Best Online Bachelor's Degrees in Sociology

Discover the top online bachelor's programs in sociology and learn about degree, in-person, and coursework requirements. Also, find out how to choose the right online sociology program for you and explore sociology-related careers. Schools offering Sociology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Best Online Sociology Bachelor's Degree Programs

To create our list of the best online bachelor's degree programs in sociology, we took into consideration a number of different factors, including total program cost, faculty strength, and flexibility. Below, you can explore the top schools that offer online sociology bachelor's degrees.

1. University of Nebraska at Kearney

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Kearney, NE $7,512 93%

The University of Nebraska at Kearney offers an online 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Sociology degree completion program, which requires students to have already earned an associate degree or have completed their general education coursework. This online program features classes on the following subjects:

  • Social psychology
  • Sociological research
  • Social inequality

Students can then choose from elective courses, such as the sociology of work, criminology, or sociology of gender among others. For the 2019-2020 academic year, in-state students paid just $261 per credit for online undergraduate classes, while out-of-state students paid $396.

2. University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
North Dartmouth, MA $13,921 93%

The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth's online Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Anthropology requires 120 total credits and offers an additional concentration in sociology. Students get free tutoring, one-on-one advising throughout their educational career and the chance to complete internship or field inquiry experience. The price per 3-credit course for online undergraduate courses is $996 for all students, regardless of residency status.

3. South Dakota State University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Brookings, SD $8,764 92%

South Dakota State University has an online 120-credit Bachelor of Science in Sociology degree program with core courses in sociological theory, investigating the social world, and research methods plus sociology-related electives. A capstone course, which includes an original research project that consists of a literature review, statistical testing, and research questions, is also required. The school also allows students to complete a practical experience within the program and allows students to transfer life experience for credits.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, general undergraduate students paid $351.25 per credit for online programs.

4. Oregon State University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Corvallis, OR $11,166 86%

Oregon State University's 180-quarter credit online sociology program can lead to a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree. This online program offers students the opportunity to specialize their sociology degree in one of the following areas:

  • Crime and Justice
  • Environmental and Natural Resources

In the crime and justice specialization, students take classes on the sociology of drug use, juvenile delinquency, and deviant behavior. In the environmental and natural resources specialization, students take a range of courses that center on such subjects as rural sociology, population trends, and environmental sociology. These classes are taught by the same renowned faculty who teach on-campus. Students in both specializations get to participate in a real-world internship, which can be in their local community. During the 2019-2020 academic year, all students, no matter their residency status, paid $309 per credit for this online program.

5. Wichita State University

Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
Wichita, KS $8,270 89%

Wichita State University offers an online Bachelor of General Studies degree program that allows students to specialize in sociology. This flexible online program requires students to complete general education coursework and 33 credit hours within the sociology major area. As such, students can tailor their course of study based on their interests, and all students get a one-on-one online academic advisor. Tuition here is just $328.62 per credit.

Rank School Name Location Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (in-state) % Receiving Financial Aid
6 Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY $10,512 96%
7 Nicholls State University Thibodaux, LA $7,952 95%
8 Fort Hays State University Hays, KS $5,130 98%
9 University of Northern Colorado Greeley, CO $9,918 93%
10 University of Colorado Colorado Springs Colorado Springs, CO $8,523 84%
11 The University of Texas of the Permian Basin Odessa, TX $6,260 91%
12 Central Washington University Ellensburg, WA $8,072 90%
13 Washington State University Pullman, WA $11,584 90%
14 Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ $11,564 94%
15 California State University-Chico Chico, CA $7,608 76%
16 Sam Houston State University Huntsville, TX $8,296 89%
17 University of Memphis Memphis, TN $9,317 98%
18 University of Florida Gainesville, FL $6,381 93%
19 University of Nebraska at Omaha Omaha, NE $7,790 87%
20 Troy University Troy, AL $8,908 94%
21 University of North Carolina at Pembroke Pembroke, NC $3,418 93%
22 University of Louisville Louisville, KY $11,656 97%
23 Madonna University Livonia, MI $21,900 99%
24 Adams State University Alamosa, CO $9,440 95%
25 Arkansas State University-Main Campus Jonesboro, AR $8,607 97%

All statistics provided by the National Center for Education Statistics, tuition based on 2018-2019 school year

Learn.org's school ranking methodology categorizes and assesses data from schools and other reliable sources, such as the U.S. Department of Education, and weighs the information based on quality, cost, value and other factors critical to students' academic decisions.

Overview of Online Sociology Bachelor's Degree Programs

Sociology is a field that centers on the study of human society, interaction, and behavior. In these programs, students examine the ways that humans behave in large and small groups and explore how communities and individuals are shaped by gender, class, and other factors.

Generally, online bachelor's degree programs in sociology are 100% online, though a limited number of programs may require or make optional real-world internships or field placements that give students experience in a professional setting. Many programs offer part- and full-time attendance options for students and some programs have rolling admissions so that students can choose a start date that is convenient for them.

Typically, online bachelor's degree programs in sociology require a total of 120 total credits. Students are expected to complete a range of general education coursework in mathematics, composition, the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. Students then do core and elective courses within the sociology major.

Full-time students who are incoming freshmen can expect to earn their online bachelor's degree in sociology in about 4 years. Those with previous college credit or an associate degree can most likely earn their degree in less than 4 years, depending on their university's transfer credit and prior learning credit policies.

Common Courses Online Sociology Bachelor's Degree Programs

The coursework in online sociology bachelor's programs usually includes the study of common sociology topics, and exact coursework depends on the focus of the degree program or if the program offers concentrations. Although course titles vary by institution, below are some examples of common courses and subjects for sociology programs:

Introduction to Sociology

This is an introductory course designed to give students a solid foundation in sociology, including the study of how social systems and groups develop and form, the study of group life and culture, and the way society influences human behavior.

Sociological Theory

This course covers the different theories and approaches to sociological study and thought. Students learn about the leading theories within the field, including classical and modern theorists.

Rural Sociology

Students study rural cultures, societies, and communities, including population trends and compositions. Along with exploring the way rural communities are organized, students also examine how rural areas interact with and affect cities and urban areas.

Social Problems

Courses in social problems center on the study of issues within contemporary society. Students examine a range of issues, such as racism, economic limitations and poverty, mental health problems, sexism, and ageism, and many programs touch on current actions and policies that address these problems.

Environment Sociology

This course explores environmental issues within a sociological context and how environments influence society and vice versa. Students also learn about the relationship between society and the environment, including how technology, political policies, and social movements affect the environment.

Sociology of Family

This is a course that focuses on the study of traditional and non-traditional family units. Students examine how different factors, such as class and culture, have influenced family structure. They also study related topics to family, including marriage, sex, the role of women, and kinship systems.

How to Choose an Online Sociology Bachelor's Program

Since there are numerous online bachelor's degree programs in sociology, it can be difficult for students to know where to begin their search. To help you narrow down your choices, you must consider several factors, including the concentrations a program offers, the total cost of earning your degree and transfer credit policies.

Concentrations

While most online sociology bachelor's programs have a general focus on sociology, several programs allow students to specialize their sociology degree within one area in the field. If you have a specific interest or career goal, then you may want to choose a program that allows you to study that area in-depth.

Below are examples of concentration areas that are offered in some online sociology bachelor's programs.

  • Community Health - This area focuses on public health issues and policies in a sociological context.
  • Crime and Justice - Concentrations like this connect the fields of criminal justice, crime, and public policy to sociological concepts and theories.
  • Environmental and Natural Resources -This specialization focuses on the study of how physical environments affect society and individuals with an emphasis on public environmental policy and education.
  • Social Deviance - This is the study of abnormal social behaviors, such as abuse, drug addiction, and violence.
  • Public Policy - Public policy concentrations emphasize the study of public policies, such as social programs, voting rights, and workplace policies, through a sociological framework.
  • Education - This area centers on the study of educational practices and methods through a sociological lens.

Cost

You should also consider the total cost of earning your degree, including tuition price and additional fees. Typically, the tuition for online sociology bachelor's programs can range from $250 to $400 per credit, with out-of-state students sometimes having to pay more than their in-state peers. For a 120-credit program, the total tuition price would then range from around $30,000 to $50,000. However, your program could cost less or more, and some universities base their tuition price on a per semester flat rate.

On top of your tuition price, most universities also charge additional fees that can range from $10 to $300. Fees might be charged only once or on a per-semester basis. Some fee examples include technology fees, library fees, and online course fees.

Be sure to contact programs to get a sense of the total cost of earning your degree.

Transfer Credits

If you have previous college credit, you'll also want to consider a university's transfer credit policy when choosing an online sociology program. Some universities limit the number of credits you can transfer and most universities also require that you complete a set number of credits at their university or within your program of study.

Universities also sometimes accept credit for prior learning experiences, which could include:

  • Continuing education courses
  • Job training
  • Community service
  • Certifications
  • Military/law enforcement training

Usually, students must put together a portfolio that documents their prior learning experiences.

Accreditation for Online Sociology Bachelor's Program

Accreditation assures students that their school or program is meeting high academic standards. To achieve accreditation, both schools and programs must meet independent standards that center on student outcomes, faculty credentials, and resources offered to students.

Regional Accreditation

Regional accreditation for universities is done through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), which is an agency that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education. The CHEA approves organizations that offer accreditation to schools in a geographic region.

When choosing a university, look for it to be accredited by one of the below organizations:

  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Only students who attend an accredited university can receive federal financial aid.

Program Accreditation

The Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology (CAPACS) is an organization that accredits undergraduate and graduate clinical sociology programs. To achieve accreditation, a program must have a curriculum that covers sociological theory, ethics, and knowledge, must meet student outcome standards and must offer a practical internship opportunity.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Online Sociology Bachelor's Programs

When researching ways to help finance your online sociology degree, your first step should be filling out the U.S. Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application will inform you about the types of federal aid you qualify for. Additionally, you can search for scholarships from sociology organizations and your university.

Federal Aid

There are several kinds of federal financial aid, including loans, which you will have to pay back after you finish your education. The U.S. Department of Education offers Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans to undergraduate students.

Parents of dependent undergraduate students can also be eligible for Direct PLUS Loans.

There are also Federal Pell Grants, which are awards that don't usually need to be paid back.

You could also participate in a work-study program, which allows you to work on- or off-campus and earn a paycheck that you can use to help offset your educational costs.

Scholarships

Scholarships are available from a range of sources, such as sociology organizations, non-profits, and your university.

Below are examples of scholarships for undergraduate sociology students:

  • Udall Undergraduate Scholarship - From the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation, this scholarship offers up to $7,000 for students who aim to work on social, health, or environmental issues in Indian country.
  • Undergraduate Student Paper Competition - From Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Sociology Honor Society, this is a $500 first-place award with extra money for travel expenses to attend the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association for the best paper on a sociology topic. You must be an honor society member to win.
  • Ryan Reaves Scholarship for Online Undergraduates - From the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, for a UMass student who is enrolled in an online degree program, such as sociology.
  • Kayongo-Male Family Scholarship - From South Dakota State University, this is for a full-time, undergraduate sociology major at this university who has shown leadership and academic excellence.

Job Options with a Sociology Bachelor's Degree

Sociology graduates work in a range of areas, such as law enforcement, business, and education. Examples of job titles include:

  • Public policy analyst
  • Employment recruiter
  • Victim's rights advocate
  • Grant writer

Sociologist

Sociologists conduct research, such as surveys, data gathering, and interviews, to study and understand social problems and social behavior. They usually specialize in one topic, which could be crime, ethnic relations, or education.

To become a sociologist, you will need to go on and earn a master's degree or a Ph.D. With only a bachelor's degree, you may be able to find an entry-level job in the field, however. Volunteer work and internships can help boost your job prospects as well.

  • Median 2018 Annual Salary: $82,050
  • Projected 2018-2028 Growth Rate: 9%

Human Resources Specialist

Human resources specialists are employee relations experts who recruit, interview and hire employees. They also help onboard new employees and can sometimes manage payroll and benefits programs.

Human resources specialists need a bachelor's degree in human resources or a related field.

  • Median 2018 Annual Salary: $60,880
  • Projected 2018-2028 Growth Rate: 5%

Training and Development Specialist

Training and development specialists are responsible for creating programs that help employees develop specific skills and knowledge needed for their jobs. To accomplish this, training and development specialists conduct research, determine where gaps in skills and knowledge are, and create learning materials. They also lead training sessions.

Training and development specialists should have a bachelor's degree.

  • Median 2018 Annual Salary: $60,870
  • Projected 2018-2028 Growth Rate: 9%

Salary information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2018

Professional Organizations for Sociology

Several sociology organizations promote the sociology field and support those working in sociology careers. These organizations also offer students career and educational resources.

American Sociological Association (ASA)

ASA is the leading non-profit organization in the field of sociology. Along with producing journals and research, ASA works to support sociology faculty, offers grants and scholarships to students and professionals, and has career resources. With a paid membership to ASA, you can access ASA publications and teaching resources, participate in a student forum, and get numerous discounts.

The Association for Humanist Sociology (AHS)

AHS is an organization that works within a humanist framework to promote social justice, equality, and peace. AHS holds an annual meeting and also produces a newsletter and a research journal. As a paid member, you get a free subscription to their publications and a discount on your conference registration.

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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