Adapted from the American Sociological Association's website
A Valuable Preparation
A degree in sociology is an excellent springboard for entering the world of business, industry, and organizations. The sociological perspective is crucial for working in today's multiethnic and multinational business environment
An undergraduate sociology major provides valuable insights into social factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, education, and social class that affect work and how organizations operate.
An advanced degree specializing in the sociology of work, occupations, labor, and organizations can lead to teaching, research, and applied roles.
Many applied fields are grounded in sociological theories and concepts. Sociological research influences the way we think about work and organizational life, and enables us to discover new knowledge. Sociology is a valuable preparation for careers in modern organizational settings.
Prospects for the B.A. in Sociology
Students who graduate with a B.A. or B.S. in sociology and enter the job market directly will find themselves competing with other liberal arts students, but with an advantage--knowledge of key social factors and a firm grasp on research design and methods. This advantage of the B.A. sociology program provides breadth and the potential for adaptability.
Although few occupations include "sociologist" in their title at the bachelor's level, the sociological perspective is excellent preparation for a wide variety of occupations. You should look for an entry-level job, gain experience through internships, and watch for opportunities of specialized training or advanced education.
If you are approaching graduation (or have recently graduated) and are seeking a job in the business world, focus on general areas of interest that motivate you. Sociology majors who are interested in organizational theory gravitate toward organizational planning, development, and training. Those who study the sociology of work and occupations may pursue careers in human resources management (personnel) and industrial relations. Students who especially enjoy research design, statistics, and data analysis seek positions in marketing, public relations, and organizational research. Courses in economic and political sociology, cultural diversity, racial and ethnic relations, and social conflict can lead to positions in international business.
Regardless of your career path, the breadth of your preparation as a liberal arts major is very important.
For information on what Berkeley students have done with their undergraduate degree in Sociology after graduation, visit the Career Center web-site on "What I Can do with a Major In Sociology". Also helpful is the Career Center "Connecting Career Majors to Careers" resources.
Suggested courses include:
- Introductory Sociology
- Social Problems
- Social Psychology
- Social Statistics
- Research Methods
More specialized sociology courses:
- Industrial Sociology
- Sociology of Work
- Sociology of Occupations and Professions
- Sociology of Organizations/Bureaucracy
- Sociology of Race Relations/Cultural Diversity
- Sociology of Sex and Gender
- Labor (or Industrial) Relations
- Industrial Psychology
- Personnel Management
- Public Speaking
- Business and Technical Writing
With this spectrum of courses, sociology majors successfully compete for entry level positions in the private sector. You may wish to combine a major in sociology with a major in computer science, business management, or pre-law in order to broaden the impact of your degree.
Corporate interviewers are looking for applicants who display purpose and commitment to their future occupation. This does not mean that B.A. graduates will be hired as industrial sociologists, but that applicants may be considered for junior positions in corporate research, human resources, management, sales, or public relations.
Interviewers will seek to determine if applicants can easily adapt to organizational life in the private sector. In particular, this means the ability to work well with others as part of a team. Employers value graduates who have a keen understanding of the impact of cultural, racial, and gender diversity in the workplace, and who comprehend the global nature of business and industry.
During the job search, B.A./B.S. sociology graduates should stress their work and internship experience, analytical skills, oral and written communication skills, computer literacy, and knowledge of statistics and research design.
Those who are determined to succeed will be at an advantage. Ambition, drive, and competition are positive words in the world of business and organizations.
Tips for the job search...
- Acquire a broad educational background
- Gain experience through jobs, internships, and volunteer work
- Obtain skills in public speaking, writing, and computer applications
- Focus on an area that interests you (for example., human resources, industrial relations, management, marketing, public relations, or sales) and learn as much as you can before applying for positions.