Career Planning Resources
Many students often ask what Sociology is. Most perhaps remember it as a social studies class in high school or maybe they heard the term “sociologist” in the news before. Simply put, sociology is the study of human behavior, social groups, social institutions, and societies. Like psychology, Sociology is concerned with understanding why people behave a certain way. However, sociologists generally explain human behavior by focusing on social forces, those factors outside of the individual. While individual factors are important to recognize, social forces like economic changes, religious influences, political policies, and cultural shifts can have a profound impact on human behavior. So, if you have ever wondered why some people commit crime and others do not, why many women continue to be paid less than men for the same work, or why some people get divorced while others never marry, then Sociology might be the major for you.
The subject matter within Sociology is very broad, ranging from understanding the interactions between two people to understanding how societies change over time. Beyond the individual level, sociologists might be concerned with how social groups function and change over time. Other sociologists are interested in how social institutions function and change over time, such as the economy, politics, education, religion, and the mass media. Lastly, sociologists also try to understand how societies change over time, whether by revolution or some peaceful manner.
What Do Sociologists Learn?
Sociology students learn numerous skills related to a variety of jobs and personal development. Below are just some of these skills:
1. Collect and analyze data
2. Design research projects
3. Understand diversity
4. Understand how groups function
5. Understand how social institutions impact individuals
6. Develop strategies to solve social problems
Cameron University’s Sociology Program has several required courses that teach students many of the skills listed above, while many elective courses tend to focus on particular sociological topics like social work/welfare, family, crime and delinquency, religion, race and ethnicity, gender, and social movements, etc.
Another common question among college students centers on what they can do with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. One of the strengths of Sociology as a college major is its applicability to a wide range of careers. Sociologists are trained to collect, analyze, and interpret social data, allowing them to work in a variety of research-based professions. Below are just some of the careers that many of our graduates have pursued:
- Social Work/Welfare
- Law/Law Enforcement/Corrections
- Social Science Researcher (Government or Private Sector Company)
- Secondary School Teaching
- Religious Work (Ministerial)
- Human Resources
- Civil Service (including the Military)
Sociology students are typically very socially conscious people, often concerned about the consequences of social problems on individuals and the larger society. Many desire to make a difference in the world, either through working with people as a social worker or counselor, or possibly working for an aid organization that helps to alleviate problems around the country or world.
One of the strengths of Sociology as a major is the wide range of possible career choices you have. One of the downsides to a very specific major is that if you end up not liking the work, your options might be limited. That isn’t the case with Sociology. If you end up not liking law enforcement, then you can work as a secondary school teacher. If you don’t like either of those, then you can work as a social worker, etc. Our Sociology Program offers students an opportunity to take an Internship course that allows them the chance to try out a particular profession prior to graduation (and receive college credit for it as well). So, if you don’t like a particular profession mentioned above, you have skills that transfer to another occupation.
Where can I find additional information about Sociology?
- The American Sociological Association (Undergraduate Student Resources)
- Employment Survey of Sociology Graduates Nationwide (click on the pdf link)
- Jobs with the Federal Government (type in keyword “Sociology” in the search field)
History Career Planning Resources Desk
Here are some links to resources that will help you plan your career after you complete your B.A. in History:
This is the place to get ideas about how you might create a connection between your interests and a possible career. Each of the hyperlinked questions below will take you to a resource that will help you get answers to that question.
- Why did professionals who were history majors choose to study history?
- What skills will you have as a history major?
- What career paths have others with history degrees chosen?
Okay...enough already...I'm convinced. But how can I find a career path or advanced academic track for ME? Read below!
Advanced Degrees in History
Typically people going on for advanced work will choose a face-to-face option for advanced-degree work. If you follow that path, then consult with your adviser about the best way forward. But if that's not an option for you, there are increasing numbers of online options:
Master's Programs in History: http://www.gograd.org/online-masters-programs/history-degree/
Finding a Career Path
Believe it or Not!
Every faculty member in the History and Social Studies Education Programs has pursued more than one path to the careers we have chosen. We also developed a range of skills and abilities along the way that, at first glance, may seem unrelated to what we do now. Each of us pursues various creative outlets as well. The point? Your education in the CU History and Social Studies Education Programs should be a time when you develop yourself both inside and outside the classroom, and within and outside of your area of academic interest. This will help you define future goals leading to a meaningful career. Below are some information resources on traditional employment tracks that History and Social Studies Education Majors follow as well as some other possibilities. But these are only suggestions that cannot take the place of your own reflection on these things. In general terms the CU History faculty think that you should consider doing the following:
- Pursue a free-time activity that allows you to be you, whether intellectual in nature or no.
- When opportunities arise, develop skills that challenge you.
- Take the chance to try out career paths through internships whenever you can in the years before you graduate.
- Research different career options for history degree holders:
- Career Paths in History: http://www.learnhowtobecome.org/arts-humanities-careers/history/
- Government Career Guidebook: http://www.learnhowtobecome.org/career-resource-center/government-careers/
I've Got Interests. Where can I pursue them?
The answers to this question will vary by individual, but we can propose a few ideas here that might get you thinking in the right direction to achieve your goals. Internships provide experience and, if you're lucky, some remuneration of your expenses and college credit. Often, though, they are at major institutions in large cities, meaning that the ability to travel and relocate for a short time is necessary. If you have family responsibilities, therefore, an internship may not be for you. But always check the details before deciding in advance to pass up on what might be a golden opportunity that could also lead to college credit. Summer Experience Scholarships are another way to go. Usually, places in these programs are highly competitive and depend on your academic record and sometimes on your having developed interests in line with the scholarship program. Here, too, temporary relocation is often necessary as most programs take place at a particular institution. The advantage of these opportunities is that they always provide a satisfying intellectual challenge and they bring you into close contact with top experts in a particular field or academic discipline. Local Internships are also a good bet, especially for those with less ability to relocate temporarily. The History Program and the Political Science Program have both established ties to local institutions where you can intern for college credit, though keep in mind that you need to fulfill certain minimum academic standards to qualify, so keep those grades up! Finally, Jobs. Since many students work, making work count towards your future plans is always a possibility, although not always achievable. Instead of thinking in terms of a restaurant job, though, try for a position assisting at a law firm, an insurance agency, or a bank. Positions like these may provide more interesting work and will bring you into contact with those that may be useful in future career plans. For suggestions for each of these four areas click on the hypertext below:
Undergraduate Experience Opportunities
I've Built up my resumé, Where Can I put my skills to work?
The short answer to this question: almost anywhere (and we say this with a straight face). Employers have recently listed what they think are the top skills they look for in new employees, and that's all employers. And contrary to what you will often hear, they don't list technical skills first. They list critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills as among their top three, all of which are precisely what your degree in History has trained you in. To paraphrase the great environmental historian William Cronon, historians are professional generalists. This is a fancy way of saying that historians can adapt their skills to become expert in just about anything. But, that said, there are some useful ways to think about where you might want to head: