Sociology: BS, BA
Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Since all human behavior is social, sociology topics cover an immensely broad range, including the causes and prevention of crime and juvenile delinquency, the development of sex roles, economic systems, educational systems, social inequality, effects of the environment on human behavior and social organization, the consequences of different patterns of population growth and settlement, and more.
Sociology is a social science. Sociologists use scientific methods to conduct research on the social world. These methods include in-depth interviews and ethnography (the study and recording of human cultures), conversational analysis, survey research, statistical analysis, and more. The results of sociological research help develop new theories and inform social policy, programs, and laws.
Since sociology is such a broad field, students have many career opportunities upon graduation. The skills developed in this major include research, communication, interpersonal skills, and more, which lead to successful careers for graduates.
Sociology majors desiring additional preparation for employment in the social services may complete a dual major in sociology and social work. With the help of advisors, students who will seek positions in other special areas could include appropriately related courses.
Students receive a BS by completing all required courses in the major. To receive a BA, students must gain proficiency in one or more foreign languages.
This is for the sociology teaching emphasis only. In order to obtain a secondary teaching license for grades 6-12, students must complete the 35-credit Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP), which includes one semester of student teaching in a public school. This program is administered by USU’s School of Teacher Education and Leadership (TEAL) within the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. Student must apply to the School of TEAL the semester before taking STEP courses. This is usually the fall of their junior year. Students learn subject content through the Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology Department, and spend the last year or two studying education techniques through the STEP program.
Since sociology is such a broad discipline, graduates can be employed in a wide variety of areas. Students who minor, take additional coursework, or pursue graduate studies in statistics, computer science, public administration, or business administration have greater marketability. The undergraduate program in sociology also provides excellent preparation for graduate school in sociology or law.
Students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree in sociology can also pursue the following careers:
- Substance-abuse counselor
- Workers’ advocate (working to ensure workers’ rights)
- Youth services provider (after-school programs, counseling, vocational training, organizing volunteer projects, sports and recreation, etc.)
- Market research
- Social science research
- Collecting survey information for lawmakers, administrators, and educators
- Data analyst or statistician for local and state governments
- Parole officer
- Juvenile probation officer
- Work for various nonprofit organizations
- Various community services (drug treatment programs, public housing service, health education, work with urban planners to determine and provide for community needs, aid to the poor, etc.)
Sociology Teaching Emphasis
Sociology teaching prepares students to teach sociology in secondary education.
Career Services provides counseling and information on hundreds of job and internship opportunities and even helps students apply and interview.
In addition to Utah State University’s admissions requirements, the sociology program has additional requirements:
- Freshmen: New freshmen admitted to USU in good standing qualify for admission to this major.
- Transfer students: Transfer students and students transferring from other USU majors need at least a 2.5 GPA for admission to this major, must be in good standing, and must have received at least a C in sociology 1010 or the equivalent.
STEP Requirements (sociology teaching emphasis only): In order to be accepted into STEP, students must go through an application process, which includes the following:
- Complete 60 semester credits with a minimum GPA of 2.75
- Complete certain core courses (see department for more information)
- Complete a speech and hearing test
- Pass the Teacher Education Writing Exam
- Provide an unofficial copy of your transcript
- Pass a criminal background check (this should be done one semester before submitting the application)
International students have additional admissions requirements.
Professional Organizations, Honor Societies, and Clubs
American Sociological Association: This association provides a unique set of services to its members by promoting the vitality, visibility, and diversity of the discipline. Working at the national and international levels, the association aims to articulate policy and implement programs likely to have the broadest possible impact for sociology now and in the future. The association is dedicated to advancing sociology as a scientific discipline and profession serving the public good. It also offers many interesting resources for those interested in sociology, which might help students determine whether to not to major in sociology.
Alpha Kappa Delta: This honor society seeks to acknowledge and promote excellence in the study of sociology, the research of social problems, and other social and intellectual activities that will improve the human condition. Students will learn more about career options, listen to guest speakers, and make connections with professors and other important members of the sociological community.
Labs, Centers, Research
With the second oldest undergraduate research program in the nation, USU offers students a wide range of opportunities to gain hands-on research experience. USU’s Honors Program prepares students for excellent graduate programs by helping them build relationships with professors, participate in research projects, take smaller, more intensive classes, and develop leadership skills.
Institute for Social Science Research on Natural Resources: This is an interdisciplinary laboratory that promotes training in natural resource and environmental sociology. As with the Population Research Laboratory, research at the ISSRNR is coordinated with undergraduate and graduate degrees and is among the strongest programs at USU and in the country.
Population Research Laboratory: This lab is one of the oldest and best established demographic labs in the region. The PRL was organized to promote a balanced training program in demography at both undergraduate and graduate levels and to centralize and expand various research activities related to population. Faculty associated with the PRL conduct numerous research projects and support many students as they pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees with a specialization in demographics or population study.