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If you're fascinated by human social behavior and how we organize ourselves into communities and other social institutions, then sociology could be the academic discipline for you. An education from one of the best colleges for sociology degree programs can teach you how to effectively study, research and contribute to the vast body of scholarly work on the subject of the collective human experience.
Study plans in sociology are available all across the academic spectrum, from two-year associate programs on up to Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees for aspiring researchers and professional scholars. Most academically intensive positions in sociology require master's degrees or higher, but a bachelor's degree can help you bring sociological insight to a wide range of careers.
Online degrees for sociology students are also available, and they can be a great choice if you've got work or family responsibilities that take up most of your weekday hours. Don't overlook online sociology degrees if you're tech-savvy and strapped for money or time.
Best Colleges for Sociology Degree Programs 2018-19
Nearly 1,000 schools across the country feature sociology degrees in their catalogs, so we gathered data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to work out which ones sat at the top of the heap. Tap the button below to see our formula for calculating each school's score, and read on for our list of the ten best colleges for sociology degree programs.
Sonoma State University didn't run away with any individual categories in our analysis, but it had the second-highest graduation rate in our top ten and featured the third-largest number of sociology students among its 2015 graduating class. Sociology programs here are strictly for undergraduates, also, so you're likely to have a fairly large group of study partners to choose from.
Core courses in the sociology degree program at this Rohnert Park, California, institution include sociological theory, sociological research methods and statistics for sociologists. Students hoping to add some intensive sociology training to a degree in business, journalism, marketing or another related discipline have a path to a double-major at SSU, wherein sociology electives can count toward both degrees.
The top graduation rate among schools that made our top ten belongs to our No. 2 school, where better than eight out of ten students expected to graduate in 2015 successfully completed their degrees. The State University of New York at Geneseo, also known as SUNY Geneseo or Geneseo State College, also spent our list's largest percentage of its annual budget on instructional expenses like course development and classroom technology.
The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in sociology at this public liberal arts college emphasizes a combination of scientific and humanistic approaches to sociological exploration of our institutions, including media, politics, culture, crime and urban life. SUNY Geneseo also mantains a branch of Alpha Kappa Delta, the international sociology honor society.
The NCES numbers for California State University Channel Islands -- located in the city of Camarillo in Ventura County -- show a healthy balance between student success and affordability. This medium-small college took home the No. 3 ranking among our top ten schools for its tuition and fees cost, and just three other institutions on our list posted higher graduation rates.
The sociology program at CSUCI aims to help students develop effective written and spoken language skills along with their sociological knowledge, in order to better understand existing scholarship and communicate their own unique perspectives with professors, colleagues and the public. Subjects covered in this degree plan include social problems, sociology of popular culture and LGBTQ studies.
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke took the crown among our top ten schools in the affordability category, charging less than $5,600 on average for the full year of tuition and fees in 2015-16. It also features the most robust distance education program of any school on our list, reporting at least some online enrollment for around 40 percent of students, and makes fully online degrees available for sociology undergraduates.
UNC Pembroke's B.A. program in sociology requires 120 semester hours of credit to complete, including 44 credits of general education and 33 credits of major-specific core courses and electives. Minor concentrations in community development, international sociology and medical sociology can help you specialize your approach to the field.
This Durango, Colorado, school had the third-highest admission rate among schools that made our list and set aside more than 60 percent of its budget for essential services like student advising, course development and career counseling. Fort Lewis College is also the smallest school in our top ten, awarding a total of just 667 degrees in 2015, so students who like a small-campus feel may feel right at home here.
Sociology students at FLC can choose from a variety of customization options, particularly at the intersection of sociology and criminal justice. The sociology major itself comes with two concentrations -- general sociology and criminology -- and collaborative minors between the two schools include forensic studies, peace and conflict studies and a pre-law program.
California State University Stanislaus, also known as Stanislaus State, put up a well-balanced statistical profile. Just three other institutions on our list charged a lower average amount for tuition and fees in 2015, its graduation rate came in at No. 5 among schools in our top ten and more than 31 percent of its 2015-16 student body took at least some of their courses in the virtual classroom.
No fully online sociology degrees are currently in the catalog at Stanislaus, but students looking for some online course flexibility may be able to use some courses from the online B.A. in social and behavioral sciences to put together a bespoke hybrid curriculum. A minor in gerontology is available for those interested in the sociology of aging.
Just shy of 90 percent of the 2015 applicants to this small West Virginia institution were granted admission, giving Shepherd University the No. 2 admission rate among all the schools that made our top ten. It also tied for the No. 1 student-faculty ratio on our list, reporting a comfortable balance of 15 students per faculty member.
The sociology major at Shepherd University leads to a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree and features two concentrations: a traditional, academically oriented approach to sociology and a more career-focused criminal justice track designed to prepare students for careers in law or law enforcement. Students looking for the flexibility of partially online sociology degrees can take some core courses and electives via distance education.
The Los Angeles campus of California State University took home the No. 2 spot in the affordability category, charging students just over $6,350 on average for tuition and fees in 2015-16. The NCES also reports that more than 10 percent of the 2015 graduating class earned sociology degrees, so you're likely to have plenty of study partners among your fellow sociology majors.
Three separate concentration options are offered alongside the general B.A. in sociology at CSULA. Two of them, social gerontology and law and society, are also offered as sociology minors for students pursuing other disciplines. If you plan to continue your education beyond the graduate level, CSULA also offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in sociology.
Campus-based flexibility was a top category for Colorado State University-Pueblo, where students can take advantage of alternative tuition payment plans and a sociology degree program that can be completed using only weekend and evening courses. On top of that, the student-faculty ratio at this Rocky Mountain institution was 16:1 in 2015, earning it the No. 2 ranking in that category among schools that made our list.
CSU-Pueblo sociology students have the option to earn either a B.A. or B.S. degree, which differ from one another primarily in terms of the general education courses required for graduation. Students on either track have the opportunity to undertake an internship program with a prospective employer as part of their upper division coursework.
The largest school in our top ten comes in at No. 10, staking out a spot on the list by ranking No. 3 in graduation rate and spending the largest raw dollar amount per student on instructional expenses like classroom tech and development initiatives for essential courses. It also posted the No. 4 admission rate among our top ten schools, reporting nearly 86 percent applicant success in 2015.
No fully online sociology degrees yet exist in the WVU catalog, but the Morgantown institution's selection of individual courses makes it possible to assemble partially online degrees for sociology students. Lower division courses such as introduction to sociology, families and society and social problems in contemporary America can all be taken in the virtual classroom.
Sociology Degree Programs and Common Career Paths
Although it takes an advanced degree to become an academic sociologist, plenty of careers are available to graduates with bachelor's degrees in the discipline. Here are a few words on what you can expect from bachelor's programs in sociology and a brief rundown of some of the careers where the training can be most useful.
Career Outlook for Sociology Majors
If you're aware of how the job market is expected to shift over the next several years, you may be able to better navigate the culture shock of leaving school and striking out into the working world. Check out these employment projections from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
PROJECTED JOB GROWTH(%)
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||$44,160||91,040||19.9%|
|Mental Health Counselors||$46,050||139,820||19.8%|
|Sociology Teachers, Postsecondary||$81,600||14,580||9.8%|
Financial Aid and Scholarships in Sociology
Individual institutions are typically the top providers of sociology scholarships and other financial aid for sociology students, but nationally available awards like the $2,000 J.W. Saxe Memorial Fund Scholarship are also out there for those with the right qualifications. Here's a quick list of aid programs for students in sociology programs.
Renewable for an additional year if funds are available.
Renewable in some specific cases on the basis of outstanding achievements.
February 1 (Priority)