Careers of Sociology Majors

A major in sociology is the gateway to many different careers. A recent study illustrates this well. The study followed up students who had majored in sociology and asked what they were doing at age thirty.

Professional Careers: The largest proportion (35%) became professionals. Most had moved into careers related to the social sciences: lawyers, social workers and social work administrators, personnel and labor relations managers and specialists, planners and policy analysts for local, state and federal governments, teachers at the university, college, secondary, and elementary school levels, and health occupations (physician, nurse, and so on). Other professional occupations included: accountant, computer analyst, chemical technician, electrical engineer, psychologist in private practice, airline pilot, physical therapist, chiropractor, counselor, statistician, industrial engineer, pharmacist, photographer, journalist, and several members of the clergy.

Management: The second largest group contained nearly 25 percent of the men and women. Many in this group reported managerial and administrative careers in different levels of government, school administration, and in a wide range of private sector firms (banking, insurance, real estate, business services, agribusiness, manufacturing, brokerage and investment, wholesale trade, hotel management, private foundations, lobbying organizations, hospitals, and colleges).

Craft and Other Service Occupations: A smaller number (15%) pursued less traditional careers for sociology majors. Examples included a plumber, a self-employed carpenter, an FBI agent, several police officers and detectives, an assembly line supervisor, several government inspectors, a compositor, and an airline flight attendant.

Other: The remainder followed varied paths. A few were still enrolled in higher education; some were raising a family and not in the labor force; some had returned to school after working and others were in clerical, operative and laborer occupations (bookkeeper, bank teller, insurance estimator, welder, fisherman, lumber worker, and gardener, and animal caretaker).

Pre-Professional Course Concentrations

Several career-lines require education beyond the undergraduate degree. A major in sociology can be an effective stepping-stone on your way to a professional career. Business, law, medical, and other professional schools do not look for narrow specialists; they are more interested in applicants with a broad education and proven abilities to think analytically. If you aspire to a professional career, we will work with you and the advisors in your pre-professional area to design a program that meets your needs. Here are some ideas about how to put together a pre-professional education at Duke using sociology courses.

Pre-Law: Deviance, Law and Criminal Justice

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Course #
Old
Course #
 Course Name
111  11 Social Problems
219119 Juvenile Delinquency
220120 Causes of Crime
222122 Punishment and Treatment of Deviants                

 Pre-Medicine: Human Development, Health and Aging

New
Course #
Old
Course #
Course Name
217117Childhood in Social Perspective
224124Human Development
260169Psychosocial Aspects of Human Development
262161Adulthood and Aging
263163Aging and Health
264 Death and Dying
349149Sexuality and Society
350150The Changing American Family
361 US Health Disparities
371171Comparative Health Care Systems                        

Pre-Business: Markets and Management

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Course #
Old
Course #
Course Name
160160Advertising and Sociology
226 The Challenges of Development
229 Gender, Work, and Organization
342D142Organizations and Global Competitiveness         
344144Organizations and Their Environments
345145Nation, Regions, and the Global Economy
354 Getting Rich
355155Organizations and Management
358158Markets and Marketing
359159The Sociology of Entrepreneurship
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