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2023 Sociology Degree Guide

Calling all social butterflies! We have the perfect major for you. Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. All about understanding "the big picture", this major provides a global perspective of how the social world works. Sociology is the systematic study of human social institutions and social relationships. Instead of viewing the world from one lens, you will be asked to analyze the world from diverse perspectives.

Classroom instruction includes social theory, sociological research methods, social organization and structure, social stratification and hierarchies, dynamics of social change, family structures, and social deviance and control. You will also study specific social groups, social institutions, and social problems.

Students will integrate findings from economics, political science, psychology and history into Sociology studies. You will learn how businesses work from a human relations standpoint, how politics work through the study of social movements, how communities create culture, religion, and family, and how societies create opportunities and perpetuate inequalities.

Sociology Degrees Growing in Popularity

#25 Most Popular Major
38.5k Degrees Awarded
1.7% Increase in Graduates

Sociology was the 25th most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 38,475 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 1.7% increase in sociology degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 37,807.

Our 2023 Best Sociology Schools ranking analyzes 570 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for sociology students. Explore this or one of our many other custom sociology rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Sociology
2023 Overall Best Sociology Colleges >

Best Sociology Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Sociology
Bachelor's Degrees in Sociology
Master's Degrees in Sociology
Doctorate Degrees in Sociology


Sociology Degree Requirements

This major is for those who are curious about cultures and how they work. A cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of how other cultures work and interact is helpful to this field. This is especially true regarding racial, ethnic, and gender differences in approaches to work. You should strive to be free of traditional stereotypes and embrace a global perspective of the world.

Sociology deals with the big picture questions about how humans interact. It helps to be able to draw meaning from numbers and facts. You will need to be able to interpret group behavior to make assessments about the group dynamic. In addition to analyzing human behavior, other abilities needed for a career in sociology include communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills.

Prior Education for a Sociology Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional sociology certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Types of Sociology Degrees

Sociology degree levels vary. You can get anything from a in sociology to the highest sociology degree, a . How long it takes to complete some common sociology degree levels is shown below.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to sociology, with approximately 34.2% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for sociology workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 33.4%
Doctoral Degree 33.0%
Master’s Degree 27.2%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 1.7%
High School Diploma 1.6%

60.6% of sociology workers have at least a master's. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in sociology have received.


This of course varies depending on which sociology career you choose.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In Sociology Graduate

Average Number of Jobs
$31.4k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Those who graduate from this program find jobs both within and outside the discipline. It usually requires a master's degree or more to secure a position with "sociologist" in the title. Sociology undergraduates work in an array of professional fields including business, education, government, law, media and public service. Some examples of job titles are consumer relations manager, public relations staffer, college placement worker, human rights officer, and resident planning aide.

Growth Projected for Sociology Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your sociology degree? Sociology careers are expected to grow 8.0% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to sociology.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Sociology Professors 19,600 9.5%
Sociologists 3,500 0.0%

Sociology Degree Salary Potential

Sociology graduates between 2017-2019 reported earning an average of $31,423 in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $17,643 to as high as $82,868. As you might expect, salaries for sociology graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Sociology Majors

Salaries for sociology graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers sociology grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Managers $115,590
Sociologists $90,290
Sociology Professors $83,310

Getting Your Sociology Degree

With over 2,122 different sociology degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased sociology school rankings to help you with this.

One of 12 majors within the Social Sciences area of study, Sociology has other similar majors worth exploring.

Sociology Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
Sociology 38,394
Applied/Public Sociology 49

View All Sociology Concentrations >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Political Science & Government 49,282
Economics 49,055
General Social Sciences 18,997
International Relations & National Security 14,306
Anthropology 11,415

View All Sociology Related Majors >


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