Sociology is the study of how individuals relate to society and vice versa. It covers the concepts of group dynamics, unspoken social codes, and patterns of behavior on local, national, and global scales. Sociology studies how societies change over time, how social order develops, and sources of conflict in societies. The typical college sociology class covers topics like racial and ethnic identities, family units, and consequences of change within various social structures. In short, sociology is about what makes societies work and what makes them break down. Sociology classes cover information that is relevant to people in any field of study.
Careers for Those with Degrees in Sociology
While you probably don't know anyone whose job title is "Sociologist," you probably do know something about careers that many sociology majors choose. People with degrees in sociology may work with organizations that care for women and children in abusive situations, they may go on to law school and become lawyers, or they may work with at-risk youth in various school and other organizations. Some sociology majors have careers in law enforcement, while others may go to work for national or international human rights organizations. And some sociology majors enjoy the field enough to pursue doctorates and go into sociological research or teaching.
Types of Sociology Classes
An introductory college sociology course covers topics like historical eras in society, the basics of social groups, race relations, and basic social norms. Higher level sociology courses cover research methods in sociology and the types of statistics used in sociological studies. Junior and senior level sociology classes cover links among social structures and cultures, the effects of war and international conflicts, crime, poverty, and environmental destruction. Your school may have sociology classes about cultural diversity, social inequality, and the study of minority populations, or it may have courses about aging, demographics, social support networks, or how aging family members affect other people in the family.
Why Sociology is a Great Humanities Elective
Most college students are required to take a certain number of classes in the humanities and social sciences. Sociology is a great choice for those who are required to satisfy humanities and social science requirements. After all, whether you become a teacher, physician, or engineer, you will be part of society, and it is important that you have a basic understanding of how society functions. Sociology courses are particularly valuable to those going into the helping professions like nursing and social work.
Succeeding in Your College Sociology Course
With freshman-level sociology courses, you probably won't need to have any mathematical skills beyond basic probability and statistics. You will, however, have to read extensively, and you may have to write term papers or do a course project. The key to success is keeping up with the work. If you fall behind, you can't get the most from your lecture or discussion sections, and will have a harder time preparing for exams. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you're having difficulty. Most schools have free tutoring, and your instructors will have regular office hours for meeting with students who need help.
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