Sociology

Location: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Welcome Sociology Transfer Students!

We greatly value our transfer students’ contributions to our department. Our undergraduate advising program has a number of supports and structures in place to help you hit the ground running once you arrive here at UMass!

Our transfer students tell us how much they value the connections they form when they first join the department; as a result, in the fall, we offer the option of taking a Sociology class just for incoming Sociology transfer students, where you can meet and connect with other majors in a small discussion-based class. This class counts toward your major requirements, and is taught by a Sociology advisor so you have additional access to advising whenever a question arises. Students report the connections and friendships they forged in this class are often an integral part of their UMass experience.

Whether or not you take our transfer student class, our undergraduate advisors as well as our Peer Advisors are available to you whenever you have a question, a concern, or just want to chat about the opportunities and resources. We also match all incoming students with a current undergraduate Peer Advisor who will reach out to you regularly during your first semester, and help connect you to the department and to other students. No appointment is needed to meet with a peer advisor!

We offer 1:1 advising sessions by appointment, and we bring every student in at least once a year for our group advising sessions, to make sure you know exactly what you need to do toward your graduation requirements. We are always available to help!

We Encourage Our Sociology Transfer Students to Get Real World Experiences!

We know that experiences like internships, research assistantships, and studying abroad can help broaden your horizons and build your resume – but how do you find time to incorporate these into your busy life? Because we know how hard it can be for all students – but particularly transfer students – to make time for these “high impact practices” we have built them right into our major.

You can earn up to 4 credits toward the major for a Sociology-related internship (in place of a 200-level Sociology elective class). Our advisors and Internship Coordinator, as well as the SBS Career and Professional Development Advising Staff, can help you find and apply for these internships. Sociology majors have pursued internships in a wide variety of fields, including social services, nonprofit management, law and criminal justice, business and marketing, education, government, public policy, and more.

We also encourage our transfer students to study abroad, and can help work with you to fit that into your academic path! Studying abroad is one way to fulfill the international/intercultural requirement toward the Sociology major, and we are often able to take additional coursework from study abroad programs toward our major as well as our certificate programs.

Many of our faculty also take on undergraduate students as research assistants and teaching assistants; this can be a wonderful learning experience, and you can earn college credit toward graduation in the process.

What Do Sociology Majors At UMass Study? 

The field of sociology studies virtually every aspect of human society: the family, gender, race and ethnic relations, aging, education, work, population, and many others. Its principle goal as a discipline is to understand the workings of human society and to explain social behavior. Although sociologists do study what are commonly regarded as social problems—crime, drug addiction, and poverty, for example—they also examine fundamental social processes present in any society: social change, conflict, and inequality. You can see what we require toward the major here.

Studying sociology as an undergraduate major is an excellent way to prepare for entry-level work or graduate school in various fields. New graduates have found opportunities in the fields of social policy, law, criminal justice, social science research, human resources, education, environmental policy and research, advocacy, and social work to name a few. Students interested in continuing their education at the graduate level have successfully enrolled in law school, business school, social work and public policy graduate programs, as well as continuing on to pursue a Ph.D. in Sociology. The Sociology degree offers a multitude of opportunities and offers an excellent introduction to American society, social science research and demography, and international issues.

The department sponsors interdisciplinary certificates in Criminology and the Criminal Justice System, Population Studies, Social Work/Social Welfare and Social Research Analysis. Participation in these programs is open to majors and non-majors alike.

What Skills Will I Develop with a Sociology Degree?

Taken from the American Sociological Association report, Sociology, A 21st Century Major:

As a Sociology major you will have the tools to critically analyze the changing world around you. Sociology not only can prepare you for the 21st century labor market that is increasingly global and technology-driven but also give you the practical skills you need to succeed such as how to:

  •  Conduct research and analyze data: Use both qualitative and quantitative research methods to recognize trends and patterns to produce social statistics (i.e. market research, opinion polling, program evaluation, etc.)
  •  Communicate skillfully: Convey ideas effectively in writing and in presentations, which is essential for success
  •  Practice Critical Thinking: Solve problems and identify opportunities by looking beyond the surface of issues
  •  Gain a Global Perspective: Use a global and historical perspective to learn about different cultures
  • Prepare for Graduate School: Consider a wide range of fields for graduate study (i.e. law, business, social work, medicine, public health, public administration, and sociology)

What Careers Are Available To Me with a Sociology Degree?

Sociology majors go on to a wide variety of careers; some of the most common fields that our alumni pursue are social work and counseling, law, research, education, non-profits, government and public policy, marketing and business, and social research. You can explore some of our recent graduates’ career outcomes here. 

We are here to help! Every year, Sociology Advising brings back recent UMass Sociology alumni to talk about their career paths and to network with current students. As a Sociology major, you’ll also have access to the SBS Career and Professional Development advising team, as well as to your Sociology advisors, to help plan for your life after UMass. Each spring, the sociology department also offers a one-credit Career Seminar to help Juniors and Seniors prepare for life after college. 

 

Website:umass.edu/sociology/undergraduate/prospective