A sociology major is one of the social science degrees that are taught in most universities worldwide. Our globalized world today is facing many complex problems that affect all people. From social inequality, gender inequality to class conflicts and discrimination, sociologists try to understand the underlying causes of these global challenges that exist today.
Read this article as part of our university majors guide to know more about sociology major and why you should study sociology
Overview of Sociology Major
Sociology is the study of society, human behavior, and the way people interact with one another. Students majoring in sociology look analytically at communities, organizations, groups of people, societies, and cultures with the aim of understanding the forces that influence human behavior. Students look at the way people interact in situations as small as individuals having lunch in a restaurant or as large as cultures and traditions throughout history.
Studying a sociology major teaches students about different aspects of society that include social inequality, race, gender, ethnicity which are relevant in our daily lives.
Throughout a bachelor’s in sociology students will be taught to ask come up with important research questions, conduct research, gather data through observations for analysis to reach certain conclusions. These conclusions will address important issues regarding different aspects of a society
After earning a bachelor’s in sociology, students can earn a master’s and a PhD which is recommended for those who are willing to become sociologists or pursue a career in academia and research.
Because the field is diverse, it encompasses many fields as well such as economics, philosophy, and history. Some students choose to double major in sociology and economics for example to gain different perspectives on social and economic issues.
Read here to know more about economics major.
Why Study Sociology?
There are many reasons and benefits of studying a sociology major:
- A sociology degree will help you gain a better understanding of the social world. You will understand the reasons for the differences in social behavior among different groups of people. You will also be able to analyze why social class and social power exist in society today and what is the role that social institutions play in today’s world. So if you are passionate about changing the world into a more just and equal one, a sociology major can help you understand the deep roots of such problems.
- Sociology is relevant to our lives. It tackles crucial social issues that you as a student encounter in your day-to-day interactions. It also questions everything we do from the way we dress to religion, identity, and culture. Hence, students will not only understand the world they live in, but they will understand more about their own lives and how it’s influenced by society.
- You will gain quantitative and qualitative research skills and analytical skills that are necessary for most career paths, particularly if you are looking into becoming a researcher, professor, or sociologist.
What can I do with a sociology degree?
Sociology is a major that people tend to avoid because it doesn’t have a clear career path such as engineering or medicine. But the job market today is very dynamic and the skills that they require can be developed through different majors, so this should not stop students from considering a bachelor’s in sociology.
The knowledge you gain from a sociology degree can prepare you for a wide range of career opportunities including governments, the business sector, and the education sector, and more.
Some of the profession for sociology graduates are the following:
- Social and Community Service Manager
- Social Researcher in academic institutions
- Legislative aide in a government
- Human rights officer
- Human resource manager
- Data Analyst
- Market researcher
- Criminology researcher.
Fields of Sociology
A sociology major is considered to be a very broad discipline that contains many specialties and divisions because it deals withThe main branches or fields of sociology include the following:
- Historical Sociology
- Sociology of Economy
- Sociology of Religion
- Political Sociology
- Rural Sociology
- Urban Sociology
- Sociology of Law
The above is just a shortlist of some of the branches of sociology to show you the different aspects that the major deals with. There are many other divisions and subdivisions related to family, psychology, class, culture, race, art, peace, and much more.
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Courses in Sociology Bachelor’s Degree
A BA in sociology requires students to take diverse courses not only in sociology but in other fields as well such as history, philosophy, and economics. Like other majors, a sociology degree is taught through class discussions, debates, qualitative and quantitative research, and other activities.
Some of the courses that are taught in a sociology major are the following:
- Introduction to Sociology
- Cultural Anthropology
- Sociology of Families and Marriage
- Crime and Society
- Research Methods
- Statistics for Social Research
- Sociology of Education
- Race, Class, and Gender
- Introduction to Economics
Future of sociology
Sociology is a prominent field in western and developed countries. Although it is an important field as it deals with curial issues of our societies, it is unfortunately not given much importance to in developing countries.
If you live in the United States, or Europe, you might find many opportunities in this field especially if you want to become a researcher in sociology or a sociologist. You can find many funding opportunities/scholarships from academic institutions for research work in sociology.
Brief History of Sociology
Sociology is a relatively modern academic field that was developed in the 19th century in response to modern societal challenges, however its roots can be traced back to the works of Aristotle and Plato. The term “Sociology” was developed by a French philosopher Auguste Comte in the 18th century. Comte saw that the social world is complex and that scientific social analyses are needed to understand the laws that govern our social life.
The 19th and 20th century has witnessed major changes economically, politically and socially. The technological advances that paved the path for a global world and the mobility of people exposed people to different social structures, traditions, and cultures influenced the way people interact with one another starting from families to societies at large. Sociology, therefore, came to understand and respond to these social changes and be part of the solution to the challenges modern societies face.
Father of sociology and Important figures.
Auguste Comte 1798–1857 is known to be the father of sociology and he is the first one that coined the term “sociology”. Many people however believe that the world’s first sociologist is Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) from Tunisia. There are many prominent figures who contributed significantly to the field, some of them are mentioned below:
- Harriet Martineau -The First Female Sociologist
- Karl Marx
- Émile Durkheim
- Max Weber
Best university to study sociology major in the UK
The universities below offer the best sociology programs in the United Kingdom in terms of quality of education and research
- University of Oxford.
- The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
- University of Cambridge.
- The University of Manchester.
- The University of Edinburgh.
- Goldsmiths, University of London.
- University of Essex.
- The University of Warwick.