Sociology is the study of social life and social change, as well as the social causes, conditions and consequences of human behavior.
Sociologists investigate distinctive perspectives on the world, generating new ideas and critiquing old ones. Almost everything we do, from our own private reflections to international conflict, is done either directly or indirectly, through and with others. Sociologists study such areas as:
- smoking, sports, sexuality and terrorism
- anger, frustration, fear, love and happiness
- street crime and delinquency
- birth, life and death
Sociologists understand social inequality, patterns of behavior, forces for social change and resistance and how social systems work. Since Sociology examines human behavior - the field of research and theory is vast and applicable to virtually any aspect of social life!
What do Sociology Majors do? Students majoring in Sociology generally follow one of three career orientations relating to their eventual career:
- A professional orientation is for those seeking a sociology major as preparation for attending professional graduate schools in such fields as law, medicine, architecture, business, clergy or public administration.
- The graduate sociology orientation is for students planning to pursue graduate study in sociology as preparation for a career in teaching, pure or applied research or clinical practice in sociology.
- Immediate Career Orientation is for those expecting to seek employment immediately upon graduation. Several career paths are available: criminal justice with jobs in probation and parole; police and corrections; FBI; private investigations; IRS; Security, etc. International/cross cultural with jobs in Peace Corps; International Relations/Foreign Affairs; International Assistance Organizations/International Business, etc. Sociological practice/human services with jobs in vocational counseling; rehabilitation; recreation; health services; etc. Business/industry with jobs in management; accounting, finance and investment; personnel; marketing, etc. Social action/social change with jobs in community organization; religious work; political advocacy, etc.
A student's orientation should guide his or her choice of electives in the major and the choice of a minor field, as well as consideration of an internship. These three orientations can be easily conceptualized in the form of a diagram.