Careers in Sociology

The M.S. in Sociology is a versatile credential that prepares students for a wide variety of employment options or serves as the foundation for entry into a PhD program.

Our Thesis Option students are typically very successful in their Ph.D. program applications, and many have joined the higher education professoriate or are employed as advanced level researchers in non-profit organizations or government agencies. Our Applied Option students have often found their internship placements lead to the development of professional networks and employment opportunities. In addition, the VCU Career Center offers individualized career and professional development services. Please visit the University Career Center for more information.

The American Sociological Association describes career opportunities for sociologists with a graduate degree as follows:

“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.

Today, sociologists embark upon literally hundreds of career paths. Although teaching and conducting research remain the dominant activities among the thousands of professional sociologists today, other forms of employment are growing both in number and significance. In some sectors, sociologists work closely with economists, political scientists, anthropologists, psychologists, social workers, and others, reflecting a growing appreciation of sociology’s contributions to interdisciplinary analysis and action.”

Read more about the sociology masters degree in a study conducted by the American Sociological Association, “What Can I Do With a Masters Degree?: A Study of Masters Candidates.”

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