Why Study Sociology?

Sociology is a discipline built on passion and knowledge.

It looks beyond the life of the single individual to better understand how larger social structures such as power, economics and culture shape individual life chances, thinking and behavior.

Sociologists study some of the most complex and important questions of social life. They ask questions related to:

  • Understanding the relevance of social power and social hierarchies such as race, class and gender in everyday life
  • The processes and implications of social change in both public and private lives including family, labor and sexuality
  • Social and personal health including environmental and health care policy, health disparities and individual well-being

A 21st Century Major

The questions sociologists ask are at the heart of social and cultural debates related to living and working in the modern world. It is for this reason that the American Sociological Association labeled sociology as a "21st century major."

The skills necessary to conduct sociological research are highly marketable in the modern economy. According to the ASA, the core skills a sociology major acquires include:

  • Conducting research and analyzing data: Students learn both qualitative and quantitative research methods. These skills allow for the recognition of trends and patterns, and produce social statistics such as those used in market research, opinion polling, sales and countless other applications.
  • Communicating skillfully: Students learn how to convey complex ideas and arguments through writing, presentations and digital media.
  • Practicing critical thinking: Through theory, writing and analysis, students learn to look beyond the surface of issues to discover the 'why.' This process of investigation builds valuable analytical skills sought after by market researchers, policy analysts, government agencies, non-profit organizations and other institutions interested in understanding and solving complex social problems.
  • Gaining global perspective: Nothing is more critical in the modern global economy than an appreciation for and ability to work inside diverse cultures. Sociology provides students with valuable skills useful in understanding groups and societies through a global and historical perspective.
  • Preparing for graduate school: An undergraduate major in sociology provides an excellent foundation for graduate study in a wide range of fields including law, social work, medicine, public health, public administration and, of course, sociology.