Sociology literally means ‘the study of society'. In particular, it explores people's choices and the patterns in social life. Sociologists analyse the structures and cultures of societies across the world and throughout history. We focus on large-scale social problems such as poverty and inequality, but also conduct research into the everyday experiences of people in groups, such as families, business, gangs and subcultures. Sociologists chart the trends that can help us to understand the dilemmas of life in the 21st century, but no matter what the focus, sociologists look to the patterns in society to explain individual problems and success.
In studying sociology, you'll learn to examine and explain the social world in a deeper and more complex way. We examine areas such as marriage and divorce, wealth and power, families and sexuality, self and identity, globalisation, nature and the environment, youth, racism, religion and multiculturalism, health and illness, and inequalities between classes and between women and men. You'll also be equipped with the analytical and linguistic tools to challenge popular accounts of deviant behaviour such as drug use, criminality and sexual deviance. This broad range of interests means that sociology offers many different social research skills and vast opportunities for specialisation, which is reflected in the work that sociologists do.
Have you ever wondered why the world is the way it is? Why people make the choices they do? Why some things change and some things stay the same? How socialisations shape individuals and society as a whole? How society impacts on who we are and limits our life choices? How you can influence social change? A major in sociology will examine and answer these questions, as well as investigate many other social issues and concerns.
Students of sociology acquire a strong, complementary set of conceptual and practical skills. Core components include social analysis skills, critical thinking, and the development of high-level written and oral communication skills. Another key feature is the program's social research focus. Students gain hands-on skills in:
Such skills are increasingly required by business and government agencies.
As a sociology graduate, your sociological knowledge and skills will be useful in a wide variety of careers. Many organisations are now turning to sociologists in order to understand the context of their work and their relationship with their communities. The understanding of social processes and the social research skills provided by sociology are acknowledged by former students as vital both to their work and to the development of their careers. The skills developed through a major in sociology will prepare you for a range of careers in the private, government and non-government sectors.
Sociologists conduct social research into a vast range of social problems and issues that currently confront and challenge our global society. Many sociologists are motivated by a desire to improve people's lives by understanding injustice and oppression, and advocating for more equity and diversity. Consequently, many sociologists promote and practise social justice principles.
Our sociology graduates are employed in a wide variety of occupations in the private and public sector, including government and nongovernment organisations. Some sociology graduates have been employed as:
Authorised by the Interim Head of School, Social Sciences
16 May, 2012