Preparing for a Career
Sociology has the advantage of preparing its graduates to work in a number of different fields. The required statistics and methods courses provide background in both qualitative and quantitative research, all of the courses promote critical thinking and excellent writing skills, and the study of sociology promotes an understanding of social structures and situations that can be extremely useful in any occupation.
The Career Matrix developed by the Career Planning staff of Career Services at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville provides general strategies to prepare for a variety of career paths open to sociology majors. We are also in the process of collecting more specific information on preparing for certain career paths that are often chosen by sociology majors. Note that this is under development, and more job categories will be added as we research them.
Since sociology puts a strong emphasis on critical thinking, the reasoned analysis and development of arguments, and subject areas like the environment, equality, and social justice, it's a great major for people who want to enter the legal profession.
For students who want to become attorneys, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) coordinates all applications to law schools. Both the LSAC's Thinking About Law School section and the BC Career Center's section on Applying to Law School provide extensive tips on how to prepare for and apply to law school. Below is a list of ways the Sociology Department and other resources at BC can help fulfill some of these recommendations.
- A student’s chosen major is less important than GPA and LSAT scores. There are books on LSAT preparation available in the BC Library, and Continuing Education also provides LSAT prep courses for a fee.
- Taking demanding undergraduate courses is more important in preparing for law school than the subject of the courses. In the sociology major, the more demanding classes include upper level undergrad courses (in the SOCY3000-SOCY6999 range), honors courses, and grad courses.
- Courses that involve critical thinking, excellent writing skills and research and analysis projects are also beneficial to students preparing for law school. Most sociology courses focus on developing these skills in multiple ways.
- LSAC suggests seeking “some significant experience, before coming to law school, in which you may devote substantial effort toward assisting others.” BC’s Service, Social Justice & Solidarity page offers several volunteer opportunities as does the Volunteer and Service Learning Center.
- Finally, students can also set themselves apart with awards and fellowships. See our awards page for a list of possible fellowships.
Several aspects of sociology make it a good preparation for the medical field, in particular the understanding it provides of social situations, its methodologies, and its ethical and idealistic focus.
BC has a Health Professions Graduate Studies preparation website, which provides information about BC’s pre-med, pre-vet, and pre-dental programs. The Career Center also provides valuable resources for students interested in medical careers.
The Sociology Department offers multiple courses that examine issues surrounding health concerns and medical practices. Students who wish to pursue careers in the medical field should supplement these with other courses and activities, depending on their occupational goals.
- Internships allow students to gather relevant experience and make contacts in their chosen industry. The Sociology Department offers two internship courses (SOCY5540* and SOCY5541*), which provide both course credit and internship experience. The Career Center also has extensive information about internships and programs.
- More classes to consider are relevant courses in the Biology and Psychology departments. Students interested in management should also explore courses in the Carroll School of Management. Additionally, the Connell School of Nursing provides courses open to all students and offers a Master’s Entry Route for students with a non-nursing undergraduate degree.
- Finally, students can also set themselves apart with awards and fellowships. See our awards page for a list of possible fellowships, along with a list of previous sociology majors who have won awards and recognition at BC.
Related Sociology Classes
- SOCY1002 Intro to Sociology for Healthcare Professionals* (offered periodically)
- SOCY1078 Sociology of Health and Illness* (offered periodically)
- SOCY1096 Aging and Society* (offered frequently)
- SOCY1097 Death and Dying* (offered almost every term)
- SOCY5525 Social Gerontology* (offered frequently)
- SOCY5540 Internship in Sociology I* (offered nearly every term)
- SOCY5541 Internship in Sociology II* (offered nearly every term)
Sociology’s analysis of social structures and interactions, along with its rigorous methodologies, make it a good background for jobs in business. The sociological concern for social justice is also compatible with his career path, as in the case of Saya Hillman(A&S 2000), a BC sociology undergrad alumna who formed her own company, Mac’n Cheese Productions, to make organizational and promotional videos for nonprofit organizations. Here are a few strategies that can be helpful for this career path.
- Given the wide range of possibilities in the business field, there are a number of sociology courses as well as other courses and activities that could be incorporated into a program of study. For careers with a focus on accounting, banking, or some type of financial analysis, for example, students should focus on courses that develop math and problem solving skills (like advanced statistics courses and research methods), as well as courses in the economics department and the Carroll School of Management. For jobs in advertising, sociology courses on popular culture can be supplemented by courses in communications and fine arts.
- Internships are a good way to gather relevant experience and make contacts in the industry. The Sociology department offers a two internship courses - SOCY5540 and SOCY5541 – which can provide students with both course credit and an internship experience. In combination with this, the Career Center provides links to internships, including business internships like Inroads.
- Another strategy is to join organizations like Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) or the clubs within the Carroll School to make contacts and acquire experience.
- The Career Center has a lot of other useful links on careers in business as well, see www.bc.edu/offices/careers.
- Finally, students can also set themselves apart with awards and fellowships. See our awards page for a list of possible fellowships, along with a list of previous sociology majors who have won awards and recognition at BC
The best professor to talk with about a possible career in business is Professor Paul Gray (McGuinn 429).