What do you do with a Sociology Degree?

A degree in sociology can open many doors for a new graduate. A sociology degree gives you a strong foundation in research and writing skills that can translate across many different fields as well as a more general ability to think about the social world around you. Graduates that choose to start working immediately use their degrees to start a career in various non-profit or public health organizations. A sociology degree would be ideal for a career with a survey firm or for urban planning.

In December of 2006, recent sociology graduates were asked about the kinds of jobs they currently held 18 months after graduation. Of the students surveyed, 80 percent were employed. About 27 percent of the surveyed graduates were working in social services or counseling positions. The second largest portion of those surveyed was working in some sort of administrative support role. Other occupational areas include management, education, sale/marketing and social science research.

Many students choose to attend graduate school, and a sociology degree is an excellent foundation for many other areas of study. Of the graduates surveyed, 35 percent of the individuals were enrolled in a graduate program. While some of these respondents were pursuing a graduate degree in sociology, many were studying a wide range of fields including education, law, psychology, and public policy.

There are thousands of accomplished sociology majors, some with major name recognition. Below is a list compiled by the American Sociology Association of famous sociology majors:

Politics:
  • Wellington Webb, mayor of Denver
  • Brett Schundler, mayor of Jersey City
  • Annette Strauss, former mayor of Dallas
  • Rev. Martin Luther King
  • Roy Wilkins, former head of NAACP
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson
  • Rev. Ralph Abernathy
  • Shirley Chisholm, former Congresswoman from NY
  • Maxine Waters, Congresswoman from LA
  • Barbara Mikulski, US Senator from Maryland
  • Tim Holden, Congressman from Pennsylvania
  • Cardinal Theordore McCarrick, Archbishop of Washington, DC
  • Saul Alinsky, father of community organizing<
  • Saul Bellow, novelist
  • Ronald Reagan (double major in sociology and economics)
  • Emily Balch, 1946 Nobel Peace Prize winner (a social worker and social reformer)
  • Francis Perkins, social reformer and former Secretary of Labor
  • Richard Barajas, Chief Justice, Texas Supreme Court
  • Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States
Arts:
  • Saul Bellow, novelist
  • Regis Philbin, TV host
  • Dan Aykroyd, actor/Blues Brother
  • Robin Williams, actor/comedian
  • Paul Shaffer, bandleader on David Letterman Show (and before that, Saturday Night Live)
  • Dinah Shore, singer
  • Kalpen Suresh Modi, White House Liaison for Arts and Humanities
Sports:
  • Alonzo Mourning, Miami Heat
  • Bryant Stith, Boston Celtics
  • Brian Jordan, Atlanta Braves
  • Joe Theisman, NFL quarterback
  • Eric Bjornson, Dallas Cowboys
  • Bobby Taylor, Eagles cornerback
  • Ahmad Rashad, Sportscaster

Source: ASA, What Can I Do with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology? Wave II, 2007.