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Society and Social Life

Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious cults; from the divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from the sociology of work to the sociology of sports. In fact, few fields have such broad scope and relevance for research, theory, and application of knowledge.

Sociology provides many distinctive perspectives on the world, generating new ideas and critiquing the old. The field also offers a range of research techniques that can be applied to virtually any aspect of social life: street crime and delinquency, corporate downsizing, how people express emotions, welfare or education reform, how families differ and flourish, or problems of peace and war. Because sociology addresses the most challenging issues of our time, it is a rapidly expanding field whose potential is increasingly tapped by those who craft policies and create programs. Sociologists understand social inequality, patterns of behavior, forces for social change and resistance, and how social systems work. As the following pages convey, sociology is an exciting discipline with expanding opportunities for a wide range of career paths.

This booklet informs undergraduate students of the career opportunities that flow from a baccalaureate (BA/BS), master's (MA/MS), or doctoral (PhD) sociology degree, and includes information on:

  • sociology as a discipline and profession
  • sociological specialties
  • career preparation
  • job prospects for the sociology BA
  • the common core of sociological careers
  • graduate training in sociology
  • the current outlook for sociology
  • the American Sociological Association (ASA) and its resources.

      The booklet also highlights profiles of practicing sociologists and outlines the many benefits of student membership in ASA.
Green ArrowPreface
Green ArrowSociety and Social Life
Green ArrowSociology
Green ArrowSociology Specialities
Green ArrowCareer Preparation
Green ArrowJob Prospects
Green ArrowGraduate Training
Green ArrowCommon Core
Green ArrowAdapting to Change
Green ArrowLooking to the Future