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Southern Oregon University

Mission statement

The sociology program is part of the Social Sciences, Policy, and Culture Department. Sociology is the study of social life, social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and examine how people interact within these contexts. Since all human behavior is social, the subject matter of sociology ranges from the intimate family to the hostile mob; from organized crime to religious movements; from the divisions of race, gender, and social class to the shared beliefs of a common culture; and from the sociology of work to the sociology of popular culture.

Sociological training helps students bring breadth and depth of understanding to the workplace. A sociology graduate learns to think abstractly, formulate problems, ask appropriate questions, search for answers, analyze situations and data, organize material, write well, and make oral presentations that help others develop insight and make decisions.

Learning the process of critical thinking and how to bring evidence to bear in support of an argument is extremely important in a fast-changing job market. The solid base students receive in understanding social change (as well as in research design, data analysis, statistics, theory, and sociological concepts) enables them to compete for support positions (such as program, administrative, or research assistant) in research, policy analysis, program evaluation, and countless other social science endeavors.

Most people with the terms “sociologist” or “social worker” in their job title have graduate training, but sociology graduates apply the sociological perspective to a wide variety of jobs beyond these traditional categories, including careers in sectors such as business, education, health care, the criminal justice system, social services, and the government. Sociology offers valuable preparation for careers in journalism, law, politics, public relations, or public administration. For students interested in becoming professors, researchers, or applied sociologists, a BA or BS in sociology is excellent preparation for graduate work in sociology.