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


Student Engagement

  • We are committed to personalized academic advising to guide you as your create your Illini Experience.
  • SOC 199: Career Development for Sociology majors ensures our students are career-ready and competitive in the marketplace or for graduate and professional schools.
  • SOC 199: Leadership and Engagement Through Sociology: Ambassador Program provides leadership training, skill-building, and opportunities for engagement.
  • 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. The UIUC Office of Undergraduate Research assists students to embark on their research experiences.
  • 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 Student Engagement, Research Opportunities, Study Abroad, Internships, Careers, and Graduate and Professional School Preparation.


Learn More From Faculty and Students

Welcome to UIUC Sociology (approx. 3 minutes 50 seconds)

UIUC Careers for Sociology Majors Series: #1 (approx. 13 minutes)

UIUC May 2021 Outstanding Senior Commencement Speech: Seetha Ramaswamy (approx. 4 minutes)

Getting Involved in Undergraduate Research (approx. 26 minutes)

Why Sociology Series: Professor Brian Dill (approx. 1 min 30 seconds)

Why Sociology Series: Professor Cynthia Buckley (approx. 1 minute)

Why Sociology Series: Professor Daniel Steward (approx. 1 minute 30 seconds)

Why Sociology Series: Professor Zsuzsa Gille (approx. 1 minute 50 seconds)