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What Are the Different Sociology Degree Requirements?

David Bishop
David Bishop

Sociology is a humanities or arts and sciences curriculum that focuses on the study of human societies and interactions. Degrees in sociology are usually offered as a two- or four-year program through colleges and universities. Specific classes may focus on social statistics, politics, religion and issues of race and gender. Students will generally need to complete a core curriculum that includes math, science and English coursework — along with electives directly related to the program — to complete sociology degree requirements. Many sociology graduates work in fields such as social work and public health.

The first two years of a sociology program usually involve a combination of introductory coursework and the core curriculum required by the university. Most students will need to complete at least one college-level mathematics class and a couple science-related classes with laboratory elements. Students also will need to take composition and literature classes, and the department may require several hours of humanities classes, such as history or anthropology. During this period, the student also will likely take several lower-level sociology courses that will introduce him to the essential concepts of the discipline. These basic sociology degree requirements will give the student a broad base of knowledge and prepare him for the upper-level coursework that he will encounter over the next two years.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Once the student has completed his core curriculum and lower-level sociology degree requirements, he can move on to higher-level sociology electives. While the student will have some control over which classes he wants to take, many sociology programs will have classes related to theory and research that he will need to pass to complete the degree. Some colleges may offer special concentrations within the sociology degree that focus on criminology, politics or another area. Students seeking such a concentration may have additional required coursework, either within the department or in related subject areas. These special sociology degree requirements may benefit a student seeking employment in specific fields after graduation.

It is important for students to work closely with their academic advisers to make sure they are fulfilling the sociology degree requirements established by their school and department. Information in student guides and on websites may be dated, and talking with the administration within the sociology department may be the only way to get accurate information on current program guidelines. The student also should verify that all required tuition and fees related to graduation have been paid, so his or her degree is not held up for financial reasons.

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