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Why Earn a Degree in Sociology?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of sociology has moderate but steady employment growth, coupled with relatively high educational requirements for entry-level jobs. This makes for a competitive profession, but 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, knowledge gained and skill building involved in earning a sociology degree such as the Northern Kentucky University (NKU) online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Sociology applies to most modern jobs, not to mention many other aspects of life.

What Is Sociology?

The American Sociological Association (ASA) provides a succinct definition and straightforward description of the multi-faceted field of study. According to the ASA website, “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 traditions; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture.”

As this description implies, sociology focuses on virtually all components and applications of human life and interaction. Thus, the field of study intersects with most other fields and disciplines in various ways. 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 aspects 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 how these (and other) social factors affect one another.

As technology rapidly changes the increasingly globalized world, students will also study interactions between people and technology and the effects of those interactions on individual and societal levels. This component of sociological study is even more prevalent in the hyper-digitized online social environment following the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And although sociological concepts, theories and methods are certainly a crucial part of this education, forward-thinking degree programs like NKU’s online B.S. in Sociology emphasize 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. They also discover how to communicate effectively and promote healthy social interactions on small or large scales, individually, organizationally and societally.

What Are Some Career-related Benefits of Earning a Sociology Degree?

According to numerous articles and surveys from industry groups and organizations like Monster and GMAC, employers are looking to hire students who have learned to think critically and analytically, solve problems, communicate and collaborate. Trade-specific education and experience are still important, but a broad-based education and well-developed social intelligence have become at least as vital 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 transferable skills that today’s employers want. The wide array of disciplines covered in a sociology education can also help with career flexibility and mobility, a key 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 knowledge, skills and values gained from a quality sociology degree program can apply 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 NKU’s online Bachelor of Science in Sociology program.

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