Sociology Careers

Are you wondering what you can do with a sociology degree or what our graduates think of the UAA Sociology program?  Check out our  to see the Alumni Page variety of careers held by our graduates and their feedback about the Department!

You majored in what? Did you know that Ronald Reagan, Michelle Obama, Rev. Martin Luther King, Robin Williams, and Brian Jordan were all sociology majors?

See ASA's Careers in Sociology page for a world of opportunities sociology degrees can open.  Here are some suggestions for career preparation and job prospects for a B.A. graduate.

American Sociological Association, Research Department on the Profession and the Discipline have a number of survey reports about the state of the discipline and the student feedback.  See some of the recent reports and major findings are included below:

Who is working

Sociology Majors, Before and After Graduation : "What Can I do with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology?  Surveying the Class of 2005If students were made aware of the skills that they did learn, placed them on their resumes, and discussed them in job interviews, they were more likely to find jobs that were close to what they learned as sociology majors (Spalter-roth and Von Vooren 2008)." [from Spalter-roth & Van Vooren 2010: 4]

p.5 "The largest job category was social services, counselors, and psychologists (26.8 percent).  The remaining occupations, in descending order, were clerical and administrative support, managers, teachers and librarians, sales and marketing, and service work.  A relatively small percent were employed as social science researchers (8.2 percent)."

p.6 "Almost two thirds of respondents (63.2 percent) reporting that understanding race, class, and gender differences were very useful on the job.  In the qualitative interviews most respondents confirmed that a sociological understanding of race, class, and gender stratification was important on their jobs."

Concepts used on the job

p.7 "Among the top ranked skills were research skills such as developing evidence-based arguments, and evaluating different research methods.  In 2009, respondents did list the hard skill of using computers to find information as among the five that they used very often, and the development of this skill is a key learning object in research methods courses (if not others) in sociology."

Student Satisfaction with Sociology Programs "Respondents who reported participating in more out-of-class activities reported higher satisfaction than students who participated in fewer activities." (p.1)

Social Capital, Organizational Capital, and the Job Market for New Sociology Graduates

In the Sociology Majors: Before Graduation in 2012 Brief, it is concluded that "Students reported high levels of conceptual learning, and these self-reports do not vary by institutional type in most cases.  They were most likely to report mastery of basic concepts and of understanding the impact of social forces for diverse social groups (close to 90 percent, on average)." (p.7)


Recruitment and Retention of Sociology Majors

Date from the first wave of the 2012 American Sociological Association's Bachelor's and Beyond Survey "The reasons students choose to major in sociology have a significant impact on their satisfaction levels.  Students who thought that the major would prepare them for the job that they wanted were equally satisfied compared to those who majored because the concepts interested them, suggesting once again that students major for both career and conceptual reasons.  In contrast, respondents who majored for convenience reasons (e.g., because they could add the major easily or because the major required few credit hours) were less satisfied with their experiences."

Why a Sociology Major? (Huffington Post Article by Daniel Little): "First, sociology is a scientific discipline.  It teaches students to use empirical data to understand current social realities.  And sociologists use a variety of empirical research methods, from quantitative research to qualitative methods, to comparative and historical studies.  Students who study sociology as undergraduates will certainly be exposed to the use of statistics as a method for representing and analyzing complex social phenomena; they will also be exposed to qualitative tools like interviews, focus groups, and participant-observer data.  So a sociology education helps the student to think like a social scientist- attentive to facts, probing with hypotheses, offering explanations, critical in offering and assessing arguments for conclusions.

Second, the content of sociology is particularly important in our rapidly changing social world.  Sociology promises to provide data and theory that help to better understand the human and social realities we confront.  Moreover, the discipline is defined around the key social issues we all need to understand better than we currently do, and our policy makers need to understand that if they are to design policies that allow for social progress: for example, race, poverty, urbanization, inequalities, globalization, immigration, environmental change, gender, power, and class.  we might say that an important part of the value of a sociology education is that it gives the student a better grasp of the dynamics of these key social processes.
So sociology is indeed a valuable part of a university education.  It provides a foundation for better understanding and engaging with the globalizing world our young people will need to navigate and lead.  It provides students with intellectual tools needed to make sense of the shifting and conflictual social world we live in, and this in turn permits them to contribute to solutions for the most difficult social problems that we face."

Concepts used on the job