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Department of Sociology Careers for Sociology Majors: Social Welfare & Social Services

Translating Sociology into Social Welfare & Social Services

A BA in sociology is an ideal undergraduate degree for students interested in working with publicly run, and not for profit, human and social service agencies. Such agencies work with youth, families, the elderly, and communities in addition to specialized populations needing services for mental health concerns, substance use, rehabilitation, and domestic violence. Taking courses such as Social Inequality (Soc 340), Social Psychology (Soc 350), The Family (Soc 351), Sociology of Education (Soc 346), Sociology of Food (SOC 336), and Urbanization and Community Organization (Soc 433) provides you an opportunity to understand how individuals behave in families, groups, and communities.

Our course in Social Inequality, for example, invites students to critically engage topics vitally important to people working in human and social services, including trends in income inequality, social mobility and education, inequality in the workplace, and inequality in the criminal justice system. Social Psychology prepares students to understand the social influences on personal identity, interpersonal interactions and relationships. Our family course provides a unique perspective on understanding trends in family structure and helps students understand the family in its social, political, and economic contexts. Given this perspective, Urbanization and Community Organization provides students with an opportunity to experience two learning environments. One of course is the interactive classroom; the other is the community. Community service learning enables students to enhance their understanding of community by applying scholarly work discussed in class to community work done over the course of the semester. Reciprocally, community service experiences provide “real life” examples of course materials. These and related sociology courses also enable you to understand the interconnectedness of social life by exploring the roles that history, public policy, cultural norms and values have on human social behavior.

A graduate with a BA in Sociology who is interested in pursuing a career in human and social services would look for job titles such as human or social services specialist, child life specialist, juvenile probation officer, community development specialist, mental health advocate, and case manager. Many of our students find work in these areas after earning their BA degrees, while others find that their sociology training provides preparation for entrance into graduate programs in Social Work (MSW), Public Health (MPH) and Public Administration (MPA).