Why Study Sociology

Discover Sociology at Illinois

Sociology is the study of human social activity, relationships, and social structures.  In our increasingly diverse world, the study of sociology gives you skills 21st century workers need: critical and analytical thinking, writing ability, cultural competence, and self-awareness.  Mastering the basics of sociology teaches you to understand situations of people different than you, another advantage in this rapidly globalizing world.

Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic.  Student organizations and campus employment offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes.  Other options include study abroad, off-campus employment or volunteering in the community. 

Our Program

We offer a Sociology Major (44 hours - 32 in SOC, 12 supporting coursework), Sociology Minor (18 hours), and a Minor in Criminology, Law, and Society (18 hours). Visit the Undergraduate Program page for details about all our engaging programs!

If you are thinking about a career in criminology, law, or justice – the Criminology, Law, and Society Minor is for you.  You’ll take a range of classes covering both theoretical and practical information.  And, you’ll learn all about current sociological, legal, and justice issues.

Many Sociology majors pair their studies in our department with a second major.  Popular second majors include psychology, political science, history, and molecular and cellular biology or integrative biology.

Career Preparation

The sociology major prepares you for work in the contemporary world, a world that is increasingly global, technology-driven, and fast-changing.  Through studying sociology, students acquire practical skills including:

Interpersonal/Cross-Cultural Skills

  • Understanding privilege, prejudice, and discrimination
  • Recognizing social processes
  • Identifying cultural/social considerations
  • Remaining sensitive to people and problems
  • Working as a team member
  • Motivating groups
  • Assessing needs
  • Understanding human relationships
  • Representing/negotiating with others

Research & Project Development Skills

  • Defining hypotheses
  • Applying theoretical approaches to research problems
  • Planning/designing projects
  • Gathering & analyzing data
  • Interviewing
  • Working with research subjects
  • Translating Theory into action

Analytical Skills

  • Reading critically
  • Interpreting data
  • Evaluating ideas/theories/evidence
  • Analyzing qualitatively and quantitatively
  • Reasoning logically
  • Conducting social analysis
  • Understanding components of complex problems

Communication Skills

  • Articulation/ defending a position
  • Writing effectively
  • Presenting alternative explanations
  • Conveying complex information and ideas
  • Summarizing
  • Preparing reports
  • Speaking in public

Resources and Opportunities

  • Sociology boasts a vibrant Internship course - SOC 400.  Our students have interned locally in Champaign-Urbana as well as across the country.  Sociology students can earn three hours of advanced sociology credit while interning when they sign up for our internships course concurrent with their internship.
  • Many faculty work with undergraduates in their research programs.  Students also conduct their own research under the guidance of our faculty for course credit.
  • There are also ample opportunities for students to conduct independent studies with the sponsorship of one of our faculty members for course credit.

Check out our website section on Careers

Related Topics