Department of Sociology

Professional Opportunities

What Can I Do With a B.A. in Sociology?

Students who have declared or are considering declaring a major in sociology frequently wonder what they can do with a Bachelor's Degree (B.A.) in this field. The answer to this question requires, first, an understanding of what sociology is—namely, the scientific study of social life, including social change, and the social consequences of human behavior. Students who study sociology at Lehman take courses in a variety of areas, including theory, education, gender, work and society, social stratification, race and ethnicity, the family, criminology, health and illness, and research methods. Through this coursework, students acquire the knowledge and critical skills needed to understand a wide range of social problems such as crime, poverty, divorce, racism, sexism, child abuse, unemployment, and addiction.

A bachelor’s in sociology provides a strong preparation for entry-level positions in private industry, business, government and non-profit organizations. In the past, most sociology majors found employment in fields such as education, business, gerontology, journalism, politics, religion, social welfare, and other areas that involve working with the public or helping those in need. Recently, however, sociology students with strong backgrounds in research methods (research design, computer applications, and applied statistical techniques) have been more likely to enter professions that involve the formulation or evaluation of public policies and programs.

Because the sociology major is flexible, you may want to tailor your coursework in accordance with your professional aspirations. For example, if you are planning to teach at the early childhood, elementary, middle or high school level, courses in the sociology of education, youth, family, urban, and inequality or race and ethnicity are especially relevant to your interests. If you are planning a career in human services, it will be helpful to take courses addressing the kinds of social problems that social service agencies deal with, such as poverty, racial and ethnic inequality, access to health care, and family issues. You may also want to take courses in social work or psychology to supplement your sociological training. If you are considering a career in applied research, you will want to take courses in quantitative and qualitative research methods as well as a significant amount of computer related work within the Department. In any case, you will be most marketable if your background includes a strong empirical knowledge base and critical thinking skills, as well as advanced research and writing abilities.

Students who major in sociology have also been successful in graduate programs in fields such as business, law, education, public policy, public administration, social work, urban planning and even sociology. The Web sites of the American Sociological Association (A.S.A.) and the Eastern Sociological Society provide further information on how to make the most of your undergraduate education. The A.S.A. site also includes guidance on applying for graduate school as well as discussions of the various career opportunities open to those who have studied sociology.

Last modified: Oct 13, 2011

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