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Why Earn a Degree in Sociology?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of sociology is a competitive one. Though job growth may be minimal, an education in sociology prepares students for much more than a narrowly defined career as a sociologist. The breadth of multi-disciplinary study, experiential learning, and knowledge and skill building involved in earning a sociology degree such as the Northern Kentucky University (NKU) Bachelor of Science (BS) in Sociology can be applied to most any modern job, not to mention many other aspects of life.

What Is Sociology?

The American Sociological Association (ASA) provides a succinct description of the multi-faceted field of study. According to the ASA website, sociology is:

  • The study of society.
  • A social science involving the study of the social lives of people, groups and societies.
  • The study of our behavior as social beings, covering everything from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study of global social processes.
  • The scientific study of social aggregations, the entities through which humans move throughout their lives.
  • An overarching unification of all studies of humankind, including history, psychology and economics.

Of course, these aspects of sociology seem quite far-reaching in their breadth. But that is the point of sociology: to understand how people relate to and interact with each other individually or in groups, and the many conditions that impact those interactions historically, presently and in times to come.

What Will I Study in a Sociology Degree Program?

Sociological study utilizes most every aspect of social research and social science, from empirically based experimental research and quantitative statistical analysis to qualitative research, personal interviews and community studies. Building on a foundation of sociological concepts, theories and methods, students will examine traditional and evolving social constructs, human anthropology, trends in cultural development, social class theory, wealth distribution, dominant-minority intergroup relations and prejudice, and the ways in which all of these (and other) social factors affect one another.

As technology is rapidly changing the increasingly globalized world, students will also study the interactions between people and technology and the effects of those interactions on individual and societal levels.

And although sociological concepts, theories and methods are certainly an important part of this education, forward-thinking degree programs like NKU's BS in Sociology place heavy emphasis on teaching students how to think critically and analytically. Students will learn how to apply their developed knowledge and skills to problem solving in any context. Students learn how to communicate effectively and promote healthy social interactions on small or large scales, individually, organizationally, and societally.

What Are Career-Related Benefits of Earning a Sociology Degree?

According to recent surveys from both The Chronicle of Higher Education and the Association of American Colleges & Universities, employers are looking to hire students who have learned how to think critically, solve problems, communicate and collaborate. Trade-specific education and experience is still important, but a broad-based education and well-developed social intelligence have become at least as important in the increasingly complex global marketplace.

So, in addition to preparing students for a career as a sociologist, an education in sociology can give students the breadth of knowledge and skills that today's employers want. The wide array of disciplines covered in a sociology education can also help with career flexibility and mobility, an important part of succeeding in a rapidly changing world.

Sociology is an inherently complex science, based on scientific principles. But the broader aim of a sociology education is to develop students as thinkers, problem solvers and socially conscious citizens. The set of knowledge, skills and values that one can gain from a quality sociology degree program can be applied to every facet of life, work-related and personal. Students of sociology are uniquely poised to become leaders across many diverse fields as their skills and education are broadly applicable and sought after by employers today.

Learn more about the NKU online Bachelor of Science in Sociology program.


American Sociological Association: What Is Sociology?

The Chronicle of Higher Education: Employers Want Broadly Educated New Hires, Survey Finds

American Association of Colleges & Universities: LEAP Presidents' Trust Employer-Educator Compact

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook - Sociologists

Time: Critics of the Liberal Arts Are Wrong

The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Employment Mismatch

HuffPost: Why a Sociology Major?

Peterson's: The Value of an Undergraduate Degree in Sociology

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