Public administrators and sociologists both study and work with groups of people, but do so in different capacities. A public administration degree prepares a student to work in the field of public service as an individual who influences politics, manages public programs and produces public policies. A sociology degree teaches a student to study the social behaviors of societies and cultures.

Public Administration Degree Programs

A university’s public administration degree program prepares a student for a career in public service and teaches him about social issues, economic development and sustainability using government systems to create change and empower communities, according to Southern New Hampshire University. Students learn how to analyze public policies, influence those who make policies and discover the interests of stakeholders. A public administration program also teaches a student to creatively work with partners in the private and public sectors, including in nonprofits. Examples of vocations that a graduate with a degree in public administration can pursue include grant writing, program management, congressional or legislative aide, city manager, budget policy analysts, health care administrator, human resource specialist and economic developer.

Sociology Degree Programs

A sociology degree program teaches a student how to think critically and understand social phenomena, as well as problems and issues that societies experience, according to the University of California in San Diego. A student learns to use knowledge about psychology, political science, economics and history when studying a group, so her perspective remains diverse and objective. A sociology program prepares a student to work in fields like social work, law, criminal justice and public administration or as a business executive, public relations expert, marketing director and public servant.

Public Administration Major Classes

Many of the classes that a public administration major takes are business and government related. Project management and organizational behavior classes teach about leadership, change management, communications, job satisfaction and project planning. A student learns about the role of the government in a society and how it provides services in classes that examine government systems. Public policy classes teach about how the government implements and prioritizes policies, and how communities influence decisions. Other types of classes may include ethics in government, global business and business systems.

Sociology Major Classes

Classes for a sociology degree discuss topics such as business, politics, law and social movements. Sociological theory courses teach students about the foundations of sociology, as well as how to observe, interview, conduct research and apply historical data to findings. In a class about social problems, a student learns how societies create opportunities and inequalities, as well as the implications of education, race relations, poverty, ethnicity and gender. Business-related courses teach about economic processes, human relations and how to study organizations. A student also learns about how politics, laws, medicine and science influence social changes.