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Sociology

  • Overview
  • Careers
  • New Freshmen
  • New Transfer
  • Illinois State Students

Sociology majors at Illinois State explore a diverse range of topics and learn to think critically about the social world. Our distinguished faculty members are committed to helping students develop the analytical skills they need to gain a deeper understanding of the world in which we live.

Sociologists look under the surface of social life. They analyze data and develop theories in order to understand and explain social patterns, issues, and problems. Sociology not only helps us understand the roots of these issues and problems, but can also help inform policies that contribute to their solutions.

Why Study Sociology?

Sociologists study the behavior of people within social groups such as families, organizations and communities. They analyze the patterns of social, political, religious and business organizations and the influence of these groups on the total society. Sociologists also conduct research to discover the causes of social problems such as crime, divorce, poverty and racism.

Related Majors

Related Skills

  • Ability to interact with people with different backgrounds
  • Ability to use community resources
  • Good organizer
  • Strong written and oral skills
  • Good computer background
  • Research oriented
  • Ability to handle stress
  • Adaptive to different environments
  • Analytical and good at conducting research
  • Able to work in a team

Being Successful in the Field

  • Internships, part-time jobs, summer jobs, and/or volunteer experiences are critical.
  • An undergraduate degree is sufficient for many entry-level positions in business, industry, and government; however, a graduate degree is likely to be more desirable in a competitive market.
  • An undergraduate degree in sociology is great preparation for graduate or professional education in sociology, law, counseling, psychology, social work, medicine, education, college student personnel, higher education administration, and other related fields.
  • Research prerequisites for graduate or professional programs of interest. Talk with professionals working in areas of interest.
  • To enhance graduate or professional school opportunities, maintain a high grade point average, secure strong faculty recommendations, join student or professional organizations, and gain relevant experience outside of the classroom through work, internship, volunteer, and research opportunities.
  • A Ph.D. is required for teaching at the four-year university level.
  • For human or social service positions, gain experience with a population of interest (i.e., children, college students, elderly adults) and develop multicultural sensitivity and understanding.

Related Fields

Human Services

  • Counseling
  • Case Management
  • Advocacy
  • Mental Health Services
  • Programming
  • Administration

Employers

  • Community service agencies
  • Advocacy groups
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • United Way agencies
  • Local branches of national non-profit organizations
  • Religiously-affiliated service organizations
  • Private foundations
  • Adoption and child care agencies Nursing homes and retirement communities
  • Hospitals and wellness centers
  • Halfway houses
  • Vocational services
  • Educational information services
  • Insurance companies

Strategies

  • Gain experience and develop helping skills through volunteer positions.
  • Spend summers working at camps, YMCA’s, or other social service agencies.
  • Gain experience working with diverse populations.
  • Develop excellent communication skills.
  • Concentrate coursework in an area of interest such as youth, gerontology, or poverty.
  • Learn a second language in order to interact with non-English speakers and increase marketability.
  • Serve as a peer mentor, resident assistant, or other student leader.
  • Earn a master’s degree in social work, counseling, or other related field to increase employment opportunities.
  • Most states require licensure or certification for positions involving the direct provision of therapeutic services to clients.

Criminal Justice

  • Corrections
  • Rehabilitation
  • Law Enforcement
  • Judiciary

Employers

  • Correctional institutions
  • Court systems
  • Federal, state, and local government (especially law enforcement agencies)

Strategies

  • Gain practical experience via part-time or summer jobs, internships, or volunteer work.
  • Volunteer to work with troubled youth.
  • Obtain a graduate or law degree for advancement.
  • Consider obtaining experience in a branch of the military.

Education

  • Teaching
  • Research

Employers

  • Public and private schools Colleges and universities
  • Adult education providers

Strategies

  • Obtain certification/licensure to teach grades K-12.
  • Become certified to teach multiple subjects and age groups for increased job opportunities.
  • Earn a graduate degree for post-secondary teaching opportunities.
  • Assist a professor with research.
  • Take extra courses in research and statistics.
  • Develop exceptional written and oral communication skills.
  • Volunteer as a tutor.
  • Secure strong personal recommendations, particularly from professors.

Government

  • Social Statistics
  • Demography
  • Public Administration
  • Policy Analysis
  • Research
  • Program Development
  • Human Services
  • City Planning
  • Law Enforcement

Employers

  • Federal departments and agencies such as: Departments of Agriculture, Education, Interior, Commerce, Defense, Health and Human Services, Drug Enforcement Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, Veteran’s Administration, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Aging
    State and local government
  • Peace Corps

Strategies

  • Supplement curriculum with coursework in statistics and social research.
  • Develop exceptional computer, communication, and research skills.
  • Gain work experience via government internships, part-time jobs, or summer work.
  • Develop a specialty such as aging, family, criminal justice, or healthcare.
  • Learn the federal job application process.
  • Obtain a graduate degree for advanced positions.
  • Consider beginning a career with the government by joining the military.

Social Science Research

  • Research
  • Data Analysis
  • Demography
  • Market Research
  • Information Sourcing

Employers

  • Universities
  • Government agencies
  • Research institutes
  • Non-profit agencies
  • Community organizations
  • Private industries
  • Advertising and marketing firms
  • Consulting organizations
  • Information brokers
  • Newspapers, magazines, news agencies
  • Public opinion research polls

Strategies

  • Develop exceptional quantitative, statistical, and writing skills.
  • Learn to use statistics software packages as well as database, spreadsheet, and desktop publishing programs.
  • Volunteer to help a professor with a research project.
  • Obtain an advanced degree in sociology for research administration positions.
  • Earn certification in applied social research by The American Sociological Association. Network with professionals working in areas of interest.
  • Gain experience working on teams.

Environment and Society

Employers

  • Waste management firms
  • Health agencies
  • Local planning agencies
  • Environmental advocacy groups
  • Environmental periodicals
  • Federal government
  • Regional, state, and local agencies
  • Consulting firms
  • Private industry

Strategies

  • Enhance curriculum with courses in ecology, environmental science, and statistics.
  • Join environment-related student organizations.
  • Volunteer to work on environmental clean-up projects.
  • Find a related internship, part-time, or summer job.
  • Obtain a graduate degree for advancement.

Business

  • Human Resources: Training and Development, Recruiting
  • Management
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Public Relations
  • Office Administration

Employers

  • Insurance firms
  • Retail stores
  • Banks
  • Staffing agencies
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Service industries
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Healthcare organizations

Strategies

  • Earn a minor in business or supplement curriculum with courses in general business, accounting, and finance.
  • Gain business experience through part-time jobs, summer work, and internships.
  • Develop excellent computer skills.
  • Learn to use software applications such as spreadsheets, databases, and word processing.
  • Hone written and oral communication skills.
  • Join related professional associations.
  • Seek leadership roles in student organizations.

Other Professions

  • Admissions Counselor
  • Advertising Staffer
  • Affirmative Action Assistant
  • Case Manager
  • Civil Rights Trainer
  • Clergy
  • College Placement Worker
  • Community Aide
  • Community Organizer
  • Consumer Relations Worker
  • Consumer Researcher
  • Corrections Officer
  • Corrections Staffer
  • Data Entry Manager
  • Demographer
  • Employee Specialist
  • Ethnographer
  • Foreign Service
  • Issues Manager
  • Legal Aide
  • Market Research
  • Medical Records Worker
  • Parole Officer
  • Planning Assistant
  • Police Officer
  • Program Supervisor
  • Public Assistant Worker
  • Secret Service
  • Social Research Assistant

Career Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Laurenn York  110 Student Services Building  ldjarem@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-0735 

Internship Coordinator

Name Office Email Phone
Ryan Gray  Schroeder Hall 344  krgray2@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8669 

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for freshman students for the fall semester is September 1-November 15. Applying early is encouraged, as the University must limit enrollment due to space at the University and in specific majors/programs. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

This information is based on requirements for the academic year(s) indicated. Students should consult the catalog year they were admitted under for their academic requirements.

Applying to Illinois State

Illinois State's preferred filing period for fall transfer students is September 1-January 15. For the spring semester, the preferred filing period is from April 1-August 1. You are encouraged to apply early in the preferred filing period for best consideration for admission into competitive majors. Visit the Office of Admissions to apply today!

Minimum GPA

2.50

Middle 50% GPA

2.57 - 3.11

Required Courses

None

Recommended Courses

Completion of introduction to sociology (SOC 106) with grade of C or better

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Ryan Gray  Schroeder Hall 344  krgray2@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8669 

Middle 50% GPA

2.57 - 3.11

Plans of Study and Progress Tracking

Application Period

Applications are always available, but reviewed in February, September, and May.

Application Information

Current students can use the Apply to Your Program tool on My.IllinoisState.edu.

Major Requirements

Admission is competitive, based upon GPA, and the department may limit enrollment due to space limitations.

Academic Advising

Name Office Email Phone
Ryan Gray  Schroeder Hall 344  krgray2@ilstu.edu  (309) 438-8669 
2016-08-03T11:23:40.188-05:00 2016
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