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What to Consider When Choosing a Sociology Program

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Ronni Shaw in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream, Majoring in Sociology, on CollegeVine for more info.


What’s Covered:



How to Evaluate Sociology Programs


Students interested in studying sociology should do some research to better understand and compare the program options available to them


One way to do this is by calling a school and asking to speak to the chair of the sociology department. The department chair should be willing and happy to talk to you – if they are not, this is a sign of a poor sociology program. 


Additionally, students should look at the college’s website to get an idea of the courses offered within their sociology program. If there are only a few sociology classes listed, this is a red flag as there may not be enough course content to keep your interest for multiple years.


Another critical component of a strong sociology program is the existence of a placement or internship that is a graduation requirement for that major. Requirements like these can ensure that you get real professional experience within sociology, and are more marketable for future job and post-grad opportunities in the field.


How Joint Sociology Majors Work


Some colleges offer a joint major with both sociology and anthropology, or sociology and psychology, and often students wonder whether these options are better than just a sociology major. 


If you consider the definitions of sociology, anthropology, and psychology, you will notice that there are many similarities between the three disciplines. 


Thus, a dual sociology major with anthropology or psychology makes a lot of sense, and can add value beyond what would have been learned within just a sociology major. That said, neither a sociology major nor a joint sociology major is necessarily “better” than the other, but a joint major can provide a broader perspective and presents learners with another set of factors related to the human experience.


One thing to look out for here is joint sociology majors that are only combined because there are not enough sociology-specific professors available to create a separate major. Programs like this can lead to limited course options, and would not be a great fit for a student primarily interested in studying sociology. It’s important to look for schools that really care about their sociology programs, and the value that they bring to the academic community.


Standing Out As an Applicant


When applying to sociology programs, there are several things you can do to stand out as an applicant. The good news is that many of these actions coincide with things you may already be doing as you research different programs. 


One of the best ways to stand out is to call the universities that you are interested in, and make an effort to talk with professors. Doing this can strengthen you as an applicant, either by demonstrating interest to schools that consider it, or helping you articulate in your application specifically why you are so interested in a particular program.


This is a great thing to highlight during an admissions interview as it shows that you are highly interested in that school and that you have the confidence and take the initiative to call professors directly.


Career Pathways Related to Sociology


Studying sociology can prepare you for a variety of future career pathways. Some popular post-graduate pathways include nonprofit work, community organizing, and education.


Joint-sociology majors are especially useful when it comes to future job preparedness. For example, joint sociology and psychology majors can help prepare students to go into nonprofit work by teaching them to consider how individuals think, and process their personal circumstances. Depending on your particular career interest, combining sociology with another major can allow you to be an even stronger candidate for future job opportunities.


Sociology students interested in pursuing a career in academia as a professor can consider adding a minor. For instance, a minor in education can help sociology students gain experience in teaching and a better understanding of the systems in higher education. Additionally, sociology students who minor in statistics can be better prepared to support future undergraduate students as they navigate the statistical components of sociology.