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Choosing Sociology as Your Undergraduate Major Slides will automatically advance every 15 seconds What is Sociology? Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious cults; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from the sociology of work to the sociology of sports. In fact, few fields have such broad scope and relevance for research, theory, and application of knowledge. Famous people who majored in sociology... Martin Luther King Ronald Reagan Dan Akroyd Robin Williams Joe Theisman Regis Philbin Jesse Jackson Saul Bellow Dinah Shore ”Dr. Ruth” (Westheimer) Ahmad Rashad Pete Seeger James Blunt Skills of Successful Sociology Majors Ability to recognize trends and patterns. Sociologists must develop a keen eye for detail and a gift for spotting relationships between pieces of information. By cultivating patterns from otherwise abstract data, sociologists can break through puzzling roadblocks during research assignments. Following these trails can lead to important discoveries and understandings for sociologists throughout their careers. To grow their talent for uncovering these relationships, many sociology programs expose students to new courses in game theory and traditional classes in art. Viewing data from unusual points of view not only breaks up the monotony of data analysis, but it usually results in the recognition of important patterns. Skills of Successful Sociology Majors Ability to create concise reports and essays. Whether reporting to superiors on the results of research or developing new funding proposals, sociologists rely frequently on their ability to write effective reports. Sociology students learn how to modulate their writing for different audiences. When preparing reports for peers and colleagues, they can use industry shorthand and insider terminology to keep memos and files brief. When writing external reports for funding agencies, or politicians, or the media, they translate that jargon into easily digestible nuggets of information. Source: WorldWideLearning.com Skills of Successful Sociology Majors Strong critical thinking skills. Sociology degree programs challenge students to build their analytical skills through a series of increasingly challenging assignments over the course of their studies. Sociology majors spend time in introductory courses examining the techniques that professionals use to investigate theories. As they move through intermediate and advanced courses, they start to use those techniques on their own research projects. By the time they near graduation, sociology majors use their keen critical thinking skills to solve problems and identify opportunities in their own research. Skills of Successful Sociology Majors Oral presentation skills. In addition to powerful writing skills, sociology majors must develop the ability to speak comfortably and clearly in front of clouds. This skill particularly benefits students who intend to pursue careers in academia. Meanwhile, sociology professionals who work in the private sector also utilize this skill when presenting information to government agencies, funding panels, or audiences at professional conferences. Source: WorldWideLearning.com Skills of Successful Sociology Majors Interpersonal communications skills. Regardless of their career paths, sociology majors will rely on strong person-to-person communications skills throughout their working lives. Students learn early in their degree programs to conduct effective interviews with key subjects. In addition, sociologists often work on teams where long hours and tight deadlines can lead to friction between colleagues. Quality sociology degree programs prepare students for future challenges by creating realistic scenarios in which students can improve their interpersonal communications. Skills of Successful Sociology Majors Develop skills in modern data and analysis technology. As with many other careers, modern technology and computers have revolutionized sociology. During the course of their degree programs, students learn to manipulate data using complex pieces of software and hardware. By running research data through sophisticated tools, sociology professionals can spot trends sooner and generate results faster. Source: WorldWideLearning.com Skills of Successful Sociology Majors Grant writing skills. Many sociologists must compete for funding from government agencies, from private funders, and from academic boards. Skilled professionals learn to apply their strong writing skills to create attractive grant applications. By stating clear goals and framing up outcomes that advance the agendas or the missions of funding bodies, sociologists can collect vital funds that allow them to continue making breakthroughs in research and understanding of human interaction. Skills of Successful Sociology Majors Research skills. Sociology majors learn to use all of the resources at their disposal to chase down leads and build sets of information for analysis. Many sociology degree programs introduce students to the tricks of efficient library research early in their academic careers. Bolstered by fast searches on the Internet, sociology majors learn to digest catalogued findings for use in their original research projects. By the time they graduate, students learn to conduct personal interviews and mass surveys in order to generate their own sets of raw data for analysis. Source: WorldWideLearning.com Skills of Successful Sociology Majors Management skills. Many professional sociologists rely on the help of support personnel and other team members to conduct research and to move projects forward. During their degree programs, students learn to blend the best practices from the business world with the traditions of research professionals. By the time students earn their sociology degrees, they gain the talent to motivate the different kinds of specialists that will help them accomplish major breakthroughs during their careers. Skills of Successful Sociology Majors Planning and organizational skills. Because most sociologists work on time-sensitive projects, students learn how to plan and arrange their tasks to save time and to work as efficiently as possible. Many colleges and universities provide introductory courses in time management and task coordination as part of their core programs. These skills reap huge rewards later in a student's career, when they must marshal scarce resources under tight deadlines. Source: WorldWideLearning.com 1966 1985 2004 Source: US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems. Retrieved from http://caspar.nsf.gov (October 26, 2006) Source: American Sociological Association What can I do with a BA in sociology? The undergraduate degree provides a strong liberal arts preparation for entry level positions throughout the business, social service, and government worlds. Employers look for people with the skills that an undergraduate education in sociology provides. Since its subject matter is intrinsically fascinating, sociology offers valuable preparation for careers in journalism, politics, public relations, business, or public administration--fields that involve investigative skills and working with diverse groups. Many students choose sociology because they see it as a broad liberal arts base for professions such as law, education, medicine, social work, and counseling. Sociology provides a rich fund of knowledge that directly pertains to each of these fields. A BA in sociology is excellent preparation for future graduate work in sociology in order to become a professor, researcher, or applied sociologist. Expanding Field Sociology provides many distinctive perspectives on the world, generating new ideas and critiquing the old. The field also offers a range of research techniques that can be applied to virtually any aspect of social life: street crime and delinquency, corporate downsizing, how people express emotions, welfare or education reform, how families differ and flourish, or problems of peace and war. Because sociology addresses the most challenging issues of our time, it is a rapidly expanding field whose potential is increasingly tapped by those who craft policies and create programs. Sociologists understand social inequality, patterns of behavior, forces for social change and resistance, and how social systems work. Job Prospects for the BA Graduate There are many directions you can take with a degree sociology. A few are listed below. - social services: in rehabilitation, case management, group work with youth or the elderly, recreation, or administration - community work: in fund-raising for social service organizations, nonprofits, child-care or community development agencies, or environmental groups - corrections: in probation, parole, or other criminal justice work - business: in advertising, marketing and consumer research, insurance, real estate, personnel work, training, or sales - college settings: in admissions, alumni relations, or placement offices - health services: in family planning, substance abuse, rehabilitation counseling, health planning, hospital admissions, and insurance companies - publishing, journalism, and public relations: in writing, research, and editing - government services: in federal, state, and local government jobs in such areas as transportation, housing, agriculture, and labor - teaching: in elementary and secondary schools, in conjunction with appropriate teacher certification. Sociology and Salaries As of summer 2005, “Psychology and sociology graduates also posted large increases; the average offer to psychology graduates rose 7.4 percent to $29,861, and the average offer to sociology grads increased 7.1 percent to $31,798.” Source: JobWeb.com What can I do with an MA or PhD degree in sociology? With advanced degrees, the more likely it is that a job will have the title sociologist, but many opportunities exist--the diversity of sociological careers ranges much further than what you might find under "S" in the Sunday newspaper employment ads. Many jobs outside of academia do not necessarily carry the specific title of sociologist : - Sociologists become high school teachers or faculty in colleges and universities, advising students, conducting research, and publishing their work. Over 3000 colleges offer sociology courses. - Sociologists enter the corporate, non-profit, and government worlds as directors of research, policy analysts, consultants, human resource managers, and program managers. - Practicing sociologists with advanced degrees may be called research analysts, survey researchers, gerontologists, statisticians, urban planners, community developers, criminologists, or demographers. - Some MA and PhD sociologists obtain specialized training to become counselors, therapists, or program directors in social service agencies.