Study Human Behavior in Groups with Sociology Degrees

Sociology is a career field devoted to human and group interaction. Individuals interested in cultures, social development and organizational structure likely would enjoy an online degree in sociology. Skills learned from online sociology degree programs include recognition of sociological patterns, research practices and reporting on one's findings.

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Sociology Degree Information

Certificates and associate degrees are available in sociology, along with bachelor's degrees, master's degrees and doctorates. A bachelor's degree with a major in sociology usually follows a typical four-year undergraduate track, although some students may complete the degree earlier than this. Students with bachelor's degrees in sociology may continue for a higher degree in sociology or may pursue graduate work in some other discipline.

Study Options

Students can attend a traditional four-year university with sociology as their major to earn a B.A. in the discipline. They may also choose to earn a certificate or associate's degree in order to prepare themselves for the bachelor's program or to qualify for some entry-level work. Certification courses and associate degrees are often taken as continuing education distance learning programs online. Once earning the B.A., students will be eligible for two-year master's programs or three- to five-(or more) year doctoral programs in sociology.

Advanced Degrees

Those who move on to graduate study in sociology should prepare for more intensive research and writing. Master's students will usually be required to produce a thesis of original research, while doctoral candidates will be expected to produce a dissertation with research that represents a unique contribution to the field of sociology.

Master's Degrees

Students pursuing master's degrees in sociology will not only learn further about the disparate cultures that populate our world, they will learn advanced methods of analyzing data about these cultures. Students will study more advanced statistical and research methods and will conduct more and more complex research.

Doctoral Programs

Students may take on the requirements for a doctorate in sociology directly from undergraduate work or after a master's program. Doctoral candidates will do even more original research in the field of sociology, often focusing on a particular culture or sub field of interest that they will have developed in their undergraduate or masters program. Successful completing of the Ph.D. in sociology qualifies the student to teach sociology at the university level.

Choosing A Degree

Sociology programs are optimal for students who enjoy writing and research, since this discipline tends to be heavy in both areas. Those who have an interest in examining foreign and familiar cultures and how these cultures interacted, then using those findings to predict future behavior and facilitate future interactions are likely to do well in sociology.

Career Opportunities

Sociologists can find positions in government agencies, particularly ones dealing with servicing specific groups of people, business, helping corporations understand consumer trends and meet consumer needs. They may work with the prison system, helping design more effective incarceration and rehabilitation methods. Sociologists may also become counselors, educators, researchers or some combination of these.

Earning Potential

The median income for sociologists in 2006 was $60,290. Some federally employed social scientists with only a bachelor's degree could start out earning as much as $35,572 in 2007, $43,731 with a master's degree.

Getting Your Degree Online

Associate's degrees, certifications, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees in sociology or related fields are all available from accredited universities online. An accredited online university can be your best choice if you are a continuing education student whose obligations do not permit full time in-school attendance, or if you feel that distance learning is simply more appropriate to your specific education needs. These degrees can often be completed more quickly than a sociology degree from a traditional institution, and can qualify a student for job and higher education opportunities similar to those offered students who have attended a traditional degree program.

Getting Your Degree Offline

Most liberal arts colleges and universities offer a bachelor's program with a major in sociology that can completed in four years. Students at top brick-and-mortar colleges and universities will have access to professors who are experts in the field of sociology who they can consult with about their courses and how to proceed with their program. Attending a live university also gives the student the opportunity to immerse him or herself in academic culture in general and his or her discipline specifically. Successful completion of the bachelors program can lead to master's and doctoral degree programs at the same institution or another quality brick-and-mortar college or university, which in turn can lead to a top career in the field of sociology or a related field, such as political science, law, psychology or history.

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Sociology Degree FAQs

What Can I Do with an Online Sociology Degree ?

Not surprisingly, a number of sociology graduates become sociologists. Sociologists work at government agencies, corporations, prisons, hospitals and research facilities. Job requirements may include analyzing consumer trends, research, writing reports and consulting. Other popular professions for individuals earning an online degree in sociology include teacher, professor, urban planner and market survey researcher.

What Topics of Study Are Covered in an Online Sociology Degree Program?

Sociology degree programs focus heavily on the various branches within social science. These include psychology, economics, philosophy, history, languages and humanities. Business-related courses may include topics such as consumer behavior, marketing and organizational behavior. Upper level classes focus on refining research skills and critical thinking.

What Skills Are Necessary to Succeed in an Online Sociology Degree Program?

The ability to express one's thoughts in both written and oral form are excellent skills for any sociologist. A strong eye for detail and the ability to find connections in seemingly unrelated subjects is also beneficial. Enjoyment of writing and research is essential to careers related to the degree. A general interest in cultures, government and trends might also be helpful.

What Is the Average Salary of a Sociologist?

Students entering the job market with an online B.A. in Sociology can expect to earn approximately $35,000 annually. A master's degree raises an individual's initial expected salary to an estimated $43,731 per year.

The median income for all sociologists is approximately $60,290 per year. Specifically, the median salary of urban planners is $53,450 annually.

Online Sociology Degree Programs

Sociology degrees can be earned at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Associate's and certification are also available and tend to provide seamless integration into bachelor's level degree programs.

Typically, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology is the minimum education required to pursue an entry-level career in the subject. However, students often choose to continue their education at the post-graduate level, as career opportunities greatly increase following the completion of such programs.

Sociology Student Guide

Sociology is the study of society, tracking and analyzing how societies and individuals within societies interact. Sociologists do research on how groups are formed, interactions that take place within these groups and interactions that take place between different groups. Sociological research is used in organizational planning for business, public policy, education and law.

Sociology Books

Like many social sciences, sociology is a research intensive discipline and students will need to study a number of books to understand the various theories and ideas within sociology. Some books the student may encounter include Sociology by John J. Macionis, Essentials of Sociology: A Down to Earth Approach by James M. Henslin and Introduction to Sociology by Anthony Giddens, Mitchell Duneier, and Richard P. Appelbaum. A good source for sociology books can be found online at

Sociology Articles And Databases

During your study of sociology, you will need to reference many sociology articles in your research and writing. The best source for such articles can probably be found through your school's library. Links to sociology articles can also be found at the American Sociological Association's journal page at

Online Sociology Journals

Fortunately, a number of online sociology journals and resources can help you in your research. These include Sociological Research Online (, The Electronic Journal of Sociology ( and The Journal of Sociology Online (

Other Sociology Research Tools

The American Sociological Association ( is a very convenient resource for sociology research and information. The site not only has a bookstore and a link to journals and articles, it also contains a section for careers and jobs in sociology, information about current sociology initiatives, sociology news and more.

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