The research methods and theoretical concepts in sociology yield powerful insights into the social processes shaping our experiences, defining social problems, and creating possibilities for social change in the contemporary world. C.W. Mills argued that "neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both." The ability to understand shared problems in context, or what C.W. Mills called the "sociological imagination," is valuable preparation for personal and professional participation in a changing and complex society.

The sociology BA graduate acquires an understanding of social structures and institutional power dynamics, historical context, global perspectives,, the interconnectedness of social life, and different frameworks of thought including anti-racism. They are proficient at gathering and analyzing data and interpreting it using theoretical perspectives. A sociology graduate learns to think abstractly, identify problems, ask original questions, collect data, analyze situations and data, organize material, produce knowledge through writing well, and making oral presentations that explain insightful perspectives and support equitable decision making.

Because sociology addresses the most challenging issues of our time, it is a rapidly expanding field whose potential is increasingly tapped by those who craft policies and create programs. Sociologists understand social inequality, patterns of behavior, leversfor social change and resistance, and the workings of social systems. Sociology is an exciting discipline with expanding opportunities for a wide range of career paths.

More than 3,000 colleges and universities in the United States offer sociology courses. A bachelor's degree in sociology provides an excellent liberal arts foundation from which graduates embark on a wide range of career paths. A BA in sociology is excellent preparation for future graduate work in sociology in order to become a professor, researcher, or applied sociologist. But while teaching and conducting research remain common careers held by the thousands of professional sociologists today, other forms of employment are growing both in number and significance.

Graduate Preparation – in any of the social sciences; as practitioners and professionals

Social Services – in rehabilitation, case management, group work with youth or the elderly, recreation, or administration

Community Work – in fundraising for social service organizations, nonprofit, childcare or community development agencies, or environmental groups

Teaching – in elementary and secondary schools, in conjunction with appropriate teacher certification

College Settings – in admissions, alumni relations, or placement offices

Medicine & Health Services – in family planning, substance abuse, rehabilitation counseling, health planning, hospital admissions, and insurance companies

Government, Government Services, & Law – in federal, state, and local government jobs in such areas as transportation, housing, agriculture, and labor; in policy making and policy analysis; in law firms as case managers or research specialists

Publishing, Journalism, and Public Relations – in writing, research, and editing

Business – in advertising, marketing and consumer research, insurance, real estate, personnel work, training, or sales

Criminal Justice Work – in probation, parole, or other criminal justice work

There are really no limits to what a degree in sociology enables one to pursue in their careers.
Willamette University

Sociology Department

Smullin Hall 3rd floor
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6556 voice
503-370-6720 fax

Back to Top