Sociologists study the ways in which people give meaning to their experience.  All human behavior is social. The subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob, from crime to religion, from divisions of race, gender and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture, from the sociology of work to the sociology of sport. Few fields have such broad scope and relevance. Sociological training can offer something to most professions, and its career potential gives students the tools to be successful in many different fields.

Sociology students can get help developing their career goals from the SOCY Undergraduate Office.  Students are highly encouraged to plan to do at least one internship (and can receive course credit towards their major), and work toward their career goals each year while at UMD.  Students are also encouraged to enroll in SOCY370 Transition from Undergrad to Professional (a one-credit course) during their junior or senior year.  Dr. Amy McLaughlin in the Undergraduate Office offers Career-related advising to all our Sociology students and the SOCY Career Guide details the path to some of the most frequent chosen professions.

Sociology Graduation
Sociology graduation at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Ctr.

Common careers in Sociology include:

  • Data Analyst
  • Policy Maker
  • Human Resources
  • Lawyer
  • Social Worker
  • Counselor
  • Teacher
  • Sports Manager
  • Community Activist
  • Nonprofit and development professional

While the subject matter of sociology holds considerable interest for its own sake, it also offers valuable preparation for other sorts of careers. Sociology is a popular major for students planning futures in professions such as law, business, education, architecture, and even medicine -- not to mention social work, politics, and public administration. Sociology provides a rich fund of knowledge directly concerning each of these fields. Students can link sociology with each of these fields either with a double major or a sociology major and a supporting area in a specialty related to one's intended profession (in such fields as criminal justice, direct human services, planning, or health) organized as part of a sociology major. Finally, sociology offers a range of research techniques which can be applied in many specific arenas -- whether one's concern is with crime and criminal justice, client satisfaction with a business firm, the provision of medical care, poverty and welfare, or the problems of peace and war.

Top ten career skills students learn in our department:

Top 10 Marketable Sociology Skills
1. Statistics 2. Research Design                                    
3. Communication Skills (Written and oral) 4. Analytic Skills
5. Cross-cultural Understanding 6. Group Dynamics
7. Social Problems

8. Leadership Skills

9. Computer Literacy 10. Creativity

For a small core of majors the purpose of the undergraduate program is preparation and training for admissions to graduate programs and eventual careers as sociologists in teaching and research and/or policy development.  Majors may also use sociology as a basis for graduate study in related fields, including law, social work, public policy, and human resource management. 


SOCY Career Guide

For more information, please also see The Feller Center Sociology career pages:

Last modified
12/18/2023 - 1:27 pm