Group of Students

A degree in Sociology.

Students studying sociology will discover it is an exciting, demanding and diversified academic discipline. At its foundation, sociology is the scientific study of society and human social behavior. It is concerned with the social causes and consequences of human behavior. This basic understanding will help graduates begin careers in fields, such as business, law, health care, human services, government, politics and public administration. Students who hold this degree are well prepared for graduate study. The concentration in social justice examines the causes and consequences of inequalities based on class, gender, race/ethnicity, disability, age and sexual orientation. Social processes that contribute to or reduce inequalities are also studied.  


The sociology program includes a wide range of courses suitable for majors or minors in sociology, and for students who would benefit from an understanding of human social behavior. The core of the major emphasizes both theory and methodology, particularly as they may be applied to the study of human interaction, social institutions or analysis of contemporary social problems. 


The sociology program offers a major in general sociology.

  • Sociology Major: This option includes courses in the methodology of sociology.  It is the best choice for students who plan on a career in sociology or an applied field that calls for conducting research, doing surveys or evaluating programs.  Students develop and practice their skills in conducting social science research.


The sociology minor complements many majors well.  Almost any career that requires understanding society, human diversity or the methods by which we study society could benefit from coursework in sociology.  The wide array of sociology course offerings also makes excellent general electives, regardless of your major.

All Northern Michigan University students are encouraged to meet regularly with their advisers. Freshmen are required to meet with advisers before registering for the next semester's courses. Along with providing guidance on course selection, advisers are an invaluable resource to students in that they usually know who to contact to get questions answered and problems solved.

Advising and registration

Make an appointment with your adviser well in advance of registration. Also, take care of any holds (adviser, financial, medical, etc.) as soon as you can. You will not be allowed to register until the holds are lifted. If you don't know who your adviser is, you can access that information at under the Students Information – Academic Information menu.

Things to do to get the greatest benefit from advising:

  • Pay attention to information coming via e-mail from the Registrar, Academic and Career Advisement Center and your adviser.
  • Prepare to meet your adviser. You should do so early and often every semester.
  • Go online to look at courses being offered. Remember to write down course registration numbers (CRN) in case you need to refer to them later without the benefit of being on-line.
  • Go to your adviser with a tentative course schedule. Be aware that he or she may advise you to take different courses.
  • Talk to your adviser about some alternative courses in case the courses you chose are closed when you are registering.
  • Ask for help if you need it. Your adviser wants you to succeed.

Students graduating with a degree in sociology do one of two things: begin working or attend graduate school.

Those wishing to begin work immediately after attaining the bachelor's degree are ready to apply for the many positions that are open to students with a liberal arts degree. Positions can be found in business, government and the human services. While many positions in these areas require a more specialized degree, employers are also looking for the skills described above. There are also positions as assistants in research projects that are open to students with the skills of the applied sociology major. Furthermore, the conceptual and critical thinking skills students gain in our program are intended for world-readiness, which goes beyond the essential goal of near-term workforce readiness to empower students for life, work, and citizenship in an age of daunting challenges in need of world-embracing solutions.

For those who wish to open up additional occupational vistas, sociology is an excellent background for many specific career opportunities that will be developed at the graduate or professional school level. People who obtain an M.A. or Ph.D. in sociology, for example, often teach in colleges and universities. They also work in government or industry as researchers, administrators, consultants, program planners and the like. The sociology major also provides excellent preparation for graduate school in fields other than sociology, such as social work, criminal justice, urban planning, law, public administration, and a range of other fields. Finally, the sociology major is a good option for students who do not have well-defined career plans, but who wish to remain flexible and adaptable for a number of positions.

The following are illustrative of the kinds of settings in which sociologists--some with bachelors degrees, others with graduate or professional degrees--might find themselves:

  • Advertising
  • Banking
  • Civil service positions
  • Central Intelligence Agency
  • Community action agencies
  • Consumer attitude research
  • Human service agencies
  • Law
  • Marketing research
  • Newspaper reporting
  • Personnel management
  • Professional writing
  • Program evaluation
  • Public opinion polling
  • Public relations
  • Research and data analysis
  • Urban Planning
  • Sales

To bring some of these career opportunities in sociology a little closer to home. In the past few years, our students have gone on to graduate education in sociology, urban planning, health administration, future studies, public administration, guidance and counseling, economics and others.

For more information, students should contact their adviser in the Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology Department or the head of the department. The department has resources to help students assess graduate education, including graduate bulletins from many universities and two guides to graduate education publications from the American Sociological Association. Further assistance on career issues and decision-making can be obtained from Career Services, 3502 C.B. Hedgcock, 906-227-2800.

If you are considering getting a master’s or doctoral degree in sociology, you are in luck. There are many universities that provide such programs, including some in this region. A few of these are listed and linked below for your convenience, but this selective list is far from exhaustive. If you are seriously thinking about graduate work, you would be spending a few dollars wisely by ordering the Guide to Graduate Schools from the American Sociological Association.


Northwestern University                 

University of Chicago                       


Indiana State University                    

University of Notre Dame                 


Michigan State University               

University of Michigan                    

Wayne State University                   

Western Michigan University            


Case Western                                             



University of Wisconsin-Madison             


The links below provide useful information that will allow you to learn more about the sociology field and assist you with research.