Careers

Students graduating with a degree in sociology do one of two things: begin working or attend graduate school.

Those wishing to begin work immediately after attaining the bachelor's degree are ready to apply for the many positions that are open to students with a liberal arts degree. Positions can be found in business, government and the human services. While many positions in these areas require a more specialized degree, employers are also looking for liberal arts graduates with the skills described above. There are also positions as assistants in research projects that are open to students with the skills of the applied sociology major.

For those who wish to open up additional occupational vistas, sociology is an excellent background for many specific career opportunities that will be developed at the graduate or professional school level. People who obtain an M.A. or Ph.D. in sociology, for example, often teach in colleges and universities. They also work in government or industry as researchers, administrators, consultants, program planners and the like. The sociology major also provides excellent preparation for graduate school in fields other than sociology, such as social work, criminal justice, urban planning, law, public administration, and a range of other fields. Finally, the sociology major is a good option for students who do not have well-defined career plans, but who wish to remain flexible and adaptable for a number of positions.

The following are illustrative of the kinds of settings in which sociologists--some with bachelors degrees, others with graduate or professional degrees--might find themselves:

  • Advertising
  • Banking
  • Civil service positions
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Community action agencies
  • Consumer attitude research
  • Human service agencies
  • Law
  • Marketing research
  • Newspaper reporting
  • Personnel management
  • Professional writing
  • Program evaluation
  • Public opinion polling
  • Public relations
  • Research and data analysis
  • Urban Planning
  • Sales

To bring some of these career opportunities in sociology a little closer to home. In the past few years, our students have gone on to graduate education in sociology, urban planning, health administration, future studies, public administration, guidance and counseling, economics and others.

As for jobs, our graduates have found positions as professional social researchers, purchasers for stores, stock brokers, video editors, consumer behavior researchers, sales coordinators for businesses, sales persons, supervisors, career counselors, child social workers, city planners, teachers, and mental health workers serving individuals with disabilities. While some positions in these settings require more specialized training, there are others that are open to sociology graduates.

For more information, students should contact their adviser in the Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology Department or the head of the department. The department has resources to help students assess graduate education, including graduate bulletins from many universities and two guides to graduate education publications from the American Sociological Association. Further assistance on career issues and decision-making can be obtained from Career Services, 3502 C.B. Hedgcock, 906-227-2800.

For additional information check out the following links:
W.Richard Stephens, Jr's Careers in Sociology
Careers in Sociology from the American Sociological Association