What Is Sociology? What Can I Do with It?

The field of sociology studies virtually every aspect of human society: the family, gender, race and ethnic relations, aging, education, work, population, and many others. Its principle goal as a discipline is to understand the workings of human society and to explain social behavior. Although sociologists do study what are commonly regarded as social problems—crime, drug addiction, and poverty, for example—they also examine fundamental social processes present in any society: social change, conflict and inequality.

Studying sociology as an undergraduate major is an excellent way to prepare for entry-level work or graduate school in various fields. New graduates have found opportunities in the fields of social policy, law, criminal justice, social science research, human resources, organizational and non-profit management, education, environmental policy and research, advocacy, and social work to name a few. Students interested in continuing their education at the graduate level have successfully enrolled in law school, business school, social work and public policy graduate programs, as well as continuing on to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology. The Sociology degree offers a multitude of opportunities and an excellent introduction to American society, social science research & demography, and international issues. Find out which famous people received their degrees in Sociology.

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Each fall, the Sociology department offers a one credit Career Seminar (SOCIOL 497D - Next Steps: Preparing for Life After UMass) to help Juniors and Seniors prepare for life after college. The department sponsors interdisciplinary certificates in Criminology and The Criminal Justice System, Population Studies, Social Work/Social Welfare, and Social Research Analysis. Participation in these programs is open to majors and non-majors alike.