What Is Sociology?

The discipline of sociology explores the nature, structure, and dynamics of social life, and also its causes and consequences for the world. With this broad mandate, sociology encompasses a diversity of substantive interests, methodological approaches, and theoretical orientations. Sociologists study diverse social phenomena ranging from online conversations, friendship, and families to neighborhoods, governments, and global markets. They study cities and communities, inequality, social mobility and social class, patterns of population change and migration, social identities such as race, class, and gender, ethnic relations and social conflict, social media and digital interaction, and social dimensions of sex, health, business, education, law, politics, religion, and science. Sociologists study the emergence, stabilization, disintegration, and wide-ranging implications of these social institutions, behaviors, and meanings. Methodologies of the field range from ethnography, interviews, and historical research to surveys, computational modeling, and big data analysis.

Students interested in pursuing a BA degree in sociology are encouraged to peruse our website - especially the profiles of current faculty and graduate students - to learn more about the almost endless substantive possibilities within our discipline and gather information about practical and procedural matters. The American Sociological Association (ASA) also provides resources on Careers in Sociology, including the following webinar on What is Sociology? and profiles on working sociologists in both academic and non-academic settings. 

You can also stop by the Sociology office in SSRB 305 and pick up a copy of “21st Century Careers with an Undergraduate Degree in Sociology.”