Studying sociology can lead to a career in social services, criminal justice, administrative support or management. Career choices are so varied because sociology involves studying people's interpersonal relationships and behaviors, which encompasses many jobs. Getting an associate degree in sociology involves taking general education and sociology core classes as well as electives to complete credit hours.

General Education

The purpose of requiring you to take general education courses is to expose you to a variety of study areas. College graduates should have the skills necessary to evaluate and appreciate culture, nature and societies. You generally need to have English composition credits to ensure you write academically. Colleges also require freshman-level history, science, math and political science classes. For an Associate of Arts degree, you should expect to take some humanities or liberal arts classes such as psychology, a foreign language and fine arts.

Sociology Core Courses

Core sociology courses revolve around human interactions and behavior. Most colleges offer an introductory course that provides a broad overview of sociology as a subject. Most programs also require a class related to family dynamics. Other sociology classes depend on the school, but common ones have to do with social problems or injustices, welfare, research methodology, law and society, psychology, gender studies and statistics. Colleges that have well-developed sociology departments could offer specialized classes such as human geography, history of certain groups, mass media, the psychology of human sexuality or mass media.


Completing your general education and sociology classes likely won't give you enough credits to graduate; you will need to take elective courses. Colleges generally leave electives up to your choice. Depending on the schedule and number of credits needed, you may choose to focus on taking extra sociology classes. If you already have a career path such as management or administration in mind, choose some business classes. Otherwise, college is the time for you to explore your interests perhaps in a foreign language, art or even health.

After Graduation

You have many options for using your associate degree. Some disciplines such as teaching and psychology require you to get additional education, so you may apply your associate toward getting a bachelor's degree; generally, an associate degree indicates the halfway mark to a bachelor's. Otherwise, social-centered careers are the easiest application of your knowledge and skills. You can work with social services, as a youth counselor, court advocate or community outreach worker. Otherwise, you have many career options in fields that do not require a specific degree but value someone with deep knowledge of human relationships and behavior.