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Online Sociology Degree Program Options

Get info about online programs in sociology. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career and continuing education options.

Essential Information

Sociology programs are available at the bachelor's degree level at several colleges and universities. Schools may grant either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in sociology. Rarely, students may also be able to complete online associate's degree or graduate certificate programs in sociology.

Some bachelor's programs can be completed 100% online, while others are offered in a blended format that includes both online coursework and campus-based classes. For example, sociology major courses may all be completed online, but required general education courses and elective courses in other disciplines may not all be offered in a distance learning format. Also, some online bachelor's degree programs in sociology offer voluntary internships.

Bachelor's Degree in Sociology

Sociology is a field that examines human and group behavior and population changes across cultures and time. In an online sociology bachelor's degree program, students complete general education classes and study culture, history and politics from a social perspective. Classwork requires strong skills in written communication and in mathematics, specifically statistical analysis.

Program Information and Requirements

Some universities offer bachelor's degrees in sociology through programs that can be completed entirely online, with no campus visits required. Other programs make use of a hybrid format, providing some coursework online but requiring on-campus attendance for some classes. In most programs, coursework can either be completed full-time on a traditional 4-year schedule, or part-time to accommodate a student's work or family schedule.

Most universities offer online classes through a course management system (CMS), such as Blackboard, which stores readings, lectures and assignments and provides a discussion board for students and professors. Students may need software for playing audiovisual media. Textbook purchase is usually required.

List of Common Courses

Students in a bachelor's program must complete general-education coursework in the humanities, natural and physical sciences, and arts. Within the major, classes focus on various aspects of sociology and on statistical methods.

History of Social Theory

Courses in historical social theory look at the texts and theories of significant sociologists and their predecessors. Students can expect to study the work of noted sociologists such as Durkheim, Veblen, DuBois and Adorno.

Social Class and Status

A course on social class and status examines the inequalities in contemporary and historical societies. Racial, gender, class and sexuality-based groups are examined, as are the techniques employed by dominant groups to maintain inequalities.

Social Deviance

This class explores violence, sexual assault, criminal acts and other behaviors that deviate from social norms. Societal responses to deviance in the forms of sanctions and stigmatization are also covered.


Career Information for Graduates

A bachelor's degree in sociology may be useful for students considering careers in social work, public policy or government. Graduates of sociology programs may work in a wide variety of fields, from nonprofit leadership to urban planning or government work.

Social work is particularly closely connected to a sociology major, and it is a growing field that provides many entry-level opportunities for recent graduates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for social workers in 2015 was $45,900 (www.bls.gov).

Continuing Education Information

Graduates may apply to master's degree programs or seek entry-level employment. Although sociology is a field in which advanced degrees are common, few universities currently offer fully online master's or doctoral programs. Some offer hybrid programs, in which students complete some courses online and come to campus for other classes or for periodic meetings with professors.

Just as in on-campus programs, online bachelor's degree programs in sociology provide an overview of the field, as well as general education, through lectures, readings, assignments and online discussions that are provided through a virtual classroom. They prepare graduates for entry-level social work or advanced studies in the field.


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