How Much Education is Required to Become a Sociologist?

If you are thinking about becoming a sociologist, you may be wondering just how much education is required to find suitable employment. Those with a bachelor’s degree in sociology will be able to obtain entry-level employment, but they will most likely be unable to move up in their career. Most academic and research positions require candidates to have advanced statistical, analytical and technical skills that come with a master’s or doctoral degree.

Bachelor of Arts in Sociology

A bachelor of arts in sociology will build proficiency in the fundamentals of sociology and statistics. There will be a foundational survey of sociological theories and introduction to popular topics, such as the social correlates of gender or inequality. Students will take a few courses in sociological research methods, with at least one class on quantitative techniques and one on qualitative methods. The curriculum will provide students with the theoretical knowledge and analytic skills required to understand social life through various lenses. Graduates will be able to apply the key insights and analytic methods of sociology to explore, understand and document various social conditions and phenomena. Students will learn how to assess contradictory theoretical approaches to social problems through identifying institutional sources, cultural influences and political schools of thought.

For more information on where to pursue your undergraduate sociology degree, please see: Best Top 10 Online Sociology Degree Programs.

A Master of Arts in Sociology

A master of arts in sociology will allow students to sharpen their statistical skills and broaden their horizons in various concentrations. These concentrations include education, race studies, youth and families and social welfare. Students may choose an applied program that will endow them with the skills and knowledge to help families and communities understand how social contexts and factors affect their well-being and livelihoods. They may choose to study the factors that influence successful relationships, career outcomes or government policies. Some graduate students focus entirely on the statistics and technology that is used to aggregate and study mountains of data about complex social problems. Their work is used to analyze public policies and propose alternatives for government functions, such as law enforcement, human services and the education system.

Ph.D. in Sociology

Any student who wants to get a lucrative and distinguished research position in universities, think tanks, consulting firms, international agencies or government agencies will benefit from a Ph.D. in Sociology. These programs encourage students to pursue academic research that will meet their professional goals, contribute to their target field and help them join the faculty of top research programs across the country. These doctorate programs will provide excellent training and a rich intellectual experience that is enhanced through the department’s strong connections with other universities, organizations and research centers. These collaborative partners will often provide additional training grants and funding opportunities for sociology graduate students. Mandatory coursework will include classes on advanced sociological theories and field methods for social research and applied statistics, which will include qualitative methods and multivariate statistical methods courses.

Looking at each specific degree, should help you form an answer to the question of how much education is required for you to become a sociologist. At the least, a graduate education is required to become a sociologist, so you should pursue no less than a master’s degree with a specialization in an area like immigration, mental health, stratification, political sociology or socio-legal studies.