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What courses do I exactly need to complete my degree to become a sociologist?

I'm needing to know the answer because I need to plan for my future courses to complete my goal to become a sociologist. sociology picking-classes college academic-advising There is the entire program Cheers, -MK Michael Klein
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7 answers

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Sean’s Answer

Hello Monica,

I have acquired my BA in Sociology and understand exactly where you are coming from. There are a multitude of classes you can take to become a sociologist, but first you want to figure out what type of sociology you want to study. Most general sociology majors will require you to take an Introduction to Sociology, this is basic information about sociology, theories, and key figures in sociology so that will be first.

Secondly, ask yourself "What type of work you want to do as a sociologist"? If you are interested in understanding basic human social relationships as it relates life or institutions you will be required to take classes on Social Theory, Research Methods, and maybe Social Analysis.

Most schools will allow you to take electives on various topics in Sociology. I took a class on Deviant Behavior and one on Sociology of the City so see what kind of Special Topics or Elecitves that may be offered.

I see you are in Fort Collins, not to sure if you attend Colorado State, but if so definitely check out their Sociology department and reach out to their director to get an idea of what to take, also as for suggestions on what to read so as to have some knowledge of this field this can help as well.

I hope I was able to provide some basic guidance. Best of luck!

Sean recommends the following next steps:

Reach out to the Sociology Department.
Seek out requirements for Sociology Degree, see if there are different tracks as there are different types of sociology. Decide which one is best suited to what you want to do.
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Karunanidhi.M’s Answer

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Kelly’s Answer

I am graduating with my BA in Sociology in December so I have a fresh perspective on what you need to take. As you have heard from others, each program is different so the specifics will vary. First I would look at the core classes needed for all sociology majors at your school. These usually include a social theory class, qualitative and quantitative research, and social problems or globalization. You can find the list of these classes on your schools sociology website.

Once you complete most of the core classes, you should have a good grasp on what focus you would like to pursue. Many schools offer focuses like race and ethnic studies, LGBTQ+ studies, and gender studies for example. There will be many electives offered that will be specific to these focuses. Each focus will have specific graduating requirements so make sure to meet up with a major advisor and find out exactly what counts toward your focus.

If you are just starting college look for classes that count toward your major AND count toward your GE requirements to get ahead in your program. Usually some sort of statistics is required so I would also take that as my math requirements. No point in taking algebra if only statistics will count toward your degree.

Number one thing I advise is seeking out a major advisor specifically for your program and keeping in contact with them throughout your college career. They’ll help guide you into the exact classes you need, remind you to apply for graduation, etc... Hope this helps!

Kelly recommends the following next steps:

Find a major advisor
Research classes that count as GE and Soci classes
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Joseph’s Answer

Monica, it’s an interesting question to ask! Sociology has many different studies and outcomes. I would add (if it’s not here already) that each school is different. Different requirements and expectations. In most cases, as one comment mentions above, you’ll probably need to go beyond the BA degree.

At my school, they offer calculus for social science majors though statistics is an absolute must know for social science majors, especially Sociology.

You should take English courses to boost your writing and communication skills, which are essential in becoming a sociologist. This not only requires good grammar, but you have to learn about the research process as it is a critical part of sociology.

I hope this helps you.

Joseph recommends the following next steps:

Find out what the requirements are for schools you are applying to.
Take calculus for social science majors and statistics
Take English and other critical thinking courses to build your writing and research skills.
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Simona’s Answer


Do you mind giving me more specific information about what college do you plan to attend? What kind of courses have you take up to this point? Thanks.

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Rebecca’s Answer

It is so great that you know what you want to study! I would try to meet with an advisor at school - most universities will assign you an advisor but the issue is finding them and making time to meet with them. If you can't find that information your next step could either be searching on your school's website for what the requirements are or you could set up a meeting with a sociology professor or the head of the department. Many schools also have a way to look up your progress on your degree and from there you can find out what classes you may need.

Rebecca recommends the following next steps:

Find an advisor or meet with the head of your department
Find out what classes you need, if there are classes that are only offered certain times of the year, and if there are professors you should take (maybe find an older student in the department to ask about this!)
Make a map of what classes you need to take each semester in order to graduate. Get the hard classes out of the way first. Know your strengths!!
Get an internship in your field that could count for class credit to help you graduate early and save money :) $$$
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Jonathan’s Answer

Great question Monica! Rebecca had some fantastic suggestions and I’d only add get to know as many people in the sociology department as possible. Not only can you get to know faculty and staff, identify areas of specialty you’re interested in, and maybe find a mentor, you’ll be top of mind when they learn of internships or special projects.

Note that sometimes students forget to get to know the office staff as well, but these people are what makes the organization work; they can help you get paperwork processed, know who to ask, deadlines, etc, etc. Think of them as your roadmap & guide to navigating the department!

Thinking a bit further down the road, consider whether you want to pursue a PhD, as being a “sociologist” will likely require it. Your faculty will each have unique suggestions that will be worth considering, about your path now as well as later. Also, being familiar with you and your goals, those same faculty will find it easier to say yes when you need letters of recommendation for grad school.

Speaking of graduate school, the Soc department and your adviser will have great advice about where you might want to go depending on your longer term interests. Consider if you want to focus on teaching or research, the topic area(s) you’d like to pursue, and don’t forget your epistemological position or your worldview. Each program will be based in sets of assumptions about all these, and offer different outcomes as a result. Keep in mind also that if you want to become a professor you will likely want to pursue an MA/PhD program rather than a stand-alone masters program.

Most importantly, remember even the most hardcore supposedly objective researcher is only pursuing something they’re interested in - otherwise they’d never sustain the effort. Follow your heart always, and allow it to guide your mind where it is needed.

Jonathan recommends the following next steps:

Get to know Sociology staff and faculty
Identify several potential mentors/advisors and talk with them about your goals, perspective, ideas, hopes and get their feedback.
With their help, consider specialties, your epistemology & aims, and graduate programs that might suit you best.
Follow your heart.