Sociology degrees offer students a survey of basic sociological concepts, and can give students a broad understanding of group behavior. Many students pursue sociology degrees with plans to continue to graduate school in sociology and related subjects such as women's studies or social psychology. A sociology degree can also prepare you to understand human behavior in the working world, and will also give you a strong background in writing and research. The difference between a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science degree in sociology is negligible, but it can make a difference when you're applying to graduate school or applying to sociology-oriented jobs.
Whether you get a B.A. or a B.S. in sociology, you'll get an overview of sociological ideas such as the ways group identity affects behavior and the ways in which a person's various group memberships can alter her identity. Many sociology programs allow students the option to focus on a particular area of sociology, such as African-American studies or women's studies. There is a strong emphasis on culture in sociology, and sociology students study the ways in which culture and subculture subtly influence beliefs, ideas and actions.
Bachelor of Science
At some schools, such as Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, students enrolled in B.S. programs must specialize in a particular area; in sociology, a student might pursue feminist studies or Latino studies. B.S. degrees typically place a heavier emphasis on research methods, data gathering and data analysis. You might have to take math or science classes or participate in sociology-oriented laboratory research.
Bachelor of Arts
Most sociology degrees are B.A. degrees, and many schools do not offer a sociology B.S. When you pursue a B.A. in sociology, you'll generally get a broader overview of basic sociological concepts and might be required to take a diverse array of electives. While you'll learn basic research methods, you might not be required to demonstrate the ability to analyze research and might not need advanced math skills to get your degree.
Making the Choice
If you think you might go into a research or math-oriented field, a B.S. degree can give you the background you need. If, however, you're simply interested in sociology and plan to pursue a non-sociology career when you graduate, a B.A. can give you the reading, writing and analytical skills that can help you succeed in a broad variety of careers. Try researching job listings to see if jobs you are interested in prefer candidates with a B.A. or B.S. before making your final decision.
- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo: BA/BS, Difference Between Degrees
- University of Colorado Boulder: Difference Between B.A. And B.S. Degrees
- American Sociological Association: Prospects for the BA/BS Sociology Graduate
- University of California at Berkeley: What Can I Do With a Sociology Major?
- Southern Oregon University: Sociology, BA or BS
- University Language Services: BA and BS Degrees In The U.S.
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