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Careers in Sociology

What can I do with a degree in sociology?

Sociology, generally speaking, is the study of human society.  This involves the systematic analysis of the behavior and social lives of people, groups, and societies, which spans a diverse range of substantive topics.  From this description, though, it may not be readily apparent what you can actually do in the workforce with an undergraduate degree in sociology.  Indeed, if you use the search term “sociology” in a job bank, you may not come up with many matches.  However, sociology as a discipline can provide you with both a way of thinking about the world and a set of skills which can enable you to systematically analyze the world around you, both of which are highly sought after in the workplace. 

Sociology can help expand your thinking about how to understand the society in which we live and can teach you to think more effectively about how to engage with modern social problems.  One of the main skills gained with an education in sociology is critical thinking, especially about the way society functions and humans interact.  This is a highly prized skill in the social services, largely in the non-profit and public sectors, as well as in human resources, largely in the for-profit sector.  Many jobs nationwide and in the Houston area specifically are seeking educated job candidates who possess these skills.

Additionally, sociology, as a social science, includes an important statistics and methods training component, which teaches you to systematically gather, process, and report data.  In sociology, this is specific to data on human behavior and trends, which is in many ways more difficult data to obtain, measure, and analyze.  In the era of big data, these skills are more in demand than ever across all sectors of the economy.  You can take these skills into the workforce for careers in social science research, non-profit and government program evaluation, or for-profit marketing.

We also offer course credit for internships at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, which can facilitate career development and access to job opportunities.  These internships allow students to use their classroom training in a real-world setting and provide a format for students to practice and develop those skills.  Internships can also provide an avenue to make direct contact with potential employers or have a valuable extra line on your resume for when you start looking for a job. In fact, half of our undergraduate interns (50%) last semester received job offers from their internship placement agencies. For more information on undergraduate internship opportunities, see our website here.

You may also consider continuing your education through further graduate training.  This could open more opportunities across all of these various fields, especially those which require methods and data training, as many jobs now require advanced degrees.  In the Department of Sociology at the University of Houston, we offer a Master’s degree in sociology with a thesis and an internship track.

Many of the career options listed on our “Job Opportunities” webpage are expanded by having a master’s degree.  In our master’s degree program here at UH, we provide extended training in statistics, quantitative methods, and qualitative methods, as well as require students to pursue an internship project or an academic master’s thesis.  This additional training and skill development can make one a more desirable candidate on the job market.  Many job opportunities list a master’s degree as a preferred qualification or provide a higher pay grade for having one.  Additionally, certain career options are only available to those with an advanced degree.  For example, teaching positions in higher education (community college or university) typically require at least a master’s degree.  In addition, many social science research positions prefer candidates with at least a master’s degree and methodological training.  Please see our website for more details on the requirements for obtaining a master’s degree at UH.