projects. Such projects will either be funded by federal, state or local funds, or through private money either from a business or an established research body. Individuals must provide a proposal demonstrating why the given research topic is important and what methods will be utilized in order to obtain the necessary information. Often such projects are pursued in conjunction with a college, university, or equivalent institution, which provide the facilities for research and a center for information gathering.
A degree in sociology can prepare individuals for a variety of different careers as sociology incorporates many elements from other fields of study into its study of society. An astute individual will utilize the skills and experience gained from the sociology's multi-disciplined area of study and applies it toward a career in one of the many fields available:
- Business Administration
- Criminal Justice
- Public Health
- Social Work
- Public Relations
Job Growth, Salary and Related Fields
Job growth for sociologists are expected to increase as research into society and the resulting public policy become more and more important. The number of positions will continue to be limited due to budgeting constraints, though the field itself is expected to expand as sociological research is applied to new and different areas of interest. Employment at colleges and universities will remain constant. The average wage can range between $60,000 and $100,000 dollar per year based on the type of work and nature of the employer.
For additional information on a future in sociology, read our blog titled Making the Most of a Sociology Degree.