What Is Sociology?

People who major in sociology can choose one of many different career paths, including researching, teaching, or counseling. Sociology is one of several social sciences. Sociology examines people - their behavior and the reasons behind it. Schools offering Sociology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Studying Human Behavior

Sociology studies human behavior using certain scientific principles and techniques. According to the American Sociological Association (ASA, www.asanet.org), social life, changes, and causes are all a part of this study. Sociologists examine different groups of people, including religious groups, students from a specific university, criminals, and families to determine how they interact with one another and with others. These behaviors are analyzed to draw conclusions about different cultures and peoples. Some aspects of humanity and culture that sociology examines include:

  • Gender
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Family
  • Social class
  • Age
  • Political institutions
  • Religious institutions

Important Facts About the Sociology Field

Entry-Level Education Master's Degree
Degrees Bacherlor's in Sociology; Master's in Sociology
Possible Careers Sociologist; Case Worker; Non-Profit Manager; Health Advocate; Community Organizer
Median Salary (2018) $82,050 (for sociologists)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 1% (for sociologists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Human Behavior Analysis

In addition to studying different groups of people, the study of sociology analyzes how different categories and institutions affects human behavior, according to Dartmouth College. Where people fit in these groups (high class or low class, aged 82 or 11, male or female, or Latin American or European) affects their behavior and interactions with others in the group and society at large. The ASA adds that this careful study of humanity provides different perspectives on the world, which affords a look at how the world and humans change over time. For instance, the way women were, and sometimes still are, viewed influenced women's rights and the feminist movement. Sociology examines how women were treated, what made women do something about it and how culture and society has changed because of it. Other social realities are also tested to develop theories about how our culture has evolved and will continue to do so. These include:

  • Nature vs. nurture
  • Causes for divorce
  • The growing rate of failed marriages
  • Rape
  • Teenage pregnancy
  • Crime
  • Poverty

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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