Sociologists study the structures of our societies and how individuals are affected by them. Sociology looks at how these structures came to be and how individuals interact with them. Subjects of study can range from criminal gangs to religious organisations, race, class and gender to the makeup of the family unit or the state. As an academic subject, sociology seeks to understand the reciprocal relationship between human consciousness and the social and cultural structures which surround it, how one creates the other and vice versa.
Sociology uses observation and analysis of social life to build up a detailed understanding of social processes. This understanding allows sociologists to study the interaction between forces in society and personal experiences. Sociology is an exciting field which allows students to develop critical thinking and research skills in order to answer big questions about why the modern world is the way it is and how it shapes us as individuals.
As well as learning to work independently, sociology students will learn how to source information, extract what is important from it and fashion it into an argument. The majority of courses include teamwork exercises, focusing on collaborating with others and working without close supervision. All sociology degrees teach research methods, including statistics, in-depth interviews, analysis of language used in media texts or assessing situations such as GP surgeries.
Employers are constantly on the lookout for graduates with creativity, innovation, critical thinking, analytic problem-solving, communication, collaboration, multicultural and global understandings and excellent written expression – studying sociology will give you all of these.
Some graduates will continue their studies at postgraduate or doctoral level, choosing one area of inquiry and studying it minutely. Postgraduate study may lead to a job as an academic researcher, writer or lecturer. Expert knowledge of one aspect of society could also be the basis for a job as an author, journalist, columnist or critic. Whatever you choose, you will get a lifetime’s benefit from being taught to think critically and ask the right questions as well as a deep understanding of how societies and their people work together.