What Can I Do with a Degree in Sociology?

Almost anything!! 

A degree in Sociology provides strong preparation for entry level positions throughout the education, counseling, legal, business, health professions, social services, criminal justice system, and government worlds.  Sociology provides functional skills that transfer from one setting to another and are adaptable to an innovative economy. 

JSU Sociology students will hone critical thinking, communication, analysis, cultural competency and civic engagement skills necessary for work in any career field.  Be sure to contact sociology faculty about what sociology can do for you!!

See  "From Classroom To Career Jobs in Sociology" for employment options and salary information for sociologists.   

So you should not be asking yourself: ‘why should I major in Sociology?’ you should be asking yourself, ‘why NOT major in Sociology?’  It is a field of study that opens doors in many sectors throughout the United States.  Click on the areas below to see specific employment options, a list of JSU sociology courses to choose from that will you for those fields and quotes from alumni explaining how what they learned in the JSU sociology program qualified them for their careers in each of these areas. 

Remember to talk to a sociology adviser in order to choose the best plan to meet your career and/or educational goals.

Sociology: The Flexibility to Design Your Career Path

Social Science Research/Demography
Community Relations/Human Resources
Summary Chart of Careers and Sociological Courses/Content

Social Science Research/Demography

Example Employers:

  • Health Agencies
  • International/Federal/State/Local Planning Agencies
  • Consulting Firms
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Foundations
  • Advertising and Marketing Firms
  • Private research firms
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Public Relations Firms
  • Professional Periodicals
  • Evaluation Research Public and Private
  • Information Sourcing
  • Media (TV, Radio, Magazines, Newspapers etc.)
  • Public Opinion Research Firms

JSU Sociology Courses that build skills in this area: 

  • SY 301 Sociological Methods
  • SY303 Data Analysis
  • SY304 Social Statistics
  • SY310 Marriage and Family
  • SY 324 Stratification
  • SY356 Social Movements
  • SY360 Race and Ethnicity
  • SY368 Theories of Gender
  • SY370 Aging
  • SY362 Global Immigration

 Alumni Spotlight:  Demography

Zac Williams, MA JSU Sociology Alumni Class of 2008
Forecast Analyst, Gulf Power

“The classes I took were challenging, but rewarding…(giving me) a chance to develop so many skills that have been useful in my professional and personal life. Not only did I become a better writer, reader, critical thinker, and presenter, I became able to empathize with others and to look beyond my personal experience, gaining a more thorough understanding of the world around me. These are skills that have translated to all areas of my life. I prepared for my first job interview much in the same way that I prepared for a presentation in (the sociology program). The appreciation for and desire to understand diverse viewpoints that I developed as a result of my education… has aided me in conflict resolution and has helped me to tune into our customers in surveys and focus groups”.



Example Employment: 

  • Attorney
  • Juvenile Justice Agencies
  • Probation and Parole Agencies
  • Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Agencies
  • Corrections Agencies
  • General Rehabilitation Agencies
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Judiciary
  • Court Systems
  • International/Federal/State/Local Government

JSU Sociology Courses that build skills in this area: 

  • SY320 Criminology
  • SY322 Juvenile Delinquency
  • SY365 Drugs and Society
  • SY315 Deviant Behavior
  • SY223 Social Problems
  • SY301 Sociological Methods
  • SY304 Social Statistics
  • SY324 Social Stratification
  • SY360 Race and Ethnicity
  • SY368 Theories of Gender

Alumni Spotlight Criminology: 

Quintin Day, JSU Sociology Alumni Class of 2012
Correctional Officer

“I had the pleasure of taking my first sociology class in the spring semester of 2008. Sociology was not my major at that time, however; (the class) planted a seed and after some soul searching I was soon majoring in sociology.  The enthusiasm (of the professors) is what caught and maintained my attention.  (They) had an eagerness to teach which made me eager to learn.  I am currently a juvenile correctional office. I am able to recognize theories and how I can apply those theories to an individual youth. Labeling and structural strain theories are some of the main theories that I learned in… class. These theories help give me a better understanding of a youths personal situation and I can interact with them in a more positive manner. Much of what I learned…. applies at work and my personal life.  [The] analytic memos broadened my analytic and critical thinking skills, skills which are necessary in all aspects of life. In class we also had ….class discussion about the analytic memos, which gave me confidence in public speaking.”

Community Relations/Human Resources: 

Example Employment:

  • Religiously Affiliated Organizations
  • Local Branches of Non-profit organizations
  • Advocacy Organizations
  • Mental Health Services
  • United Way Agencies
  • Adoption and Child Care Agencies
  • Public and Private Nursing Homes and Elder care
  • Hospitals
  • Public Administration
  • Public Assistance Agencies

JSU Sociology Courses that build skills in this area: 

  • SY366 Sociology of Religion
  • SY308 American Society and Culture
  • SY325 Organizations
  • SY309 Sociology of Disability
  • SY364 Medicine and Society
  • SY223 Social Problems
  • SY324 Stratification
  • SY360 Race and Ethnicity
  • SY368  Theories of gender
  • SY223 Social Problems
  • SY313 Social Psychology

 Community Relations Alumni Spotlight:

Scott Clark, JSU Sociology Alumni Class of 2013
Associate Pastor at Good Shepherd United Methodist
Masters of Divinity Student at Vanderbilt Divinity School

To describe how [the sociology faculty], both initially and throughout my education, effectively taught my colleagues and I the words grace and professionalism may best apply.  [The faculty] offered information, required diligent reading, and created discussion that allowed us to process and develop as students and more importantly as people.  The intentionality with which academic discussion was facilitated…..and intellectual empowerment was offered has been equal to or above any academic setting to which I have been a member, including my current role as a M.Div. student at Vanderbilt University. 

My knowledge of society, my ability to critically view the world through a variety of perspectives, and perhaps most importantly my ability to do professional research are all largely due to my experiences in the Jacksonville State Sociology Department.  Because of [the] openness [of the faculty] truly meaningful connections and relationships were developed.  The students truly trusted their professors……we all wanted to work harder, we were more able to listen and learn even with difficult information or complex theories, and we wanted to be involved in making our campus, community, and world a better place.  Knowing the faculty not only made me a better student and a competent critical thinker, it made me a better person to myself, my partner (my now wife), and my world.

Human Resources Alumni Spotlight:

Ceandra James, JSU Sociology Alumni Class of 2014
Career Readiness Transition Instructor
Gadsden Job Corps Center

The sociology faculty have “proven to be both excellent instructors and true student mentors and advocates.  [They have] excelled with tactful teaching styles and raised them to a higher level by utilizing expertise, creativity and dedication to their job…[The faculty have] several strengths, which they use to promote education and creativity within classes.  [They] organize and promote events for students and have also showcased numerous guest presenters to the campus. 

 [The] strongest assets are their attention to detail, positive work ethic, and ability to connect and interact with both the students and colleagues, ensuring employable connections. As a result of the impact [the faculty] made on my life as a student, I myself now teach at the Gadsden Job Corps Center, where I myself use some of the same dynamic teaching styles that [the faculty] used such as; oral communication presentations, problem solving, team building and group project exercises.  [The faculty] presented many innovative ideas to further motivate and support student’s development and career growth. Many of [sociology] students now have gone on to earn Master’s degrees and Ph.D.’s due to their encouragement and guidance.


Example Employment:

  • Teaching  Public and Private Schools, Colleges and Universities
  • Research  Public and Private Schools, Colleges and Universities
  • Administration
  • Job Corp Training
  • Alumni Relations
  • Placement Offices

JSU Sociology Courses that build skills in this area: 

  • SY326 Sociology of Education
  • SY301 Sociological Methods
  • SY304 Social Statistics
  • SY427 Classical Social Theory
  • SY428 Contemporary Theory
  • SY313 Social Psychology
  • SY223 Social Problems
  • SY360 Race and Ethnicity
  • SY322 Juvenile Delinquency
  • SY368 Theories of Gender
  • SY324 Social Stratification

Alumni Spotlight

DaJuan Ferrel, MA
JSU Sociology Alumni Class of 2010
PhD Candidate and Research Fellow, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

[The sociology faculty are] a type of “professor of the people,” meaning that [they] take complex sociological concepts, theories, and social occurrences, and effectively dissected them by way of text, videos, pictures, course assignments and activities, into a language that even sociological newbies like myself could understand.

Every time I went to class I [was] …pushed to think critically and outside of what we had been socially conditioned to think. [The faculty] worked to push the boundaries of learning. This included [activities where we] engaged in egalitarian discussions versus the traditional hierarchical lectures found in many classes. This method and mentality currently informs my teaching practices because this pedagogical decision showed that the professors did not simply see us as “empty buckets” to be filled with knowledge but individuals who brought knowledge and experience to the classroom and this is exactly how I want my students to feel.

Upon leaving Jacksonville State University and pursuing my master’s and now my doctoral I have come to find that graduate coursework, teaching, and research are not major challenges for me as they are for some of my classmates. This is because [the faculty] worked endlessly throughout my undergraduate career to push me to become a critical thinker who could understand and assess social phenomena from multiple perspectives and apply theories and concepts independently. As a teacher, [they] taught me to enter a classroom each week with the passion to teach, a patience to listen to the voices of my students, a desire to challenge their assumptions, and a drive to recruit more scholars to sociology. As a researcher, [they] introduced me to the intricacies of conducting qualitative research which was vital for my master’s thesis and will be essential in my dissertation work. So, ultimately through being taught and mentored by [the JSU faculty] I have come to know I am an academic who belongs in sociology and a scholar who will work to be an educator that does work that is informed by current social issues, research, and activism.


Example Employment: 

  • Demography and Planning
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Office Administration
  • Human Resources
  • Advertising/Consumer Research
  • Insurance
  • Real Estate
  • Personnel Training
  • Administration
  • Research Departments/Firms
  • Personnel/Industrial Relations Departments
  • Organizational Planning Departments/Firms
  • International business
  • Publishing Firms
  • Consulting Firms

JSU Sociology Courses that build skills in this area: 

  • SY325 Sociology of Organizations
  • SY308 American Society and Culture
  • SY313 Social Psychology
  • SY303 Data Analysis 
  • SY360 Race and Ethnicity
  • SY368 Theories of Gender
  • SY324 Stratification

Alumni Spotlight Business

Austin Young, JSU Sociology Alumni Class of 2011

“[The sociology faculty] were an integral part of my college experience and the instruction I received, both in the classroom and in groups and clubs associated with the Sociology Department, is used in my personal and professional life on a regular basis.   

The teaching method used in….classes forces the student to be part of the learning process through class participation, research, presentations…. and discussions.  This collection of ideas adds to the learning process and helps the student understand the opinions of a diverse [group], respect those opinions, and discern which opinions are useful. I have to use this method in my professional life on a regular basis. I lead a team that can have many different ideas on the same subject and it is my job to respect those ideas, combine the best parts, and create a plan of action that is in the best interest of the company.

My job requires that I research ideas and present the findings from that research to my Board of Directors on a quarterly basis. The methods of research, presentation and oral communication that I learned in [sociology classes] are the same I use today. I am comfortable presenting in front of a group because [sociology] classes teach a student how to plan, prepare, and present the findings of a project, this method helps the student gain information from many different sources and form a syntheses of ideas that produces a more comprehensive presentation.

The impact of [the sociology faculty’s] teaching has also made a significant impact on my personal life.  [The sociology faculty] had one of the biggest influences on my college career and I have the upmost respect for [the faculty] as Professors and mentors. I am thankful and blessed to have [them] in my life, and the lessons that I learned in classes and groups not only have lead me to be successful in my professional life, but more importantly made me a better husband, father, and man.”    

Summary Chart Careers Sociology Courses/Content