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Last Updated: September 20, 2022

Studying Sociology

Sociology is one of the popular liberal arts programs with around 37,700 degrees being awarded every year. There are around 3.83 million people in the workforce from this field of study. The locations with the highest number of sociology degrees being awarded are Los Angeles, New York, and Isla Vista. Candidates generally take a bachelor's degree in the field with a focus on one of the different specializations. Those who take a master’s degree in the field often also take a doctoral degree in the subject and move forward with research.

Candidates who take this program will be able to specialize in different subfields of sociology. Since plenty of universities often offer stellar programs in this field of study, most candidates prefer choosing universities based on the specializations they offer. They will also be able to choose specific cities they want to be in before choosing the best program offered for sociology in the city.

Benefits of Studying Sociology

Since sociology is an interdisciplinary study in itself focusing on different perspectives, candidates often do well in this field if they travel for the same. Understanding global perspectives, cultures, and even languages can contribute to achieving excellent results in the field. Studying sociology in the US will allow students to mingle with international students, their viewpoints, and their cultures which will be highly beneficial for all of them. A few other benefits to consider include-

Eligibility Requirements for Sociology Programs

The eligibility requirements for sociology programs are not considered to be as unattainable when compared to professional degrees. Candidates will have to check the eligibility requirements for their particular university since it is dependent on the university itself and even on the level of degree one is planning to take. A few of the general requirements that one will have to meet for all sociology programs are-

Fee for Programs in Sociology

The fee for sociology programs is dependent on the type of institution the candidate is attending and the level of the program they have applied for. The tuition at a public institution will be comparatively lower than that of a private university with fee differences for in-state and out-of-state candidates. Candidates who are residents of the state will have to pay a lower tuition fee when compared to non-residents. The fee at private institutions will be the same for all candidates.

The median in-state tuition fee is around $7,000 at public institutions and the median out-of-state tuition at private institutions is around $37,500. While the tuition at private institutions has an estimated increase of 4.73%, the fee for in-state candidates at public institutions has remained the same for a while.

Duration for Programs in Sociology

The duration of sociology programs depends on the level of education one has applied for. An associate’s degree in the field will have a duration of 2 years whereas a bachelor’s degree in the subject will have a duration of 4 years. A master’s program will have a duration of 2 years and a doctoral program will have a duration of 3 to 5 years depending on the institution.
Associate Degree2 years60 Credits
Bachelor’s Degree4 years120 Credits
Master’s Degree2 years30-60 Credits
Doctoral Degree3-5 years120 Credits

Types of Sociology Degrees

Candidates will be able to take four different degrees in this field each of them at different levels. The most popularly taken program in the field is the bachelor’s degree which has a duration of 4 years in all. But candidates who do not have the time to invest in a 4-year program, opt for an associate’s degree in the same which can be completed in 2 years. The details regarding the different degrees are as follows-

Associate’s Degree in Sociology

An associate’s degree in sociology is one of the lowest degrees one can take in the field with a duration of only 2 years. It comprises 60 credits in all and candidates will be dealing with the fundamental concepts of the subject. These fundamental concepts include culture, inequality, social stratification, etc.

Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology

A bachelor’s degree in the field will have a duration of 4 years and depending on the university one has enrolled at, candidates will be able to take up different specializations in the field based on which they will be able to follow up their education by taking a master’s. This program will have a credit requirement of 120 credits.

Master’s Degree in Sociology

A master’s degree in the subject will have a duration of 2 years and candidates will have the option of specializing in fields like environmental sociology, criminal studies in sociology, globalization, historical sociology, etc. It will have a credit requirement of 30-60 credits based on the institution.

Doctoral Degree in Sociology

Candidates who have completed their master’s degree will be able to pursue further research in the field by taking a doctoral program in the subject. A doctoral program will have a credit requirement of 120 credits including core subjects and thesis submission. The duration of the program will be dependent on the candidate and their ability to submit their thesis and defense on time. This can take anywhere between 3 to 5 years for course completion.

Specializations in Sociology

While the core subjects in this field will include sociological theory, social problems, social movements, etc. Most programs will also require candidates to take up internships and concentrations in the field based on their interests. A few of the popular specializations include-

Economic Sociology

This specialization deals with the consequences of economic exchanges in the world including the social interactions they aid or avoid. According to this field, social processes can be produced and reproduced based on material conditions.

Gender and Sexuality

Through this specialization, candidates will be looking at classical and contemporary theories of sociology from the perspective of gender and sexuality. They will be learning about the impact of gender and sexuality on societies around the globe.


This is one of the most popular and commonly chosen specializations in sociology with candidates dealing with micro-, meso-, and macro-level processes that interact and transform social structures. This subfield can be placed in contexts like financial systems, democratization, education, biotech, etc.

Historical Sociology

This specialization deals with the history of sociology and the historical perspectives of both social and political processes. Candidates will be studying aspects like state formation, religion, politics, culture, law, etc. through historical and ethnographic perspectives.

Political Sociology

The main aspects that are dealt with in political sociology include topics like power and authority. Candidates will be learning about different power structures and systems including those in a state and civil society. With this knowledge, they will be learning to read different political phenomena.

Race, Ethnicity, & Migration

This specialization when offered in institutions in the US will deal with racial and ethnic issues relating to stratification and discrimination. The problems faced by immigrants and their family systems in assimilating to the country will be part of this study.

Top Universities for Sociology

A few of the best universities for taking a sociology degree are-
University of California, BerkeleyBerkeley, CA
Harvard UniversityCambridge, MA
Princeton UniversityPrinceton, NJ
University of Michigan, Ann ArborAnn Arbor, MI
Stanford UniversityStanford, CA
University of California, Los AngelesLos Angeles, CA
Northwestern UniversityEvanston, IL
University of ChicagoChicago, IL
University of North Carolina- Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC
University of Wisconsin, MadisonMadison, WI

Career Options for Sociology Graduates

Candidates who have completed their education in sociology will be able to pursue their careers in community organizations, universities, the public sector, etc. The most common occupations in the field are lawyers, judges, & magistrates, other judicial workers, school teachers, college professors, etc. The average wage in the workforce is estimated to be around $99,000 per year with a variation of +/-$1,500.

Since it is a liberal arts degree, candidates often take up this field at an undergraduate level before moving on to specialized fields like law, medicine, etc. This increases their career potential within their eventual fields since they gain basic work skills from studying sociology

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